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It’s Your Thing

Author: Kim Sheehan   |   May 21st, 2010

In my last blog post, I wrote about how using photographs of people and places in your online work can help generate word of mouth and engagement with your brand.

The final category of photographs is the category of ‘things’, which basically can encompass the items that your business sells. “Things” can be a little tricky, particularly in the food area. While many restaurants may be eager to photograph entrees, food is notoriously difficult to photograph, and it is possible that the food will end up looking inedible or unappetizing.

Not the image you want for your business! For food establishments, it may be better to stick with photos of either drinks or desserts, both of which tend to be more appealing in a photograph.

If you’re a business that makes what you sell, other than food, think about posting images of your work. It’s terrific to be on the ‘cutting edge’ in showing something new that is about to be trinketsavailable for the public to see. Talking about something brand spanking new is a great way to build word of mouth.

Think before your post, though, of whether you’ve created something particularly for a client who has already paid for the things you’ve created. If so, it’s always wise to ask permission of the ‘owner’ of the item if it is OK if you post that image. We spoke with Erica Leaf, who does social media for a commercial design company called Imagine Graphics. She explained the challenge this way:

“For instance, in our business we create custom graphics for a variety of business clients.  And one thing that’s interesting to other people is like what we’re making, you know, who’s getting a new sign, who’s getting their vehicle wrap, what does it look like, you know, be the first one– they want to be the first one to see this sort of new thing or to know that there’s a new restaurant and their sign is going up or something.  So that’s one thing we like to be able to tweet about, is a current project that’s just in the works or being completed.  But we always– we have a policy to make sure to ask permission of clients.”

Video is also becoming an option for many businesses , especially given the ease of using technology like Flip Cams, which are fundamentally a point-and-click type of video camera. Some firms take this  a step beyond amateur video by partnering with production companies.

One example is the Roger Smith hotel in new York City who work with the Sandman Productions team to do videos for the Roger Smith Hotel’s blog, Roger Smith Life. Videos feature footage of different events at the Hotel.They’ve created so many videos that they developed a Roger Smith Hotel Youtube channel, further extending their reach into the social media world.

Finally, you can also encourage customers to take their own photos and videos and upload them to your site. This is a way to engage the type of online users that Forrester media refers to as ‘creators’: people who like to express themselves and their creativity online. Of course, there’s a risk that the quality won’t be as good as you wish, but always remember you have the ultimate veto power over what gets posted to your own site.

- Kim

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