Here's the skinny on new services that make it easier to use images to promote your brand online.
Online photos represent a great marketing opportunity. But figuring out how to make the most of product shots on social networks and other sites can be tricky. Here's the skinny on four new services that make it easier to collect, display, and track online photos.
Pixlee Best for: Creating photo albums
This service lets you crowdsource thousands of user-generated photos and display them online in curated albums. Sign up for an account and create a photo album on your site or on Pixlee.com. You can invite customers to upload pictures directly to the album or via email, Instagram, and Twitter. Then, you can add the album to Facebook and Tumblr. Pixlee's software will pick the best photos based on the photographer's popularity, where the photos were taken, and other factors. You can log on to your Pixlee dashboard to see how many photos you've collected, how many views they have received, and other metrics. Cost: Starting at $500 a month
Pongr Best for: Creating loyalty campaigns
Looking for ways to solicit user-generated images of your products? Pongr lets you create loyalty campaigns on its website. You dole out points to fans who submit images by emailing them to your Pongr address or submitting them with the service's free iPhone or Android app. People can also accrue points for sharing images and cash them in for prizes that include gift cards and iPads. Your company's Pongr page displays the images, a leaderboard, and a store for redeeming points for prizes. Cost: Free to create a photo gallery and campaign; $4,500 a month for premium services, including access to CRM data and customized landing pages
Stipple Best for: Tagging photos
Use Stipple to tag photos of your products with a variety of information, including prices, maps, and links to your online store. When someone mouses over or touches the image, the information automatically appears. The data stays with images as they are shared across the Web. You can check your Stipple dashboard to see how many people have viewed the content and on which sites. You can also use Stipple to tag images for use in traditional online ad campaigns. Cost: Free for social-media campaigns with up to 1,000 engagements, then $250 a month and up
Curalate Best for: Tracking analytics
Curalate helps track how other people use the product images from your company's website, Pinterest account, or Instagram account. Go to your Curalate dashboard to see a variety of metrics, including which photos are driving the most traffic to your website and which ones are being shared the most on Pinterest and Instagram. The service also identifies your most influential customers and lets you respond to pins, repins, and comments about your images from your Curalate dashboard. You can also use Curalate to create promotions on Pinterest. Cost: Roughly $1,000 a month
IMAGE: Chris Grathen/Getty, iStock (2), Middle row: iStock, Boo_Licious/Flickr, Jahari/Flickr, John Kittelsrud/Flickr, Ugocuesta/Flickr, The Infamous Gdub/Flickr