Pinterest, the newest darling of social media, is no secret to individuals with a passion for home decorating, recipes, fashion, and more. We wrote about it back in September, as many of our bloggers were embracing the platform for personal use. With its recent explosion in unique monthly visitors, we now know that Pinterest has valuable legs for consumer and brand engagement.
In exploring branded content on Pinterest, it is clear that some brands are rocking it, while others either aren’t suited for the platform and its demographic, or have yet to develop clear intention and personality. If I were recommending Pinterest to a brand, here are some of the ”best practices” that I would suggest following:
2. Organize content for different types of consumers.
One of the differentiating qualities of Pinterest over other social platforms is the consumer’s ability to pick and choose which boards to follow. By organizing content with consumers in mind, brands have the ability to target niche audiences. Real Simple has created boards for family, weddings, and books, among many others - and followers have the option to view just the content that appeals to them.
3. Pin fan content.
Pinterest allows two-way communication between brands and consumers. Lilly Pulitzer, an early adopter of the platform, repins brand-inspired images on their Creative Lilly Lovers board, encouraging followers to share their own creations.
4. Offer insights on your products.
DIY and recipes find success on Pinterest by using an image to pique interest and encourage click-through to instructions and more information. Brands like Whole Foods Markets create an experience for followers by posting images of recipes to make using their foods, while still organizing the content in a visually appealing manner.
As Pinterest evolves and grows, it will be interesting to see how brands maintain active boards and create new and interesting content. Are you on Pinterest? What are your personal best practices?
All I want for Christmas this year is a Klout score of 50.
A girl can dream, right? But seriously, I can’t be the only one noticing all of the buzz about Klout in 2011.If you are not already familiar, Klout measures social media influence based on your ability to drive action. The score is made up of three parts: true reach - how many people you influence; amplification - how much you influence them; and network impact - the influence of your network.
Klout collects public data and measures influence on a scale from 1 to 100, with 100 being the most influential. Even if you have not signed up for a Klout profile, you have a score. Here at M Booth, my most influential coworkers are @RobLongert and @Martiello. Brands can have influence too. Everyone from American Express to Disney is in on the game. For individuals and brands, monitoring a Klout score can help you to measure success on social media and understand what topics are working and how to better engage.
Klout also uses topics to segment users based on influence in a specific area. For example, I am currently influential in Pinterest, Television, Food, and Photography (among other more embarassing topics, such as Justin Bieber). Brands can use topics to segment users and prioritize key influencers. Some brands even give away Klout Perks to top influencers in a specific topic. PR folks can find a goldmine of knowledge through identifying top bloggers and influencers in a niche topic.
While there are other platforms to measure social media influence, including newcomer Kred, Klout was the first and most recognized in the space. And to achieve my Christmas wish? It comes down to nothing more than consistently pushing out content that people want to share and respond to.
So won’t you please retweet this post or give me some K+?
In 1967, psychologist Stanley Milgram conducted the original “six degrees” study, using postcards and a network of friends and then friends of friends.
Fast forward to 2011, and the world is seemingly even smaller these days. New research, covered in the New York Times, looked at 721 million Facebook users. For perspective - this is representative of more than one-tenth of the world’s population. Using a series of algorithms to calculate the distance between any two people through mutual friends, University of Milan researchers found that the average number of links between two people is just 4.74. Within the United States, this figure is reduced to 4.37.
While mutual friends on Facebook may seem like weak ties, there are surely implications of this finding for social networks and brands using social channels to communicate with consumers. Facebook has found great success in helping people to communicate, as evidenced in the reduction of separation between users worldwide.
This is one of the most talked about articles in the social realm this week. For me, the question remains - is the world getting closer together, or is the definition of relationships shifting and attentuating to reflect new schemes of communicating?
I recently participated in a webinar from TravelAge West on targeting the family market and walked away with some great insights for PR professionals looking to reach out to this segment of the travel market. Here are a few key trend takeaways from the webinar, led by travel agent industry experts:
Families Are Increasingly Traveling: The family travel segment has experienced 50% growth year-over-year for the past two years, according to travel agents.
Grandparents Are In on the Game: 1 in 5 family travelers is a grandparent, and two-thirds of grandparents took at least one trip with their grandkids last year.
The Kids Are Calling the Shots: Children are now increasingly influencing the decision of where to go and what to do on vacation. Kids look for hands-on and experiential activities.
Summer Vacations Are Going Strong: 33 percent of families prefer beach or lake destinations, and 26 percent of families take a theme park vacation.
See the World and Take the Kids Along: However, exotic locations are increasingly popular. Africa, Asia, Mexico, and the Caribbean are all up-and-coming family travel destinations.
Convenience Is Key: When taking a family vacation, many travelers seek amenities that reflect the comforts of home. Villas and condos are popular for offering multiple bedrooms, larger living spaces, kitchens and laundry.
Live Like a Local: Family travelers are seeking destinations and hotels that deliver a full destination experience. Activities like dining in local family homes, or behind-the-scenes cooking classes with hotel chefs, offer insider experiences.
Bring the Whole Gang: The group travel sector is exploding, according to travel agents. There is huge growth in this sector, particularly for family reunions and destination weddings. Accommodations for large groups are increasingly in demand.
Sneak peek at iPhone iOS 5! Some of my favorite new features:
Top row, L-R: New lock screen notifications - unlock your phone directly to the notification of your choice. (Thanks, Lauren M.!)
Bottom Left: iMessage with other iOS 5 users, including delivery confirmation.
Bottom Center: Pull-down notification screen
Bottom Right: Reminders app, including location-based reminders.
What’s the Deal with…Pinterest?
I’ve been seeing a lot of chatter lately about Pinterest from several of the mom bloggers I follow, but upon quickly checking out the site, I wasn’t sure I really understood it. M Booth Digisquad to the rescue! After posting this half-joking Tweet and shooting out an email, several of our Digisquad ladies chimed in that they are big fans, and added some great insight. I’ll let them speak for themselves:
Lauren M.: Heather, Ellen, Gabs, Rachel, Lauren A and I have all been using it. I personally love it. Creating my own mood boards, places for inspiration…it’s quite the rabbit hole. I have noticed a lot of designers and stylists using it.
Heather: I really love it, but I’m still trying to figure out the dynamic between what I pin on Pinterest and what I would reblog on Tumblr. I feel like Pinterest is less selective - I could pin 30 things in an hour, but I wouldn’t post on Tumblr that many times a day. It is also less of a forum for original content and more for sharing links via the corresponding image. I’m interested to see where it goes - I’ve been registered for a while, but just started using it. They are supposed to be doing a redesign this week.
Lauren A.: So far, I love it because I’m a very visual person. I agree with Heather’s point (although I’m not the most loyal Tumblr user so I guess the comparison for me makes less sense) but I definitely pin more than I would ever hit “blog” or “reblog.” I felt a lot of pressure when I first started using it to make sure my boards looked full. I don’t follow many brands yet but I know Nordstrom uses Pinterest to highlight fashion finds.
Gabrielle: I use it more as a personal bookmarking system for things I like (outfits, interior design, recipes I want to revisit). Anything that is highly visual would do well on here. It would be interesting to see clothing stores upload lookbooks and push them out through a team of bloggers/influencers. When you click the image, it takes you through to the original site; however, there’s always the risk that people will only pin and repin and not ever click through to the branded site. This site would be an interesting way to find fans of certain categories (since you get to name your own moodboards) for a food, clothing, travel or housewares client.
Rachel: The reason I joined was because a friend who makes jewelry asked if I would pin some of her stuff to get it out there. I don’t follow any major brands, but smaller brands and fashion sites are taking part.
So there you have it! Check out a collage of the ladies’ lovely Pinterests above (see if you can guess whose is whose!). It should be interesting to see what brands jump on board next.
When I heard about a tourism social media campaign that involved my favorite city, Philadelphia (sorry, New York), and my favorite designer, Lilly Pulitzer, I knew I would be blogging before day’s end. As a part of the With Love, Philadelphia XOXO campaign by the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, the Le Méridien hotel has teamed up with local King of Prussia-based clothing company Lilly Pulitzer to reward the mayor of the hotel on the popular social platform Foursquare.
Visitors are encouraged to check in at the elegant Georgian revival-style hotel while staying overnight, dining at Amuse, the hotel’s chic brasserie featuring French fare, or enjoying a cocktail at Le Bar at Amuse. You can check out the hotel on Foursquare. On October 27, the final day of the promotion, the Foursquare Mayor of Le Méridien will be awarded a Lilly Pulitzer XOXO-themed scarf, valued at $118.
Philadelphia-themed Lilly Pulitzer print at the King of Prussia store
What’s great about this Foursquare special? I love the tie-in with a local brand that is known for staying true to its roots, and the special scarf tied to the City of Brotherly Love’s ongoing campaign is a great incentive to involve fans of the brand. In addition, the partnership between a tourism board, a hotel and a fashion brand is a great synergy for a social media promotion.
It’s no surprise to us that 98% of college students own a digital device (and that the other 2% are probably lying). But what is interesting about this infographic from OnlineEducation.net (via Mashable) is how technology impacts education. 3 in 4 students say they wouldn’t be able to study without technology. It’s not all writing papers and making Powerpoint presentations these days. Technology and social media is engaging students in new and effective ways.
In one study, students in classes who use Twitter to increase engagement score on average 5 points higher than in other classes.1 in 4 students use videos and podcasts as learning materials. In a realm traditionally ruled by books, technology is keeping pace in American higher education.
Looking toward the future, nearly half of all college students believe that tablets will replace textbooks within the next 5 years, and of those students who already own tablets, 90% believe they help them study more efficiently.
What’s the downside? In a University of Maryland study, a large percentage of students asked not to use media for 24 hours experienced symptoms similar to drug and alcohol withdrawal. But for the 38% of students who say they can’t go more than 10 minutes without using a digital device - you’re not alone. Here at @mboothpr, we’re just as plugged in. And while we may not be students, the learning doesn’t stop there.
“Can the great American journey survive the era of $4-a-gallon gas-and an economy that’s still not fully recovered? I think so. This summer, I’m taking to the country’s interstates, highways and back roads to prove it can, exploring both famous Americana and the little-known, roadside inns and road houses, national parks and parking lot flea markets, searching out the stories making so many places in America unique. I’ll also be profiling the people confronting the change head on, whether they live in a city in recovery, a town facing an uncertain future or a Gulf Coast beach still negotiating the aftermath of the oil spill. From gas station worker to tech-savvy CEO, I intend to find out and to share their stories.”
I’m fascinated by the idea of traveling the country to take the pulse of the American people. I think about prolific documentary works such as And Their Children After Them, writer James Agee’s and photographer Walker Evans’s portrayal of sharecropper families in the South during the Depression. This was another era in history that the resilience of the American people gave way to a reverent documentary that holds an important place in our chronicles. What will Brady’s road trip discover about the state of Americans in a post-recession society? It’s a great intersection of travel journalism, human interest, and magnificently important documentary work.
But this is 2011, after all, so we won’t be waiting for a published book of retrospective ideas from the American Road. We are all in the “digital passenger seat” of Brady’s (sponsored) Ford Explorer, and can follow along the Eastern seaboard and beyond via Twitter and Gadling, the AOL Travel blog.The immediacy of such documentary work keeps it relevant and relatable. I love the idea of crowdsourcing ideas for visiting a new town via Twitter, or following along the road trip with a livetweet map (I don’t think this exists yet, but a fun idea nonetheless).
So far, Brady has visited Chicago, Detroit, and New York City. His work may be embracing digital media and sponsored by major companies, but his writing brings me back to the deeply revered documentary tradition of generations past. I will certainly be following along at TravelingTheAmericanRoad.com.