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Category Archives: Advertising

Pinterest Updates: What Businesses and Brands Should Know

Pinterest Updates: What Businesses and Brands Should Know
By Jessica Oaks



Pinning things has become the new de rigueur for a large swath of the Internet population. Gone is the day of the bookmark. Gone is the day of the RSS feed. In today’s Internet environment, it’s all about pinning things, using Pinterest. While this simple task may seem on the surface somewhat trivial, the opposite is true. Put simply, pinning is as strong an indicator of what’s hot and what’s not as hashtags or what’s trending on Twitter are. Understanding this can allow businesses to more effectively market their products and build their online reputations.
 

 
The Social World’s Impact on Brick and Mortar You’ve likely seen it. A Yelp sticker in the window of your favorite restaurant. Stickers that say, in a nutshell, “We’re liked online so give us a try in real life!” That philosophy is beginning to find its way beyond the confines of review sites and into the broader digital realm. In fact, Nordstrom recently made the decision to base its product displays on which items had the most “pins” on Pinterest. A common sense, no-duh strategy when you think about it, but one that was seemingly forward thinking. Think about it: how many stores, especially stores as reputable and large as Nordstrom, have you seen do such a thing? And yet, it could represent a tidal shift in the way that businesses market their products and interact with consumers.

What Businesses Can Do to Capitalize on Pinterest

Perhaps most importantly, businesses need to be on Pinterest. Businesses have already adopted other social platforms; in fact, businesses large and small have all but universally joined Facebook and Twitter. The next logical step for many is to join Pinterest. This holds particularly true for businesses that sell a product, as for many of its users, Pinterest is a sort of giant wish list. Instead of bookmarking pages or adding a blog to an RSS feed, a user will pin a specific pair of shoes, dress, or pair of pants. If your products aren’t listed on the site, they can’t be pinned.
Perhaps more importantly, you can’t gain invaluable data on consumer interest and demand.

The Internet Experience in a Mobile World

It could be argued that Pinterest has caught on in such a big way because it is tailored to the mobile experience. The website interface is mobile friendly (with a recent redesign, the mobile site now looks and functions in much the same way as the company’s native app), the user experience is interactive, and there’s no shortage of stimuli to keep people engaged.

With people accessing the Internet increasingly from their smart devices – iPhones, Androids, Samsung LG2s and tablets – Pinterest is increasingly looking like the website of the moment. It provides search functionality, a browsing experience, and archiving and sharing apparatus all in one. In other words, Pinterest is Google and Facebook all at once. And, with wireless service providers such as T-Mobile offering free 4G LTE data for certain plans, the opportunity to access Pinterest anywhere, anytime is now a reality among many customers. To learn more about devices with free 4G LTE, check this out.

In 2014, “The Year of Mobile,” there are many online outlets for businesses to interact with consumers, but perhaps none better than Pinterest, what may be the most mobile-friendly platform of them all. Brands need to ask themselves: can they risk not having a presence going forward? Is Pinterest merely a fad or is it destined to have a real impact on consumer behavior and marketing?

Pinterest Can Help Improve the Bottom Line

There can be little doubt that Pinterest is destined to join the ranks of Facebook and Twitter as the next big name in the tech world. Some would argue that the company has already achieved this. Regardless of how one would value the success of Pinterest, it is likely safe to say that businesses looking to engage with their customer base should consider joining now, before they fall too far behind the curve.

Jessica Oaks is a freelance journalist who loves to cover technology news and the ways that technology makes life easier. She also blogs at FreshlyTechy.com. Check her out on Twitter @TechyJessy.

Facing the Facebook Algorithm: Force Your Own Hand (To Blog)


Facing the Facebook Algorithm: Force Your Own Hand (To Blog)
By Michael Stahl

 

We are clearly at a crossroads, social media marketers. Facebook is going to continue to make our jobs increasingly difficult, week after week, as their algorithms continue to tighten and there’s nothing we can really do about it. They’re a publicly traded company now and “have investors to answer to.” I’m not exactly complaining here, mind you; I’m just pointing out some facts. This is a free country and a free market and it’s not up to anyone to tell Facebook what they can and can’t do.

 

 
Some of you may be concocting points of attack at the algorithms and finding success in your Facebook posting. But I don’t think most of you are. If that were the case, then the topic of the mighty and fluid Facebook algorithms wouldn’t be dominating the industry’s discussion as it is now. Social media marketers simply have to adjust, and I would like to discuss some possibilities on how we can better serve our clients.

I’ve been reading advice columns like these two and have tried to implement some of their new posting practices along with those suggested by Facebook itself. I suppose focusing highly on engagement is good advice, it certainly shows up a lot. But there two major problems I see with that:

1) If Facebook is only letting the big fans of your page see your posts, then, theoretically, they’ll be the ones engaging with them anyway, and even if I’m wrong about that one, this next one is indisputable.

2) Keeping up with engagement is very time consuming. Social media management work is not really known for its high pay rates to begin with and I don’t think many of us can go to our clients and demand, say, a 20% raise, even if we’re performing more laborious tasks.

In my mind, working on Facebook effectively has become tedious and ultimately unrewarding. So this week, I will be approaching some of my clients with new packages that will outline a reallocation of my efforts, and I’m going to propose less Facebook posting.

In the Moz blog I linked to earlier, it was written that more content should be put up on a client’s Facebook page, but that approach seems to contradict the idea that engagement should be the social media manager’s primary tool in loosening the algorithms. If you’re bombarding your followers with posts, they’ll be overwhelmed, turned off and won’t engage with all of them anyway. Plus, you won’t be giving your earlier posts time to “breath” and pick up comments and shares, making it (supposedly) easier for posts to get past the algorithm gates.

Less Facebook posting on behalf of my clients will give me the time to explore other marketing avenues that have the potential to create even more exposure for their businesses. I won’t be asking for a raise, so I’ll have to figure out a new workload that will take roughly the same amount of time as it would for me to bang out the usual number of Facebook ads. What will the work include? It depends upon the client, but, for starters, I’m looking into utilizing other social media platforms more effectively and contacting local blogs, websites, and forums that allow free promotions as well. However, blogging on behalf of my client is another job I will pitch to them and, I must admit, it’s the one I’m most excited about.

In this informative article called “The Beginner’s Guide to SEO,” the point is made that blogs on websites can be a great way to garner clicks, thus improving the searchability of the site. (This might sound like a no-brainer to some of you, but remember, I’m the Village Idiot here.) For me, doing fifteen less Facebook posts a week and substituting that for a legitimate, on-brand blog post about, say, fashion, beer, or sports sounds, not only awesome, but genuinely justifiable as well. Like everything in this industry, this task will be a tough sell to a business owner who is very concerned with Return on Investment (ROI). But if they eventually see better website traffic tied to your blog when they study their analytics, you should be home free.

I’ll let you know if my clients go for it soon. I’d suggest you give it a try as well. You’re a writer too, after all. I’d also love to hear some more advice from you in the comments section below.

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Michael Stahl

Michael Stahl is a journalist, social media manager & strategist. Hailing from Astoria, New York, his articles and essays have appeared in several online and print publications. He is currently accepting new social media clients, so if you’d like to procure his services, contact him at mrstahl7@gmail.com.
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The Law of Large Numbers is the Digital Marketer’s Friend


The Law of Large Numbers is the Digital Marketer’s Friend
By Chris Abraham

 

Here’s the most poorly-kept secret in the marketing, PR, sales, and religious world: conversion is a numbers game. Whether it’s getting into the NY Times or going viral on YouTube, getting retweeted by @KatyPerry, or appearing on the 4th hour with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford. Numbers matter and we depend not only on the generosity of strangers to keep the lights on, we also depend on the law of large numbers to make sure we reach enough people in general through our ads, our mentions, and reviews to make our end-of-month, quarter, and yearly numbers, so that we secure that sweet bonus and the pool we promised the family. Eyeballs, viewers, readership, ratings: it’s all about getting in front of as many of the right people as humanly possible. N’est ce pas?

 

 
Why would it be any different when it comes to blogger and influencer outreach marketing? The conventional approach in outreach marketing and PR relies on converting just a handful of highly influential journalists, online writers, and bloggers who have a well established popularity and readership. The strategy here is to cajole, seduce, and woo between one and twenty five bloggers/journalists to report and write on your behalf.

The idea is that if you’re able to influence a top influencer, and thus garner their influence to earn the support of your product, mission, ministry, or message, then you will win direct, endorsed access to the impossibly large number of readers, followers, fans, and friends who hang on their every word. The expectation is two fold: the reputation of the A-lister will rub off on the messaging, bringing with it a (tacit) endorsement, and then unfettered access to a fan base that often does base many of their decisions on what the most popular reviewers are saying. If I can get someone like the esteemed and popular Mr. John Brownlee to blog about my cool new designer products, who knows how many people will queue up to place an order. And they just might.

But there are a number of catches to this perfect world:

1) How much time do you have?
2) How many A-listers do you already know?
3) How awesome is your product?
4) How compelling is your news?
5) How generous is your “gift”?
6) What is your goal?
7) Is it OK to fail, to fall flat on your face with a couple snake eyes?

If you’re going to do a top-down outreach where the goal is to influence top influencers, you’ll need some time, especially if you aren’t already in bed with the top influencers in your industry. Dropping a tip, cold, into the tips@ drawer at Mashable is not the way this business works. There are exceptions, but all the top A-list successes I have had have always been warm and hot calls.

So, how many A-listers do you know and when do you need to launch the grand announcement? Everything relies on not only the quality of your product or message, but also whether it’s newsworthy. And, if it is newsworthy, what’s in it for me, for the blogger, and for the reader? Will the post or article lend prestige or bragging rights to the author of the piece? Are you Aston Martin and did you lend your blogger a 2014 V12 Zagato sports coupe? Or, are you just trying to get someone to notice your new Android app; and, if that’s the case, are you prepared to ship out a bunch of prepaid Nexus 5s with that app already installed for their testing pleasure? That V12 Zagato’s a pretty generous gift, even if it’s just a day at a local Aston Martin dealership and test drive (or maybe even a ride).

Also, remember that there’s a lot of money, a lot of power, and a lot of big brands and global agencies vying for that limited time. Can you compete? Are you able to get through all the noise? Do you have the chutzpah? What’s your goal? Are you trying to drive brand awareness? Are you trying to drive sales? Or, be honest, are you doing it for SEO and link-building (there are many of you hiding there in the shadows). And finally, it is OK to fail?

The numbers game goes both ways. The fewer the bloggers you pitch, the lower the chance that anyone at all will pick up your story. There’s a chance that if you don’t have an in, you’ll come up with goose eggs at the end of your campaign. I know you’ll still cash the check — it’s not your fault, right? It’s the fault of the product, the campaign, the messaging, the client, the timing, the folks who just don’t get it, or the folks at Mashable who have doubled-down on native advertising and are so done with earned media. You’re on your way to losing your shirt, campaign, your client, and your reputation. What to do?

What I call the alternative to top-down, A-list blogger outreach “Long-Tail Blogger Outreach,” “B-Z-List Blogger Outreach,” the “Bottom-Up Approach,” and “Doing the Full Cluetrain.”

How does this address the problems? Well, it turns everything around. Instead of one to twenty-five powerful gatekeepers barring you from accessing their hundreds of thousands of potential eyeballs, you instead discover, collect, and message thousands of weak gatekeepers who are only barring you from accessing hundreds of their friends, families, and sometimes thousands of followers and readers. There’s this thing called Internet Rule 34 I like to quote, “If it exists, there is porn of it.” Same was with blogs: if it exists, there are blogs, bloggers, and passionate readers — no matter what the topic may well be. Be assured of it.

And, when you do find them, there are probably hundreds or thousands of them: and their associated hundreds or thousands of followers, readers, friends. And, since they are, generally-speaking, a lot further down the totem pole, a lot less used to corporate or brand-attention, and probably have been playing the lottery known as blogging in the slim but motivating hope that some day someone would notice their blog and validate them through appreciation, engagement, and attention. Every fashion blogger would love to be tapped by Gucci or Hermès to review their bags, every tech blogger wants to be tapped to test out Google Glass.

The way I do it is simple. I collect as many as possible of the blogs and bloggers who are germane to the outreach for the campaign, and only those bloggers who want to be engaged. I assume that if a blogger wants to be contacted, he or she’ll have his or her name and email somewhere on the blog. So, I personally reach out via email pitch, and I often pitch upwards of four-, five-, six-, seven-, even eight-thousand bloggers in one go. While I generally earn between seventy and three hundred blog posts when I reach out with this method, I also earn hundreds of tweets, retweets, Facebook and Google+ posts.

What’s more is the secondary effect which is in organic search. Earned media mentions makes Google very happy. Having several hundred earned media mentions discussing your product, service, or brand will have magical effects, not only on where you rank on Google, but also when it comes to defending your reputation online. All of these blog posts and mentions can really seize control of your first couple pages of Google, pushing out all the negative and irrelevant content.

Even further, you can use a long-tail blogger outreach campaign to insure against the A-list goose egg, the celebrity snake eyes, the all-your-eggs-in-one-basket fiasco of striking out with the top blogs. Even if you fail with the big boys, you surely can’t lose with the B-Z-listers, even if all of your multiple media mentions are deep in the D-Z instead of the A-C. Coming up empty is way worse than coming up a little light, believe me.

And, in my experience, if you can get a buzz started deep down in the feeders, the farm teams, the minor leagues, you can actually reach the attention of the heavy hitters from down below. Newsmakers are always doing the 2014 equivalent of keeping up with what’s coming over the news wire, and that’s often what’s flowing down their Facebook wall, their Twitter stream, their Feedly feed, or their Flipboard magazine. Journalists and A-list bloggers are generally curators of deeper news. If you can get to the deeper news sources by starting the buzz amongst the people, then there’s a good chance that you could well be the earthquake that resulted in a tidal wave. The equivalent of starting a wildfire of gossip through your own whispers.

Pretty cool, right?

The law of large numbers (LLN) is our friend when it comes to bringing people around to your way of thinking.

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Chris Abraham

Principal Consultant at Gerri Corp.
Chris Abraham is a leading expert in digital, including online reputation management (ORM), Internet privacy, social media marketing and digital PR with a focus on blogger outreach, blogger engagement and Internet crisis response.
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