Photos have always been a part of social media content, but they always seemed to be more of an accent. With Pinterest, and now the new Facebook brand pages, that’s changing. Now they are the story.
Pinterest has been a phenomenon. comScore said that Pinterest became the fastest independent website ever to hit 10 million unique monthly visitors. Brands are rushing to the set up their pages and everyone has a point of view on how to do it right. It’s nothing short of Pinsanity.
Consumers are pinning photos of the products they love. We are seeing a lot of that on the BzzAgent Pinterest site. Agents are submitting pictures of the products they are reviewing, the dishes they are preparing and the crafts they are creating with the products from our clients. It’s a great shareable experience, and when it’s done right, it’s a lot more compelling than a page of text links, likes, or up and down arrows and/or thumbs (eg Reddit/Digg).
And now there are stats to prove it works. Shareaholic found that Pinterest drives more referral traffic to e-commerce sites than Google Plus, LinkedIn and YouTube combined.
At this point, Pinterest is a female dominated network. AppData claims that 97% of the site’s users are of the female persuasion. Experian Hitwise says it’s more like 60%. But either way, the people making most of the purchase decisions in the home are embracing storytelling with photos.
Facebook just announced they are rolling out new timeline pages to brands. While this is accompanied with several new ad offerings, the big emphasis is on photos. Brand pages are becoming much more visual. Photos from the brand and from followers will dominate the page and become the primary way for brands to communicate their story.
Facebook’s Product Director of Ads Gokul Rajaram told Techcrunch about the shift to storytelling with pictures:
“the goal is to symbolize what an organization is all about. For a restaurant it could be a popular menu item, a band could display album cover art, and a business could show a picture of their customers using their product.”
Here are some examples of the pinification of the new Facebook brand pages:
- Cover image. Brands can use a larger picture, as big as 850 pixels wide, at the top of the page to communicate their brand. So brands aren’t tempted to turn these into banner ads or microsites, Facebook stipulates that these images can’t contain links, price information, offers, or any call to action. Let’s hope they really do patrol that.
- Featured images. Photos will automatically appear at the top of the timeline.
- Pinned content. Brands can pin a post at the top of the timeline for a week. Direct users to an important post or feature a photo that will take up a large portion of the page.
The opportunity for brands will emerge as these changes are rolled out. Here are three that jump out right now:
1. With a page structured around a timeline, gaps in interaction will be glaring. Marketers will need to make sure their interaction occurs on a regular basis. Regularly occurring posts will keep your page from looking like a neglected blog.
2. Historical comments are easier to find. Users can click on dates in the timeline to instantly jump back to see what was being said about your brand at any point in time. Negative comments are less likely to just fade away so it’s even more important to encourage widespread consumer participation on a regular basis so the voices of your best customers can be heard.
3. Get shutter happy. Now’s the time to emphasize customer submitted photos. Nothing is more effective at telling the story of your brand. Photos of people using your product and showing it off to friends is the type of meaningful content that gets others excited about trying it themselves.