Using Photography to Market Your Small Business
A picture is worth a thousand words. And nowhere is this more true than on the Web; but the biggest shift taking place is picture sharing via mobile devices. We are no longer limited to sitting behind a computer desk; now the web is with us wherever we go, and this is important to keep in mind if you are a small business who is looking for new ways to market yourself.
This article aims to highlight some of the important statistics surrounding the latest mobile and photo sharing trends and what small businesses can do to stay ahead of the curve.
Taking a Glance at Recent Photo Trends
According to Mary Meeker of KPCB, well over 500 million photos have been shared each day in 2013…and 2013 isn’t even over! At this rate, we will likely see a 2X increase before the year is up, compared to trends from 2012 [source].
Take the following statistics from Cooper Smith over at Business Insider, who recently shared similar information, citing that photo sharing sites like Snapchat have seen significant growth since last year:
Since launching in 2011, [Snapchat’s] “disappearing” photos have exploded in popularity: the number of photos shared daily on Snapchat averaged 50 million in December 2012 and 150 million in April 2013, an increase of 200%…The viral potential of Snapchat hasn’t gone unnoticed. Marketers have turned to Snapchat to experiment with “Snap-ads.” For example, Taco Bell used the service to announce the reintroduction of the Beefy Crunch Burrito. [source]While mobile applications such as Snapchat and Instagram are quick and easy to use, Facebook remains the overwhelming leader in photo sharing, with 350 million photos uploaded daily in comparison. However, this is just the beginning as photo sharing among companies and people is
becoming increasingly popular in the mobile marketplace. This is why it is important for small businesses to keep up with changing trends.
Why Mobile Makes Sense for Small Businesses
Today, there are more people clicking, sharing, tweeting, uploading and downloading photos from their smartphones. Facebook kicked things off by introducing a large cover photo a couple of years ago. Google+ recently increased it’s cover photo size considerably to a whopping 2120px X 1192px. Infographics are a mainstay. Imgur has a devoted following, and mobile apps like Yelp and Foursquare make it easy to check into your favorite restaurant, snap a picture and upload it.
It’s easy to see that photos are marketable, and as a small business, it is crucial that you get in on the game. The following are some tips to help you take better photos.
10 Photo Tips for Small BusinessesTaking beautiful photos doesn’t happen overnight. Here is a quick list of things to do and not to do.
- Use flash ALL the time. This is a common mistake, and using a flash often causes subjects to appear washed out. When possible, try to take photos using natural light.
- Ignore the background. Choose a neutral background for your photo subjects. Avoid backgrounds that are distracting or busy.
- Rely on Photoshop. Try to take quality pictures that require little editing afterwards. Focus on quality and you’ll spend less time editing a zillion mediocre photos.
- Pose in direct sunlight. Direct sunlight is almost as unflattering as using a flash. Try to have your back to the sun when taking photos, or find natural angles to avoid creating shadows on your subject.
- Publish EVERY photo you take. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they are new to photography is posting every photo. Instead, post only the photos that you want to stand out to your audience. Don’t let your photos get lost in the shuffle.
- Showcase your company culture. The thing that makes photos appealing to most people is that they are personal. Using social photo sharing sites, like Instagram, is a great way to showcase what goes on in your company. Post images that will reflect what it is like to work for your company and what it is like to do business with you. Think: office parties, spotlighting employees, conferences, events and new products.
- Promote sales, offers and events. Earlier, we mentioned how Taco Bell used Snapchat to market their Beefy Crunch Burrito. Get creative!
- Follow people, businesses and customers. Show people that you’re not a photo snob. By following other people on social photo sharing sites and commenting on other people’s pictures, not only will you build more visibility for your brand, you’ll also let people know that you are listening.
- Host exclusive contests. Open an Instagram account for your business and then cross-market it on your Facebook page to let people know that your hosting a special contest available only to those who follow you on Instagram. Tell people you’re going to Tweet a special photo event at a certain time. Keep them guessing, and make it interesting!
- Feature your followers. Nothing attracts people more than when you give them their own soapbox to stand on. Highlight certain followers by posting relevant photos. For instance, if your company sells earrings, post pictures of followers/customers wearing your company’s earrings. Remember to #hashtag it if you’re using Instagram or Twitter as it will help build brand awareness and improve searchability.
See my latest class on the topic: Photography for Social Media produced by Martin Brossman and David Williams
by Martin Brossman – (919) 847-4757 and Research by Janelle Vadnais http://www.linkedin.com/in/janellevadnais