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Pinterest for Business

March 21, 2012

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a pin-board styled social network for sharing images and links on the internet.  It’s akin to an online, sharable scrapbook or bulletin board.   The website allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections. The site’s mission statement is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.”

How does it work?

Users can upload, group, share, and broadcast any image that is interesting or inspiring to them.  An uploaded image is called a “Pin.” Users customize themed boards to place their images or pins on. People can create any type of collection they wish – recipes, home décor ideas, exercise and fitness techniques, social media – anything that can be conveyed via an image.

Like Twitter, you can follow anyone, even if they aren’t following you back. You have the option to follow all of another user’s boards, or you can just select certain boards to follow. You can sign up using your Twitter or Facebook account, which makes it easy to find all of your friends already using Pinterest.  You can also tag other users in your posts and re-pin other people’s pins.  Repinning is sharing an image pinned by someone you follow or found while browsing Pinterest, and then adding it to one of your own boards. Repinning gives credit to the person who first pinned the image. You can also edit the description when you repin something.  Any picture that’s posted also contains a backlink to where the image was originally found and remains there regardless of how many times the image is repined. Repins are like the “retweets” of the Pinterest world.

Pinterest also allows you to add a “Pin It” button to your toolbar or bookmarks. Clicking on your “pin it” button lets you pin a picture to one of your boards from anywhere on the internet.  Once you pin something to one of your boards, you have the option to mention your post on Twitter and Facebook for even more exposure.

Facts and Figures

Although Pinterest has been around since 2009, its growth has exploded in the last year.  In May 2011 Pinterest had less than 2 million unique visitors.  However in January 2012 11.78 unique visitors spent an average of 97 minutes a day on the website.

Pinterest users:

  • tend to have a higher income – 27% earn over 100K
  • 68% women – 17% 18-24, 27% are 25-34, 22% 35 to 44
  • 50% have children

The attraction of Pinterest is that it combines two of the most powerful elements of social media – visual content and sharing.  People are using it to find inspiration whether it be wedding planning, home furnishings or what to make for dinner. Consequently, they are using Pinterest to guide their buying decisions.  If a user finds a pin interesting, they will likely click on the source link and perhaps purchase the product.

How can this help your business

If your product suits Pinterest’s demographic, then it could be a great tool to increase visits to your website.  Currently, this social network is best suited for retail, lifestyle, food, home decor, design, publishers, and travel brands.  Only brands that have visually appealing content are suited for Pinterest at this time.

Benefits

Discoverability – Pinterest is a great tool for helping you to get found.   Users find new pins on Pinterest by typing in search phrases into the search engine, which exposes them to new products. Results change as new pins are added.

Link Building –Anytime someone pins something from your site, it automatically pulls in not just the image from your site, but also a link. There is a chance for that pin to be repinned multiple times (even hundreds of times, in some cases), building up your backlinks.

Brand Promotion – When someone likes your pin, it’s likely that they will repin that onto one of their own boards, helping to promote your product or brand.  Some users have boards devoted entirely to their favourite brands.

Other points to consider

If you’re going to use Pinterest for your business or brand, make sure it’s a fit.  It’s also important to integrate your other social networks – promote your Pinterest boards via Twitter and Facebook, for example and ensure that there’s a Pinterest button on your website.  Last but not least, as with all social media, engagement is paramount! So don’t forget to promote others and share their pins so that they will share yours.

RIM’s SuperHero Strategy Doesn’t Build Confidence

January 31, 2012

RIM has been through a lot in the past year.  A major international outage.  Stock prices dropping (to $17.02/share at the moment). Major PR damage when 2 of their VP’s were de-planed (and barred from all airlines) after causing a drunken ruckus.  Co-CEO’s stepping down.

What to do? What to do?

#BeBold Team Bold, RIM FailApparently the answer is…  Super Heroes.

Don’t get me wrong, I love RIM’s products. I’m a huge supporter. In fact, I have a new Blackberry Bold 9900 and think it’s the greatest device ever.  It’s sleek, it’s functional, I love the keyboard.  I think it’s a fine piece of technology.  I also have great fondness for my Playbook. A fantastic, useful tablet – Love them both.

However, “The Bold Team” at the outset appears to be an attempt to sell to fourth graders.  Not exactly the target market for a company who lauds their product as THE device for business.

The Bold Team are “bravely stepping out of 2011 and into 2012 filled with unlimited possibilities” and are supposed to be “saving the day with brilliant strategy”.

I suppose if you’re 9, cartoon characters could be considered strategy.  To adults, it’s laughable.

Now, since “The Bold Team” appeared earlier today, RIM has announced on their official blog:

UPDATE: We’ve noticed The BeBold Team has received a lot of attention over the last couple of days, and wanted to clarify – this infographic is just intended to be a bit of fun. On New Year’s Eve, we asked BlackBerry Twitter followers and their friends to submit their resolutions on how they plan to Be Bold in 2012. More than 35,000 resolutions streamed across Twitter®, Facebook®, and giant billboards in Times Square. As we looked at the resolutions and the data, majority patterns and categories emerged. We decided to organize the data and share it in a fun way, and the result is the infographic. This is not a new ad campaign.

Here’s the thing.  #BeBold is not a bad idea, it was just horribly, horribly executed.  During a time where RIM’s stock is dropping and many of their customers have been frustrated to the point of switching devices, trying to amuse users with rejected Cartoon Network characters is NOT the answer.  Even if it was meant as a “bit of fun”.

Many customers have lost their confidence in the company and their products.  RIM vowed to win back trust after the global outages in October 2011.  They offered some free applications but many felt RIM’s effort was fairly weak.

In order to keep the customers they have left and regain market share, they need to build customer trust and confidence.

The #BeBold campaign COULD have been genuine.  Instead of trying to be cute or funny with weak ass caricatures, they could have presented us with real life heroes.  Real humans who embody “BOLD”.  A single mother fighting cancer.  A teenager who risked his own life to pull a stranger from a burning car.  A baseball coach who spends their own money to help fund a local team.  There are thousands of people out there who could provide real life examples of courage, bravery and “boldness”.

Real people. Genuine humans.

If RIM wants to build confidence and trust, they have to be real.  Be genuine.  Not cartoonish.

I hope RIM listens to all the #BeBold comments and rethinks this effort.  I’m a RIM fan, and I sincerely hope they can recover.

But I guess this is what happens when the Powerpuff girls work on your marketing.

QR Codes and Your Business

November 11, 2011

A QR or Quick response code is a type of barcode that was first designed for the automotive industry to track vehicles during the manufacturing process. They are similar to barcodes that retailers use, the main difference being the amount of information that QR codes can hold.

QR codes are two-dimensional (2D) matrix barcodes that can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters of information. Their ability to hold more information and their ease of use makes them practical for small businesses. QR codes are very popular in Japan and Europe, and becoming increasingly popular in North America.

When you read a QR code with your smart phone, you can link to digital content on the internet, activate phone functions such as IM, SMS or email and connect your device to a web browser.

How it works:  in order to utilize QR codes, the user must have a smart phone with a camera and internet access.  Simply download a QR Scanner application on your device.  Then when you see a QR code and you’d like more information, you simply scan the code with your device.

For example, Tim Horton’s is actively using QR codes right now to both rate their service and have customers enter a contest.  Customers use their smart phones to scan the code which takes them to a survey website.  Each code at each Tim Horton’s is specific to that location.   Sobey’s has jumped on the bandwagon as well, displaying QR codes to weekly specials in their stores.

Many of the major airlines are now using 2D codes as digital boarding passes.  Apparently by the end of 2011 all carriers will be required to provide this service for international flights.  However, it’s a good idea to save the QR code as an image just in case internet access is not available.

Many businesses can benefit from using QR codes – directing users to their website, Facebook pages or Twitter feeds or other online content.

QR Codes have a variety of uses – adding a QR code to your business card easily directs traffic to your site or your phone number or text message.
Other uses include labeling – including a code on your product’s label can direct your customer to additional information. They can also be used to generate Likes/Follows, send to special promotions or discounts, used in on site store displays to give the customer special offers or information.  It can also be set up to make the phone ring – you can literally generate a code to dial a phone number, making it even easier to connect with your audience.

If you have online content you’d like to share with mobile users, it may be a great tool for your business.

LinkedIn is Using Your Profile Pic

August 11, 2011

LinkedIn users are annoyed that the company has decided to “opt in” it’s 100 million members into their social advertising program.

The social network unveiled a new social advertising campaign that has a twist – it’s using members profile information to customize the ads.  Or as LinkedIn referred to it in their blog “Ads enhanced by the power of your network”.

 

When a LinkedIn user sees a third-party ad on the site, they will see the names and profile pictures of any of their connections who have followed or recommended that company or brand.  The thought process being that consumers are more likely to click on an ad “recommended” by a friend.  The issue here, though, is that LinkedIn users weren’t asked if they’d like to endorse these various brands or companies.  LinkedIn just set it up, and users must “opt out” if they don’t want their picture popping up alongside ads.  LinkedIn is accessing their users’ private information in order to sell more ads.

In order to change your privacy settings so that YOUR picture isn’t popping up on your friends’ pages you have to take a few of steps to disable it.

First, go to your user name in the top right hand corner of your LinkedIn page and hover over it until “settings” comes up (1), then click it.  On the Settings page, click ‘Account’. On the Account tab, click ‘Manage Social Advertising’ (2). Uncheck the box next to “LinkedIn may use my name, photo in social advertising” (3). then click the save button.  This will take you out of the social advertising campaign, and protect your privacy.

Trying Social Media on for Size..

July 26, 2011

Several years ago I received an email from a young co-worker suggesting that I sign up for Facebook.  I can remember taking a look at the site, and wondering what the point of it was.  The only people I knew “on the Facebook” were college kids and it just seemed like a timewaster.  Besides, I had only JUST gotten the hang of MySpace and now I was expected to join up for another one of these things!  However, I logged on somewhat begrudgingly.. just to try it out, of course.. and quickly became hooked on seeing what all my friends were doing.

Another friend suggested I join Twitter a few years ago while I was looking for a new job.  He told me it was a great way to make contacts and network.  I wasn’t entirely convinced at first, but I had time on my hands and dove into the Social media pool.

I quickly became a huge “Tweeter”, using Twitter as a business and networking tool as well as on a social level.  Now when I tell people “I Twitter and Facebook for a living” I am usually met with looks of astonishment and disbelief.  Of course, I’m being somewhat facetious – that’s just part of what I do and just one of many social media tools I use.

Social media can take on many different forms, including Internet forumsweblogs (blogging), social blogsmicrobloggingwikispodcasts, photographs or pictures, video, rating and social bookmarking. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, FourSquare, Digg, Reddit, WordPress, LinkedIn…there are hundreds of them.  There are social networking sites dedicated to pretty much anything– connecting with friends, dating, blogging, beer, gaming, cooking, fashion, health, technology, music, real estate, pop culture… you name it, and there’s probably a social site for it.

Most people are aware of Facebook and Twitter, but what about all the other social sites out there? It’s confusing to know which ones to use and it all depends on what your interests are and what you’re looking to achieve through your social media activity.

LinkedIn is a terrific business tool – akin to an online resume, it allows you to connect with friends, people you’ve worked with, broaden your business network and search out job opportunities.  Many businesses now hire exclusively through LinkedIn and many use the forums and discussion features to connect with potential clients or exchange ideas.

Delicious, Feedmarker, Linkatopia, and Google Reader are among the dozens of bookmarking tools and out of these, I prefer Delicious.  The site allows you to save links to articles and websites and access them through your account on any computer.  It’s a handy tool when you log onto multiple computers.  The site also allows you to “tag” your bookmarks, which enables bookmarks to be grouped by category.  This also allows you to view other’s bookmarks including popular or “hotlist” topics.

Other Social news and bookmarking sites, such as Reddit, Digg, and Stumbleupon use voting by users or selection by editors to rank interesting stories.  As well as submitting news and articles of interest, Reddit allows users to submit original content whereas Digg is more news oriented.  Stumbleupon is a “discovery engine” that finds and recommends content to its users based on their interests.

Blogger, WordPress, Typepad and LiveJournal are all blogging sites.  There are sites for photography and art sharing (deviantArt, Flickr, Photobucket), video sharing (Vimeo, YouTube, Metacafe and more),  document managing and editing (Google Docs, Dropbox) and presentation sharing (SlideShare, scribd).

The “next big thing” in social media is predicted to be question and answer sites like Answerbag, Ask.com, Wiki Answers and Quora.  Any question can be asked and participants offer answers on everything from technology to Harry Potter.

So which social media sites are right for you? It all depends on whether you’re using social media as strictly a social activity, for business or a combination of the two. The only way to discover which social media forums suit you best is to try them on for size.  Not every site will be a good fit.

Social media binds the world following Japanese tragedy

April 5, 2011

Aside from food and shelter, one of our basic human needs is connection and communication.

Social Media has changed the way people communicate. It’s this century’s “word of mouth.” Instead of talking to our neighbours across the backyard fence, we share our thoughts and opinions via social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

Whether it’s to brag about our kids, share gossip or news items or just rant about our crappy day at work, it’s human nature to reach out to others – for support or encouragement or just to vent.

Remember that shampoo commercial back in the day? “I’ll tell two friends, and they’ll tell two friends – and so on …” It’s like that, only multiplied exponentially.

It’s redefined the way we share information.

Charlie Sheen’s firing by CBS and subsequent internet rants set new records. Sheen took to Twitter to express his displeasure and share his thoughts.

Tweeted Sheen:  ‘I’m different. I have a different constitution, a different brain, a different heart. I got tiger blood, man’.

Good Time Charlie joined Twitter, breaking the Guinness World Record for the fastest person to reach 1 million followers. And he did it in about 24 hours. Due to both his lunacy and surge in popularity via the internet, Sheen garnered 20/20 their best ratings in more than two years when they interviewed him.
This year’s Oscars also received a boost through social media. There was a 200-per-cent increase in referral traffic from Twitter leading up to the awards and the show received an 11-per-cent increase in Nielsen ratings.

Co-host James Franco wasn’t the only person tweeting during the ceremony — hundreds of thousands of others joined in, sharing their thoughts about who should have won (The Fighter), who looked great (Mila Kunis) and who should host next year (anyone but James Franco and Anne Hathaway).

Then effect of social media became even more evident during Japan’s earthquake March 11.

Despite the destruction and lack of power, many were still able to access internet and cellular.  Less than an hour after the quake, the number of tweets from Tokyo topped 1,200 per minute, according to Tweet-o-Meter.  Tweets with hashtags of #prayforJapan and #tsunami were prevalent.  Thousands of Facebook users in Japan updated their profiles in order to let loved ones know they were okay.  Millions expressed sympathy and support.
Then there was this:

Sending condolences to the people of Japan, particularly those who lost loved ones in the earthquake & tsunamis. U.S. stands ready to help. – tweet by Barack Obama.

In a message sent after the earthquake from the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo to U.S. citizens in Japan, Americans were told “to continue your efforts to be in contact with your loved one(s) using SMS texting and other social media (e.g., FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.) that your loved one(s) may use.”

Social media helped keep millions of people connected to what was happening and assisted in raising $25 million in the first four days via online and text donations. Tools such as Google Crisis Response gave details on how to donate as well as other information.

Hundreds of thousands of people who normally may not have noticed what was going on in other parts of the world became connected to this tragedy through social media. They cared.

As if it was happening in their own back yard.

The 3 Reasons #Radio #FAILS #Social Media

September 22, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I read a post by brilliant radio consultant Jaye Albright of Albright & O’Malley  — it was about a Twitter promotion a station in Texas was doing and how it’s only a matter of time before you see more Social Media contesting. radio2

Which makes sense.. it’s ALL media.. radio, television, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter.. it’s about connecting with others.  It’s a win/win.

Except for the fact that the majority of Radio fails miserably at Social Media.

Very few radio stations are using social media well.  Most aren’t using it at all. In this economy and the state that terrestrial radio is in, you THINK they’d be all over it.. after all, more listeners = more ratings = more money.

But they aren’t. They are either just not bothering or they are doing it poorly.

There are over 12 THOUSAND radio stations in the United States and only 121 of them are on Twitter. (http://radioontwitter.com/

Radio is missing a huge opportunity to drive web traffic, create listening appointments and increase time spent listening.. but they don’t seem to recognize what they are doing wrong.

The 3 biggest reasons:

1. Radio does not engage.

When I was in radio school, not to mention working in radio, the Program Directors would encourage the jocks to talk on air as if they were speaking to their best friend. One on one with another human being. Entertain them. Engage them.

So why isn’t radio doing that with Social Media?  They are breaking their own rules. Most radio stations have a disproportionate ratio of followers to following on Twitter and seem to rarely interact with those “friends” on Facebook. 

I randomly selected stations that I listen to as well as other stations from the U.S. and Canada..  Ninety five percent  of the stations I researched are following less than ten percent of their followers. Some aren’t following ANY.   HINT: The more you follow, the more will follow you back.

Many stations had less than 100 followers. And they’re only following 10 or so. Most of these seemed to be following celebrities and the like. Great for research. Bad for communication.  Dudes… I have more followers than you. And I don’t have a big ol’ broadcast centre.

If radio would become “friends” with these listeners, the listeners would be far more likely to be loyal.  Plus, sending out one “tweet” a day just doesn’t cut it.  Nor does being unresponsive when listeners send messages to you.  Hard to have a conversation with someone when you’re the one doing all the talking. Just sayin’.

p.s. Having your jocks “blog” by writing 3 lines with a link to a cat singing Happy Birthday. Yeah, not riveting.

2. Radio doesn’t promote itself.

I know! Hard to believe! Think about how many followers and friends Joe Average would have if he were on your local radio station every day telling everyone his Twitter handle and/or Facebook address or YouTube link.  Lots, right?  Thousands..maybe even bajillions…

 If radio actually DID such a thing, they would.  Listening to some of these stations, and checking out their websites.. most did not even have a link to any of their social media sites.  Nor did they talk about them on the air. 

Unfortunately, many in radio think that social media sites are competition for hits to their own websites. 

They’re wrong.

Most listeners will go on a social media site at least once a day.. not so much their favourite radio station’s website. Using social media effectively, radio could drive far more listeners to their own websites.

Using tools like Facebook, Radio could have listeners upload their  own content for contests.. much simpler than Buddy emailing a pic and webguy having to then upload it to the station’s site.

Connect the dots people. It’s what links are for.

3.  Radio vastly underestimates Social Media’s value.

Unfortunately, most in radio don’t think social media is a valuable tool for them. However, now I will speak in their language. Demographics.

Looking at the facts and figures provided by Mashable, Neilsen and Quantcast there are currently 14 million Twitter users in the U.S. alone.  Which makes it sound kind of piddly when you realize that Facebook has over 200 MILLION users.

And, my radio friends, sixty-six percent of those using Facebook are between the ages of 18-49.  58% of users make over 60K a year. 54% Female.. 46% male.  Sound familiar? 

Twitter usage has jumped from just over 5 million users to 27.6 million users in 6 months. Twitter is most popular with working adults between the ages of 35-49. Accounts for 42% of their audience.

Seventy-two percent of Twitterers are in the core demo of 18-49.  54% Female.  46% Male. The vast majority of Tweeters are not only regulars, but they are “addicts”.  From February ’08 to February ’09, Twitter usage increased 1382%. 

Go look at the cold hard facts.. www.quantcast.comwww.nielsen.comAnd read this .

Yet, most stations don’t even have a social media strategy.  Why not?

 

Radio: Let me know if you need help with that.. evilgenius@live.ca

**Note: you can now find this and more on my website.. www.evilgeniusmarketing.ca**

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