Quick, before we get started and I ramble on while you’re knee deep in your salad. We’re going to give away two pairs of these awesome earbuds – they work with iPhones / iPad / many Android devices, Blackberries, etc. I use them every day and after getting a pair as a gift, think they are some of the best swag we’ve ever given away. All you have to do for your chance is take a picture of something you find interesting about this lunch, my presentation, the table card, the people around you, etc with the hashtag #thingsandpeople and post to Instagram. In fact, I’ll put the hashtag on every slide from here on out. Ok – we’ll pick a couple of the most creative photos as winners at the end of the presentation. And if you’d like to tweet nuggets, use that hashtag as well (as of right now Twitter seems to be down)
Ok – with that business out of the way – now is the typical amazing intro slide – hi I’m Matt Knell, and I’m the Director of Social Media and Internal Communications at AOL. This pictureprobably tells you all youneed to know about me.
Oh wait… here’smyTwitterhandle if you’dlike to hear me ramble about the Mets, Facebook, whetherAndroid or iOSisbetter, or occassionally as I sharenuggets of useful information about how social media ischangingourlives. My money is on the factthatyou’llprobablyremember the picture more thananythingthat I justsaid. And that’s sort of the point of today.. as
The VISUAL SOCIAL WEB. These are just a sample of some of the things I’ve seen posted to Instagram and Pinterest and Tumblr by my friends lately. And they share only one thing in common. They are visual assets that’s tell a story. As you can see, there are a wide range of different things, and even some people (yes, I couldn’t get away without some beach feet as it is the signature instagram photo) It occurred to me that’s all the visual social web is – things and people (hence this handy hashtag). But I’ve been spending the last little bit here thinking about the best way to describe and explain the visual social web and why it matters to you all and how brands and brand marketers and can best advantage of it.
So, I thought, hey, let’s try the metrics approach. So, I found some great data nuggets from our friends at eMarketer. So let’s start with Facebook and Twitter. After explosive growth in usage, this projection shows that both Facebook and Twitter are stagnating a bit, with the fall off more pronounced on the Facebook side (somewhere in a conference room far far away today, Zuck is probably trying to justify these types of graphs to investors). Let’s see if this nets out – how many of you use Facebook less than you did 2 years ago? And, more importantly for purposes of this conversation how many of you like every single thing your friends post to Facebook?
So let’s talk about you guys a little more – from this survey from earlier this year, it seems that brand marketers and agencies spend less and less time focused on Facebook and more on the rest of the web. And the rate of that change is amazing. 71% of marketers surveyed said they spend 20% or less of their focus on Facebook, down 13% from just 3 months before. While this doesn’t include Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram specifically, it’s reasonable to assume that marketers are starting to move to those platforms.
Why? Because many of you have thought about or have already created accounts on these networks in an attempt to get ahead of consumers. 57% of marketers have started a Pinterest account, 53% have started an Instagram one, and 34% of started a Tumblr. Why, because they are growing fast. And as good marketers we know, where the public goes, we need to go with them.
And I can talk about how Pinterest and Tumblr are in the top 3 in growth in time spent in this chart from Oct 2011
I can mention howPinterest grew more than 2800% in unique visitors from May 2011 to Jan 2012
HowTumblr grew 32% in uniques May 2011 to Nov 2011
And of course, how Instagram went from 0 to 30 million users and a $1 billion purchase by Facebook in about 20 months
But I figured you guys probably already knew all that.
So I got to thinking on my flight, how can I best share this information. Than I thought, wait. I’m going to Minnesota. This guy is kind of famous up there for the stories he tells. And clearly the visual social web is at risk of becoming a bit of a Lake Wobegon. Storytelling is what we need to do on the visual social web and here’s why. But first, a real world example.
Before I took off yesterday, I took a quick picture of myself before my flight out here. I took it as part of a Tumblr meme called “Gratitious Picture of Yourself Wednesday”, where people, without fail will take a self-portrait of yourself doing something potentially unique and interesting (it was a forerunner of the humblebrag which some of you may be familiar with). So I posted it to Instagram as a quick way to tell the story of my flight.
And my friends weighed in to better understand context and learn more about the story. And, of course for me, it was a bit of validation that the picture was relevant, and that at least some small part of the world was listening indeed that someone cared about the story I was telling. You guys might know this as engagement.
After we took off, I used Inflight WiFI for the first time. Now, while you may think this is probably a bit behind the times, most of my recent travel has been on airplanes that are not equipped with WiFi. So, for me, the best way to illustrate the novelty of this to me was to snap this picture and post it immediately to Facebook, with a bit of context.
But my friends weighed in on it. And validated. While I’d created the asset and told the story, they validated my thinking, and we related on this piece of content. Isn’t that what social media is supposed to be about?
So let me start with a potentially controversial law of social media content.
Jakob Nielsen’s *2006* article, the 1/9/90 priniciple of participation inequality was originally theorized for online text communities and forums. But I think the general principles still apply.90% of users are lurkers (i.e., read or observe, but don't contribute).9% of users contribute from time to time, but other priorities dominate their time.1% of users participate a lot and account for most contributionsHere’s where I think the Visual Web is crossing over – all of these sites we’ve talked about – facilitate this kind of lifestyle.
All of these networks make it really easy to create, or curate other people’s content. Instead of creating a difficulty curve in platforms, all allow you to create, curate or validate content through a click or two.
All three value both the collection and the asset, and make it particularly easy to go back through, reshare with the public if you like.
And all three make it particularly easy to facilitate serendiipitous content discovery. Facebook and Twitter’s biggest problem to me is that the content that is created is locked deeper within and can’t easy be found through search – either on site or off, and there is limited reliable curation to allow for people to find things and people they are looking for.
OnInstagram, General Electric tells the consumer about their role in some of the more complicated B2B industries in which they work in. They make big important things in a wide array of industries, and rather than eons of text trying to describe what they do, they use inciteful and powerful pictures.
Sharpie, a humble marker, tells the story of the possibility their marker creates – both in fandom (the photo on the left is autographed in silver metallic sharpie), or in creativity – the photo on the right is a piece of art drawn with a Sharpie that allows them to engage with their fans.
Stumptown coffee tells the story of their team and their community, as their product is sold at many smaller coffee shops around the US.
On Tumblr, the national archives tells the story of one document pulled out of their vast vaults each day. Here, it’s a photograph showing younger gum vendors that gives you a look back at life in 1912.
On Tumblr, Capital Couture tells the story Hunger Games decided to tell the fashion story of the Districts as if they were really happening.
And Murray’s cheese, from New York, tells the story of cheese in probably the most interesting way possible.
My favoritePinterest of all is Real Simple, who’s brand ethos is all about inspiration and finding solutions has one of the largest Pinterest following’s because it becomes a place for people to be inspired and share inspiring solutions of their own.
Whole Foods tells their brand story through smartly named pinboards where they along with some community curators share things like the best ways to reuse products again – keeping with Whole Foods’ recycling and reuse brand messaging.
Elizabeth Arden decided to help the fight against cancer by creating a pinboard and quote tiles that allow people to easy repin content and help share Arden products with an organization that helps women fighting cancer.
And if all else fails, don’t forget this guy and that good storytelling usually wins the day. Thanks!