Pin It: Infographics in the Pinterest Age
By now, you’re probably hip to Pinterest. There’s almost no better indication of how fast the online media landscape can change as with the incredible rise of the social network/bookmark site. Need proof? Even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg joined last week (http://pinterest.com/zuck/).
But the real evidence of Pinterest’s influence is best displayed in an infographic, like this one from Monetate.com
The broad headline at the top gets its message across immediately. Using data collected in November, we see that Pinterest already ranked fifth among social networking and forum websites driving the most referral traffic. The site increased its users 400 percent between September and December, and has since leapfrogged LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google+ combined in driving traffic referral traffic.
Clearly, we’re moving to a world where we see what we want and click it, without wasting time sifting through text and links. This could even spell major change for blogs, Facebook, and every other format that has relied on a reverse chronological pattern, where the newest material appears at the top of the page. If you’re a business with a good graphic designer (and if you’re not, you can get some tips at this handy Netchuncks post, http://www.netchunks.com/3-tools-to-quickly-create-infographics-like-a-pro/), you’re in a great position to spread your company’s message faster and broader than ever before.
One of Pinterest’s biggest game-changers is its vertical-column designed grid. When you’re on a Pinterest board, your Pins arrange themselves in a neatly columned vertical grid, with the number of rows dependent on how wide your browser window is open. Horizontally, however, there are no constraints. Pin a long, tall infographic, and the whole image makes its way onto your board. So how do we use this to our advantage?
1. Hook Them with the Thumbnail
When you Pin your infographic, Pinterest will shrink the top border to the size of its vertical columns, about two inches. These remain static, whatever the size of your browser window. The message of your image needs to be clear, even when viewed in this tiny format. Give it a big headline in an attractive font that fits what you’re conveying. You can search ‘infographic’ within Pinterest to understand what I mean.
Here’s an example of an infographic that does a great job of designing for Pinterest, “20 Awesome Things About Bacon”
We can read the title in the thumbnail, but we also see a pig, a pan, and a slab of bacon. I’m intrigued, I want to know more, and when I’m done, I Pin it so my friends can see it too. Because who doesn’t love bacon?
2. Give it a Homing Device
If you put an infographic on Pinterest, it takes on a life of its own. Someone else may take the JPEG file and post it on their own website, and that version of your visual could be the one that goes ablaze on Pinterest. Anyone who clicks on it will end up at the other website, not yours.
You can (mostly) solve this problem by clearly placing your site link at the bottom of the graphic. At least people know where it came from and can seek you out at the source. Forget this step, and all your hard design work on the infographic may have been for naught.
3. Don’t Be Obvious in Your Marketing
The best infographics convey information that people want to know, like this highly useful manual photography cheat sheet
This is valuable to a budding photographer on its own — here’s a case of someone creating something worthwhile and giving it away for free. Of course, people who value it will then check out the photographer‘s site at the bottom.
We’re constantly bombarded by advertising — in our email, in the side bars of our web browsers, and everywhere we walk or drive. It’s natural that we’ve learned to block it out. So when someone gives us something useful, we trust them.
No one’s going to Pin an infographic that says “10 Reasons to Buy a Car at Joe Schmoe Auto City,” but they might Pin one called “10 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Car,” that just happens to have been created by and links to Joe Schmoe Auto City.
Focus on a design that’s still attractive when viewed so small it’s unreadable, brand it correctly, and be sure that your infographic has value to the public, even without your name on it, and you’ll find a growing legion of Pinners ready to spread your message for you.
About The Author: Christopher Wallace is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Amsterdam Printing, one of the nation’s largest providers of promotional products for businesses large and small. Amsterdam specializes in promotional pens, personalized pens and other personalized items such as calendars, laptop bags and T-shirts.
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