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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Profile Optimization for 2nd-Tier Social Networks

Website Magazine

For brands, maintaining a social presence on the Web is hard work. Not only do social media managers need to focus on engaging audience members, but they must also stay current with new features, redesigns and updates from social networks.
While most brands tend to focus on maintaining a profile on the Web’s top social platforms, like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, they should not forget to stay connected with popular second-tier social networks as well, like Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. In order to do this, brands must first create a profile on these social sites before they can start interacting with their audience.
Earlier this month, Website Magazine published an infographic to help brands optimize their profile design on the Web’s big three social networks. Today, however, we would like to help brands do the same for some of the Web’s most popular second-tier social networks – Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. Read below to discover some optimization tips for these social networks, in addition to some design examples of brands that do it right.

Instagram finally made its platform available on the Web this week, allowing users to browse and interact with photos from their desktop (although it is still not possible to upload images outside of the mobile app). This is certainly the genesis of this mobile application’s migration to the Web, which means that changes are imminent. However, there are a few ways that social media managers can still optimize their profiles for the Web.
While every photo uploaded to Instagram is cropped to fit the social network’s square proportions, users should make sure that their images will look good when enlarged to 410x410 px, as this is the size of the largest (middle) image on Instagram Web profiles. Moreover, brands should make sure that their profile image (110x110 px) is a good representation of their company and that their bio and website information is correct. It is also important to note that the images displayed on the header of the Web profile pages are currently not customizable, and instead are images from the user's photo stream that are featured at random. This means that brand managers might want to consider uploading images that not only compliment one another, but also consider using filters that look good together so that the profile header is as visually appealing as possible (like Taco Bell's seen below).

Once a brand has successfully had its account converted into a brand channel on YouTube, it is time to customize the profile design. Branded channels feature a 970-pixel wide and 150-pixel high channel banner, which support an image map so that areas on the banner are clickable. This aspect of the brand channel is very important because brands can add website links or other pertinent digital properties here. Branded channels also feature a channel navigation bar, which displays the channel title, a subscription button, the number of current subscribers, the number of video views and tabs for navigating to different content pages. Furthermore, there is a custom tab promo unit and sidebar on the right side of branded profile pages, where brands can add information about its channel and links to other social networks.
That being said, brands have a lot of customizable options on YouTube, and nearly every brand channel has a different look. However, the most important part about optimizing a brand channel is to connect it with other digital properties, just as BuzzFeed has done in the example below.

This popular image-based social network launched business pages toward the end of 2012. While these pages have a similar look to regular profile pages, they also come with a verified checkmark and allow brands to leverage new buttons and widgets that can be integrated into websites and content to increase engagement and drive traffic back to a business’s website.
The stand-out element on Pinterest business pages is the profile image, which is 160x165 px. Next to this image, brands need to enter a business description (200 characters or less) and a link to their website. After optimizing this part of the profile, the only thing left to do is create boards and start pinning. While the images within Pinterest vary in size, social media managers should know that the big thumbnail of each board is 222x150 px, with the smaller thumbnail images (featured directly below the bigger image) being 55x55 px. That being said, Pinterest is also a fairly new social network, and social managers should keep an eye out for new profile design features in the future. In the meantime, check out Etsy's profile for some "pinspiration."