I was at local networking event last week and ran into someone that told me about ThingLink, the more I listened, the more I thought how this is something a band would love. ThingLink can add another level of interactivity to their website… through photos.
I think we are all familiar with alt text and hover text in html, which can be used to deliver a very little bit of copy for a photo. Often something like the image title. But, you are really restricted in what you can do and say with that bit of html code. ThingLink gives you the ability to add up to 250 characters to a hover over, as well as embedded links and music. Sure you can link any image to a destination, but what if you want multiple links in a image? You could try using a image map, but thats not something that is a easy, no brainer task.
I was told that next week ThingLink will announce a collaboration of technologies that lets you place a SoundCloud audio player inside your photos, connecting them to music, sounds and effects, voice annotations and narrations. All those live photos you post can now have a embedded ThingLink to the audio on SoundCloud.
Here is a sample photo with various ThingLinks embedded, including a SoundCloud player. Just mouseover the image you will see some black circles appear indicating the hotspots in the image.
Here is how a band could use it. Post a photo of your band in concert. Maybe the lead singer is wearing a brand new band t-shirt. Maybe the guitarist is playing a guitar he endorses, such as Washburn. And your new album artwork is on the drum head. A fan mouses over the Washburn guitar and up pops text talking about how the guitarist is endorsed by Washburn and this is his model. Included is a link back to Washburn to buy this guitar. A fan mouses over the t-shirt on the lead singer and up pops text talking about how it is a brand new t-shirt, just released for this tour, and it includes a link back to your online store to buy the shirt. Mouse over the microphone and up pops a link to play this song, hosted on SoundCloud. A fan mouses over the drum head and up pops some text saying your new album was just released, some details on who created the album cover and yes, a link back to your online store to buy the album.
A new social tool is nothing if it does not allow sharing. Each of those hot spots in the image has a share link so the fan can share a link to the original ThingLink image on their social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter and via email. In addition the fan can even embed the ThingLink image and all its information right in their own website or blog.
Installation is easy. Just three lines of code added to every page of your website, very similar to the code you install for something like Google Analytics, or a plugin is installed if you have a WordPress site. Users don’t have to install anything to see the ThingLinks on your site, so you don’t need to worry about getting them to install some plugin in their browser to use this.
As for improved clicks on images, ThingLink says that based on the analysis of countless ThingLink-ed images, you will achieve CTR (click through rates) of 1.5% to 5%. Average for high-interest content is over 10%. Not bad.
Statistics on use are even provided, so you can see what is being clicked and the click through rates. I asked about any impact on site load or performance and they said, “We are very careful to impact the site performance only minimally. We deliberately push the loading and display of the tags to a point where the site has already finished rendering, so your users will see the site almost as quickly as they would without ThingLink.”
I was told there is no cost to use ThingLink, you don’t share any revenue you would make from commerce links. If your band website has photos ThingLink seems like something that is definitely worth a try. It gives you yet another way to interact with your fans using your existing content, and gives your fans something else they can share.
UPDATE: ThingLink has announced their integration with SoundCloud and released and video to show you how simple it is to add a sound clip to a picture. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuoWCtRU39E