Tag Archive for discovery

The Art of Social Image Curation and Visual Linking

Photo courtesy of Vermin Inc

It seems like everyone is jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon these days and creating boards of their favorite images. I have to admit, I too, have found it quite pleasurable to browse the hundreds of pictures that range from cool products to delicious food to interesting architecture.

During my time on the site I’ve noticed that Pinterest is creating a new type of online sharer, the social image curator. This activity goes way beyond normal photo sharing that’s done on Flickr or Facebook. Users are connecting with images to self-identify with their needs, wants and desires. And it’s interesting to see how people are approaching this new art form by the items they “pin” and the boards they create. It’s important for marketers to understand this trend and learn from it in order to create and display images that users want to pin and share.

Visual Bookmarking and Storytelling

The truth is Pinterest gives users a care-free way of categorizing content on their terms. It’s such an effortless process without the labor of the creating a series of tags.  Frankly, it’s the modern equivalent of online bookmarking. It’s no wonder that bookmarking tools such as Delicious, PearlTrees and others have developed sophisticated visual interfaces for their platforms. Finding and consuming information is much easier and quicker when it’s in a visual format.

Let’s not forget the current fascination with data visualization, a.k.a. infographics. Those creative illustrations combine information with compelling graphics (hence the name) to create perfect vehicles for storytelling. The popularity of them has many companies clamoring to produce their own infographics that convey authority or tell a story associated with their business. It’s no surprise that infographics have made their way to Pinterest as well with users collecting them like baseball cards.

Developing a Visual Content Strategy

While users are busy searching for images that resonate with them, marketers are looking for ways to attract those users and integrate this activity into their outbound efforts.  Professionals in marketing, PR and social media functions not only need to quickly learn how to curate images for business-branded accounts, they need to think about content marketing in the visual sense. That means developing a visual strategy for blog posts, white papers, research insights, and other collateral produced for external consumption.

The challenge for many marketers will be how to represent text and numbers into compelling visual references. If your organization has a dedicated graphics designer on staff then you should leverage them to full tilt. If not, you should consider subscribing to an image database such as Getty Images where you can select and purchase images that suit your brand and content. I’d also recommend Flickr for its large inventory of images labeled under the Creative Commons license.

Visual Content Drives Traffic

The visual display model that Pinterest has built is actually an enormous driver of website traffic. It was reported by Techcrunch that Pinterest now drives more referral traffic than Twitter, according to recent research from Shareaholic. With a growing number of people being conditioned to click on images for more information, it’s an opportunity for marketers to take note.

This is quite the eye-opener since most images we create and post online do not have links embedded in them. Start inserting URLs into your images to seamlessly create digital pathways to destination sites. In doing so, you may boost your SEO rankings in the process on sites that follow directives for links. (Note: Pinterest has implemented a “no follow” rule on their site.) While the majority of images on many sites represent consumer goods, there’s also plenty of opportunity to drive interested buyers of B2B services through imagery as well.

 

Discovery Tools for Better Living

Photo courtesy of JanneM

Now that we’ve comfortably slid into the New Year, many of us are thinking about making changes and implementing new practices to improve the quality of our lives. No matter who you are or what you do, it’s a perfect time to learn new skills, meet new people and set new goals. What better way to do that than to add some new tools to the online toolbox. It’s amazing how much inspiration can be found online if you know where to look. Skip the self-help websites and go for tools that you can use all year long.  Below are four of my favorites that I’ve found to be extremely effective, enlightening and even entertaining. So in the interest of better living, why not put these sites to work and make 2012 a year of increased knowledge, productivity and enjoyment.

Plancast – Want to increase your network and get active in your community? Just head on over to Plancast where you’ll find a list of events that are happening near you. The site is a fantastic resource for finding industry conferences, local gatherings and social activities that you may have missed otherwise.  The site has an integrated layer of community as well so users can find events that their friends and colleagues are attending, which makes going to them much more enjoyable.

Quora – Billed as a Q&A website, Quora, has amassed a huge network of subject matter experts in a relatively short time.  The site provides a simple platform for finding answers to complex business questions, technical issues and random inquiries where members rank the best entries. There’s also an option to follow questions so that you can receive notifications when new answers are added. The site recently increased the value quotient of the site with its new “boards” feature allowing users to compile content from elsewhere on the web.

Scribd – Whether you enjoy reading poetry, scientific findings or baking techniques, you’re bound to find what interests you at Scribd. Called the YouTube of printed materials, Scribd offers a vast array of online literature that never disappoints. Personally, I’m always finding content that either inspires me, educates me or both. If you’re a writer then you’ll definitely want to consider setting up an account to promote your work and share it with the community.

Udemy – Education is a lifelong process and with online learning tools like Udemy, it’s now just a click away. The site offers an assortment of courses ranging from the academic to the artistic; many are taught by leaders in their field.  The majority of classes are free of charge while some are nominal in price. Experts can teach others by becoming instructors and creating their own courses. Udemy’s mission is to disrupt and democratize education, and frankly, I believe they’re off to a great start.

 

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