From the warning signals of birds to church stained-glass windows, history has shown time and time again the importance of visual representation. At #BlogHer16 in Los Angeles on Aug 5, Dorothea Bozicolona-Volpe, strategic digital marketing executive at Social Espionage, provided these examples to help define social visual communication. From there, she and a panel of experts demonstrated how bloggers and advertisers can work together to tell stories through their posts, and what works best for each social network.
Launched in 2010, Instagram reaches 500 million active users, with 80 percent of those outside of the U.S. 95 million posts are uploaded each day, and many brands have found it to be the first true visual medium on which to launch their products. Rachel Matos, director of social media for Latina Bloggers Connect, said that they use the platform to curate content from the over 2 thousand influencers in their network. Their primary focus is to make sure that they're highlighting people in the community and their work.
Matos elaborated on their collaborations with brands such as Neutrogena and Tide. The latter led to a very successful campaign: Last year during Hispanic Heritage Month, Tide gave out t-shirts to LBC's influencers, who were instructed to "fill in the blank" with a washable label and share an image of them wearing the shirt, prompting conversation. Matos added that while they reported back to their sponsor with likes and other numbers, the most important part of the campaign was the engagement and celebration of culture.
Also founded in 2010, Pinterest boasts 1.6 billion monthly active users. Last year, it was the most popular site for online shopping, and 83 percent of users say they purchased a product because they saw it on Pinterest. It's also the platform where Jenn Fishkind of Princess Pinky Girl got her start. Now targeting women, mothers, and families who want to live with "ease and sparkle," Jenn joined back when the network was very new, while planning her son's Bar Mitzvah. Her boards were featured as ones to follow when users signed up, and she quickly acquired her now 4.6 million followers.
Moving onto YouTube, the world's second-largest search engine, which was purchased almost a decade ago by Google. With 3.2 billion hours of video watched every month and 80 percent of 18-49 year-olds using the site, mobile views on YouTube alone reach more than any broadcast network.
Evelyn Ngugi, social media and community manager at TextureMedia and vlogger at Evelyn From the Internets, uses YouTube both professionally and personally. For TextureMedia brand NaturallyCurly's channel, content is essential: They post tutorials and product reviews, and work with brands to send products to influencers, in order to post user-generated content on their channel. Ngugi knows the importance of video in beauty: It's a visual industry, and many won't buy products without watching videos online first. This creates a perfect partnership with brands like SheaMoisture, who they worked with in 2014.
While pre-recorded video has its home on YouTube, Facebook Live is the latest exciting medium for brands and bloggers. Launched late last year, the live video service boasts 8 billion daily views. Because everyone is relatively new to streaming on Facebook, the panel didn't have many partnership examples to share, but Heidi Nazarudin, fashion and lifestyle blogger at TheAmbitionista.com and CEO of Blogger Babes, loves that the service allows her to showcase her unedited personality and easily reach fans all over the world. Because of the international reach, she says not to worry about trying to determine peak posting times.
Fishkind did have some first-hand campaign knowledge to give the audience: Recently, Princess Cruise Line invited her on a 7-day Mediterranean cruise, during which time she shared a behind-the-scenes look at her experiences, from making towel animals to dining at the chef's table. People were able to ask questions for her to answer in real time, allowing for authentic interaction -- and incredible promotion for the cruise line.
The experts' consensus when it comes to maximum social reach for brands and bloggers? Authenticity goes a long way. Listening to your followers, allowing them to join in on the process, and giving them what they want will garner the results that all are looking for.