I was working on my newsletter (“Kat Bytes“)the other day, and if you’re a subscriber then you know that I always choose a couple of online quilt-related businesses or design studios to highlight every month, and I generally try to include a picture of their logo or some other product image that typifies their business along with the write up.
Well this particular day I had chosen an interesting website, researched it, and completed my write up which included 4 hotlinks directly to various products I thought my readers would like to see, but when I tried to lift the image of the logo I was denied. What??? Instead I was met with a message directing me to first seek permission from the site owner.
OK- that was annoying but I dutifully looked up the email address and sent the designer a little note explaining what I was doing and how it could potentially help her business (remember, I have a readership of well over 22,000). I even included the text I was going to use and the products I’d be hotlinking so she could see how this venture could work for her. Then I waited for I was sure would be a positive response.
But here’s the deal….FIVE days later, when this designer finally returned my email, she denied my request to include her logo in our newsletter. I was shocked. Why would she lose out on the opportunity to showcase her website and four of her hottest products to a potential 22,000 new readers… for FREE???
Her reasoning? She feared that if she published her product pictures and logo out on the Internet (away from the protection of her website) that someone would eventually lift them and use them without her permission (on FaceBook or Instagram for example). I politely thanked her for her time but I was glad she couldn’t see that I was shaking my head at her short-sightedness. Because here’s the deal… pretty much whenever I get a request for pictures of OUR products, especially when link-backs are provided, my answer is unequivocably…
Why? Because there is INCREDIBLE power in social networking. Social networks have become the new darling of advertising because SO much of the legwork is being done by dedicated fans, for free. So… let me show you…
that sharing pictures can help GROW your business!
#1: To Showcase Your Products: Of course it goes without saying that it’s important to have beautiful pictures of your products on your website, because we all know that there’s POWER in pictures. But what if I told you there was a way for you to get photos of your products out in front of scores of potential customers BEFORE they even come to your website? Because here’s the deal… the power of one photograph increases exponentially whenever a customer chooses to share it on social sites such as FaceBook, Pinterest and Instagram, because along with that photo comes their personal endorsement, and that my friends is priceless!
#2: To Show Customers What They can do with Your Products: This point is of particular importance to me as a handbag designer. Because let’s face it, a beautiful photo of a bag exterior really only tells PART of the story doesn’t it? Customers want to know what the interior’s like? Are there are alternate ways this bag can be carried? And here’s the deal…pictures are the perfect way to showcase these features and perhaps more importantly, to help your customers imagine your products made up in different prints and colorways.
#3: To Give a Sneak Preview: Everyone likes to be “in the know” about… well… anything. Maybe that’s why our most popular (and most shared) blog series is our recurring “Purse Pattern Chronicles” series in which we show them a behind-the-scenes view of what it REALLY takes to publish a bag pattern, from the initial inspiration… all the way to the final packaged pattern. Customers feel special when you give them exclusive previews of products in this way, AND, things never seen before make for particularly shareable content, which serves to build momentum and excitement for the pattern release!
#4: To Let Customers See Behind the Scenes: People who follow their favorite brands on social media have probably asked at one time or another, “I wonder what it’d be like to be a pattern designer?” Well, show them!” Chances are pretty good that your daily routine is a WHOLE lot different than they are imagining it, so post photos that provide a glimpse of a-day-in-the-life at your studio. I find that Instagram is a particularly effective platform for doing this—the opportunities here are countless.
#5: To Take Them With You: Are you going to a trade-show or sponsoring a retreat? Use that as an opportunity to take your followers with you wherever you’re going. Attending events like this is exciting so use pictures to show your followers what it’s REALLY like to set up for or attend Quilt Market. Take pictures of new products you like and or color trends that you notice.
#6: To Introduce Your Employees: Humanize your brand by using photos to introduce your fans to the people who make your company what it is. Spotlighted employees will enjoy the recognition (and a few seconds of fame) and your followers will get a chance to see the people behind the brand. You might even want to make this profile an ongoing campaign that takes fans around the office to meet staff serving a variety of roles within your company.
#7: To Share Celebrity Sightings: Let’s face it. We live in a society that is crazy about celebrities—(and yes, that really IS Jane Sassaman whom I GREATLY admire!)–and the sewing industry is brimming with notable individuals that your followers would love to “meet” along with YOU. Cash in on celebrity cachet and share pictures of them stopping by your booth to chat or interacting with your brand. These posts will be sure to get followers talking, (and they’ll never know you had to chase that celebrity down to stage that photo! 🙂
#8: To Share the Cuteness: There is no denying the appeal of animals in social media. (I have a whole webpage devoted to my personal assistants HERE) And here’s the deal… there’s capital in cuteness! And whether your pets are hanging out in your studio, visiting the office, starring in your ads or sporting your schwag, don’t miss an opportunity to get a snapshot to share on social media. I can assure you that your furry friends can be counted on to get likes and comments from followers. Heck, my cats have even been know to get presents at Christmas from adoring fans!
So… I hope these eight points have served to show you how allowing your customers to share your photos is very important as part of your overall marketing strategy. A properly linked photo of your product posted on FaceBook or Pinterest is like a neon sign blinking, “Shop at XYZ”.
But how about those photographs that are posted without proper linkage, either because the customer doesn’t know how to do so, or doesn’t care to do so? Because I think these are the circumstances that cause online merchants the most concern, right? But what would you say if I told you that there was something you could do that will proactively identify photos as being your property AND also point anyone who sees them directly back to your website?
It’s call watermarking!
So stay tuned for the next post in this series when we’ll not only tell you WHY you should watermark your photos, but we’ll also show you HOW!
And now…. it’s YOUR turn!
Remember, we love reading your comments and answering your questions too, so please feel free to leave your comments about these and any other aspects of this new design in the space provided below.
Check out the best sewing pins with me on Pinterest, join our Facebook discussions, get your daily sewing fix and behind the scenes scoops on Instagram, and be the 1st to know about new patterns, discount codes and sample sales by signing up for our monthly newsletter.