Posts Tagged ‘pinterest’

Predicting the Future is Key to Social Media Success

social_media-crystal_ballCompanies all over the world are either deep into their digital strategies and social media executions, or are at least starting to test the waters to see what all the fuss is about.

While both of these approaches are necessary and commendable to varying degrees, the problem lies in the fact that you need to recognize the landscape changes often and those who adapt succeed.

Social media is a world where nothing is static and you need to predict the future of the technology, industry and  what your competitors are doing to stay relevant and receive that much needed return on investment.

If you’re a digital marketer, try thinking about where social media was two or three years ago. Did you know about Pinterest or Vine, and  they would burst onto the scene as another digital marketing tactic?

Did you anticipate the changes Google would implement putting even more emphasis on social media? It’s okay if the answer is no, but going forward there’s real value in knowing what is coming around the bend.

It’s a medium constantly in flux. Organizations who were part of the first wave of Vine enthusiasts were rewarded. The onus is on you to be the first to jump on the next wave.

Remember you also need to predict what will drop in popularity going forward. Will Pinterest lose some of its steam or perhaps Google+ becomes the most popular social network in North America?

Strategically, you can’t surround yourself with psychics and fortune tellers. Instead, you have to monitor the industry and get your feet wet in different networks and technologies. Standing on the sidelines will not suffice.

Ask yourself this, the organizations that were the first to succeed on a new network that is grossly popular today…what drove them there first?

Nothing is outside the realm of possibility when it comes to social media. Drive the bandwagon and try to get off before the other passengers do.

Burberry: A Leading Social Media Fashion Brand

burberryWhile there are many brands doing great things with social media, some of the most successful brands are in the fashion business. It’s an industry  all digital marketers should pay watch.

Building a proper brand takes a savvy and experienced team of digital marketers.  As well, every brand need a strategy. Fashion brands seem to be great forward thinkers when it comes to social media.

Out of all of them, the best digital brand from the world of fashion might be Burberry.

There’s a few things that separate Burberry from the rest of their competitors. For starters, they have a fearless nature when it comes to trying new platforms; a tactic that serves them well and lets them be one of the quickest to build a social presence.

Burberry is very active and they seem intent on engaging with their fans and followers on a daily basis. Their work on Pinterest seems to be the most compelling.

The best thing Burberry does is they make their digital brand fully reflect the brand they have worked hard to build in the offline world. It feels high-end, exclusive and highlights products that any fashion aficionado should want.

As you can tell, there’s a lot to learn from Burberry and you would be best served by looking into what they do and how they do it.

What industries do you think use social media the best?

Pinterest: The King of E-commerce Influence

We all have our favourite e-commerce Websites or places that we go to when we want to find new, shiny things to buy.

Most of us have accepted that these sites influence us and introduce us to new products and services.

Facebook was seen as one of the most influential players when it came to consumers’ buying decisions, but a recent survey by BizRate Insight has unearthed a brand new development.

Pinterest is influencing buying decisions greater than any other popular forum.

While Facebook is still the king of all social networks (ignoring their recent stock market issues for a moment), Pinterest naturally gives people the fever and will to purchase products online.

This might be the best way for Pinterest to position itself going forward, especially as the expected competition becomes much more fierce.

As for any brand or marketing and communications department, this is where more time needs to be invested to discover an increase in e-commerce sales. You have to build tactics focused on Pinterest and the appeal of posting photos, videos and graphics.

As we all know things in social media change fast, but Pinterest’s hold on our buying psyche might only tighten as we go forward.

It would be a good idea for everyone not to resist but delve deep into Pinterest and find out if it is the best place for you to discover what you want to buy next.

More: Tara Hunt had an interesting post in Forbes about how Facebook is a social graph while Pinterest is an interest graph.


The Story Behind Pinterest’s Soaring Popularity

PinterestIt is difficult to catch lightning in a bottle, and this is particularly evident in social media where hundreds, if not thousands, of new services battle to become the next Twitter or Facebook.

As a result, it’s fascinating to get the back story on how a social media service managed to somehow capture the imagination of millions of peole.

Case in points is Pinterest, which after scuffling along, has become the latest social superstar with more than 23 million visitors a month.

At the Web Summit conference last week in Dublin, co-founder Paul Sciarra provided some insight into Pinterest’s history and how it connected with millions of users.

Keep in mind, Pinterest is not an overnight success story. It was around two years before it started to catch fire about a year ago.

Sciarra said when Pinternet launched originally, it was a different product. What they discovered from the people using it was how they liked to “pin” photos so they could come back to them later. In the scheme of things, it was a relatively minor feature but users liked it to Pinterest realized it was an opportunity to pivot in a new direction.

Based on this insight, Pinterest turned into the Pinternet we know today. Sciarra said while there are a growing number of similar services, Pinterest has been able to maintain its stature due to features such as Repin and Like, as well as the asymmetrical user interface that makes it easy to browse content.

The big question facing Pinterest is how it plans to make money. Sciarra, who left Pinterest last April, said the focus was always to build a “great business as well as a great product”.

“When you guild great business, you can continue to develop the product. We made a point form the outset to not just included strictly commercial content but a lot portion of the content share on Pinterest has some commercial interest,” he said.

“You will probably see additional ways for people to act on that content built into the platform. It will be a form of advertising but definitely not display advertising. It will be a way to show people content they will be excited about.”



Social Media’s Surprising Economic Power

The power of PinterestIt’s one of those stories that companies dream will happen to them: Rod Works, a home décor company with retail locations in the western U.S., had a moderate social media presence and no e-commerce on its site, but it did have a strong product line.

Then a woman named Lindsay, on her blog, Country Girl Home, posted a picture of a decorative rod from Rod Works over a sofa table last year.

That image made it onto Pinterest, and got re-pinned again and again. A pinner noted you could buy the fancy iron rod from Rod Works.

The company was inundated with requests to buy the rod. The company quickly got itself organized and got e-commerce tacked onto its site in a matter of months. When things were finally up and running in February 2012, it did great sales on the rod, and other items too.

The interesting thing about this little success story is how social media can transform a company, but it really can’t be forced. Having great products, loyal customers and solid customer service still drives success.

Rod Works didn’t actually leverage social media itself, but it was flexible enough to change its business when the masses came knocking.

While the company did have a social media presence at the time, it wasn’t pushing it very hard. Yet, it was able to respond to the power of Pinterest, and cash in on its power.

You won’t be surprised to hear Rod Works now has a nicely put together Pinterest page. And its clocks and wrought iron tchotchkes are actually quite pretty.

Referral: The New Sexy Traffic

PinterestTurns out it doesn’t matter how many visitors a social media site has quite as much as it matters how much referral traffic it generates.

Makes sense: while the owners of a popular social media destination might be thrilled to have visitors and members in the millions, those numbers don’t help businesses understand if their activity doesn’t drive people back to their home page, picture or story.

And one to watch of late in the referral traffic game is Pinterest. The latest numbers from Shareaholic, big fans of the referral traffic numbers game, says the visually driven social site is on the rise, capturing 1.19% of Web referrals compared to 0.85% in January.

It’s moved past Twitter, StumbleUpon, Bing and Google (not its main search engine but other sites such as Google+.

FYI, it’s the main Google page that’s really running the referral traffic game, with 46.8% of referrals, but that’s down from 48.9% in January. Facebook is a big player too with 5.65%, the biggest social media site on the list.

StumbleUpon and Twitter are based on the idea of referrals: you come here, we send you elsewhere. The fact that Pinterest is surpassing them is of major interest. It’s amore proof the pinning site, which has more than 12 million users, is really capturing imaginations, and clicks.

And more evidence that the value of a social media service can be measured in a myriad of ways. For those who hang out, it’s about sticking around and chatting. For those who want to promote a business, it’s about clicking out.

The Fancy Piggybacks on Pinterest

Another day, another popular social media network has arisen.  The Fancy has gained a lot of steam from fans of Pinterest and avid fans of online shopping.

Similar to Pinterest, users of The Fancy are asked to publish photos of things they love. But unlike Pinterest you can purchase the items that pique your fancy. Pretty clever.

The Fancy claims to have about $50,000 (a disputed number) of merchandise and travel purchased per week, a number that will likely rise in the near future. Whatever the real profits at this time isn’t a big factor, the elements for success exist.

Let’s be honest, social media needs more creative forums, and The Fancy hopes to join Pinterest in the elite second tier.

The trick to this new shiny social media toy may be the promotions and offers. Couple this with the functionality of the website and the user base, and it could reach some great heights.

There are some negatives to The Fancy right off the bat (beyond the muddy financials), primarily that to add an e-commerce element, you need more than photos. Most users want context before making a purchase.

Another potential downfall is there is inherently less personal attachment than Pinterest. Pinterest’s bread and butter is the use images to extend your personality to the public. When you add shopping, you lose some of the personal element.

As well, The Fancy’s Website looks like a classy WordPress template, and not much more. This is where they can learn a lot from Pinterest.

Have you heard of or checked out The Fancy yet? Does it heighten the online shopping or pinboard experience?

Who Owns What on Social Media?

Who owns what?

Consumers love social media sites because they offer free services we can access just about anywhere, anytime, and do what we like there. But we pay for the service in a number of subtle ways. One being the right to own what we create.

The debate over copyright materials posted on social media sites seems to come and go, and rear up again every time something changes.

For instance, the recent revelation that Twitter is making billions selling its comprehensive archives of tweets — data that, taken cumulatively, has the power to predict election outcomes and consumer spending — has given many individual users pause.

This is because Twitter won’t let you see your own archived posts. Within a week or so, an individual’s Twitter feed drops off the computer screen and goes into the pool of the billion or so tweets written every month on the site.

This is in contrast to Facebook, which lets you see all your old posts and messages. Mind you, you’re “paying” for this service via advertising and the selling of your information, but just in different, but still potentially worrying, ways.

Over to Pinterest, the image-driven social media site that has consumer-driven types posting pictures of their favourite shoes, dream wheels, hairstyles and celebrities.

The legal community has been having a good time of late debating the legality of posting copyrighted materials without giving the creator credit, much less asking his or her permission.

Talk of “fair use” and questioning whether anyone would ever bother to sue for posting a photographer’s shot of a wedding dress are offering much fodder for debate.

On an intellectual level, many of us care whether we own what we create and we don’t want to exchange these rights for a free service, or undermine anyone else’s copyright for our own amusement.

But in the digital age, creative ownership is such a grey area that few of us truly understand it, and understand it enough to get truly outraged about it.

Until there’s a case of true harm, or a nasty lawsuit, the notion of intellectual property will remain too fuzzy to impact our social media habits.

Social Media on the Fly

facebook mobileDuring last week’s much-discussed Facebook IPO, an interesting fact came out: more people are accessing the site from mobile devices than computers and laptops. In March, comScore reported that average user time on Facebook via mobile was 441 minutes compared to 391 minutes from computers.

That’s a problem for the world’s biggest social media hub because it struggles to put as many ads on its mobile app as it does on its web-based platform.

Instead of nesting them in an inoffensive sidebar as it does on the Web, ads run in people’s news feeds on their smartphones. It means Facebook needs to fun fewer ads, and those ads risk turning off mobile users.

This comes at a time when North Americans are falling fast for smartphones. In fact, we’ve adapted to this new technology faster than any other in our history.

For social media sites, the rapid rise of smartphones poses two serious challenges: making sure the site’s corresponding app has user appeal and securing a revenue stream that works on tiny screens.

Facebook’s Mobile Experience is “Clunky”

Clearly, Facebook stumbles on both counts. The site’s mobile version is clunky. Try finding your message inbox and moving between home and friend pages — it’s not smooth.

Compare this to Twitter. The site thrives on the move. You don’t need a lot of space for 140 characters, and a key use is registering your observations when you’re out and about. Last fall, 55% of users were using Twitter on a mobile device. Soon after, the company’s CEO, Dick Costelo, announced mobile was growing at 40%  a quarter.

Twitter Driven by Data, Not Ads

Another plus for Twitter: the site makes its money from data mining, not ads, so there’s no need to cram them on the page. And as the site’s mobile users grow, so does its ability to gather consumer sentiment from every corner of users’ lives — further bolstering the data side of the business model.

Meanwhile, Pinterest (and its new crop of imitators) have struggled to go mobile. The popular visual site was late to market with its mobile version. By nature, the site is all about using screen space to display images. Being able to take shots on the fly and upload them is a benefit, but it doesn’t seem to be enough to truly drive mobile traffic.

However, the $100 million investment that Pinterest got last week from Japan-based Rakuten is all about bolstering its mobile presence.

Moving forward, social media success is going to be all about nailing the mobile market. It’s a category that’s even newer than social media itself and just how we combine the two is a topic that’s going to attract more study, analysis and, in the end, money.

What’s the Next Great Network?

Here’s a thought: what’s the next great social media network waiting to be deployed and, in the process, turn the industry on its head.

This is an interesting exercise for anyone looking to be on the cutting-edge of the fast-changing world of social media, which relies of the ingenuity of all kinds of people and entrepreneurs.

One idea struck me but it might be far too out there to gain any traction: a social network in which you could only speak to another user, via YouTube videos that already exist?

For instance, if someone asked what is there to do in Toronto, you could only reply with a video which featured the place you wanted to recommend.

This idea may be out there but but several years ago the idea of micro-blogging using only 140 characters seemed too silly of a concept to ever take off.

You can’t simply find a round of financing by simply offering to build the new and shinier Facebook. Many have tried, but it took newcomer Pinterest to really show us a new way to connect with people and the things we love.

Maybe my idea would only work in spurts, or maybe it needs to be tossed in the trash. Someone will find a way to engage the social media world in ways we can’t possibly imagine today. How about a network where you can only communicate after designing your own memes and emoticons?

Rack your brain for a minute, what’s your idea for the next great social media arena for all of us to play in?