Images are the New Black in Social Media.
By Alicia Whalen, co-founder of A Couple of Chicks Marketing
Thursday, 31st May 2012
With the new Timeline design, the aquisition of Instagram by Facebook, and rapid growth of Pinterest, it is safe to say that images are the new 'status update,' or if you want to go retro – the 'new black'.

The game changer is in the rapid adoption of image-sharing social media platforms including;

PINTEREST - a social media site which allows users to create virtual pin boards around images that describe who they are and their interests. 

Users then comment, share and like "pins" and collaborate using images around interests and topics including everything from gardening to clothing to infographics (which are getting far too complicated in my opinion to actually illustrate a concept..but I digress).

Mobile App based INSTAGRAM – which essentially allows Apple iPhone and iPad, as well as Google Android users to edit and share images from their devices (with no web-based platform at all),  and also to  share images to their Facebook and Twitter communities. 

Instagram is a user-focussed app based social platform that simply built a photo sharing community around Apple and Google Android mobile users, and made it easy for them to edit images, connect with each other, and to share photos with their other social media places. 

Instagram was also recently acquired by Facebook (for a reported 1 Billion dollars!), which illustrates that both image sharing and mobile are important to Facebook as the media giant continues to evolve. (Marketers take note here).

Facebook's introduction of TIMELINE has also made users and brands think about the image(s) we use in our profiles that best illustrate who we are.  The generously large cover image at the top of the Facebook profile page, and on Facebook brand pages now gives users the opportunity to carefully present themselves in images.

I don't remember the last time that I read a Facebook user's "about" information – and I am not the only one of you who scan photos, comments and articles when scanning content. (also known as creeping).

Photo sharing has always been important to users of Facebook, but initially it was the status updates that drew attention to facebook user profiles.  Now, Facebook users view content from brands and people including images, articles, video, comments and discussions with status updates taking a back seat. 

A big shift from the Facebook profiles of the past which only allowed for small images appearing in albums and at the top part of the profile.  You might even remember that initially there was only one image on the left hand side of a users Facebook profile, with wall posts and status updates dominating the page.

What is the takeaway here? 

The digital space has evolved quickly and has made marketers adjust often. The bottom line is that consumer usage of social media has made us focus on content marketing. 

Content including blogs, social commentary, video's, articles, and photos that illustrate who we are and what we are about.  Simply stated, we need to insert ourselves into the social chatter, and contribute and share content as part of our efforts to engage with our customers.

Is it time to add an image marketing plan to your overall marketing initiatives?

It is certainly time to ensure that within your overall marketing mix, whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, on a brand Pinterest page, or on your website – that photos and images are an important part of the marketing mix.

Who knew that images would continue to be the way we express ourselves – beyond the instant camera and the polaroid picture. Kodak and Polaroid were not available for comment on this post.  :-)

ideahatching.com is a marketing blog from Alicia Whalen, co-founder of A Couple of Chicks Marketing, discussing search, marketing & measurement in the new Internet Marketing environment! Please leave your comments - I'd love to hear from you!


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