Is An Online Photo Worth 1,000 Words?

5 Tips to Extend Your Reach With Photos

In a world where pretty much any cell phone owner can snap and distribute a photo for little or no cost, is a picture still worth 1,000 words? I say yes.

Digital photography is no longer the domain of professionals with fancy equipment and skills. Please don’t get me wrong, I still believe that photography can be a serious art form. But photography today can be as easy as taking out your mobile device and pushing a button. Anyone with a camera enabled mobile can take a photograph without the need for special equipment or developing cost. Snap enough shots and you’re likely to get one photograph that captures the essence of the moment. Just use some digital tools and voila! you’ve a frame-worthy image. Add to this easy upload capabilities and your work can be widely shared in seconds on Flickr and Facebook.  From a social media engagement perspective, photography’s ease makes it a great way to get your prospects, customers and fans to share content with you because it’s quick, there’s no language barrier and the creation process is relatively painless.

5 Tips to extend your reach with photos

As a marketer, here are five ways to expand your reach with photographs:

  1. Help sell product. Think beyond the catalog type photos that may come from your distributor. Add a human touch and display your product in action in a way that can help customers imagine themselves using your product.  Think outside your website for photo placement. Post to Facebook, Flickr and other sites where your consumers gather. Add photographs to enhance your blog and attract attention. Look for places where you can integrate more active photographs into your offering.
  2. Provide alternatives to your website. Many small businesses use Flickr to show off what their businesses can do. Bakers are a good example. Wedding photographers use blogs to show off recent wedding gems.
  3. Build customer involvement. Due to the ease of snapping, a digital image is great for getting prospects, customers and fans engaged. Two areas where this can be useful are craft oriented products where consumers can show off their creations and travel services where attendees can share their experiences. Look at using third party sites such as Ravelry or TripAdvisor to connect with your customers
  4. Reduce barriers to contribution. Consumers using a mobile phone can share their images easier than they can comment on your content. It’s as easy as completing a profile. Photosharing often has less intellectual property rights and other associated issues than other types of social media. Icanhascheezburger is a great example of how to make this work.
  5. Encourages social shopping. With the ever-present camera enabled cell phone, everyone can get input on their shopping. This allows for cross channel collaboration. Bring friends into the process both on public sites and via more personal ones. The challenge for marketers is how to encourage productive interactions.

While not as sexy as videos, online photographs can be a great way to extend your reach and engage your prospects and customers. Don’t overlook it’s potential. The two big issues are to ensure that your participating posters have the right to use their photographic images and that there’s useful text content associated with it to aid search and purchase behavior.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Photo credit: Evil Erin via Flickr

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