Brands need to get the picture to maximise social networks, says marketing specialist

Brands which most successfully engage with consumers through shared photographic and video content will be the ones likely to derive most tangible benefit from their presence on changing social media platforms, according to an expert in the field.

Pictures Experience, which works with brands, experiential and activation agencies, to optimise the use of shared photography on their experiential campaigns, says the major social networks are already making changes of their own to recognise the importance of photography and video.

“It has been clear for some time that photo sharing has been the cornerstone of what Facebook has to offer,” said Pictures Experience director Gosia Kalicka.

“We know that 70% of the content shared is photographic and that is very powerful. Twitter is now focusing heavily on public photo, while Google+ is also looking at how to make photo sharing easier for its users.”

In September, Facebook revealed it hosts more than 250bn photos, and that people upload more than 350m photos to it every day. Kalicka says that, from a brand perspective, inclusion of photography encourages sharing and leads to invaluable word of mouth marketing and social brand endorsement.

“For every 1,000 of our branded photographs that are taken at an event or during a campaign, we know that each one that is downloaded is shared with and seen by 30 friends on Facebook. This leads to around 115,000 brand impressions on Facebook and around 6500 web site hits. Brands that don’t move effectively into the social photographic space are missing out on a fast developing area of social consumer engagement.”

“There is a sense here in that Twitter is upping the ante and positioning itself as the platform for brands and individuals to go to for broadcasting viral images. Facebook will inevitably respond. The emergence of micro-video apps like Vine and others mean there is likely to be more movement toward real-time video sharing as well. Either way the opportunities for brands are only going to increase.”

Pictures Experience, which has worked with brands including Coors Light, Nikon and Warburtons, offers participants at brand events to have a free picture taken. A brand ambassador scans a card with a unique picture code, takes the picture and hands the card to the participant, who can then download their image immediately and free of charge. As part of the download process, participants provide valuable data and are encouraged to share the branded picture with friends and family across social platforms. All social network posts are linked back to the client’s branded web site to drive even more traffic.