In an age of instant access to news and information there’s a risk that your clients and customers are being overwhelmed by ‘words’. So that old saying about a picture being worth a thousand words has never been truer, particularly with regards to your social media messages. Your fans and followers want to know what’s going on with your organisation, but they don’t necessarily want to spend ages finding it out. A well-chosen images and photos can maximise the impact of your message by forming an instant impression and telling a story in just a brief glance.
Fortunately, technology offers some very exciting ways for even non-techies to take, keep, organise and share the pictures that show the world who you are and what you do.
Flickr has been around a while and is familiar to many internet users. Accounts are free and easy to set up and you can start uploading photos straightaway. Photos can be sorted and categorised to suit your needs and you maintain control over which ones can be viewed publicly. Once uploaded, the photos stored on Flickr can easily be accessed or linked to illustrate other social media efforts, like blogs and Facebook updates. And perhaps the greatest advantage to storing your organisation’s photos on Flickr is that they’re accessible to your whole team irrespective of their location. If you need more storage than the free account allows there’s a low-cost upgrade available too. In order to keep your library current and boost the number of images available encourage staff and volunteers to take pictures at event and gatherings; you could provide them with a printed camera case or phone pouch that shows your organisations logo as both a reminder and a thank you.
Thanks to the mobile app Instagram, the journey from real life to online image has never been quicker. Just snap a photo with your iPad or iPhone, apply one of Instagram’s filters to make it perfect, and instantly upload it to your Flickr, Facebook or Twitter account. Make sure you let your organisation’s followers know there’s a new image to view with regular photo updates.
Pinterest offers free accounts and the ability to ‘pin’ your photos (linked from a storage site like Flickr) to a ‘board’, which displays them with a selection of other pictures with the same theme. Pinterest photos can be viewed by anyone visiting the site, and those so inspired can ‘re-pin’ your photos to showcase them further. Sending your supporters a photo of your work in a branded magentic photo frame is a great way to let them know about your presence on Pinterest.
High-quality prints of your photos are just a click away on Photobox which acts as both a photo storage site and a place where you (and others with access) can order prints. In addition greeting cards, mugs and calendars can be created and ordered using your images which are great to sell on to raise both funds and awareness.
With almost everyone having a camcorder in their pockets these days (on their phones) your organisation is ready to set up a YouTube™ channel and display your work in video. Considered a must-have by social marketing gurus, your YouTube videos can also easily be shared on Facebook, Tumblr, and other social sites popular with your fans and followers.
On the blog that accompanies her book, Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for Nonprofits, American author Heather Mansfield emphasises the importance of YouTube and Flickr for building a strong social media presence. Your photos and videos share the important work you do with your closest friends, followers, supporters, potential donors and like-minded people across the globe.
And what’s more as well as posting photos and videos online encourage your staff and supporters to ‘like’ (Facebook), re-tweet (Twitter), send links and write blogs about the fundraising events and activities they participate in. “Users of social media like to connect with their peers and be part of an online community. Maximise this by having those that support you tell their peers about how and why they do. Their endorsement of your work will be far more powerful and valuable than anything that comes from the larger organisation.”*
So go on, make sure that every one of your pictures tells a great story.
* Guardian Online 28 February 2013 “How charities can make better use of social media”– quote from David Lawrance at The Clare Foundation.