Everyone uses Facebook to share photos. In the United States, there is simply no other site that people would use to share their vacation photos, pictures from their bands’ shows, their wedding photos, pictures of their kids, and even pictures of their lunch. Consistently, Facebook has offered an efficient and logical way for people to share photos with friends, and users upload more than 300 million photos per day. This dominance was strengthened this year when the social media giant acquired Instagram, the app that lets users take photos, edit them, and share them in a matter of minutes.
In this area, Facebook certainly outshines Google. Though, Google is trying to change that as quickly as possible. The website has announced that it just purchased Nik Software, a company known mainly for its photo editing tools. In addition to photo editing, Nik also offers an app that is similar to Instagram, though a lot less popular. The app is called Snapseed, and it’s only available on Apple products. Now that Google owns the company, there’s a good chance it will be coming out for Android very soon.
The acquisition makes sense when you consider the photo uploading abilities now available with Google Plus. Google’s attempt at social media gives users better options than Facebook for photo sharing, but the company declined to say how many photos are uploaded daily. First, Google Plus allows users to link their cell phone camera with a private folder so that all of their photos are automatically saved to secure cloud storage. Additionally, Google Plus users can upload high-resolution photos instead of minimizing the resolution as with Facebook.
Essentially, Google bought Nik to make sure their users can have an enhanced and exciting photo sharing experience, especially photographers uninterested in the low-quality uploads of Instagram.
For marketers interested in using Google Plus to connect with consumers, this could provide a unique opportunity. Since Google Plus might soon provide higher search engine rankings to content authors, the photos might serve as a way for companies to prove their popularity to the search engine outside a standard search. If you want to get a head start on using Google’s Nik acquisition to market your products or services, you should start brainstorming ways to use photo sharing as advertising.
Using a single photo or a set of photos alone to market your company might sound impossible, but consider the following three approaches:
To promote customer interaction and garner interest, you should consider hosting a contest on your photo sharing app. You can ask customers to upload photos to the app of a certain event or thing. Users could share pictures of themselves using your product, or of the product being used in an innovative way. JustFab, an online clothing retailer, did this well with their 5-day Denim Dare Contest on Instagram. To participate, users had to check in with the website to find out the denim dare of the day. Then, the participants had to upload the picture that fit the guidelines, and each picture had to show the person wearing their JustFab denim jeans. For example, one morning, participants had to upload a photo of themselves wearing a “comfy sweater” with their denim. When these users uploaded photos to the contest, JustFab was able to see who was using their app, and other users were able to see the contest entries and join the fun. There’s a good chance that they sold more denim after this free marketing campaign. You should consider approaching Google’s new photo editing app in the same way and adding participants to your circle on Google Plus.
Offer a Behind-the-Scenes Look
The popularity of such shows as How It’s Made and Unique Eats prove that people love going behind the scenes to see how companies operate. Giving your followers a behind-the-scenes look at your company with a photo app is easy, and it will get you noticed. Even if certain users aren’t even customers, they might start following your photos just to see how you do what you do. Even if you’re a small company with a single location, you could share photos of the office, the assembly line, the storefront design, or any other non-secret information that users might find valuable. General Electric does this right on Instagram by offering their followers photo-tours of the factory and archives. Through these photos, users can see how GE makes an impact and how their practices have changed over the last 130 years.
Tell a Story
In advertising, people will always urge you to tell your brand’s story. Give people a reason to connect with you and a stronger bond will be created. With your photos on a sharing app, you can tell your brand’s story by sharing accomplishments and events with your followers. You could upload a photo of your staff when you’ve made your 100th sale, or upload a photo of your fundraising booth at a local event. People check photo sharing apps to see what their friends are up to, so become one of those friends. Soon enough, your customers will develop what feels like a personal relationship with your company based on the story you tell. This is an age-old concept in advertising, and it works especially well on photo sharing platforms because the words in a caption are enough to explain the story in the photo.
There’s no telling what Google will do when the Nik purchase is finalized. Professional photographers familiar with the editing software are concerned that Google might discontinue the software products, since supporting the actual profession of photography was probably not Google’s intention with the purchase. However, there’s a good chance that Google will build upon Nik’s Snapseed app to compete with Instagram and Facebook. Google Plus might even start featuring uploaded photos in a shareable format like Facebook to make viewing photos easier for members of certain circles. No matter what they do with the acquisition, you should start brainstorming how to get more people into your Google Plus circle and use it for your company in advance so that you’re ahead of the curve when the time comes to capitalize on the app.