Using marketing content based on imagery rather than words is becoming an increasingly popular strategy for businesses. And it makes a lot of sense in light of the fact that humans are visual creatures, wired to receive information through the sense of sight. After all, the old saying “a picture is worth a thousands words” is a cliché for a reason!
Image-based social platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram can provide you with opportunities to take advantage of this natural human response to images to get your message across.
In fact, people who are visual learners (those who receive and process information more readily when it is associated with pictures, diagrams or other imagery) are likely to be more responsive to picture marketing than to text alone. The really interesting thing from a marketing point of view is that research indicates around 65% of us are visual learners – representing quite a substantial proportion of the population!
Here’s why you might want to consider publishing on Pinterest and Instagram, and some tips for using the platforms effectively.
The case for Pinterest
Pinterest is like a virtual cork board of pinned images and videos relating to interests, hobbies, passions and the like. Common themes include lifestyle, home decorating, gardening, fashion, food, products, travel, and hints and tips on popular topics. The platform is sometimes referred to as a way of bookmarking images, or create a mood board. The pinned items are often accompanied by captions or descriptions and a website link.
Pinterest has been growing in popularity in recent years. Statistics show it has about 100 million monthly active users globally. According to Sprout Social, two years after being launched, Pinterest had become the third most popular social platform in the US after Facebook and Twitter. In addition, while Pinterest has generally been more popular with women, the number of male users appears to be growing.
This platform is certainly more than just pretty pictures. It can be a powerful marketing tool – particularly for e-commerce businesses as a way of showcasing products. Your board can also be used to pin blog posts, book covers or images promoting your business brand. The platform can be good for attracting followers, who can share or ‘re-pin’ your pins in their own networks.
Tips for making the most of Pinterest
- The trick with Pinterest is to make your images inviting and intriguing enough for people to click on them to find out more about your business or products. So make sure to always pin high quality images and videos on your board, and to accompany them with strong descriptions or captions. Consider including keywords in titles or descriptions.
- Consider creating a blog board where you pin your own blogs or other blogs of interest, accompanied by quality images and a summary or teaser.
- If you use Pinterest for e-commerce, include price tags with the images. According to some statistics, pins with price tags attached tend to attract more likes.
- Consider including a screenshot of pins in e-newsletters along with a clickable link to your website.
- Promote your board on other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
- Find popular boards of interest – such as through PinGroupie – and share pins that provide values to your followers.
- You can use PinAlerts to receive an alert whenever someone pins something from your website or when pins are made by people in your network, and to track pins from competitors.
- Collaborate or partner with businesses on Pinterest that have similar audiences to yours.
- Don’t forget to make the most of themes – such as Christmas, Mother’s Day, holidays and other special events.
The case for Instagram
Instagram is used to share mobile photos and videos instantly through the Instagram app or other social networks. The app also allows you to add framing, effects and captions to your images if you choose, and to classify them according to hashtags. The images are collected into a newsfeed for viewing and sharing. The platform has around 400 million active users, of which 5 million are in Australia.
Instagram tends to be more ‘real time’ than Pinterest, in that people use it to share images of things that are happening right now in a particular location. Common themes include sport, daily life, food, travel, and special events.
On face value, it might seem that Instagram is not a platform that is suitable for business due to its rather ‘spontaneous’ nature. However, like Pinterest, it can be used for picture marketing to share stories and to convey powerful messages.
Tips for using Instagram
- Use your bio section to attract followers, by including interesting information about your business and brand. This is also the place to post links to your website, landing page or blog, since clickable links cannot be included on images and videos.
- Follow trending hashtags, and consider including them in posts if relevant to your audience.
- Include inviting captions and calls-to-action with your images.
- Consider paid ads on the platform to boost your impact. It’s important to note that to advertise on Instagram you will need a Facebook account.
- See if you can partner with influencers on Instagram – that is, users that have large followings and that are trusted for their opinions and reviews.
- Use Instagram to run contests or competitions – such as ‘like to win’, or by creating a contest-related hashtag.
As for other social platforms, it’s important with both Pinterest and Instagram to post regularly and to connect and communicate with your users, and not to merely treat your networks as advertising opportunities.
When used in the right ways, both platforms can provide businesses all kinds of opportunities for social media marketing with visual appeal.
Our next article in this series expands on the visual theme, making the case for using video in your content marketing strategy.