Friday, December 14, 2012

Making Your Images Interactive

Updated from post originally published December 3, 2012.
I recently ran across a delightful DIY Internet marketing tool. This may not be entirely new technology, but the concept of interactive images is compelling for marketers. I tried it and found it to be easy—that’s even better!

According to CrunchBase Thinglink is an early-stage startup located in Helsinki, Finland with a US office just north of San Francisco. They describe their product as an engagement tool giving users the ability to create clickable images with a variety of ways of sharing them on social media. They, of course, have premium services for business. Their blog concentrates on fun activities for users. For instance, they have a post at the moment with templates for Christmas cards.

Why wouldn’t any marketer love the opportunity to direct visitors to just the product information they want them to see? I tried it out by using the cover of our Internet marketing textbook as an image and emphasizing some of its important features. Hover over the book to see the link symbols, each of which has an alt tag.

You have to upload the image you are going to work with; the free account has a limit of 100 uploads and that should last awhile. That seems to me to be the only intellectual property issue. I’d be sure that you own, or have permission to use, the image you are going to make interactive. Otherwise, everything has to be links, so that should be no issue.

I choose three chapters out of 16 that I think are especially important to the Internet marketing instructor and student to promote in the center of the image. That seemed like enough. I could link directly to Overdrive Interactive’s social media map and the Home Depot ad with the QR code. The Basics of SEO chart is Debra’s creation, and I Pinned that in order to get a link. Then it worked fine as did a bitly link to Cengage Brain. That site has enormous URLs and I thought bitly was safer. Fact is, though, that I didn’t ever run out of space when describing my links but I wanted good alt tags, so I kept them short.

The link to the G+ page at the top worked just fine. So did the link to my Twitter image with my name. I tried to upload Debra’s directly from her Facebook page, but Facebook doesn’t seem to play nicely with Thinglink. I was able to connect from her profile picture, though.

All in all, a mostly successful experiment and I look forward to experimenting with other images and sharing them on other social platforms. Why don’t you give it a try?

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