A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the real question is: what's it worth in clicks?
Photo blogging is the latest craze in social media, and it's developed faster than a Polaroid picture. Image-sharing platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Polyvore allow users to upload their images and share them with others, who then "pin" or "reblog" them for their own network of followers to enjoy.
Image sharing isn't just about being social. It's also about commerce. Web users are clicking on pictures they like and buying the products featured in them. That means marketers and commercial vendors alike have a real opportunity to gain click-through leads via image-sharing sites.
Large Numbers of Online Consumers Make Purchases After Seeing Pictures
32% of North American internet consumers have made a purchase as a direct result of seeing a picture on a social image-sharing site, according to a recent survey. Of those, 26% were taken directly to the retailer when they clicked on the image, while 6% actually took it upon themselves to search for the product on their own ("Is Pinterest Really Leading to Product Purchases?" eMarketer.com, 5/31/12. Web.). Clearly, images are making a big impact online.
The message to retailers is loud and clear: get on board with social media. If you sell a product, you should have pictures of that product circulating on the major image-sharing sites. And if you provide a service, use pictures that illustrate what you have to offer.
Image-Sharing Sites Lead to SEO Boosts and Click-Through Sales Leads
Of course, just posting pictures isn't enough. The numbers show that most image-generated purchases come from direct click-throughs, which means you need to link your images directly to the corresponding product page on your website. That practice is essential to attracting sales leads, not to mention a great opportunity to bolster your SEO profile with keyword-rich picture captions. You'll also get inbound link referrals from high-value domains like Pinterest and Tumblr.
Knowing your audience will help. Pinterest, for instance, has a predominately female user base. Recipes, fashion, furniture, dating, and lifestyle are topics that thrive there. Many women even use Pinterest as an online shopping list, while others visit the site for creative ideas. Wouldn't it be great if their brainstorming involves your products? And with click-throughs set up, buying your items will be quick and appealing.
The fact is that Pinterest and its image-sharing ilk are effective. 47% of female survey respondents reported that Pinterest has specifically influenced them to make an online purchase as of February 2012. That's a higher percentage than any other social media network, ahead of even Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest was second only to blogs in terms of influence on purchasing ("Is Pinterest," above).
Social media has been an important part of a sound inbound marketing strategy for several years now, but these social image-sharing communities reflect a more recent development in the online social trend. That's good news for anyone with a product or service to sell -- all the better if it's something that appeals to ultra-popular Pinterest's female demographic. Surveys show that those users want to find pictures of products they can purchase. Why not supply them? The numbers show that Pinterest has a measurable effect on your sales. Put your focus on social media and you'll have a picture-perfect inbound marketing strategy.