As excitement grows in anticipation of Cyber Monday, it is time for retailers to start thinking seriously about the new advertising options now being rolled out to all users by Pinterest and Instagram. These distinctive, image-based networks, major players in the youth demographic, offer an as yet untapped opportunity for seasonal marketing with a very different style from other social media marketing campaigns.
The good news for business marketers with limited time left to work in is that the tricks necessary for success on Pinterest and Instagram are very similar. In each case there is a risk that adverts will offend users who are unused to dealing with them and may see them as intrusive. The best way to work around this is to develop adverts that fit naturally into the existing dynamic of the sites. This means exploring relevant sections and developing images that do not simply pass on the marketing message but, primarily, sell themselves on visual aesthetics and constitute a real contribution to the visual conversations taking place there.
This does not need to weaken the marketing angle; on the contrary, both these platforms can be ideal places for product shots, provided that these shots are composed with imagination. Simply having a good-looking product is not in itself enough – what is needed to make a positive impression is creativity. Images can then be linked to conversational spaces such as Facebook or directly to websites where the items can be bought. Meanwhile, encouraging existing Facebook fans and Twitter followers to explore the new Pinterest or Instagram presence is a great way to tempt them to go the rest of the way by using visual imagery when they are already close to making a purchase.
To create strong images like this, it is advisable to employ the services of a professional photographer. Product shots are notoriously tricky to get right, with lighting a big issue – just pointing and clicking won’t cut it. This does not mean, however, that a business owner can’t have extensive input when it comes to visual ideas; indeed, this can be important in creating a consistent campaign message. This can extend from matching the predominant colors in images with the color scheme on the website to picking the right kind of backgrounds or companion objects in images to suit the company’s personality. Where television, magazines and street posters used to be the primary outlet for visual images in building up a brand, Pinterest and Instagram now offer a faster, more affordable route that can connect a business directly with its customers.