All posts in “Pinterest”

Was SXSWi Worth It?

Karly Gaffney is a Manager on the Content and Community team at Social Media Group.

After years of envious tweets and serious SXSWi FOMO, I finally made it. 2012 was my year! I scoured the schedule for days before stepping on the plane to Austin, eagerly added every single nerdy Foursquare meet-up/event to my calendar and created a ‘how-to’ list for each SXSW/Austin-specific Foursquare badge. (I do that with every new city I visit. #nerdalert)

After Day One was complete, I was somewhat disappointed.

I think at one point I was certainly the SXSWi target audience, but 2012 was all about mass appeal, big companies and bigger sponsors. Opinion: SXSWi is no longer a hotbed for cutting edge new ideas or a small group of big thinkers. It’s a huge group of people looking to learn more (just like so many other marketing/interactive conferences.)

SXSWi 2012 was bigger than ever. According Austin360 the festival said its official paid attendance count for 2012 was 24,569, up from 19,364 in 2011 (nearly 27%) and 14,251 in 2010. (This isn’t surprising considering the over-crowded halls at the Austin Convention Center and the 3.5+ hour wait in line to pick up my badge.)

Pros:

Cons:

  • None of the sessions I attended that directly related to my day-to-day work provided new insights or takeaways. I had no “Eureka!” moments, no inspiring “I can’t wait to try that!” moments, not even an “Oops, I’m doing it wrong” moment.

Maybe I missed out on the really valuable sessions. At any given time, there were three or four sessions that I wanted to attend and had to choose but one. Maybe I chose wrong.

I have a friend who found great value in the mentor sessions and networking events and friends who had a blast at the parties. (Something that was lost on me because I’m sorta lame and need my sleep.)

Verdict: I’m not sure I’ll go back. If I do attend a future SXSWi, I think I will focus on networking, mentor sessions and the big talks/keynotes. I may not come away with huge learnings that apply to my field, but I’ll likely end up with some valuable new connections and perhaps a touch more inspiration than this year.

The Next Wave of Visual Content Curation

Last month, during Social Media Week, SMG hosted an Ignite-inspired event called Spark. I was thrilled to be one of the six speakers and chose to speak about a topic near and dear to me: Vistual Content Curation. Over the past year, visual content curation sites have been making some big waves. The most popular are Instagram, Tumblr and, of course, the new kid on the block, Pinterest. In my presentation I spoke about how brands are leveraging these platforms to engage with users and showcase their products. I also gave some data points about the number of users on each platform; Instagram had 15 million users, Tumblr had 44.3 million blogs and Pinterest had broken the 10 million-user mark with 11.7 million.  To me, a month in internet land is like six months in real life, and some exciting and interesting news has been announced in that short time that will really push these visual content curation platforms further into the mainstream spotlight.

Instagram announced last week they have reached 27 million users on the iOS-only app, nearly doubling their user base in two months! With more and more brands utilizing the application to promote products and integrating the API for content creation, the pressure to expand to more mobile devises is on. There have been rumours swirling for months of Instagram expanding to an Andriod app but last week at SXSW they announced it was in beta testing and would be coming “very soon”.

Tumblr boasts 48.6 million blogs to date and recently rolled out their ‘highlighted posts‘ feature early last month. Well-known for not wanting to integrate advertising to the platform, Tumblr has struggled to turn a profit. The highlighted posts feature could be a way to remedy this and get brands to pay for their posts to be featured. Essentially, for one dollar you can mark a post ‘highlighted’ and it will show up on the dashboard with a customizable sticker. This announcement was received with mixed reviews. Understanding and commending the desire to keep Tumblr authentic for artistic expression, some still feel that ‘highlighting’ is the same as advertising.

Pinterest, which estimates to be at 13 million users,  announced last week at SXSW that it would soon be introducing new and improved profile pages which were launched Friday. The profile esthetic is very similar to the new Facebook timeline, clean and visual with less content, and allows for larger images to be visible on the profile. For brands, this is an exciting opportunity to create a customized brand experience in an interface that users are familiar with. The infograph below has some really great information the growth of the platform and features brands that are seeing success on Pinterest.

What can we expect in the coming months as these content curation platforms continue to grow and more and more brands get on board? How can you leverage your brand now on these exciting platforms and prepare for what’s to come? Check out my full presentation from Spark to inspire and ignite your content:

 

 

Some interesting points on Pinterest:

The Power of Pinterest

 

The Evolving Digital Footprint: What is its impact on B2B vs B2C marketing strategies?

Ruth Bastedo is Director and Group Head, Client Strategy and Innovation at Social Media Group. Follow @rutbas

These days, it’s hard to know whether you are presenting your “personal” or “professional” face to the world. As an example, I recently joined Pinterest. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. I was faced with a bit of a dilemma though, as an alarmingly large number of my business contacts started to “follow” me, I had to ask myself: do all these people really need to know that I actually really love the kettle green “Aga” stove?  This, is the totally fabulous stove:

Not to everyone’s taste, I grant you. Yet, I love this stove so much, that I compromised and “liked” it, but did not “repin” it. I’ve only actually re-pinned a couple of things so far… but the process did get me to thinking, if you were selling me a B2B service online, say software or consulting services, would it help you to know that I was the type of person to really groove on green stoves? I happen to already own a blue version of the Le Creuset kettle sitting on said stove. Have had it for 10 years. If I posted that information, would that help?

When I did a talk on the B2B vs B2C marketing topic at Social Media Marketing a few weeks ago, I did some musing on this topic. As marketers, we are going to be in a position soon where we have access to unprecedented amounts of information about our target customers.  As this information becomes more available to us it opens whole new doors to create increasingly personalized messages, offers and communications based on disparate pieces of knowledge, readily available with a little digging and the right tool set.

What are the implications of this?

The traditional differences between B2B and B2C Communications have typically looked like this:

While these differences are still very valid, I have to wonder if we’re moving into new territory. The world becomes a funny place, when we consult a variety of user reviews, professional reviews, social networks and blogs to buy either a funky green stove or a new piece of software for our business.

Observationally, I can see that the process of “making a decision” is starting to look remarkably similar, whether that decision is oriented to a business product, or consumer product.

The commonality is becoming the customer’s decision journey, especially in an online environment. The fact is the “customer” is increasingly becoming an individual person. The smart marketer, will start marketing to that person, reaching out to him or her in accordance with the individual’s unique worldview, tastes, interests, life stage, peer group, background and life experiences. The B2B and the B2C approaches to customers as people, actually start to merge.

As marketers, our job becomes pretty simple in some ways. We need to reach out to our customers at key points in their decision journey. We need to really work to understand where our content, offers and experiences can add value, build loyalty and trust, and anchor the customer to the product and/or brand experience.

I encourage you to check out the deck below for some pretty interesting examples of emerging models for “Customer Decision Journeys”. Any of us in the digital communications industry can start to see that there are a plethora of tools, platforms and mechanisms to reach our customers at the touch points that matter most. The big question for all of us will be, what kind of content are we going to provide to each particular customer, so that it is relevant, valuable and adds something to their noisy, and over saturated digital lives.

I bet a lot of people who also “liked” the green Aga stove on Pinterest at some point in their careers have been in a position to buy some kind of software product.  You just have to wonder if “green stove” people buy different types of software than “stainless steel stove people”… maybe yes, maybe no, but it’s an interesting question, and one worthy of consideration.

Social Media Round Up for February 10

Leona Hobbs is Vice President and Partner at Social Media Group she tweets @flackadelic.

Economist Debates Social Networking

The debate about social networks is underway over at the Economist. The assertion being debated, “this house believes that society benefits when we share personal information online.” Defending the motion is Jeff Jarvis and against the motion is Andrew Keen.

From Jarvis’s opening statement:

“For individuals, sharing is a choice; that is the essence of privacy. Today, we have the opportunity to create, share and connect, and 845m people choose to do so on Facebook alone.”

And from Keen’s opening statement:

“In today’s Web 3.0 world of real identities generating massive amounts of data, we are all living in the full digital glare of public opinion. In this world of Facebook’s Timeline and Open Graph, of millions and millions of daily tweets, Google+ circles and LinkedIn updates, “publicness” (to borrow a word from my friend Jeff Jarvis) replaces privacy as the core condition of life in our digital age.”

Vote, comment and weigh in through opening, rebuttal and closing as the debate continues over the next week.

Hmm…very Pinteresting

Our very own Kirsten McNeill blogged earlier this week about how Brands can use Pinterest, a social network designed to visually showcase interesting links. Pinterest has captured the attention of millions (over 10 million unique monthly users in the US in eight months according to ComScore, the fastest any social network has researched this milestone). This week, Pinterest was accused of replacing user affiliate links with their own. Pinterest did not disclose this policy to users, which has raised the eyebrows of social media types and made some users feel kind of icky.

Read more:

TechCrunch: Pinterest Hits 10 Million U.S. Monthly Uniques Faster Than Any Standalone Site Ever – comScore

On the SMG blog: How Brands Can Get Involved on Pinterest

LLsocial.com: Pinterest is quietly generating revenue by modifying user submitted pins. And an update: What was learned from the Pinterest link modification story.

New Trends in Global Internet Behaviour

This week, GlobalWebIndex released new data about both new and continuing trends in the way consumers use all Internet platforms. On the benchmarks side, social networking is still the fastest growing social media behavior online, with 59% of global internet users managing their profile on a monthly basis. Turning to e-commerce, “just over 59% of global internet users had purchased a product online in the past month and 53% had reviewed a product.”

New trends identified in the research:

  • The rise of the Social Brand: nearly one-third of global internet consumers are engaging brands through social media
  • Death of digital: “digital can no longer be seen as a separate “media” as consumers globally are transitioning to media consumption across multiple internet platforms in record numbers”
  • Googopoly: “Google has evolved into the gatekeeper of the Internet, Google has massively improved its position as the world’s biggest controller of information and is starting to dominate all access points to the internet”

The report also details changes to existing trends the Localised Web, the Post-PC era comes ever closer and Facebook Fatigue continues.

More on this global trends research:

GlobalWebIndex GWI.6 Trends Report

GlobalWebIndex identifies new trends in global internet behaviour

 

How Brands Can Get Involved on Pinterest

Kirsten McNeill is a Coordinator on the Content and Community team at Social Media Group. Follow @kirstenmcne

With its U.S. traffic skyrocketing to more than 10 million visits, $37 million raised in funding and an unconfirmed valuation of up to $200 million, Pinterest is now one of the top 10 social networking and forum websites. The 2011 recaps and 2012 trend predictions almost all included social content curation as an important continuing trend.

The top social networks are now connected to many third party platforms (websites, streaming services, magazines etc.) making it easy for us to share content with anyone, on any platform, from any location on the web. We (as consumers) can now curate content ourselves, while relying on our own networks of friends, family, industry etc. to provide new content for us to consume and share. It is especially convenient when the content is in an easily digestible form, such as a photo.

 

Pinterest is the hot new social network that brands and consumers alike are starting to pay attention to, as they should. New data from Monetate shows that referral traffic from Pinterest to five apparel retailers experienced a 389% increase from July-December 2011.

A fellow SMGer invited me (right now the site is still an invite-only social network) and I’ve been playing around with it for the last couple months. So far I’m quite enjoying it; the user experience is very friendly and I find myself checking back daily. Pinterest is an image-based platform, where you can create unique online pinboards, such as “Yummy Food,” “My Dream Style,” “Home Decorations” and “pin” photos accordingly. Pinned photos can come from three places:

1)   Directly uploaded from your phone or computer

2)   Anywhere on the web – it makes it really easy for you to do this by providing a browser plug-in. I have a ‘Pin it’ button on my Bookmark bar that will populate all the images on a page, making it easy for me to select what I want to pin

3)   From within Pinterest – if another user has posted something that I find interesting, I will “Repin” it

From blogs to brands, the Pinterest presence on owned channels is just getting started. Many blogs now include the Pinterest badge on their site, right up there with Twitter and Facebook. Making it easy for visitors  to “Pin” their content or follow them on Pinterest.

Retail, fashion, beauty and food brands have obvious tie-ins that make Pinterest a natural fit. Take brands such as West Elm, Travel Channel or Nordstrom who have seamlessly made the move onto the Pinterest platform. However, other industries will have to get creative in order to leverage Pinterest to benefit their online efforts.

Brands can add a Follow or Pin It button on their owned properties to encourage ‘pinning’ their content which leads to increased awareness of their products and potentially influence or guide purchase decisions. It’s like a magazine, where you see something you like and you fold down the page.

So, how else can brands leverage this shiny new social network? When thinking about adding value to the community, first you need to think about who makes up the community. What would they like to see and pin?

How can brands get involved creatively?

Run a contest

Executing a contest on Pinterest will create buzz among the Pinners and provide a great opportunity to build visual interactions with consumers. A great example of a contest done on Pinterest was the ‘Causes I Love Contest,’ where participants were rewarded with prizes for the best boards and every time a photo was pinned to a board, the company partner would make a donation.

Build Your Brand Profile

Create boards to visually portray your brand personality. Show your transparency by creating boards that give consumers an inside look at your company. Doing so can lead to deeper connections with consumers as they can see what your company culture and values are. A great example of this is Whole Foods Market. They’ve  created a series of boards to show what they support: “We’re Used to Reusing!” “Strength,” “Whole Planet Foundation.”

Pin Relevant Industry Content

Don’t be a billboard ad! We need to make sure that our boards are not strictly promotional because users will see that and likely not follow you. Instead, sharing photos from others in the industry that complement your own photos and enhance your boards will keep your profile community based, opposed to just a promotion center. A brand doing a good job of this is HGTV. They have created boards such as “Every Single Holiday” that combine photos from their website as well as other blogs to complete the board. This helps to develop relationships with the pinning community interested in the specific industry.

Pinterest is a great place to keep up with the market and obtain some insight into what your target market (mostly female, according to the stats above, but that could change!) is interested in. You can get a sense of what your demo is interested in by taking a look at what is being pinned, repined and what people are saying in their comments.

There are many ways for brands to great creative and offer great content for the Pinterest community to pin and share. Just make sure you’re adding value to the community and not just pumping marketing material out—you don’t want a gang of angry Pinners at your door. 🙂