Following on from my experiments with the perfect size image for a blog post that is shared on facebook (see previous post), I am of the view that on facebook the better way to use images is to actually upload the image onto the timeline of your business fan page, and in the description include a link back to a blog post or webpage that you want to promote. Why? Because when an image from facebook is shared by someone on their own timeline or page or in a group on facebook the description stays with it, whereas when a link is shared the description from the starting post is lost and the image can still not appear in full even if it is the optimised dimensions. Also it’s easier to share a picture in groups yourself without losing any of the image and without needing to put in text each time – ie you can just share the image and the descriptive text goes with it.
I’ve also been playing with a new app called InstaText. All the images in this post have been produced with this app. It’s very similar to Instagram with a square image format, filter and border options, but with the extra feature that you can add movable and resizeable text with lots of font and style variations. It comes with a lot of stock image background or you can use your own image from gallery or take a picture via your camera, and there are many stock ‘sticker’ images that you can use for additional enhancements. Once you have your image how you like it, you can then save it on your device and share it in standard places. Obviously it is particularly aimed at sharing on Instagram.
I see potential for using Instagram as a marketing medium, particularly for artists and makers, and celebrities, but I’m not immersed in the culture of it yet. I think you do need to understand the way a platform works and study businesses and people who are using it well, both in the number of followers, likes and their use of the medium. So far I am posting, and following people back who like my images, but I’m not clear how they are seeing them or searching. (The images below are embedded using the instructions here.)
The other hot visual social media platform is pinterest. So far I’ve tended to use it as a bookmarking site, and not really much for ‘social bookmarking’ more for my own use. I like the idea of mood boards and also have used it like a visual gift shopping list. I haven’t really been thinking about using it as a platform for loading my own images for other people to share, or got my head around how people are finding the things which I have pinned and are repinning them, which happens every now and then and surprises me, particularly since it isn’t recent pins that get repinned, which suggests searching on key words or tags has occurred. So I have created a new pin board in my collection for my InstaText images, uploading them direct (and now I will also pin from this blog post in a circular manner). The board is embedded below using the instructions here. I will be doing further investigations and experiments to see what works in the areas I am interested in. Watch this space and follow along.