OPINION: Putting brands in the picture with six rules of Pinterest, Instagram and the rest

Catalina Salazar
By Catalina Salazar | 13 August 2013

We are now using images more than ever before. We are using them to tell our friends where we are (Facebook check ins), what we are eating (Instagram), what we like (Pinterest). We are telling the world a lot more about ourselves than we are consciously willing to accept, thanks to the benefits of mobile technology that has enabled 'one click' interactions and sharing behaviours.

As of July 2013, Facebook is getting 350 Million photos uploaded per day, and the number of 'likes' has surpassed the trillion mark. Simultaneously, Instagram is getting 45 Million photos and one billion likes a day. The stats are astounding and they reflect our human need to share and connect with others, and this need of connection has found its best companion on the internet.

In this day and age, we are showcasing our appreciation or rejection in ways we never did before. You just need to double tap your phone screen to show you friends how much you like whatever they are eating, wearing, listening to or doing. We are learning new gestures to interact with devices, and we are learning new ways to express ourselves via digital actions. In 2013 even toddlers don’t play with a mouse! They pinch and zoom and shake flat surfaces, yet they are getting so much more information per second than their parents ever did when they were young.

But with all these emerging behaviours and the abundance of data around them, how can brands gather the core insights that will allow them to reach the right people at the right time with the right message?

This growing thirst for insights has led to what I call the “fly on the wall” effect. Brands want to be there when their precious core audiences are searching in Google. They want to hear the conversations they are having and be their peaking trend in twitter. Brands want to be the #hashtag consumers are using on Instagram.

Branding and commercial success today comes in the form of Facebook likes, image and video sharing. Brands are on the constant hunt for expressions of interest and opportunities to become viral, yet it is challenging to understand how to get such love from consumers when the insights are hidden in shared photographs and countless analytics reports that marketers and agencies are trying to stitch together in order to illuminate the way to marketing success.

Regardless of how complex this scenario looks, I believe the understanding of online consumer behaviour does not have to be that challenging at all. In order to succeed, brands need to cut the noise from all the digital variables, and start providing the core and basic information that consumers need, rather than trying to control the entire landscape on a campaign by campaign basis.

In a very simplistic way: Get the basics right and improved results will be a natural consequence.

  1. Brands need to really pay attention to “responsive” design. Make sure that all content that a brand generates is accessible irrespective of the device consumers choose to use. People already want to find brands and services, yet it is shocking to find out the amount of branded sites and campaign material that is not available through mobile and tablet screens.

  2. Brands need to become accessible and localised. Consumers need something now, they will find it now and brands need to provide a sense of “closeness” and “accessibility” by tidying up their maps presence and the look and feel of their business listings online. People will be willing to act quicker if they can find you quicker, and if you can reach them with a message that makes them feel closer to you.

  3. Brands need to listen more, rather than talk more. Listen to what consumers are searching for and then answer those questions via content/image strategies. Make your site a rich source of the information consumers are trying to get, rather than the messages you are trying to share.

  4. Brands need to open their eyes and get the picture! – Have a look at the images your core audience is sharing and liking. Just looking at the common themes and the type of content that is being shared, brands can get an idea of what is appealing to the audience and include those basic insights in their communication strategies.

  5. Brands need to produce the kind of images they want to be shared! Just use Google images to see what kind of pictures currently exist for the brand and evaluate how the company is being visually perceived. Then start thinking of improving the quality of images available online.

  6. Brands need to consider up and coming channels. For example, Instagram and Pinterest are great examples of fast growing environments that allow brands to have clever and cost efficient strategies. Create brand profiles, feature followers, share promo codes on these environments, create photo contests, feature events and important dates. Have an ‘always on’ strategy on these channels and revise the strategy during important campaign periods.

Getting the basics right will save brands a lot of time and money in their advertising efforts. Just being present and providing the ability to share brand assets is a good start. Millions of people will continue to share and billions will continue to like, it is just matter of how quickly brands can get in and take advantage of what’s a fast growing and fast changing landscape.

So, from those 45 Million photos being uploaded on Instagram a day, I contribute one photo!

For me, Instagram is a place to share my passion for nature, travel and photography. I never had professional training, yet with all the tools available at the tap of my fingers, it does not really matter. All I want to do is share moments that are worth remembering and places that are worth visiting.

Catalina Salazar Pictures

Santa Fe de Antioquia – Little colonian town outside Medellin, my hometown. Selected by IG_COLOMBIA to represent the country in the IG Global Photo Award

Catalina Salazar Pictures

Whale Dancing Watching - Sydney Selected as a finalist on the Pedestrian TV photography awards 2012

Catalina Salazar Pictures

New Home Sweet Home Sydney Sunrise

Catalina Salazar Pictures

Lake Buffalo – Victoria

Catalina Salazar Pictures

Everybody is cool in Venice Beach – California

Catalina Salazar Pictures

There will be another sunrise and the clouds will fade away – Melbourne

Catalina Salazar
Resolution Account Director

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