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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, February 17, 2014, 5:30 am

Getting noticed in a distracted world

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words

By Kerry Rego

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    Who has enough time? No one. We are all time poor. In fact, we don’t even have the attention span to cover what we have in front of us. In the last three years we’ve lost four seconds in our ability to focus on material. We now sit at eight seconds (Statistic Brain). Eight seconds. That’s less than a goldfish.

    If you find that your online content isn’t breaking through, you may want to know that the percentage of page views that last less than four seconds is 17 percent (Statistic Brain). What can possibly be conveyed in that brief amount of time? Pictures can tell your brand story in 1-2 seconds. On average, content containing images receive 94 percent more total views than content without images. While 67 percent of consumers consider clear, detailed images to be very important and carry more weight than the product information, descriptions, and customer ratings. (Heidi Cohen). Let’s look at the most popular photo-sharing tools: Instagram vs. Pinterest vs. Flicker.

     Instagram is Instant

    It’s a mobile application and the Polaroid of the digital age. It’s a backstage look as to what’s happening behind the scenes. Quick, revealing, unabashed, and even grainy shots work well here. Owned by Facebook, it’s content easily crosses over into the news feeds of the most trafficked social network on the planet. It has dozens of filters to enhance the way the images look such as sepia, black and white, and other creative edits. Instagram also includes 15 seconds of editable video and additionally offers this via private messaging.

    Concerns about this being a tool only for the young are not completely unfounded. According to Pew Internet Research, while only 13 percent of U.S. Internet users are here the most engaged are female, urban, ethnic, and under the age of 30 (large gains are occurring in the 30-59 age bracket). But one of the undeniable growth and visibility advantages of this tool is that it’s owned by Facebook and has the ability to touch a much larger audience.

     How would you use Instagram? Your customers want to see the CEO touring the newest construction site, having lunch with employees, and the demolished birthday cake for the accounting manager. Think not? According to Go Gulf, 82 percent of customers are more likely to trust a company whose CEO and leadership team engage on social media. Trust turns into dollars.

     Pinterest is for Planning

    Pinterest is a mirror. It reflects your interests. When one first starts using it, there is heavy emphasis on fashion and weddings. This lends to the belief that men aren’t engaging on this channel. While 15  percent of U.S. internet users are participating here, it is dominated by women. In fact all social media tends to dominated by women. But when you look at the statistics for U.K. users of this same tool, men dominate.

     

    I explain Pinterest like this: remember when we were kids and we ripped pages of things we liked out of magazines? The car we wanted to own, our ideal house, or our dream garden. We plucked out the pages and stuck them up on our walls (or in our lockers). That’s Pinterest. It’s a digital vision board. It has an excellent search feature allowing the audience to look for anything their heart desires whether it’s weddings, fashion, food, home repair, gardening, decorating ideas, technology, retail, art and much more. Once it’s tuned to your preferences, it’s a visual goldmine. It also has an unmatched ability to drive traffic to retail and other forms of conversion.

     The users tend to be Caucasian, female, and under the age of 50. Vision Critical and Harvard Business Review found that 21 percent of Pinterest users had bought an item in a store after pinning, repining, or liking the item on the site. If you have an item for sale, you simply need to pin it to Pinterest. You can use this either via your mobile device or on your desktop, unlike Instagram.

     

    How would you use this tool? If you are a local manufacturer of products, you can create boards that include your items for sale, ways to use them, seasonal concerns, dream projects, how-to videos (it takes pins from Youtube), projects submitted by customers, your community involvement, gift ideas, and much much more.

     

    Flickr is for Filing

    Flickr is considered the granddaddy of photo sharing sites and the place for professional photographers. It’s been around since 2004 so their audience is well established and is largely international. Again, women are the majority but the age here is strong up to 54.

     There are several benefits to using Flickr. One is that you have unmatched filing abilities compared to the other two. Flickr calls their albums “sets,” which you can name, file, rearrange, edit, and share easily across the web. The second is that it’s beneficial for your SEO (search engine optimization). The customizable information, or metadata, included in each picture is the best when it comes to leading back to you, your site, and your brand. And last, photos and videos take a lot of server storage space. If you have a place to store your data intense files, it relieves you of the upkeep and it lowers your costs. Flickr also offers video storage.

     How would you use this? Upload all your photos like you did long ago for traditional photo albums. Golf tournaments of years past, company picnics, a historical visual view of your company, product shots, and social media content images. I often put one impactful image in blogs I write then link to the full set allowing you double value. Also, when a person searches on the web for the term “left handed screwdriver,” if you’ve named your image that or included these words in the caption, the image will appear in Google Images and it leads back to you.

     

    Humans want to capture and share their lives on film. They always have. They are running out of time for your words but they can’t escape your powerful images.

    Kerry Rego, 707-520-4572, kerry@kerryregoconsulting.comkerryregoconsulting.com) is a social media trainer, technology consultant and keynote speaker in Santa Rosa. She is the author of What You Don’t Know About Social Media Can Hurt You: Take Control of Your Online Reputation.

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