Related Content: Social Media 2013 – Part 1
Owned by Facebook, Instagram is largely seen as a personal social network and not one that businesses have been very successful with using. Because this tool is more personal, users choose to connect with each other and to share images and fifteen second videos. These images and videos can be altered via the addition of filters available through the app.
“Instagramming” can be very useful to companies that sell products, particularly things where aesthetic quality is important. For instance, Keds shows off its shoes to its customers via Instagram. Starbucks and Oreo also have Instagrams with large followings and have found success with engaging their customers through this app.
Instagram also uses hashtags, which makes images, videos, and captions even easier to share.
However, something important to realize about the most successful companies using tools like Instagram is that they are engaging with people who already know of their brand / product. Additionally, those followers are probably already loyal to those brands, so the best way to use Instagram seems to be to encourage loyalty in your followers by running Instagram-exclusive promotions.
For example, Ben & Jerry’s encouraged their customers to take snap pictures of things that inspired happiness for them and post them using the hash tag, #CaptureEuphoria. The company selected their favorite 20 pictures for use in an outdoor advertising campaign.
Vine is a video app owned by Twitter. Vine allows user to create six second loop videos with sound. It’s basically the lovechild of videos and gifs.
This app is fairly new, launched in late January of this year, but businesses are already making great use of this app. Companies like Tropicana, Target, Urban Outfitters, and even the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley are on Vine and making videos to enhance their web presence.
Another reason Vine is great is because, as the popularity of the internet is rising, it would seem that attention spans are falling. Using Vine forces you to get creative and find a visually appealing way to deliver a message in six seconds. But unless your product or service can be represented visually within that time, this app may not be for you.
If you’re interested in Vine, it’s worth your while to check out seenive.com, the “unofficial Vine web viewer.” You can search people and hashtags, or just check out what’s trending on Vine right now!
By now, everyone has probably heard of this video giant. Instead of “searching for videos online,” most Westerners are using YouTube like a verb. “Oh wait a second, I’ll just ‘YouTube’ it.”
There’s a reason that YouTube has gathered so much fame. First of all, it’s one of the first of its kind. A video uploading and viewing tool that allows you to share the latest news clips, learn a variety of skills, or just look up your favorite song to see the music video that accompanies it.
Success on YouTube is measured by channel subscriptions, individual video views, and each video’s number of “likes” and “dislikes.” However, this like / dislike function and the comment feature allows your users to openly express negative views about your content and could be something of a PR issue unless you’re prepared to handle it.
Tailoring your content to your users interests is vital, and its best use supplementing content on your blog, website, or social media posts unless you’re a media giant like Warner Bros or Disney. One of the most popular companies on YouTube right now is Playstation, because video is inherently part of the video game industry. Gaming companies will use YouTube to show demos of new games, much the same way that big movie production companies will release previews on YouTube.
Pinterest allows you to “pin” and share images which appeal to you. The most popular types of posts on Pinterest are things you would stereotypically associate with women – recipes, crafts, home décor, wedding planning, and fashion.
Pinterest is probably the most helpful to retail brands and wedding planners since most of its users are women flagging ideas that they like and want to remember. But it can also be a good way for “visual” brands – like photographers – to share ideas and / or have their work gain notice by being “pinned. “ In fact, a lot of professionals use if for idea sourcing.
Like Pinterest, Tumblr is a microblogging platform owned by Yahoo that allows users to create posts and reblog posts from other uses. Popular items on this website are memes, recipes, fitness, and personal posts. This website seems to have a lot of niche communities, such as the “fitblrs” – Tumblr blogs devoted to health and fitness.
Tumblr appeals to a younger group of users, mainly teenagers who see it as a place where they can use the internet under parental radar and people in their 20s. This would be best used if you could find a niche community that your product appeals to and/or gain the support of popular bloggers who already have loyal followings.
Flickr has replaced Photobucket as the premier place to upload, store, sort, and share photos online. It is a useful tool for companies who are very visually oriented. Flickr is the ideal place for photographers to showcase their work. Kind of like a mashup between Instagram and Pinterest, this website allows you to view photostreams in a newsfeed setting based upon what groups you choose to join and which members you follow.
Flickr, however,may not be an ideal platform for all brands. While it has a very balanced audience in terms of race, gender, education, and income, it is primarily used to share photography as art. Granted, it does allow you to create groups that others can contribute to, but its social reach lags behind platforms like Faceboook and Pinterest. Basically, it is best used for storing your own photos so that they may be used to supplement your content elsewhere, like on your blog or Website.
What do all of these tools have in common? They’re all visual. And the simple fact is, a picture is often worth way more than 140 characters.
Bicycle Theory is a brand marketing company located in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, MN. Bicycle Theory provides strategic and tactical brand marketing services, including Web design and development, Internet marketing, brand strategy, and identity building.