18 May 2024, 21:26
By Furniture News Feb 18, 2019

Why good photography is more important than ever

What’s the secret of successful consumer marketing? After working for many years in the industry, AKA PR’s Jan Turner believes there is a golden bullet – stunning photography, presented by an imaginative PR team. And, thanks to the opportunities presented by social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest, it’s more important than ever …

Wow-factor photography is particularly relevant to anyone in furniture and furnishings, and critical for those in the industry who talk direct to the consumer.

That’s because we’re not just in the business of making furniture and furnishings. We’re in the business of selling a lifestyle – and the best way to sell the dream is with beautifully styled, aspirational lifestyle shots.

So, what’s new? While aspirational images have always been key to successful consumer marketing, the recent explosion of such picture-led social media platforms as Instagram and Pinterest have made it a requirement that is even more imperative.

While Twitter and Facebook remain the most powerful platforms in terms of followers, Instagram and Pinterest are manna from heaven for anyone with products where the appeal is largely aesthetic. And these platforms are growing at a phenomenal rate.

This is great news for companies with top-notch photography, as it means they can further maximise their ROI by harnessing the power of both sites – with Pinterest being a particular gift of an opportunity. Launched in 2010, it allows users to compile a virtual scrapbook of images, ideas and products they like by curating images and videos. You can join Pinterest as an individual or a business.

Instagram is similar to Facebook or Twitter in that it is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone. So, while it’s a definite opportunity for visually showcasing products, Pinterest is an altogether different proposition, much loved by people seeking out ideas and inspiration for all kinds of new product – especially for revamping the home.

A quick Google confirms just how rapidly both sites have grown – there’s a wealth of impressive statistics. According to Instagram, experts believed it was on course to reach one billion monthly active users by the end of 2018 – more than double the monthly active users of Twitter and over three times as many users as on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

With 95 million posts per day, Instagram says under-25-year-olds use the platform for 32 minutes a day, compared to 24 minutes per day for the 25s and older.

Pinterest, meanwhile, claims 250 million users every month (10 million-plus in the UK alone) with 80% of people using its mobile app. “Pinners”, it says, “span the globe”, sharing a desire to seek out helpful, inspiring ideas and plan for what’s important in their lives – from home decorating and furnishing ideas to easy dinner recipes or the perfect pair of shoes.

Pinterest claims to be the top home decor site, with 60% using Pinterest for home decor decisions – worldwide there are 2.3 billion home decor searches and saves per year, and 11 billion home decor pins.

With a predominantly female user base (70% in 2017, according to Forbes) Pinterest says 72% of people state that the platform inspires them to shop when they aren’t actually looking for anything, and 70% say they discover new products there. And, perhaps most impressively, 66% say they buy something after seeing a brand’s pins.

It all adds up to a powerful marketing tool for those with the photography, the time and the know-how to maximise what is essentially a free service for reaching consumers actively looking for new ideas.

What is for sure is that both Pinterest and Instagram ‘eat’ imagery, so not only is it vital to have good images, but plenty of them, regularly refreshed. Videos too are massively important, although the encouraging news is that these don’t necessarily have to be professionally produced – many companies realise the only way to keep budgets down and content up is to do it themselves. 

As well as providing a showcase for products, Pinterest also drives traffic and is a great tool to help increase links back to your website, which, in turn, drives more traffic. This clearly relies on good content – creating and sharing content that your audience likes means they’re more likely to follow your links. And that all starts with creating great visuals.

Back to that word again – and the need to showcase products in the most aspirational, lifestyle-based way. Because whether it’s for use across traditional or digital platforms, editorial or advertising, websites or POS, on-trend, great photography will reap dividends for companies with the vision to budget for it.

As well as a regular correspondent for the National Bed Federation (NBF), Jan Turner is the director of PR for AKA PR. Established more than 20 years ago and based in Skipton, Yorkshire, AKA specialises in traditional and digital PR for the home furnishings sector.

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