Tagged: pinterest

Looking into the Future: 7 Social Media Predictions for 2016

 

2015 was a huge year for social media innovations. Marketers once again saw changes to their algorithms, leading to a need for increased paid promotions. Facebook also continued their policy of curtailing posts that seem too promotional, making the number one social media site even more difficult to to budget for.

Twitter’s growth really began to stall in 2015 after seeing its peak growth in August 2014. Marketers began to shift their focus from this platform to another emerging and popular site, Instagram. With its 400 million monthly active users, Instagram became the new hot spot for reaching an audience in 2015.

But 2015 has come to an end and the changes to the social media landscape happening more and more frequently. Here’s what to expect for 2016.

     1. More Powerful Social Media Searches

In November, Pinterest announced a new search tool allowing users to zoom in on specific objects in a Pin’s image and search for similar objects or patterns. It works like Google Image search, allowing users to find products in a new way. In 2016, expect other platforms to catch on to the idea of new and improved ways to search for content and technologies to change the way we use these sites.

     2. Live Social Broadcasts

Periscope didn’t exist in 2014, but by the end of 2015 it had become Apple’s iPhone App of the Year. With more than 10 million users, Periscope’s unique live broadcast abilities have become the new way to interact with consumers. In 2016, Periscope will continue to grow, so expect to see other sites (Facebook!) to find ways to capitalize on this new technology.

     3. Buy! Buy! Buy!

Leave it to Facebook to find a new way to take our cash. In 2014, Facebook started a trend in social media that we felt through last year. Buy Buttons have recently become part of the interface of Instagram and Pinterest, so expect to start seeing these ads more often in your feeds and your budget.

     4. Video at the Forefront

Humans are visual beings, and we like videos. It’s the easiest way for us to learn and retain knowledge. Cisco estimates that by the beginning of 2017, 69% of all consumer internet traffic will be video, so marketers need to be starting a budget for video production for 2016.

     5. User Privacy Concerns

In 2015, about 32 million Ashley Madison users found out the hard way that privacy isn’t necessarily guaranteed online. With one of the largest hacks on record still fresh in their minds, social media users are now looking for assurances that their private information is, in fact, private. Expect to see major increase in protections offered from Facebook, Instagram and any other sites that store personal information like birthdates and credit card info.

     6. Incoming Messages

According to Forbes, the frequency of incoming messages are up almost one third from 2014. Consumers are catching on to a new way of connecting with companies, so expect to keep seeing an increase on incoming messages throughout the platforms. Don’t be one of the estimated 82% of brands who do not respond. Pay attention in 2016 and engage in a new way.

     7. Easier Publishing on Instagram

Instagram can be a time-consuming nightmare for social marketers simply because it must be used in real-time and is exclusive to mobile devices. If nothing else changes from last year, let’s hope Instagram has made Post Scheduling their New Year’s Resolution for 2016.

Use Pinterest as Your Marketing Partner

Pinterest-logoPinterest is now valued at 11 billion dollars after a recent infusion of venture capital funding. The user base keeps expanding and Pinterest is rolling out new changes that just might prove to help with your marketing strategy.

We’ve talked about Pinterest in this space before. Most notably about how Pinterest is not just for women – perhaps one of the greater misconceptions about the website. In fact, men are now the fastest-growing demographic. At last count, males accounted for 12 million Pinterest users. That is more than the subscription base of GQ, Esquire and Sports Illustrated magazines combined!

To get men (and women) to pin (and buy) from you, make sure your website has pages with your products and services that are pinnable. To do this, check out this Pinterest page on how to build a Pin It button.

So, here are some ways you can take your marketing up a notch with Pinterest.

  1. Take Advantage of Improved Search Functionality

Pinterest has recently updated their search feature. Search results are now more relevant to the user. So to make sure you are found in the new Pinterest Guided Search, always include descriptions in your pins and pinboards that are keyword-rich. Use keywords that are unique to you and your business.

You can even influence how your blog post images are found in Pinterest! When you upload an image to your website or social media site, make sure you include “Alt Text” for each image. Pinterest automatically reads this “Alt Text” when someone pins your image. When they do, your “Alt Text” becomes the default description for that image.

Additionally, Pinterest’s Guided Search looks at pin descriptions to determine which pins are relevant to show in user searches. So be sure your “Alt Text” includes keywords relevant to your business and the image.

  1. Enhance User Experience with Rich PinsPinIt-1cwcc34

A Rich Pin is a special pin that offers more information than regular pins on Pinterest. There are five
types of Rich Pins: Article, Product, Recipe, Movie and Place.

The most likely ones for business use are the Article, Product and Place pins. These are not just for big brands. Bloggers and website owners can add Rich Pins to their content.

As an example, an Article Pin could include a blog post headline and the article’s introduction below the image. A Place Pin could show a map of your business location and driving directions. Once you have added Rich Pins to your website and blog posts, the data populates to Pinterest when someone pins your image.

There are three steps to adding Rich Pins to your online content.

  1. Add Open Graph or Schema.org markup to individual posts or pages of your site.
  2. Use the Pinterest Rich Pin Validator to make sure Pinterest sees your Rich Pin data.
  3. If Pinterest gives you the thumbs-up, click “Apply now” in the validator to submit your Rich Pin to Pinterest. Make sure to select “HTML tags” when you’re applying.

If your blog or website is built on WordPress, use the Yoast SEO plugin to add Open Graph data to your posts for the most Rich Pin types. There are several WordPress plugins available to make the process easier.

Learn more about Rich Pins with this Pinterest article.

  1. Buy Promoted Pins

Yes! Pinterest is launching advertising! Using the Pinterest Promoted Pins program, you can get your pins placed in other users’ feeds.

Promoted Pins blend seamlessly ith other non-paid pins in a user’s feed. At the time we posted this blog, Pinterest ad prices are considerably less than other social media sites. The Promoted Pins program is only available to U.S.-based businesses at this time.

One blogger and graphic designer is using Promoted Pins to direct users to a blog she posted with a call-to-action for a PDF of the blogger’s branding guide.

The blogger is getting a 74 percent opt-in rate on that blog post. That means a huge majority of Pinterest users are signing up for the guide after reading the post. With similar Promoted Pin campaigns, the blogger brings in 800 to 1,000 new subscribers every month. All this for less than $125 for the Pinterest ads.

For information on how to set up Promoted Pins, which will help you reach more people on Pinterest, see this Pinterest page about starting your first campaign.

  1. Prepare for Pinterest’s Buyable Pins

zcXeRe7MiIn early June, Pinterest announced they are going to allow users to buy products directly from the Pinterest Mobile App. Once launched, users will see a blue “Buy It” button on items that are available for direct checkout through the mobile app.

If you use Shopify as your shopping cart service for your website, you can get the “Buy It” button for your products now. You can also get on the waiting list for Buyable Pins by clicking this link. Pinterest will alert you when Buyable Pins are more widely available.

Click here for more information on Buyable Pins

Embedding big and bold graphics and images into your online content is more important than ever. Images encourage your users to share your work and Pinterest is a great place to share. There are many tools and resources to help you create compelling graphics. If you’re not an artist, or if you are not on speaking terms with a cousin who is, check out Canva for a free, online design your own graphic website.

You can also find high quality, royalty free, stock photography to purchase at Dollar Photo Club. All photos are just a dollar.

You can also find graphic artists that can design for you at Fiverr where prices start at just $5.

The Pinterest user base is growing; with these new Pinterest tools, now is a great time to consider adding Pinterest to your marketing mix. Your current and potential customers are on Pinterest looking for content and products like yours! Let them know you have what they want!

Pinterest for the Skeptic

pinterest-icon_logoYou have probably heard about Pinterest and may wonder why we even mentioned it here at Engage Target Media.  Well, with over 70 million users, it’s worth paying attention to Pinterest.

Right now, Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+ … combined.  And contrary to what many believe, that traffic is converting.  The reason?  Many use Pinterest specifically for product and content discovery.  Basically, Pinterest is a powerful tool for any business interested in ecommerce.  If you have been ignoring Pinterest, allow me to explain how you can use it can help grow not only your social media presence but also your business.

Just one example of a small business that succeeded with Pinterest is the “100th Day of School Ideas for Teachers.”  The pin pointed to a sales page for a one-dollar digital download of a worksheet for elementary school teachers to celebrate the 100th day of the school year.  According to the sales page, that simple worksheet image has been pinned more than 10,000 times!

Now, before you say the content is just for women – many businesses are gearing their Pinterest content specifically for women.  The men are coming to the site, but now is the time to grow your followers on Pinterest.  Can you think of a better way to increase your female customer-base?

Here are a few simple steps to drive more Pinterest traffic for your small business.

1.  Create a new page on your website or post to your blog geared specifically to your target audience with a ‘killer’ headline.  Remember to make it female friendly.

2.  With your content and headline in mind, create a visually interesting badge for your post.  This must be something that will catch people’s attention.  Your badge should include an interesting photo or background image — preferably, something that ties into the subject of your web page or post.  Position the headline prominently on the badge in a font that stands out and is easy to read.  Include your website’s domain name in smaller font, at the bottom of the badge.

If you’re not an artist, look for a tutorial on YouTube or other ‘how to’ website for tips.  You don’t have to have an expensive graphics program either.  There are websites that allow you to design images for free.  On website – PicMonkey – allows you to upload your creation directly to Pinterest.  Your badge should really jump out at the reader as soon as your readers land on the post or page.

3. Once you have completed your web page or the blog post, embed the image you created at the top.  This will really stand out over plain text.

4. Now you are ready to tell the world.  Once your content is published, it is time to pin it to your own Pinterest boards.  Use the badge you created for your web page or blog post on all of your social media sites.  The consistency it adds not only confirms visitors have reached the correct page, but it also adds unity to your content.  You should always tie in the artwork from your social media to your website and blog posts.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 11.48.28 AMWhen adding the badge to Pinterest pull a strong, interesting quotation from your web page or blog post to include it in the pin description.

Also, pin the image to several of your Pinterest boards during peak pinning times.  Early morning and late evening are often best.

You should also consider pinning your badge multiple times.  It is okay to put it on several boards over the course of a day – or several days – to get the attention of as many Pinterest users as possible.

These are just a few of the things you can do to help build your Pinterest following and help drive traffic to your website or blog.  This in turn will help build your customer base.

Choosing the Right Network for Your Business

Hand holding a Social Media 3d SphereWe spend quite a bit of time explaining what to do and what not to do when it comes to your social media strategy.  From what times to post, how to use certain networks and how to maximize your pages engagement, we like to cover our bases in social media.  We haven’t, however, really talked about choosing the social networks that best fit your business.  We strongly advise against joining every social network with your business because you will end up spreading yourself too thin. Instead, focus on the networks that are most active for your industry and will suit your business best. I’m going to break down each of the most popular networks by what they can do for you.

Facebook: The most popular social network across the board, so it would be very advantageous to have a page here if you already don’t.  Facebook offers the ability to post various multi-media like photos and videos with ease. Another perk is that Facebook has it’s own metrics built in for easy monitoring, not to mention you can schedule your posts in advance. Having an active presence on Facebook is essential for small and large businesses alike.

Twitter: Has a large population as well, but more for updates and news. If you are interested in branching out, Twitter can help you reach a less targeted audience than Facebook. This is also the birthplace of the hashtag, so utilize them if you are going to tweet.

Instagram: Very popular with millennials due to heavy visuals. Recently introduced 15 second video capability to much success. Great for businesses that have tangible products or services. Also uses hashtags to reach a broader audience.

LinkedIn: Professional networking site. Profiles of users are based around careers and exchanging information.  Establish yourself as an expert in your industry here by getting involved in groups.

google-plus-1Google+: Not as many active users as other sites but great for the technical crowd.  LOTS of SEO benefits by Google automatically indexing any content posted to Google+. The interface is similar to Facebook for multi-media postings, so be sure to link your website with lots of images.

Pinterest: Like Instagram, a good tool for brand exposure with visual elements of products, services, etc. Followers can repin your pins, so great for putting on contests. Can be used to drive traffic to your website.

Youtube: The second largest search engine after Google, Youtube is a powerful social networking tool using video. Showing off your work, doing a product demo, or highlighting customer testimonials all make for great video and are a worthwhile investment for your brand.

We’ve just scratched the surface of what social networks can do for you, so be sure to look for more in-depth breakdowns of social media marketing on our Youtube channel or here on our blog.  Good luck and happy networking!

What to Ask a Marketing Agency

shutterstock_104707244We know that managing your company’s social media pages can be a time consuming task.

There are many media management firms that will take over your pages for a price. If you are thinking about outsourcing your social media marketing to an outside agency, there are several things you should consider before turning your pages over.

Firstly, can the agency use their influence to gain more traction for your brand and reputation? Ask about their understanding of influence and how to use it for media marketing. Does the agency have any connections that overlap to your industry? Do they represent competitors?

Don’t write off an agency just because they represent your competitor, as they should be constantly monitoring any brand they represent, and therefore should be in tune with the most cutting edge marketing solutions.

Another thing you should know is that the best user-generated content is usually produced by professionals.  Agencies generally employ copywriters who’s sole job is to write copy, or content, for publishing on various channels, be it blogs, facebook posts or tweets.  This is one of the benefits of outsourcing your social media and should be considered.  For most small business’s, copywriting is not something with a dedicated job position, so the time and skill to write good content is often overlooked or done poorly.

The last thing you should ask is if the agency will focus on specific digital channels for your business or try to cover all of them.

The best marketing strategy is to hone in on what will work for your business and not try to spread yourself thin.

Not every business is visual enough to warrant having an Instagram account but may benefit from a Pinterest page instead. Focusing your best content on select channels will ensure your audience is getting the most out of it, so make sure the strategy fits your business.

Third party marketing agencies exist to professionally put out creative content related to your business. If this is something your business is considering, don’t be afraid to ask what they will do for you.  After all, that’s why you will be paying them, not the other way around.  Putting your reputation in the hands of an outside party can be daunting, but if you find the right agency, it could be a match made in heaven.

Pin Me!

Pinterest-for-B2BPinterest can be a fantastic tool for sharing anything and everything relevant to your business! Here are some tips to follow to maximize Pinterest for your business:

  • Think visually: Across all social media avenues, posts with strong images attached to them get on average three times more user engagement as those with no images. This is especially true on Pinterest. The more immediately captivating your pin is, the more likely it is to be repinned.
  • Have a guest pinner board: Getting your followers involved in your boards is a great idea for small businesses. It increases your user engagement, makes your followers feel more personally invested in your brand, and gives you automatic feedback and insight into the interests and opinions of your audience.
  • Introduce yourself: As is true on all social media, your small business will have a stronger brand if it’s built on the actual people running the social media outlets. Introduce yourselves! Pin a photo of an employee’s face, attached to a profile or fun interview with them. Post one per week, and collect them all on a board that serves as a truly personal, vibrant company profile. It’s the Pinterest version of an “About Us” page.
  • Pin videos: You’re getting the idea by now that Pinterest is a visual environment. Post videos either produced in-house, or from relevant industry sources. This can either be content that directly communicates something from your business to your customers, or something you think would interest them.
  • Think Pictionary!: Promote deals with graphics. Translating any deals, sales, or special offers into smart-looking graphic coupons is a powerful way to boost their circulation and further develop your company’s brand as one that doesn’t just offer great deals, but looks good while doing so.

The most important thing to remember is exposure.  The larger the presence your business has on all social media websites, the more your audience feels like they can connect with you directly, so get online and start pinning away!