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Get on the visual social sharing band wagon

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5 October 2012

Last week we mentioned the fact that Instagram is bigger on mobile than Twitter. That says something about the design of mobile services but also about emerging trends of social sharing.

Visual Sharing

Instagram’s success is partly down to user experience. More than anything, Instagram is a service designed for mobile, on-the-go participation and consumption. We casually browse through Instagram streams while we have a minute or five left over. The demands for focused attention or prolonged engagement are low. It’s pleasurable, seductive to watch the pictures scroll by. Twitter, on the other hand, requires us to read and make sense of 140 character updates, and often decide if we want to follow a link. More engagement, more demand on our attention.

Twitter by design leads us out of the stream and onto other sites. Instagram keeps us on site.

The requirements for participation influence the mobile user experience as well. Taking a picture with your phone and instantly uploading it is much less demanding than typing in a well crafted status update on your phone. It’s sharing made quick, easy and good-looking.

There’s more to it, however … these impressive stats also underline a larger, emerging trend:

Visual content sharing is on the rise.

Social sharing services like Instagram and Pinterest offer lots of views, followers and potential for engagement.

If your brand or product is not visual in and by itself you can still create experiences around your brand that lend themselves well to visual media. Sure, Burberry are doing pretty well on Instagram but that’s a no-brainer, but NBC News, for example, shares photos both from the studios and off-site on Instagram. FMCG brands like Red Bull and Innocent Smoothies create engagement around their brand by associating it with lifestyle choices, events and experiences.

Instant, bite-size visual updates that “say more than 1000 words” – let alone 140 characters – is a powerful form of messaging and the recent numbers indicate that its popularity is only going to increase.

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