Monthly Archives: February 2012

A day in a life of a social media expert

According to a research done by AAL, there are a billion social media experts on the internet. Do you know what do they do on a daily basis? After “interviewing” more than 20 (actually none) experts, this is what I found out.

9:00am: Wakes up, check email, checks twitter, facebook and Google Plus

9:15am: Grabs coffee and check if people responded to their auto RSS tweets, facebook messages and G+ post.

10:00am: Reads Mashable and RSS reader.

11:00am: Watch videos of babies laughing on youtube.

12:00pm: Copy and paste email templates and send them to potential clients

1:00pm: Grabs lunch

2:00pm: Post tweets, facebook updates, google plus updates and Pinterest photos.

3:00pm: Work on info products about “how to make money with social media” and sell them to earn a quick buck.

5:00pm: Read more news from Mashable

5:30pm Watch videos of cats on youtube.

6:00pm: Buys the latest method on how to make money off the internet.

7:00pm: Grabs dinner

8:00pm: Continue working on info product/ blog post and finds out how others are doing it to sell to others

9:00pm-12am: Watch tv and head to bed.

This is what they do on a daily basis, except on weekends where they spend most of their time on youtube watching cat videos.

Disclaimer: I’m not a social media expert and this post is meant to be a joke.

Is Facebook making a radical change to online display advertising?

Leaked documents show Facebook making a radical departure from traditional online display advertising into a world where ads are conversations and brands automatically tell you which of your friends are already on their side.

Facebook appears ready to launch a new set of premium ad units, and, based on a review of documents which purport to describe them, the social network would seem to be doubling down on two core principles that mark fundamental departures from traditional advertising.

First, Facebook is making the new ads social by default, meaning they will automatically show users when their friends have already Liked the advertiser. And the new formats will draw their content exclusively from posts to brands’ Facebook Pages, rather from advertising copy written independently.

Combined, these features make two statements about where Facebook believes the future of online advertising lies–at least in its particular universe. It is saying that ads based on content, rather than messaging, have a better chance of hitting home, and that ads involving tacit endorsements from the people you know have a better chance of capturing your attention.

“When people hear about you from friends, they listen,” the Facebook materials say. “We’ll expand your ad with stories from friends who have already connected.” (“Stories” is Facebook’s shorthand for a wide varitey of interactions on the site. In the case of ads, it seems to refer to the fact that the ads will display which of a viewer’s friends have Liked the brand.)

Facebook has not commented publicly on the new ads (presumably they will discuss them at a marketing launch event in New York next week). But the materials describing the new units were posted to Scribd earlier this week. The news was first reported on GigaOm. The documents are below.


Companies that rock social

Pinterest: How It’s Being Used

How It’s Being Used
Perhaps the most powerful business application is the ability to post images of your company’s products on your Pinterest board and link them back to your website. It works as a sort of virtual store catalog.

But remember that this is social media. If you simply display images of your products without contributing other content or sharing other users’ pins, you’ll likely find that people don’t pay much attention. After all, no one likes a self-absorbed blowhard.

Related: Emerging Social Media Sites to Attract Users

But savvy social media users know not to get too promotional. For example, Whole Foods Marketpins pictures of delicious-looking food, food art and images of recycled or reused products to inspire customers to be environmentally responsible. Daniel Gordon, who runs Samuel Gordon Jewelers in Oklahoma City, pins pictures of his rings and watches, but he also has a board for images that make him laugh and other types of products he loves.

Driving Sales
Pinterest already is driving buyers to some websites. In the last six months, the retail deal has seen a 446 percent increase in web traffic from Pinterest and sales resulting from those visits have increased five-fold.

“We continue the Pinterest conversation with [the] members by following their pins, and we love to give feedback outside of the shopping category — whether that means commenting on a great recipe or [giving] a heart next to our favorite pet pics,” says social media manager Sarah Conley. “We also see Pinterest as a growing resource to better understand our members and the larger retail landscape.”

Is Pinterest Right for Your Business?
The site does have some drawbacks for businesses. If your product or service isn’t particularly visual, your images may not tie directly back to your brand. Pinterest also doesn’t offer business-oriented features, and its search function prioritizes pin and board subjects ahead of “people,” the category that brands would fall into.

The best way to determine if Pinterest could attract buyers is simply to give it a shot. Set up an account and start pinning things that are relevant to your business but not too promotional.

Related: How to Use Social Media for Research and Development

If you run a lawn-care center, for instance, pin pictures of landscaping you find online or snap in your community. If you’re a brick-and-mortar store, pin shots of the interesting sites and people around your neighborhood and photos you take at community events. You also can search through Pinterest’s categories and add some inspirational, funny or beautiful images you find.

Then, follow interesting boards and individuals who post images that inspire you. Once you’ve done some pinning of other people’s content for a week or so and attracted a few followers, create a new board of your products. Add descriptions and perhaps the price to the images. Make sure they link back to your website and start tracking as a referral source in your website analytics.

Next, try creating an image of a special deal or coupon just for your Pinterest followers. Upload it to a new board for Deals. Perhaps offer a prize to the person who gets the most likes or comments on a re-pin of the coupon, and then see who shares it the most. Don’t fret about creating multiple boards. People who follow you will see them all.

In a month or two, see if you’re getting referral traffic or sales. Depending on the results, you may need to tweak your boards with new images and words.

One thing is clear whether you’re on Pinterest for personal or business reasons: the best images — be they funny, beautiful or thought provoking — attract the most attention and followers.


Facebook’s Share of Display Ads Reaches 28%

Facebook‘s share of U.S. display ad impressions grew to 27.9 percent during 2011, according to comScore data revealed on Monday. It’s a sizable lift; the Reston, VA-based researcher estimated Facebook’s 2010 share of display ads at 21 percent.

Yahoo’s currently second with 11 percent of the market, comScore says, while Microsoft, Google, and AOL trail with less than 5 percent apiece. ComScore has placed Facebook No. 1 in the display ad impressions category since 2009.

As Facebook – which may file for a public offering as early as Wednesday – has grown to more than 800 million users worldwide, brands have gotten on board with vigor. The Menlo Park, CA-based digital giant has successfully courted Madison Avenue during the last two years in particular.

“Any time a site becomes so influential to the full digital landscape, advertisers are forced to pay attention,” comScore rep Andrew Lipsman told ClickZ News. “There was a time when brands thought of Facebook as a place for kids and teenagers. That’s obviously not the case anymore.”

Ads are coming to Facebook Apps

Users of Facebook‘s apps — for Android, iPad and iPhone — may begin seeing ads as soon as early March, as the company looks to gain an addition revenue source before it goes public.

Sources close to the matter say Facebook has already discussed proposals with advertising agencies, according to the Financial Times. Facebook began running sponsored stories in December 2011. Featured stories will appear in the mobile news feed — similar to Twitter’s promoted tweets — mixed in with posts from your friends.

In Facebook’s paperwork for its Initial Public Offering, filed Feb. 1, the company pointed to mobile as a potential revenue source — and warned that the lack of mobile revenue was one of the things that could harm it. Nearly half of Facebook’s 845 million users access the site via mobile device.

One source told FT Facebook would incentivize advertisers to link within Facebook, rather than directing users off-site.

Facebook will hold an event for marketers in New York Feb. 29, so we can expect announcements of new ways they can use the social network. Facebook is yet to unveil Timeline brand pages, although that move is anticipated in coming weeks as Facebook rolls out Timeline for all users.

Will ads on Facebook mobile deter you from using the service? Is a smartphone screen too small for promoted stories? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Who Do Social Media Ads Help Most?

Social media analytics provided to Mashable. 

Getting a celebrity to shill products during the game’s valuable advertising time can do wonders to imprint a brand in consumer consciousness. But that plan can also backfire, with the celebrities themselves overshadowing the products they promote.

Overall, David Beckham dominated Super Bowl XLVI. More than 85,000 tweets mentioned him over the course of the game, according to Simply Measured. But the Beckham-in-his-undies ad helped clothing retailer H&M, too.

According to Networked Insights, the soccer player gained four times as much of the conversation on Twitterand Facebook as H&M. But his presence still pushed the brand into the eighth slot of most talked about companies on the two social networks during Super Bowl Sunday.

John Stamos also gained four times more of the conversation than the brand he endorsed, Dannon yogurt. But unlike H&M, Dannon wasn’t able to parlay that into a significant share of the online discussion, finishing outside the top 10 according to Networked Insights.

Supermodel Adriana Lima did especially well for herself when she appeared in ads for Kia and Teleflora during the game. Lima gained about 7% of the celebrity ad conversation, according to Networked Insights, and the reaction on Facebook and Twitter was overwhelmingly positive.

But her buzz did not translate into major boosts in sentiment for either of the companies she endorsed. According to NetBase, Kia’s rate of positive mentions increased by just 0.1% on Super Bowl Sunday compared to normal, and there was actually a relative dip of 1.2% in positive mentions for Teleflora.

Interestingly, the three brands that grabbed the largest share of the advertising conversation were Doritos, Coca-Cola, and Budweiser and Bud Light counted as one, according to Networked Insights. None of those companies hired major celebrities, but all did feature animals in one ad or another.

Do you think it’s worth it for brands to shell out big bucks for major celebrities in their Super Bowl ads? Or are there better ways to make a splash? Let us know in the comments.


How Pinterest can benefit email marketers

Posted on February 2, 2012 by Christopher Penn

How can marketers use the power of email and Pinterest together to drive retail sales?

I’m sure you have heard, joined or read about Pinterest at some point in the last few months. Although Pinterest has been around since March 2010 and is still an invite only social network, it recently has been gaining a tremendous amount of traction and popularity.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Pinterest, here’s a quick primer. If you’re familiar with Delicious and other link saving services, Pinterest is a more visual version of those.

Pinning is easy with the Pin It button, a simple drag and drop browser extension. Pinterest is a great way to drive traffic back to your site. Each pinned photo includes a link back to the source site (you click once to see the pin page and again to see the source site). Most pins are photos, but you can pin videos too. If a video link is pinned, Pinterest embeds that video inside the pin. It’s a good way of spreading a tip when it has to be seen to be understood. Repins and likes share a common interest, making it easier to take the conversation to Twitter and Facebook to nurture the relationship.

Yummy Recipes

Pinterest offers a way for brands to build interaction with their audiences and to visually attract current and potential customers. Using the power of image, companies can create interest around products, display more in depth aspects of their business, and ultimately create more personal and visually pleasing social experiences for their audiences.

Once your business has created a Pinterest profile, get the ‘follow’ button for your website so that consumers are encouraged to pin your content and products if they choose. Like all social networks, it’s not simply enough to put the button there though. You need to give users a reason to use it. Interacting with users or giving them useful content that benefits them, beyond what you’re trying to market or sell, will go a long way towards making you more popular on the site. Use this opportunity to build your brand by linking and connecting to people who share the same style or by pinning images that inspire your company’s work. Showcase your style, what makes you different, what your brand stands for and use it as an opportunity to highlight your employees too. Putting a face to your brand is easily done with Pinterest.

Now let’s talk about how your company can utilize this platform to your advantage and drive retail sales.

Improve your click-throughs and spread the word about a new product.

Include your social media campaigns in your emails to build a relationship with your audience. Launch a daily pin theme or have a contest. At a minimum, have links to your Pinterest page in your social sharing section of your email.

Create a daily pin to promote your brand; these usually lead to repeat visitors.

Contests can engage your audience and also get them to your site, browsing your products and linking to them.

When pinning a product, add the product’s price in the description. Doing this will automatically place a banner over the image with the price listed and will also be shown in the gift section of the Pinterest site. This is a way of getting more of a direct response from marketing on Pinterest.

If you’re sending out a weekly newsletter or email, include something like, “See who pinned our products this week” or “Check out which of our products are getting the most attention (pinned) this week by other followers”, in your email linking them to a board you have created showing the results. This is a great way to listen to the customer and show them that you’re listening.

Pinterest’s audience is highly engaged and can easily contribute to your social media campaign going viral. Popular images (with links back to the original source) can get repined on hundreds of other user’s boards. The possibilities with Pinterest are endless. Get on board and start pinning!

Madison Murphy
Marketing Coordinator, WhatCounts

Social Media @ 2012 Super Bowl a Huge Success


The Super Bowl’s first-ever social media command center was an “enormous success,” according to Taulbee Jackson, who managed the host committee’s interactive communications hub.

A team of strategists, analysts and tech-savvy volunteers spent the past two weeks monitoring the digital fan conversation while working out of a 2,800-square-foot space in downtown Indianapolis just blocks from where Super Bowl XLVI was played Sunday. They chimed in as needed via TwitterFacebook and other platforms.

“The number of people we were able to reach was through the roof, more than anyone on the committee expected,” Jackson said in an interview the day after the game.

With some 150,000 people expected to flood downtown Indianapolis for Super Bowl festivities, the command center functioned as an innovative way to keep football fans informed and under control.

Jackson says it had a direct reach of about 49,000 people in the Indianapolis area over Facebook, Twitter,Foursquare and YouTube. Overall, the command center delivered some 1.8 million online impressions each day for the Indianapolis host committee.

Brad Carlson, the host committee’s vice president of marketing, told Mashable that he is “sure this trend will continue” as social media becomes increasingly widespread. The committee tapped Jackson’s digital marketing agency Raidious to run the operation, which Carlson said became a hot spot for tours by other event and civic organizations.

The team used advanced search tools and analytics to identify fans in need of help by indexing key words and phrases.

On Saturday afternoon, for example, a fan named Morgan Cooper tweeted to no one in particular that she was struggling to find somewhere to park. Less than half an hour later, someone at the command center located Cooper’s post and responded via the host committee’s official account with this message:

The link contained a map of more than 50 parking areas. That ability to directly respond to visitor concerns paid off — over the month preceding the game, fan sentiment about Indianapolis and the Super Bowl averaged a three-to-one positive ratio on social networks.

Excluding search engines, social media was the number-one referral source to the host committee’s homepage, ahead of the websites of the NFL and Indianapolis Star newspaper. The command center averaged more than 3,500 retweets and 2,500 Twitter “favorites” or Facebook “Likes” per day.

Jackson also said that, by monitoring the online fan conversation, his team was actually able to learn about several minor safety issues before even being notified by official organizations.

The two biggest operational surprises were an older and less nightlife-hungry audience than expected, according to Jackson. But the command center’s successes and surprises alike will be a boon to cities and organizations that look to set up similar operations.

“We’re really excited about what we were able to accomplish,” Jackson said. “A big part of our mission was to give this new idea a shot and establish a really good baseline that future committees and events can learn from.”

What other cities and events should establish social media command centers like this? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphotoLUGO

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