Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr: Which Platform is Right for Your Brand? #SMWNYC

Posted by | February 26th, 2013

As the saying goes, "A picture is worth ten thousand words."  And in social media, no truer words were spoken.  With a plethora of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, the power of visual marketing is abundant.  In fact, Facebook has more photos uploaded than Flickr, Instagram and even the Library of Congress.  So how can brands harness this power and gain more brand affinity and engagement through visual marketing?  The truth is, most marketers are missing the point. 

We have a lot of bad habits from our traditional media practices that we hold onto that are really ineffective in this new medium.  It seems like mass media, but the rise of social networks and digital media has created an opportunity to create real and meaningful dialogue with our audiences on a one-to-one level through technology.  That technology has become ever-present and critical component to everything we do.  But while the technology is key to distribution, the story is what matters to the audience.  And this is something we must not take lightly.  Combine that with the right visuals in photos, videos, infographics, and you're onto something.

So how to you get there?  First you have to uncover the underlying motivations of why people share in the first place.  To give value and entertainment to others, to provide a sense of who we are, to stay connected and build relationships with others, to create personal involvement and stay connected with others, and to persuade others to care about what we care about.* 

*Source: NYTimes Customer Insight Group study

It's the content, in the right context, that will ultimately drive conversation. The intersection of where you (as a brand) can share what you want to say and what they (as your audience) are interested in consuming.  Relevance is key to great content.  Timing is also extremely important.  You must consider how the consumer is bombarded with content and navigate the right communication path to ensure your content gets seen, heard, read and shared.

To address which visual platforms would work best for your brand, it would be best to ask yourself these questions – What are your brand's goals? What are your brand's resources? Where is your brand's audience?

Then you can decide which platforms make the most sense for your brand's content.

Here's the lowdown on the platforms:

Pinterest: Reflects aspirational desire and "want" – intent to purchase with aethesthically beautiful photos.  For Brands – huge opportunity to express brand ideals, authenticity and style. 

Instagram: It's about art, not ads.  Be the brand, not the product. Fuels into other networks so use as an opportunity to cross-promote.

Tumblr: Blogging platform; social network; content distribution platform – use when you are trying to young adults.  Most popular with 13-25 year olds.  "Facebook is where teens and young adults connect with family and friends – Tumblr is where they connect with like-minded people about topics they care about" – Tim Peter

Key Takeaways:

• Use images that are beautiful/eye-popping/funny/inspirational/emotional/relatable/shareable (that you have rights to) and distribute them across social platforms
• Think about streams: timing of publishing and catching people’s attention
• Think MOBILE
• Cross-promote and repurpose
• Think about your brand and your audience

You can get the full presentation on slideshare and watch a video recapping the presentation below.