Who are you? Finding your brand voice

You might have your elevator pitch down, and you might have a new strapline to display alongside your logo, but do you and your team really know the personality behind your branding?

Do you know how your brand speaks, who it speaks to and how it reacts in stressful situations?

I’m not talking about the introduction to the brand document you pass to new staff members on their first day of the job and I’m not talking about the logo guidelines drawn up by your communications team. I’m talking about defining the way your brand acts, speaks and reacts every day, be it walking down the street to lunch or through its daily interactions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Linkedin. The “brand voice” I am talking about extends to phone manner and emails written to customers or clients.

You probably already have a brand voice without labeling it as such, but it’s still a useful exercise to sit down with your team every couple of months and tweak or reinforce who you are, what you are trying to say, and how to get this acrosss on social media.

Set aside an hour and allow space for everyone to go wild, scribbling words and ideas all over whiteboards, rolls of paper, or even walls.

The aim of the exercise is to ensure each member of your team is representing your brand in the best possible light and also to develop much greater efficiencies in your social engagement.

Too many small businesses and organisations waste hours on Facebook or Twitter posts that either don’t reach or don’t resonate with their target audiences. Usually it’s because they’re either on the wrong platform, or they’re sharing the wrong sort of content.

Defining who you are and who you are not will help your team determine which networks you should be on, or perhaps more important which you should not bother with, and what you can be doing to make best use of your time on social media.

The second part of the session encourages your team to develop realistic steps towards achieve the brand’s social media goals. It also asks you to come up with specific, realistic targets, such as an increasing your number of followers or shares per post. Reviewing these targets every few weeks or months will help you determine whether or not you are on track, and allow you to make adjustments to your social media calendar.

Need to find your voice? Drop a message to [email protected] 

Why you need content marketing, and 5 simple ways to kick it off

Consumers today are smarter and more discerning than they used to be. They know what they want, know where to get it, and more often than not, can see right through fancy hard-selling or in-your-face marketing. Instead of blindly reaching out through paid ads or cold calls, arm your marketing arsenal with a trove of informative, interesting content that give your audience something they are looking for.

You’ll find customers react far more favourably to free information than they do to a free balloon or sticker, and by releasing commentary, you establish your brand as a thought leader and trustworthy, industry guru. Those who actively seek out your content are more likely to develop trust in your brand, products and services, and over time become valuable leads, and customers.

Is it top-level executives in sharp-looking suits and expensive ties, spatula-wielding housewives with a penchant for cooking, or geeky high-schoolers who want to lay their hands on the newest tech gadgets? Understand the profile of your target audience in your markets and, more importantly, the common problems they face.


What you create should focus on accomplishing the following – solving the problems faced by your target audience or providing insight into relevant issues and topics. This establishes your brand as a thought leader and problem solver, building trust with your audiences. To maximise your searchability, make sure you weave in terms your audience is likely to be seeking answers to.

Company blogs are one of the best ways to share uninhibited, long-form content and well-written pieces are bound to drive hits and keep people coming back for more. For instance, a recruitment agency developing content for its target audience of job seekers and employers can gear its posts towards solving commonly-faced problems and providing useful information – job seekers might want to know about the hiring landscape, how to fine-tune their CV and tips for job interviews, while employers would be keen to learn about hiring through social media and the best ways to headhunt and attract talent.

Social media is undoubtedly one of the main spheres people share and consume content – the common denominator among excellent content is that they either provide insight or entertain in a manner that’s compelling and engaging. Be it cross-posting your blog post, sharing a relevant industry news article or posting a meme, it needs to be interesting to your followers.

Snippets of company-branded content in the form of tip sheets, infographics and snazzy posters are neat content offers that brands can also share with followers to up their game. Visually appealing, entertaining and oozing of brands’ individuality, these pieces of content can help build brand recognition through insights and advice.


Company blogs can easily be housed on your website, and creating an extra tab on the website menu makes it more likely to gain readers and followers. Harnessing the power of social platforms is a must for businesses, but the key is to only jump on board the most appropriate networks for your needs. Take time to decide which one works best for you.

B2B brands might find LinkedIn to be much more effective than Facebook as it reaches out to the right target audience who are willing to spend time consuming content for professional insights, instead of browsing cat memes. B2C brands such as fashion companies might prefer Instagram to showcase its products on a visual-driven platform


Start with baby steps – create one piece of content per week and share two to three social media updates, dependent on your desired platform. This could be a blog post on an industry trend, a Facebook update with offers for customers and a LinkedIn update with a link to a news article. When you’ve established a consistent content push, you can aim for publishing two to three blog posts a week and daily social media updates. To help boost hits, the best times to post on social media are often during daily commutes and post-lunch.


1) Define your target audience

Map their profiles, problems and goals.

2) Consider the most suitable platforms for your content push

Which social medium works best? Is a company blog the best platform to air your views?

3) Draft up a content calendar for 3 months

List relevant weekly blog post topics, consider interesting angles for social media and populate the calendar with non-time sensitive infographics, memes or news articles, then set aside time for content creation and social media updates, and assign deadlines.

4) See how others do it

Check out your competitors, take notes on what they’re doing well and how they’ve messed up – reference good ideas and make tweaks to your content marketing strategy.

5) Track your results

Don’t let your work go to waste without knowing its business impact. Track daily site visits, find out which sources your leads come from, understand what articles gain the most traction, then tweak your content approach to ensure best results.

To find out how Mutant can help with your content marketing needs, get in touch with us at [email protected]

Why bloggers can deliver the marketing boost you need

It has been close to two decades since the web log’s humble beginnings in 1997. Now, from The Huffington Post’s insightful business advice to Perez Hilton’s latest revelations of celebrity shenanigans, blogs have woven their way on to everyone’s daily reading lists, and are now seen as very effective platforms for influencing consumers, particularly the Millennials.

Bloggers today are viewed as opinion leaders who represent a new era of knowledge and advice, shedding light on what they know best, be it health, fashion, food, politics, or travel. And they entertain while doing so.

So where do bloggers fit into your business equation? As the lines between old and new media become blurred, bloggers have become the virtual advertising billboard of our day and act as gateways to introducing your services and products to a highly-targeted readership.

Some may think that blogging has run its course, but the numbers prove otherwise, and the percentage of readers and consumers of blogs look to be growing even bigger.

According to Ingnite Spot, 77 per cent of Internet users read blogs, while 81 per cent of US consumers trust advice and information from blogs.

One of the reasons for repeated visits to the best blogs lies in the unique voice of blogs – they are interesting, recognisable and they entertain, and the best ones make sure that voice rings true across its content, be it Nike or Barack Obama. These voices are heard by loyal followers who read the content regularly.

A survey revealed that 85 per cent of consumers research and read online reviews for local businesses, and more than 60 per cent of online purchases were made based on a blog post, according to Ignite Spot.

Loyal readers, or followers, which can be in the five or six digit range, develop a high regard for their content and opinion, and will share posts with their own audiences on social platforms. Blogs sometimes even reach full circle and get coverage in traditional media too.

Many blogs set themselves apart from traditional media by providing an ‘insider’s view’ into the story, relaying the experience through a participant’s lens. At a fancy black tie whiskey event, for instance, you might find news journalists stepping back and reporting on the hard facts – product details, visitor turnout, snippets of the CEO’s speech – as is expected of them, but bloggers have free rein to immerse themselves in the experience, writing about the glamourous celebrities, the stinging taste of the single malt whiskey, mouth-watering canapé, drab decoration, you name it. They offer something more personal and opinionated – despite being biased in some instances – that fulfills the need of many readers who wished they were present at the event.

Blogs thrive today, so much that blogging has become a full time job for some – and a lucrative one at that. Just take a look at BryanBoy, a fashion blogger from Philippines who has a Marc Jacobs bag named after him, or Xia Xue, a lifestyle blogger who underwent plastic surgery sponsored by Singapore broadcast company, MediaCorp.

These larger-than-life cyber moguls started on the same footing as many of us.

Despite the obvious success of their writers and owners, the power of blogs is still underestimated, or misunderstood. There are so many to choose from and it can get quite daunting for one who isn’t familiar with the blogosphere. Where do you start? Who is appropriate to represent your brand? How do you connect with them?

Finding a suitable blogger who aligns with your brand is more manageable than it seems, and all it takes is staying abreast of the different social media platforms and blog content, and ultimately establishing relationships with bloggers, some of whom might be influential personalities.

For help on finding the best bloggers for your brand, get in touch with us at [email protected].

Rosie the Blogger. image by Mike Licht is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Why you need PR and how to be good at it

I love writing down my thoughts and voicing my opinions – and the fact that my company has a blog on which I can do this is great. But every now and then, I come across something that says it all for me.

This piece in Venturebeat is one of those pieces, and answers that burning question I find myself addressing at every networking or drinking or socialising event.

Why on earth is PR beneficial to a business? People will ask this all the time. “I have my stickers, I have my website, I have my fliers, I even have my ad appearing in high-profile magazine. Why do I need PR?”

Or, “why can’t I just write a release and send it out myself?”

Well, when was the last time you opened a spammy email from a stranger talking about a new product, or shared a static ad on Facebook. When was the last time you wore a branded sticker on your lapel to support a brand you didn’t have a personal connection to? Unless the advertiser is running a multimillion dollar campaign employing the world’s top satirical advertising creatives, your stickers are unlikely to contribute anything more to society, than more non-recyclable waste.

Vivek Wadhwa, formerly of Seer Technologies and Relativity Technologies, relays his experiences of PR both with, and without a proactive strategy.

At his first company Seer, the team invested heavily in marketing, but was afraid of the media, extremely protective of their messaging and hesitant when it came to pushing their news. Result = no one had heard of them, despite incredible achievements that blew the big players like Microsoft under the water.

A few years later at Relativity, Vivek took a completely different approach, commenting on things the media were interested in, and responding quickly with honest, headline grabbing answers. The company’s products might not have been the sort of thing to stop press, but they provided a window into their world, and spun the fact that they had a team of Russian ex-military and intelligence programmers into a story about them being a James Bond-esque organisation.

Result = featured on all the major TV networks and achieved more than 1000 articles in major publications, including front page of The Wall Street Journal, and named one of the top 25 “coolest” companies in the world by Fortune magazine.

Here are Vivek’s tips for running a PR campaign, and they are very much in line with the way we work here at Mutant Communications, in building relationships, links and thought leadership across multiple media and audiences.

  • Read dozens of business publications. Understand what topics are newsworthy and which journalist writes about what topic, then offer them your insights.
  • Focus on the needs of the journalist and not yours. No one is interested in your product. If a journalist asks you a question, answer that, and don’t obsess with getting your product covered. Build a relationship over time, and it will likely pay off with your getting the coverage that you are looking for.
  • If you do have something to announce, put it in the context of a “news hook”.  Make your message timely and relevant to what is happening in the industry or the world.
  • Don’t ignore small or regional publications. You may want to be in The Wall Street Journal, but it is not likely to cover you until you have built great credibility. Your best starting point is small, industry-oriented or regional publications. They are a lot easier to approach and will likely be interested in breaking your story.
  • Be available—even when you are busy. Journalists on tight deadlines need sources to quote as fast as they can get them.  The first to respond usually get featured.
  • Be honest. You will find that journalists have excellent “bullshit detectors”. If you mislead them even once, not only will they never write about you in a positive way; they’re likely to tell their associates about their experience.  I confide in journalists all the time.  I have not had even one journalist report on something that I said was off the record or was on background.
  • Be yourself, and express strong opinions. If you’re going to hedge your bets or be diplomatic, your message will drown in caveats.
  • When all else fails, write your own story yourself. The blogosphere has democratized journalism over the past few years, and there are hundreds of blog sites where you can post your opinions. You can even set up your own.

Thanks Vivek, for beautifully summarising the slides I present my potential clients.

Why hire people to do your PR? Because more than anything, they are clever storytellers who know how to get the media and target audiences excited about you. Then, they help you craft your messages to best generate buzz, and ultimately boost your business.

To learn more about how a PR campaign can benefit you, and how to use blogging to your advantage, contact Mutant Communications. Joseph Barratt: [email protected]

Newspaper. image by James Yu is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

How to make your band famous

So you’ve been jamming with your best buds for a while now and you think it’s time people hear the awesome-ness that has been brewing in the studio. What you need (aside from quality music of course) is some PR. Public Relations or PR in short is all about bridging the gap between a consumer(listeners) and producer(YOU).

Here’s how upcoming Singapore bands can benefit from simple do-it-yourself PR tactics that can amplify the rock star in you.

Market research

Before you swim, you would want to know how warm the water is. This is where you study the environment where you’ll be setting foot in. Go to gigs and get to know who plays for which band, which promoter got them there, find out who the kind of people that go to these gigs are, and have a chat with them.

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Even Rambo did some planning before he single-handedly stormed an army base, trust me. Arguably the most important part for a band, is to get your demos done PROFESSIONALLY. The emphasis on ‘professionally’ is referring to everything that comes with the definition of the word. Source out good producers whose recordings will reflect how amazing you guys truly are. Think about it, as a generic listener, how forgiving will you be towards demos filled with unclear vocals, accompanied by un-tuned strings and drums that may as well be using the rear ends of a rubbish bin.

Secondly, bands often overlook the importance of branding. This refers to how the band portray themselves online and this includes photos, your logo, stickers or anything that requires design work. Here’s a life hack, look for a friend who’s a student of graphic design and chances are, they’ll do it for a free meal because they could do with it in their portfolio anyway. Looking professional will only help others take your music more seriously.

“Bands tend to be more focused on the creative process of making music and often neglect the marketing/PR aspect of it,” Snakeweed studio’s bossman himself, Leonard Soosay told me. With that being said, by no means should you undermine the importance of creating the best music you can, it simply means that after finishing up on a mind blowing song, you are not done. It’s time to think of creative and effective ways for that song to be distributed.

It’s showtime

After countless hours in the studio with your producer, that tireless walk to look for the perfect spot for a new Facebook banner photo and all that chit-chat with promoters and musicians, it’s time to finally share the hard work. This is when your new songs are released and you engage with listeners. Platforms such as Bandcamp ,Soundcloud and Facebook are perfect mediums to engage other musicians and potential fans.

However, according to Roland Lim, producer, mix engineer and owner of Sync Studios ,“depending on online platforms alone can only do so much, you need to meet people, give out a sticker, flier or even your demo amongst other physical promotional tools. Everyone has a Facebook page and gets tonnes of invites to like a page every day so let’s not just do what everyone does and take it up to the next level.” Patience is not running high when people are checking their inbox and they have even less tolerance for notifications from unfamiliar sources.

Done all that? It’s still not quite time to kick back, relax and wait for the organisers of Glastonbury to give you a call begging you to headline their festival. This is the point when the band has to be more proactive than ever in spreading the word. Prepare a press-kit which contains a high-res photo, your logo, the song you have released and most importantly a little write-up about your band and start sending it out to all stakeholders. Stakeholders refers to anyone that can be of help to your band such as the promoters you’ve been talking to, music journalists and any other individuals you feel are influential in the industry.

After action review

If you have done it right, you should have a played a few shows by now and have a reasonable following on social media. With that, it’s good practice to have an after action review. Talk to as many people as possible who have heard your music, study your social media’s traffic and gather as many feedbacks as you can.

After that, sit down with your bandmates and discuss what you believe was done right and what should be improved upon. This doesn’t mean you should switch from playing indie to black metal overnight just because some of the people you spoke to liked it when you guys had that one short heavy guitar riff. It simply serves as a general guideline to how accepted your music is in the environment you’ve been playing in.


it's 11:11

Playing in a band and having your music heard is not as simple as pressing record on a recording software and putting it up online. As Leonard Soosay says, “local bands with good PR and marketing strategies are the ones flying overseas to play shows and are conquering local airwaves”. No matter what your cause, getting your voice heard requires creative tactics and most importantly, hard work. Only when that’s done, should you let your natural talent speak for itself.

Pitching Etiquette – how to approach media

Ah, Public Relations.

It has its perks. Scoring a cool client, brainstorming equally cool  and creative ideas for pitching and marketing angles, meeting colourful personalities (some of them becoming friends), the satisfaction of successful event launches, and ultimately, seeing everything you’ve worked towards slowly forming into tangible results.

But there is a dark side, one that many journalists will attest to – the act of pitching a story for coverage. The frustration is understandable. The incessant hounding, incoherently written press releases, and overfamiliarity, can be off-putting, especially if you’re on a tight deadline.

Let us understand a typical day of a journalist’s job – having to sieve through mountains of emails and pitches for a headline-grabbing story, research, fact checking, interviewing multiple sources, transcribing those interviews, and having to complete at least five to six stories at the end of the week (or day, in some cases).

How do they find their stories if not through contacts, and long, in-depth investigations and breaking news events? Often, it’s because a PR person passed it to them, helped them find the right people to talk to, and ensured they had the right images and interesting angles. Despite what we might say about one another, journalists do use press releases for content, the relationship between media and PR is symbiotic – we need each other to survive in the industry.

I was once the eager beaver obsessed about clinching the cover story. I would follow up (pester) aggressively, and had no qualms about being pushy; not realising that I may come across as insincere and unabashed.

So how do we pitch with grace? There is an art to the delicate craft, which is all about the finer details – picking the right words, and getting the across the right message in the press release, actually knowing your client or brand to be able to convince editors why they’re worth writing about, and giving alternative angles.

According to Social Media Today, and my fellow Mutants, there are a few points to bear in mind for an effective email pitch.

Know your brand, and the journalist or publication you’re pitching to:
Mutant Directors, Joe and Jacqui, used to be journalists from The New Zealand Herald, who affirm that there is nothing more annoying then an “irrelevant” pitch, “Don’t pitch a fashion story to a Food Editor or Foreign Correspondent. Save yourself a bit of time and do a little research to make sure that you are speaking to the right person.”

Keep it Short and Simple:
“Brevity is the soul of wit” – Keep to the point and get your message across clearly with minimum words.

Bullet points:
It can’t get any clearer than succinct, concise, and factual bullet points – a journalist’s dream.

Nabeel, Mutant’s Communications Assistant, says that adopting a friendly tone when speaking with journalists on the phone helps, “Also be clear and stick to key points when explaining the reason of your call.”

This is where ‘relationship building’ comes to play – make it a little special and address them by their names. Writers know when it’s a generic cookie- cutter blast. Make an effort to know them, and make small talk about an article they wrote on this week’s paper.

Jacqui says that it helps if you sincerely get along with the writers. Meet them up for coffee or lunch, “I feel more compelled to read an email from someone whom I’m already familiar with. Don’t bribe, or be too needy – be natural, as you would with a friend.”

According to Hunter PR blog, they loathe the question, “So have you read my email?”, so try an alternative approach when following up – offer new and interesting angles, or try and tempt them with……

Giveaways and Freebies!:
You don’t have to force things down their throat for coverage, there is a more passive and effective way for them to relate with your product or client, and offer their readers a reward. Have them review it; send them samples, run competitions and giveaways for their readers.

Following Up:
Daniel, Mutant’s Content Manager, thinks that following up in a timely and tactful manner will do wonders, “Give it a few days before calling to follow up. Be confident and prepared for whatever questions that may be thrown at you.”

Pace your flow of information:
Going back to the first point, keep your message short and simple – don’t reveal too much and try to whet their appetite. Once they bite the bait, furnish them with more details.

Journalists everywhere will start thanking you for this. (You’re welcome!)

Need help with pitching? Drop a message to [email protected] 

Social Media – Threat or Asset?

Social media and breaking news

Social media is becoming or has become a part of everyone’s life – even the aunties and uncles have embraced it, despite their misgivings.

Unfortunately, the aunties and uncles were right, as many do turn the freedom social media brings into a stage for their mischief. In recent months, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of hacked social media accounts – most recently the tweet by ‘AP’ announcing explosions in the White House.

Perhaps motivated by the movie ‘Olympus has Fallen’, the hacker has decided to bring the plot alive in his own ways. He hacked into the twitter account of The Associated Press (AP) and tweeted the above. The impact of the bogus tweet is shocking. The 12 words tweet drove the Dow Jones Index down 145 points and sent the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index reeling, wiping out US$136 billion.

The threat of hackers always exists in the world of Internet. However, there is no ignoring the fact that the fastest, cheapest and often most cost-effective way to achieve global coverage is, for most companies, social media.

Michael Gass, a new business consultant for advertising agencies said ‘Social media is a savior not a nemesis, an asset not a liability, a time saver not a time killer for ad agency new business.’

Hence, practice good working habits, and just make sure you account cannot be hacked.
(1) Limit 3rd party access
(2) Change password early and often
(3) Avoid Malware
(4) Log in and log out with care
(5) Check on your account regularly

We’ve all heard this.

But, if you’re a big shot…

Never before have so many people heard, screen-shot and shared, what you just said.

Need help with your social media? Drop a message to [email protected] 

Social media for journos, and journos for social media

I was going to write something about Facebook’s new open graph announcement, and how it seriously compromised my own privacy.

But then I started thinking about the wider applications of a search function that basically allows you to delve into the lives of others, pick out their ideas, pictures, comments, and then splash them about wherever you desire. On the cover of a magazine, as the star of the latest hilarious montage on Buzzfeed

My conservative, Western upbringing feels a bit queasy about the whole “what’s mine is yours, what’s yours is mine, unless I tell you otherwise” proposition, but how awesome is it to know that every single person in the world now has the ability to sway, or contribute to the mainstream news, and to be discovered by millions of people who might be looking to connect with people who are doing exactly what they are doing?! PRETTY AWESOME!

Journalists – whether they are searching for an unflattering image of a celebrity, a profile shot of the victim of a recent tragedy, or simply collating people’s images of the latest freak snow fall – will LOVE on this open graph concept.

And at the same time, businesses, brands and people will THRIVE if they apply journalistic skills of story-telling and news values to their posts.

Many experts have touted 2013 as the year that journalists are employed as social media page managers for companies looking to achieve cut-through online.

They have also said that journalism will become increasingly reliant on social media.

It would seem the new Open Graph feature fulfills this prophecy, and will also open more than a few doors for businesses, and journos alike.

Want to find out about how your business can maximise the potential of new features on Facebook and other social networks?

Need help with your social media? Drop a message to [email protected] 

Managing Multiple Twitter Accounts

It’s not uncommon for most of us to have more than one Twitter account these days. If you’re in media/PR/marketing, you highly probably would be tasked to now handle the Twitters of your company or clients as well.

There are several apps out there which lets you effectively log into and manage multiple twitter accounts at one time, and Mashable has a great list to kick you off.

Too many apps in the webosphere? These Twitter management tools top my list:


1. Hootsuite

I swear by HootSuite. It’s easy to use, and the tab features make toggling between accounts an absolute breeze. Tabs are awesome. This app also lets you integrate other Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google+ and WordPress. But if, like me, the thought of having too many social media platforms on one app makes your brain freak out, then I suggest you stick to just Twitter.

Also, the logo is an owl, and I love owls.

2. SplitTweet

Another web-based app that I like is SplitTweet, mainly because the ninja-mole logo is cute. This tool also tracks brand mentions to let you better able to monitor your brands. Your accounts are also separated by coloured dots, so you can view all your feeds from all accounts in one timeline. Coloured dot or not, it can still get a tad confusing. HootSuite still wins for me. But cute ninja-mole logo.


The official Twitter app is actually really good for multiple mobile Twitter account management. These other Twitter apps havemy seal of approval too.

1. Slices (Love this, they have an in-built photo editing feature)

2. TweetFire

3. TweetDeck

4. HootSuite

5. Twitterific

Now, the thought of handling multiple Twitter accounts while on-the-go frighten me much. For starters, I can’t help but think of the possible consequences of accidentally switching Twitter accounts, especially when you’re on the go.

Think I’m a paranoid crazy piece of work? Imagine this now: In one of those late night, uh, stupors, you accidentally tweet something NSFW onto the wrong account. The horror. And we all know in the age of print-screening, there’s no such thing as take-backs.

So if you’re as paranoid as I am now (you’re very welcome), here’s a simple solution: Use different apps for ONE twitter account, as opposed to using one app for multiple twitter accounts.

And there are a lot of Twitter apps too, so unless you’re handling a hundred Twitter accounts (I’ve just fallen in love with you, call me), you’re good.

Facebook Still Most Preferred by Marketers

These days, your business just isn’t cool if you’re not using some form of social media. A report done by the guys over at SocialMediaExaminer.com revealed that amongst marketers, Facebook still remains the top of the social media pack.

The top five social media networks/tools used by marketers are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and YouTube, in that order. A whopping 92% of marketers use it to enhance their businesses, and 72% plan to increase activities on Facebook. And it comes at no surprise too; with 955 million monthly users and 852 million daily logins, Facebook remains the most frequently checked website on the Internet.

The Social Media Marketing Industry Report 2012 is the fourth annual study done by SocialMediaExaminer to understand how marketers are using social media.

Also particularly interesting was the addition of the Photo sharing sites category in the report. 21% of marketers are using sites such as Pinterest, Instagram and Flickr to boost their businesses.

The study coincides with a more recent study done by RichRelevance, which is an analysis of nearly 700 million shopping sessions on leading U.S. retail sites. The study revealed that Facebook dominates as a source to drive traffic to online retail sites. Shoppers who click-through from Facebook account for the overwhelming majority of shopping sessions at nearly 86% (85.8%), followed by Pinterest (11.3%) and Twitter (2.9%).

While Facebook still rules, it’s clear that photo apps like Pinterest are gaining popularity too, marking the rising trend of visual social media marketing. Photos do speak a thousand words eh?

Oh, RichRelevance has a cool infographic on their study too, check it out: