Social media used to be all about the words, with status updates and tweets reigning supreme. But the social world has changed, with online consumers becoming much more visual. Enter social curation, also known as social bookmarking, a trend that lets people follow interests, develop visual collections and essentially decide what constitutes “popular visual content” by liking, re-pinning and sharing eye-catching images.
The allure of the trend is that we don’t have to be creators to take part in the fun, just curators. In fact, if you think about it, we’re curators in our daily lives on and offline.
We listen to music, and if we like it we add it to a playlist. We see clothes, and if we like them we add them to our wardrobe. We discuss current events and the latest celebrity gossip around the water cooler at work, then go home and share what we found interesting with our families.
Similarly, social curation platforms allow us a place to find, store and share photos (Pinterest and Instagram), interesting articles or blogs (Digg or Reddit), and stories or ideas (Storify). As quickly as these platforms are emerging, brands are diving into the waters, trying to drive brand awareness, web traffic, and sales.
Martha Stewart Living excels at curating prolific social content on Pinterest. While the majority of the brand’s Pinterest content comes from its own website, they still re-pin content from all over the web, as long as it’s relevant. This strategy adds to a.) the amount of content they offer; b.) the brand’s credibility on Pinterest; and c.) the brand’s likelihood of being re-pinned or followed, and therefore, being in front of more eyeballs.
Vooray is another company that’s
utilizing a photo-centric social curation platform, Instagram, to boost brand
awareness, sales and customer engagement. The brand’s profile
shares sporty images from endorsees (professional snowmobilers, wakeboarders,
skaters, etc.), fan photos, model product/clothing shots, contests like
#freehatfriday, and more.
The brand got a big viral push from a
series of YouTube videos of extreme sports like “Human Slingshot Slip
and Slide”, and from what it looks like, they’re
bringing the same fun, extreme attitude to their Instagram followers.
What can we learn from these brands?
Find a social curation platform that
reaches your potential customers and aligns with your marketing goals.
Get starting creating or curating visual
content that your potential consumers would like to see, save, and share, and
encourage them to do so.
Keep your content fresh and relevant,
and be ready to evolve as needed. This is the era of start-ups, and ADD
consumers. Good luck keeping up.
It's always good to know what you are signing up for, but you also have to realize that, unless you are paying for a service, the company will try (and be forced) to monetize it. Period. End of story. Facebook will monetize the content you post, so will Instagram, so will Twitter, so will Socioogle (wait for it, it will be huge).
Facebook's terms of service state that content can be used on the site per your privacy settings. For example, if you like Coke, Facebook can charge Coke to show your friends that you like Coke (and they should, too).
Instagram's new terms of service are a little more wide reaching. They state that you grant Instagram a perpetual and transferable license of all the public photos you upload to Instagram. In other words, you allow Instagram to sell your photos (if Instagram wants to), to advertising agencies like the Balcom Agency. This is the cause of many red flags from users.
Do I think that Instagram will do that? No. In fact, I believe that Instagram will revise their terms of service after this public outcry. If they do not revise their terms, I don't believe Instagram will turn into an iStockPhoto where the photographers don't get paid, as some have said. More realistically, I believe that companies (think resorts, restaurants, theme parks, etc.) will be able to pay to use Instagram photos on their website or Instagram profile.
Personally, I'm OK with that. If I take a photo at Disneyland, I think it's fine that they use it on their website or Instagram photo. Here's the biggest privacy concern many (and I) have: What about photos taken of kids or family at Disneyland on Instagram?
Lawyers frequently put out overly-broad language to cover themselves for all of the future possibilities, to see what they can get away with (I'm sure there is a more legalese way to say that). I really think the terms will be revised with more clear plans on how Instagram will use the photos.
If you're concerned about this in the meantime, here is a really easy fix: make your account private. The transferable license only applies to PUBLIC photos.
I think it's important for user's to know the terms of service of their service, but so many websites turn to fear mongering as a first reaction. Could Instagram use the photos in "evil" ways? Of course, but, Instagram needs users to love the service to use it. If they try and push the use of their photos too far, people will abandon the service.
It's time for this internet reminder: anything you post online could become public, even if it's "private." Be careful, friends.
Instagram is a
photo-sharing application that was recently purchased by Facebook for a
whopping $1 billion. With Instagram, you use an app to take a photo with your
mobile phone, apply a filter to that photo, then upload it and share it on
various social media sites. Instagram photos have a retro, quirky vibe, but the
real advantage is the ease with which you can share photos across social
platforms. And while it’s fun for individuals to use, some of the world’s biggest
brands are using Instagram as a marketing tool to engage customers and create a
sense of community through visual storytelling.