Photo Sharing for Business

Recently we’ve written about Instagram and Pinterest – providing you with an understanding of how these popular websites/tools work. Today we’ll look at how you can use Instagram and Pinterest for you business. And consider whether you should use these social media channels for your business.

Instagram and Your Business

What Instagram allows you to do is easily and instantly post your photos to multiple photo sites and social media channels including: Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Posterous, and Foursquare. You can also configure your Instagram account to email people your latest photos.

When it comes to your business, you can use Instagram to share photos of your brand/products/services. Given the social nature of this photo site, those following you will comment on your photos and repost them – enabling the photos to go viral.

But how should you use Instagram? Well your marketing department, can easily manipulate photos with filters to suit a specific mood or theme that they want the photo to convey. You can also use Instragram to track the photos that others are posting about your brand/product/service/company – simply use the Search function to find out what others are posting about your company. The geo-tag feature is super useful to help others locate your company.

Is Instagram right for your company? Well there are lots of companies using Instagram – but to be successful on it, you need to have a savvy marketing plan and a real reason to be posting photos of your brand/products/services. Take a look at these 10 companies who are early adopters of Instagram and how they are using it.

Pinterest and Your Business

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard site that revolves around people posting links to items/ideas/products that they discover online and find interesting or useful. While you can’t sell product directly through Pinterest, users can click on the photo and will be taken directly to your company website.

Just like other social media channels, links and photos can quickly go viral when they are repinned by potentially thousands of people.

To use Pinterest for your business effectively you need to consider if you have a brand/product/service that fits into the pinning mechanism. Do you have an actual product or service that others can post to a board?

If you do then to use Pinterest for your business, it is key to create boards that relate to your company – savvy consumers will see past a Pinterest account that is created only to post photos of products and brand images. Instead think of your market space and how your brand or product relates to this market space. For example, if you own a lifestyle company, you can could create boards related to your niche such as: Cool Gear, Places To Travel, Stores (these are stores that sell your product), and Pics (these are pictures of people using your product).

To help boost your profile on Pinterest follow others who use your products or brand. Repin photos of your goods and repine photos related to your niche. It also helps to follow media companies related to your company and niche market. It is interesting to know that some companies have reported a 75% click-through rate to their website from photos pinned on Pinterest.

You can also get creative and create boards that provide How To or Tips and Advice on using your product or services. For example, if you sell yoga mats, you might create a board called Loving Your Mat – this includes pins about caring for, cleaning, and storing yoga mats.

Is Pinterest right for your company? It really depends on what you company sells. Do some research and see if others in your market space are using Pinterest and how they are using it. Here is a collection of companies and brands using its social channel.

Tips on Using Photo Sites

If you do decide to use on or both of Instagram and Pinterest, here are some overall tips to keep in mind:

  • Post Interesting Images: go beyond photos of your brands or products and post photos that relate to how your product or brand is used in real life.
  • Post Regularly: this is a must – people will lose interest if you don’t post regularly and engage with others.
  • Get Others Involved: when someone comments on your photo or repins it – respond to them. You can even get creative and create a competition that encourages people to post photos related to your company and brand and award a prize for the best photos (as voted on by your online community).
  • Have a Theme: post photos related to a specific theme. For example, you might post only photos or pins with the colour green in them to highlight a St.Patrick’s Day promotion you are running. Or post photos of your employees’s lunches and encourage your community of followers to do the same.
What To Do? 
Like anything you do online – you must be committed to it. So if you don’t have the time to manage an Instagram or Pinterest account then don’t do it. Talk to your marketing department and find out what they think of these social channels. Take your time and do your research to find out what others in your market space are doing. Just because it is out there – doesn’t mean you need to use it!
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Instagram: How it Works

Do you have an iPhone or iPod Touch? Do you take photos with your Apple iOS device? Then likely you’ve heard of Instagram. We’re guessing that you’ve heard of it but aren’t actually using it. (Of course we could be wrong – you could be one of the 15 million people who have started using this app since October 2010.) Well, whether you’re a new user,  a dabbler, or simply curious about this photography app that is taking the Apple world by storm, read on to learn more about the nuts and bolts of this app.

What Is Instagram?

Instagram bills itself as a “fast, beautiful, fun way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures”. What this really means is that with the Instagram app, you can apply filters to your digital photos to change the way they look and feel. Yes, similar to the filters that people used to use before the advent of the digital camera.

What has made this free app so compelling and dare we say addictive is the community of Instagram users. Using the Instagram app and instagr.am website, you can share your photos with others.

How Does It Work?

It is surprisingly simple:

  1. Download the Instagram App from the iTunes Store (the app is free).
  2. Sign in – enter some basic information and if you want to configure your Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Posterous, and Foursquare credentials.
  3. Take a photo with your iPhone or iPod Touch.
  4. Apply a filter, change the border, alter the lighting effects and save your photo. You do all this with a  few simple finger taps.
  5. Give your photo a caption.
  6. Depending on your settings, this photo will then be updated instantly to your various social media accounts. You can also create an email list and have your photo automatically emailed to the recipients.
That’s it! Using the app you can see what is popular on Instagram, browser other people’s photos, and essentially spend a lot of time taking photos and playing with them.
People will look at your photos and if they like what they see, the can “Like” it. The more “Likes” your photo has, the higher chance it has of making it to the Popular list.
Instagram Facts 
Here are a few basic facts about this photo company/idea/social media platform/app:
  • Launched in the Apple App Store on Oct. 6, 2010.
  • By December 2010, Instagram had 1 million registered users.
  • By June 2011, Instagram had 5 million registered users.
  • By September 2011, Instagram had 10 million registered users.
  • 150 million photos were uploaded by August 2011.
  • Created and founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger.
  • There are no plans currently for an android version.
  • Instagram is not compatible with the iPad. There is an Instagram gallery app for the iPad.
Want to Know More About Instagram? 
Check out these links to learn more about Instagram:
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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada