You’ve all seen the proliferation of infographics in the last year or so. It has become an established way to communicate a large amount of data in tiny or large visual chunks which are often be more digestible.
I am not sure who were the first to use these but people quickly determined that they were popular on social media channels because they could be easily shared. Easily shared equals gold.
And that’s exactly what sites based on social sharing of images struck…gold!
I thought I would share some thoughts and tools on a few of the platforms that I am familiar with and how they can benefit you.
Pinterest is the heavy hitter out there when it comes to visual or virtual pinboards. It has been around longer than other tools and is well established. I myself have been using it a very long time and was a Beta user. I love looking at beautiful photos and categorizing comes naturally to me (I am a total Type-A!). I use it two ways.
First while reading the hundreds of blogs I go through every week I pin photos I see that capture my eye. Like retweeting, this is another way to support bloggers because it provides a link back to their site. Secondly, I use it as a form of relaxation. I surf the Pinterest site when I just need some downtime, the visually appealing photos zen me out!
There are many great resources for learning more about using Pinterest, including the SITS Girls here and here and Ms. Kelby Carr of Type-A Mom who has written an entire book as part of the For Dummies series. I am just going to share a few extra things.
Finding out what photos of yours have been pinned.
There is a very easy trick to seeing what photos of yours have been pinned onto Pinterest boards. Just type in http://pinterest.com/source/YOUR-SITE-NAME.com/ for instance http://pinterest.com/source/misadventureswithandi.com/ and you will see who has pinned what.
Why should you care?
As I mentioned above, each one of the photos is a link back to my blog, also known as a backlink and that is good for SEO. If you want to know immediately if someone has pinned a photo you can use a tool like the new PinAlerts which will send you an email every time someone pins something. Thankfully you can manage how often you get alerts so your email box doesn’t become overstuffed!
If you are interested in tracking Pinterest Analytics, there are a couple of tools available to you. Two of the major ones are PinReach and Pinerly. Pinerly is more campaigns based and I find it not as straightforward to use. PinReach gives you a great dashboard. I honestly don’t use these much, but wanted to provide them as resources to you.
My only complaint.
Once Pinterest became popular it immediately started to be abused and it drives me insane! I have nothing against gaining benefit from the platform for your blog, etc., but I cannot stand how people immediately turned it into a place to sell. I strongly believe that most companies should not be on it at all. Unless your company has mass consumer appeal or consumer goods (something like Travel Channel or Whole Foods or Layla Grace) then you should not be on it. I am so sick of seeing e-books and B2B infographics – YUCK! [End rant. The more effective way to deal with that is simply to unfollow the people who share those.]
So I am playing around with a couple of new tools that I wanted to mention. The first one is Love It. I am just starting to use it (here are my collections) and sometimes I am quite literally both “pinning” and “loving” one image in two spots. That is sort of the dilemma, there isn’t much difference between the two.
But there are benefits.
One benefit to using both is that if you pin images from your blog in both places there are more links in and that means more backlinks and more SEO. In addition, adding images to both platforms likely exposes your blog to two different audiences as there is probably not a lot of overlap right now. Also, if you are looking to attract a more male demographic then Love It has a lot more of them in their community as opposed to Pinterest which is 97% female.
Love It does have a leg up on Pinterest on a few things, for now at least. One being that their search is killer, probably thanks to the fact that their engineers are from GoTo.com and are highly specialized in search. That is in direct contrast to Pinterest (although they are making improvements) which is known for having poor search (there is a great post on that topic from Melissa of MomComm plus she tells you how to improve your photos for search).
The other thing that Love It has that differentiates it from Pinterest, and this is pretty cool, is private collaboration collections. You can create group boards on Pinterest, but you can’t make them private. The benefit of having private group boards is that you can use them for things like allowing a husband to pick out gift ideas for a wife that only a small group of invited friends (like her best gal pals and therefore people who would know what she wants) can see. Could be great for planning a surprise bridal or baby shower too.
The other tool I started using and am totally digging is Clipix. I have links for things saved everywhere. In blog drafts, in email drafts, in notes on my iPhone and iPad…and then Clipix came along. Clipix lets me keep track of websites, photos, videos, and documents by storing them on public and/or private digital clipboards (mine are all private right now). While not strictly a social media platform, users can share clipboards with multiple users who can make changes live on the boards.
Clipix is allowing me to better organize my travel plans for my trip to Italy coming up. I’ve got clips for things I want to check out, restaurants I want to try, tours I want to look into. But I also have clipboards for blog post ideas, social media articles, J’adore items, etc. I am really loving it! I went from 99 drafts in my email box to 40 (that’s a big deal!) and multiple J’adore drafts to none. There is an app as well, I haven’t started using it, but I am sure it’s next.
Besides keeping me organized which I love, it allows me to visually see what board topics I have and what is clipped to them, I can get so much more out of it than just a list of urls in a document.
Most of you are probably not looking to create infographics (but if you are, here is a great list of tools out there, some free, some paid), but I just wanted to mention a tool that I love for two reasons. I use Visual.ly to create my own fun infographics (like the time I Twitterized myself) and to see how I match up with other bloggers in my space with their Twitter Showndown infographic. They have several others to choose from in the Create area on their site.
The second way I use it is for curating content. I find all kinds of fun infographics created by members in their community that align with my blog content (travel, food, etc) and I share them on Twitter. It is another source for bringing value to your readers by providing interesting content people will enjoy.
A word on Instagram
And then there was Instagram..a platform that really needs its own post so I think I will put that on the editorial calendar as a future topic!
So that is a bit of sharing on the visual side of social media. As with all tools, they should only be used if they make sense for you. Social media can be overwhelming so whatever platforms you do use, make sure that they are maximizing your efforts and you are gaining benefit, even is it is something as simple as relaxation!
How about you? Do you use any of these tools? Got an additional tip or question? Share!