Social Media Scales of Engagement

08/09/2012

Scales _ freedigitalphotos.netThis week I was called to jury duty. The Honorable John Doran, Jr. presided.

A jury selection is much like making a film or a commercial. There are a lot of stops, starts and waiting around while lawyers and judge side-bar conversations that you can't hear but would so love to be invited to the party. Voir dire (questioning the jury panel to establish suitability) of the 50 member panel took over a day.

Much like the beginning of a focus group, to help respondents develop a comfort level for future complex questions, the defense attorney asked what I thought was an interesting multiple choice question.  How did we feel about our day in court?

1. Excited to be part of the process

2. Interested in the process

3. Anxious or apprehensive 

4. Frustrated or perhaps a little resentful

An ah ha moment. Each of these feelings could be held by people new to social media or even challenged with taking social media initiatives to the next level. The big realization .. we rarely stop to acknowledge and address these concerns before we plow into creating strategies and executing tactics. The results can be too many side-bar conversations that add time and dollars to our process.  

Several times Judge Duran offered explanations about the proceedings that brought context helping us not only understand the legal whys of the Court but the humanity of the judicial system. I suspect this was also his way of easing the boredom of the wait .. his and ours.

As a group, we were engaged with Judge Duran but on a passive basis. That is no one commented or asked a question. Our thoughts were our own not encouraged to be shared.  One might say we were a captive audience and the good judge held our attention because he provided a distraction from the tediousness of the day.

But .. he spoke to us about what he obviously cared about and showed us his humanity. How can you help but engage with that type of person?

Later that night I conducted a directed discussion with a group of Millennials about their Facebook habits. Although Facebook of course encourages interaction through likes and comments, the feedback was that a like did not necessarily equate to brand engagement. And most certainly a random like could not be taken at face value to gauge brand loyalty. 

We discussed brands that drop multiple daily status updates that are little more than thinly veiled ad disguises.  Where is the humanity in that?

An ah ha momement. As a marketer living in the age of social networks I think about what engagement means in terms of bringing a brand to life.

How do we know a like from a passing post in a customer's stream was clicked while multiple tasking or to ease the bordom of the day? We don't. Yet we make multi-million dollar decisions based on what equates to a teeny percentage of our base of page likes. 

Just asking ..

1. Are we tipping the social media scales of engagement with wishful thinking that likes = engagment = expanded awareness = monetization?

2. Are we taking the easy way out, of a complex situation, to justify our activity in social networks?

3. Are turning one of the most exciting and innovative communication stategies of 21st century marketing into another mundane messaging channel? 

4. Are we missing the opportunity to create authentic people-to-people engaged relationships? 

But .. he spoke to us about what he obviously cared about and showed us his humanity. How can you help but engage with that type of person? 

Interestingly, it's a lesson that the Food Network is also learining. People relate to people.

Perhaps some social media brand managers might take a lesson or two from His Honor. 

Graphic credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

38 Ideas For Your Pinterest Strategy

07/27/2012

Pinterest tipsPinterest continues to fascinate me by it's simplicity and ease of use.

However, if you peak behind the curtain it holds a similar sophistication to that of Twitter. Who would have thought we'd call a 140 text platform sophisticated communication?

Where this new visual social network will take us is the guess of crystal ball gazers and social media pundits. Neither of which am I.

I'm just a working gal who loves, not necessarily the technology, but the promise of what it can do to bring business back to the corner grocery story relationship. (C.B Whittemore's post) For me the two driving benefits of social media have always been:

  • 1. Build and nuture relationships
  • 2. Tell the story of the brand through the people who are its heart: employees and customers

If you get those right it's a marketing two step along the way to making the cash register ring. Oh by the way, don't drink so much of the Koolaid that you believe a sales is a direct result of Only a tweet or status update or even a pin. 

As part of client work and creating workshops on Pinterest I develope a running list of ideas. Some are strategic and others more tactical but I thought I'd pass them along to help you frame your adventure (and it should be!) in the visual world of Pinterest. 

Strategy

1. Determine how graphics as linked to content can align with your brand values brand promise

2. Determine how Pinterest will support your goals and business outcomes

3. Determine if your Pinterest page will support a specific segment or the brand at-large

4. Critical: determine your content direction that goes beyond your brands or company messaging

Board and Pin Creation

1. Include search engine optimize key words in bio, board and pin descriptors

2. Link images that you upload to an appropriate web/blog page. Amazing how many people forget to include a URL.

3. First rule of Pinterest Etiquette: never change the source link of images ‘borrowed’ from a website not your own

4. Build your Pinterest page as if it were a book: boards = chapters, pins = content body

5. Create a bio board that can be used as a “media page” for solopreneurs/small business owners Bio board _ toby

6. Create media/news board for larger businesses

7. Arrange boards in order of importance and change as needed the order as appropriate. For example, your Fourth of July board can be brought to the end until next year when you can move it to a more prominent position.

8. In creating your pin look at it through the lens of a great ad: strong visual, headline that grabs, copy that supports.

9. Board names should be creative but descriptive key words are a bonus.

10. Identify sites will you not pin (from)

Content

1. Although your pins should reflect your brand values/promise (Strategy #1) not all pins should be directly related to your products, services or company (Strategy #5). This is so important that I felt it belonged in Strataegy and Content.

2. Three pillars of Pinterest content direction: inspire, inform, imagine

3. Test live pinning for events/tradeshows. If you can't link pins to a site in real time (at the event) go back at a later time to add those important URLs. Example: Oscar De La Renta Bridal Show .. it's really cool .. go on click but come back please. To view the story read from the bottom up.

4. Create collaborative boards with clients and colleagues. Added bonus multiple pinners increase awareness of the board.

5. Review content that you’ve posted in other social networks. How can it be repurposed for Pinterest?

6. Review content that is not on digital properties e.g. white papers. How can they be included on your digital assets such as websites or blogs so that you can include them on Pinterest? 

7. Test “pin it” contests. Keep in mind they will not come unless you tell them. Build an awarenss strategy into the overall plan. Example: Elizabeth Arden's PinItToGiveIt Cause Marketing used social media (Facebook, Twitter, bloggers) and traditional media (PR/Events-BlogHer). #PinChat with Christine Bennett, Manager PR for Elizabeth Arden. 

8. Use Pinterest to support campaigns and programs runnng in other media

9. Pin to help your fans “create” not curate their boards

10. Take your community “behind the scenes” of your company e.g. a day in the life of …

11. Be mindful of copyrights. If in doubt reach out to the author, artist and ask for permission. Bonus you'll develop new relationships. 

12. Protect your images with watermarks that include your URL or at the very least your company name. Example: Bella Cupcake  Pinterest Bella Cupcakes

13. .Create a board to tell the story of your company/brand. Great examples from the State of Maryland Pitch Contest. Check out the Diva Marketing interview I conducted with Zoe Pagonis, Governor Martin O’Malley’s New Media Manager.

14. Highlight employees in creative and fun ways that go behind “business” accomplishments e.g. pets, shoes, sports interests, favorite quotes

Awareness

1. Cross post on social networks

2. Follow the people who follow you. Note: Following boards versus pages may be less overwhelming to your stream.

3. Comment on people's repin of your pins. It's nice to get an acknowledgment and never know where the relationship or conversations might lead. My comment on Irene Turner's board let to a new author for All The Single Girlfriends and a great new friend.

4. Build “pinner relations” programs

5. Add Pinterest links to support your media releases

6. Since Facebook does not allow for 'pinning' if you upload a graphic that might make for a great pin consider serving it on your blog/website or Flickr instead. 

7. Add Pinterest link/Icon to Home page of your website And on the footer.

Research and Consumer Insights

1. Consumer insights for product development

2. Consumer insights support customer persona development

3. Completive intelligence

4. Consumer insights to understand meaning of the “ordinary” of every day life. For example what does "family" mean? 

Bonus: Be Strategically Fun!

Join me on Pinterest!

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

25 Social Engagement Ideas

07/05/2012

Engagement_man and woman
Engagement
Emotional involvement or commitment Merriam-Webster

Ever think about the words we use to discuss social media? Well, I do.

I find it fascinating that so many of the words we bring into "social media talk" e.g. humanize, conversation, community, listen support that this is a people first approach to marketing.

The brass ring, or perhaps it should be the diamond ring, that is based on likes, shares and digital conversation is Engagement. Social Engagement is one of the most highly prized words/concepts in social media marketing. It seems we use it all-the-time. What does it really mean? 

If we take the Merrian Webster definition of engagement literally, "emotional involvement or commitment", we can appreciate why for marketers, social engagment is important. Looking at social engagmement from this perceptive it is a significant value in building customer loyaty. Powerful. 

As with a traditional engagement social engagement takes time and relevant actions to build trust that leads to that emotional involvement or commitment. As we all know .. it's not as easy as it may seem. 

Last week I had the honor of teaching a two-day social media workshop in Chicago for the American Marketing Association. The concept of social engagement was a topic of significant discussion. Taking our cue from social media crowd sourcing the smart participants created a list of 25 ideas that they agreed I could share with you. 

The ideas fell into seven broad buckets: brand created content, fan/customer created content, social media technology, know your audience, promotions, additional channels and employees (one we often over look).

25 Social Engagement Ideas

Brand Created Content

1. Talk about product in different context that goes beyond a sales pitch

2. Highlight customer of the week/month

3. Provide something interesting to talk about

4. Inspiring quotes with images relating to brand values

Fan/Customer Created Content

5. Ask fans to create content and reuse

6. Poll/questions on existing social media channels it builds two-sided relationship. Idea: a one word answer

7. Jump start conversation e.g. ask a question

8. Testimonials including video

9. Feature customer videos about topics that may not related directly to your product or service but on a ‘side step life style topic’ or brand value. 

10. Post your events encourage and people to post theirs photos videos from the event

11. Funny “old” content that from your content archives

Social Media Technology

12. Make it easy to share

13. Drive mobile engagement

Know Your Audience

14. Fish where the fish are

15. Tap evangelists for feedback

Promotions

16. Contests/give aways/incentives to talk

17. Rewards for referrals

18. Build in sharing after purchase

 Additional Channels

19. Email footer

20. Tip of the month card tease (e.g. website, email, direct mail) .. drive to  social networks for more information and conversation. This will also work on cross social networks. For example use Twitter to drive traffic to Facebook for expanded discussion.

21. QR Codes on vehicles

22. Packaging and promotion materials

23. Custom wrappers

24. Nonprofit partnerships  programs that include charity donation by the partner as an incentive for Likes

Employees

25. Encourage employees to Like and Follow

Bonus: I'd like to add one more .. please participate in conversations. Jump in and chat with your customers/fans. Thank people who have taken the time to contribute to the exchange. If you're really daring join the conversations outside of your own brand's social network pages and blogs.

Let's continue the learnings. What is your hot tip on how to socially engage with your customers and prospects?

Pinterest State of Maryland Pitch Contest: Interview With Zoe Pagonis

06/18/2012

Maryland contest bannerSometimes we find innovation and inspiration in what may seem unlikely places.

Who would have thought that one of the most creative Pinterest contests would be developed by an institution not necessarily thought of as taking a lead in social media .. and definitely not on Pinterest. The U.S. Government. I know!

Toss of a pink boa to the State of Maryland, and specifcally to Governor Martin O'Malley and his communication staff! 

The Pinterest State of Maryland Pitch Contest asked entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses by using Pinterest to tell the story of their company.  A panel of business experts chose winners in two different categories: “Student Entrepreneurs” and “Boot Strappers. First place winners received MacBook Air and runner ups received an iPad courtesy of Baltimore Angels.  Partnership included: University of Maryland College Park, the Future of Information Alliance, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development and the Baltimore Angels.

 ZoeZoe Pagois graciously agreed to tell us the back-story.

About Zoe Pagonis - My name is Zoe Pagonis. I am Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s Communications and New Media Manager and am responsible for making sure that we are taking advantage of every possible tool to best communicate with our citizens.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  What I’m most curious about is the why the State of Maryland chose to create a Pinterest Pitch Contest to bring attention to the small business owners of the state. Note: Submission boards.

Zoe Pagonis: Governor O’Malley’s number one priority is creating and saving jobs and as an administration, we’re constantly looking for ways to showcase our small businesses and encourage entrepreneurship. As one of the fastest growing social networks, Pinterest seemed like a natural fit for bringing attention to our small businesses and showcasing all that the State of Maryland has to offer.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Pinterest and contests go together like PB&J. However, your approach was not only unique but it supported what social media, on any platform, is all about: telling the stories of the people who make up the brand .. both customers and employees.  Please tell us your behind the scene story of how the concept evolved.

Zoe Pagonis: Our office is always looking for new and innovative ways to connect with our citizens so as Pinterest grew in popularity, we created an account and used it to showcase what we’re doing in State Government (and also give people a behind the scenes look at who the Governor is as a person—he’s an avid reader!) In our State, we’re also blessed with an abundance of incubators and diverse centers of higher learning.

A few months ago, the Governor was scheduled to attend the University of Maryland College Park’s entrepreneurial Invitational and Cupid’s Cup Competition. In pulling together information about the event, we came across “Tweet Dingman” which was a unique competition that asked entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses using 10 Tweets.  This contest sparked the idea to use Pinterest.

The rest was a great collaborative effort and an eye-opening experience of just how many people in the State of Maryland are willing to lend a hand in support of local entrepreneurship.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  What were your goals for the contest?

Zoe Pagonis: The main goal of the contest was to highlight entrepreneurship in Maryland by using an innovative new technology. We also wanted to showcase our partner organizations and support entrepreneurs by connecting them to these great networks.  

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Were the results what you had expected?  

Zoe Pagonis: The results were better than I had expected. We had submissions from people all over Maryland of all ages. We even had three that came from students under the age of 13. I was also very impressed by the collaborative efforts of the judges and how willing everyone was to help with the contest in the name of supporting Maryland entrepreneurs.

Diva Marketing/Toby: I loved reading the “stories” from the businesses. The creativity that went into their boards was amazing. What surprised you about the submissions?

Zoe Pagonis: I was surprised most by how many talented individuals we have in the State of Maryland and equally delighted to see the three entries from the young students.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Pinterest provides interesting consumer insights. Are you doing any type of analysis to mine that data?

Zoe Pagonis: We are still very new to Pinterest and are exploring all of the ways we can use it as a tool to connect with more Marylanders. As with all of our new media accounts, we monitor the feedback and use it to guide our decision making.

Diva Marketing/Toby: With any social network initiative there are risks associated with active participating especially from the point of view of a government entity.  Did you get push back? What was the reaction from the lawyers?

Zoe Pagonis: One of the criteria of the contest was that the pictures be unique to the individual or that they use proper attributions.  We consulted with experts in the business community on the guidelines of the contest before moving forward.

Diva Marketing/Toby: It seemed to me that when the contest launched, the State of Maryland’s Pinterest page was fairly new. How did you create awareness with your target audience?

Zoe Pagonis: We relied heavily on our partners and existing social channels to spread the word about the contest. Governor O’Malley also announced the contest at the University of Maryland’s Entrepreneurial invitational event which helped to generate buzz.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Thinking about the entire campaign, what would you do differently?

Zoe Pagonis: We had help from a few partner organizations but in the future, I would reach out to every business incubator in Maryland and associated organizations for help in promoting the contest.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Let’s shift gears slightly and talk a little about your boards in general. There is even a board for Govenor O'Malley. Wondering what benefits he sees in social visual communication over other channels of communication?

Zoe Pagonis: All forms of communications are important and we’re always looking for the most effective ways to connect with citizens and share resources.

Diva Marketing/Toby: In terms of content, are you pinning from only Maryland State owned images or are planning to include citizen images too?

Zoe Pagonis: At the moment, we are posting images and videos about our programs and resources but we are exploring all options–including citizen generated content.

Diva Marketing/Toby: One of the big questions that I’m asked is how do you find time to include another social network into your communication outreach? Would you give us an idea of the resource structure (people) and approximate time you’re investing?

Zoe Pagonis: Social media is highly integrated into our overall communications strategy and we see it as a great way to amplify our existing message. As the number of networks expands, it does become more difficult to keep up with everything but we focus our attention on the resources that we think will help us do the best job in communicating with Marylanders. As the fastest growing network that was driving a significant amount of referral traffic, we knew that we wanted to be on Pinterest.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What lessons learned can you share with us from your overall experience with Pinterest from both the contest and the overall board management?

Zoe Pagonis: Pinterest is great in that it doesn’t require as much time. You can update it less frequently and still achieve your objective of driving traffic to your resources. For the contest, it was a great platform for showcasing our small businesses. The images lended themselves well to telling a story and we’re going to continue to look for more opportunities to use the platform in the future.

Diva Marketing/Toby: To wrap this up what’s next for the State of Maryland Pinterest’s boards? Maryland contest gov omalley et al
 

Zoe Pagonis: In our Administration, what’s next is anything that’s innovative, cost-effective and works to amplify our existing resources. We see Pinterest as one of the many ways we’ll continue to connect and how we use it will depend on which of Maryland’s great entrepreneurs invent the next Facebook or Pinterest!

Congrats! to the winners of the Maryland Pinterest Pitch Contest. 

Student Entrepreneur Category:

First Place: GB Wallets

Second Place: Discrete Secrete Solutions

Bootstrapper Category:

First PlaceBeerGivr

Second Place: Mission Launch

Continue the conversation with Zoe!

Governor O'Mallye on Pinterest |Govenor O'Malley's Website|Zoe Pogonis on Twitter

Graphic credit: MD Govpics Flickr

Join me on Pinterest!

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

10 Reasons Avon Is Not Too Late To The Social Media Party

05/14/2012

Avon good housekeeping oct 1953

In 1886, Mr. D. H. McConnell launched what was to become one of the most beloved brands... Avon

Let’s flash back 126 years when women were expected to be housekeepers, wives and of course mothers. In steps a man who defies convention when he builds his sales force with a team of women. D. H. McConnell intuitively understood that as salespeople women could relate to other women and bring a passion to his new perfumes better than men. 

Based on its direct sales approach, which was built on developing relationships and sharing conversations, Avon has been called the original “Social” Brand. However, its competition has left it in the 18th century “social media” dust.

Avon has seen a 75% decline in operating profit over the last decade. A Wall Street Journal Avon sales stats article, Avon Is Late to Social Media’s Party, reported sales for cosmetic products have steadily moved online. Although Avon does have online channels it's not been as aggressive as other cosmetic companies.

Recently Warren Buffet and Coty experssed interest in this iconic company now in crisis. In a 5/13/12 media release Avon said it would  "..consider Coty's letter.."

Update: 5/14: Coty has back off of its offer. "Your total lack of engagement with us leads us to believe that you remain reluctant to explore a friendly, negotiated combination on a reasonable timetable," Coty Chairman Bart Becht said in a letter to Avon dated Monday and made public. "Two months is enough." - Reuters

When my pal and social media colleague, Rob Petersen, founder of BarnRaisers and co-writer of this blog post, invited me to collaborate to bring Avon some 21st century social media ideas I was there. So Avon bebe .. this one is for you! 

10 reasons Avon Is Not Too Late To The Social Media Party

Subtitled: But the clock is ticking, the cake is getting stale and the tinis are getting warm.

1. BUSINESS STRATEGY: Of any brand, Avon has one of the most powerful social business strategies available. They have a brand community of  5.8 million reps. There are great examples of brands that put their community to work and turned their business around. Take for example, Harley Davidson. This may seem like an odd comparison but stay with us.

On the brink of bankruptcy in the 1970's, Harley Davidson overhauled their business to realize their most valuable asset was their riders. In other words, the people were even more important than the product so Harley: 1) Spoke to the shared interest of their community before product benefits 2) brought advocates together and let them help build new relationships. Avon needs a business strategy, not a social media strategy. Now, here's what they can put it to use.

2. "AVON CALLING" ONLINE COMMUNITY: Avon's famous slogan could now be a live, online community where their sales reps offer daily advice about Avon products, deals, help customers with a cosmetic question, refer someone to the Avon rep in their area and talk about who they are as people (e.g. where they like to go on vacation).

By the way, this is what Harley does daily at HDTalking.com, a customer created content community of close to 400,000 members.

P&G also has a highly successful online community, Being Girl, for their Tampax and Always brands that has achieved a 4-to-1 ROI over traditional channels. Avon even has an online community in the UK, Avon Connects, demonstrating they are not late to the party, they just need to join in.

3. "LIKE" US ON FACEBOOK (AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS): Every brand wants you to "Like" them and Avon has a pretty robust but commercial Facebook page that 660,000 people already like. They could use their sales reps more and show a human side.

For example, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, recently produced a video called "Likeapella" to celebrate the people who like them. Not to suggest that Avon do the same thing but to make the point that major brands need to use social media to make a more personal connection. Here's what Kraft did.

4. AVON CUSTOMER APPRECIATION DAYS (VIA TWITTER SEARCH): If Avon representative wanted to build 1-to-1 relationships in larger venues, they could go to high traffic locations in their area like a mall; then, if they use Twitter Search, they could find other women in the same mall and begin a conversation they very same way with the very same techniques they use when selling door-to-door.

5. KLOUT PERKS: With 5.8 million sales reps, they must have a very large number who have high Klout scores. Why not demonstrate to how powerful they already are in social media. Put this social influence to work and see how many rewards Avon reps can get through "Klout Perks." This would show how much social influence sales reps already have.

6. AVON PINTEREST: The newest darling of the social networks, Pinterest, aligns with Avon’s targeted female demographic. Online products provide Avon with the base for creating a Pinterest page that has multiple benefits from reinforcing community with boards that highlight new and seasonal products, provide lifestyle the “Avon way” with beauty to showing the caring side of Avon through its nonprofit work. In addition, likes, repins and comments offer Avon new consumer insights.

7. AVON PINTEREST CONTEST: Taking Pinterest one step further is the idea of a “Pin It To Win It” contest. Avon has the opportunity to engage with its customers in creative ways that includes both customers and sales representatives. For example, many of Avon’s products are colorful from its nail polish to lip glow. A red, white and blue Fourth of July themed challenge could create fireworks of fun.

8. AVON SALES REP SOCIAL MEDIA TRAINING: Avon has created an innovative online training program, Beauty of Knowledge, for their sales reps. Topics range from how to start your new Avon business to money management, logistics, goal setting and traditional marketing support.  However, in my research I came across sales reps who had posted on social networks the need and their desire for social media courses to be included in their training.

In April, I had the honor of speaking at the Possible Woman Conference about social media marketing. Among the brands represented, by over 400 women attending the event, were sales reps and leaders from Avon. I saw first hand their enthusiasm mixed with confusion and frustation about how to leverage social media. After one of my sessions an Avon rep spent two-hours talking about her social media efforts with a speaker from the panel.

Sidebar: Founded by the visionary Linda WindPossible Woman is an excting conference that brings inspiration and leadership training to women in business.

Although Avon sales reps are currently involved in social media many still have challenges regarding how to start and/or how to take their initiatives to the next level. In addition to the training we suggest that Avon consider developing a series of template models for Twitter, Facebook and blogs.

9. AVON MOBILE APP: Smart phones and tablets have opened additional eCommerce channels and created new ways to engage with customers. With the ubiquity of smart phones branded apps continue to grow in popularity. Research conducted by Women at NBCU’s Brand Power Index found that women are more likely to have gaming apps on their smart phone (75%of women versus 67 % of men). What fun it would be for Avon to explore developing a gaming app and of course, a mobile commerce app.

10. SOCIAL MEDIA MEASUREMENT: Including social media as part of a marketing communications strategy can help accelerate achieving your goals. However, with so many moving pieces, Avon doesn’t need more measurement, they to identify the ones that matter most, their Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and report, track and be prepared to take action on them.

Maybe, if Avon follows this plan, it would let Warren Buffet and Coty know just who they're dealing with .. a Top 50 Cosmetic Brand. No matter how this plays out Avon's legacy of empowering women will be part of history.

Avon ad 2012

Some great brands have turned their business around by realizing and reaching out to their strongest asset .. their community. After all, they call it Social Media for a reason.

What are your thoughts? Do you think it's not too late for Avon and their 5.8 million sales reps to join the Social Media party or is the cake too stale?

 

Six Tips on How To Make Your Website Pinterest Friendly

05/04/2012

Pinterest-triplePinterest. Pinterest. Pinterest.

There I've said it. Now I'm definitely out of the P-closet. That does sound a bit odd .. well you know what I mean. 

Couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of conducting a members only web cast for the American Marketing Association on Pinterest. The approach I took was a little different than the millions (not an exaggeration!) of webinars, presentations and posts that help you through the logistics of how to pin. Important no doubt but here at Diva Marketing it's a focus on the strategy and tactics versus the logistics.

 I have so much 'good stuff' to share that I thought a series on Pinterest might be fun. Oh no Toby not another Pinterest post! Well, yes but we'll look at Pinterest a little differently.

As my friend Barb Giamanco the diva of social media for sales said to me - I get B2C but other then showing the "human side" of a B2B company I'm not sure of the application benefits. So we'll explore verticals and brands that you might not think "fit" in a social visual communication network.

Social Visual Communication

Vocabulary matters. No more pinboards when you talk to the C-suite please. 

A CMO of a prominent B2B company recently told me she thought of Pinterest as a game for moms and didn't consider a "pinboard" a serious business tactic. Rather reminds me of the days of when blogs were called journals or diaries. Love this quote:  Blog gone pinterest quote snappleface_3 

However, along the way we learned that if we thought a little differently that blogs could support business objectives. The rest, as they say, is social media history.

With Pinterest it's not only a matter of looking at the world a little differently .. but repositioning to include concepts and language that the C-suite (CMO,CEO) can understand and "get." As social media becomes more sophisticated and is integrated into the life style of our customers, it is no longer is a rogue tactic that flies under the radar and suddenly becomes the darling of the company. There is too much at stake. 

I'm suggesting that we use the term Social Visual Communication. 

We'll talk strategy, target market, customer insights of course. However, there are so many people that are off and running that I want to start inside out. With very basic website tactics. 

Pinterest tips

Six Tips on How To Make Your Website Pinterest Friendly

1. When you're planning content on your site include an image as part of each text article

2. If you're not serving videos publicly e.g. YouTube include a graphic near the video. 

3. Graphics should align with your brand promise and values.

4.Consider what images your target audience will feel comfortable pinning. 

5. Consider how your banner is created. If someone wants to pin your page versus an article is there a non flash image that can be taken? 

6. Last, but important since people are still hesitant to pin because of copyright issues*, indicate that you encourage pinning. Best placement would be above the fold. *Poll taken during the AMA Pinterest webcast .. 80% of respondents were hesitant to go forward with Pinterest because of legal issues.

Bonus if you're really forward thinking: I do believe the Pinterest format: horizontal, graphics, sharing will become integrated into websites as the norm. 

Pinnect - Pinnect  Pinterest wordpress theme - Gridline 

Devstand has identified 34 "Pinterest" Wordpress themes

And don't forget mobile --  Pinterest type format mobile _pulse -  Pulse

Read more .. Diva Marketing Interviews with smozy/Kotex and Microsoft

By default this series began a few weeks ago with an interview with the CEO,Yael Linen-Zuchman, of an Israeli digital agency smoyz  and the brand manager of their client Eran Sion/Hogla-Kimberly. They launched an innovative Pinner Relations (think blogger relations) program.

I also had the pleasure of interviewing BJ O'Hare, the woman in charge of Microsoft's Mouse Design Pinterest contest. 

Reach out if I can help you with a Pinterest strategy. As you might guess, I've been sipping the Koolaid on this one (smile).

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

Social Media Kindness: The New "Little Black Dress"

04/27/2012

This week I had the amazing opportunities to particiapte in two "taking online offline" experiences. Experiences I would never had if it were not for Diva Marketing, blogging and of course social media. Friendships I would not have made if I had not take a risk.

Toby Wise Women _EverywhereI  joined BBF Lynn Epstein as part of Everywhere's, a social media marketing firm, ongoing Wise Women series where women share their stories with the Everywhere staff.  The other was at digital agency Engauge where I was part of a blogger influencer discussion with about 10 other women. Toby Engauge Blogger Influence 4_12

 

We had wonderful, interesting discussions. As you'd expect, if there was disagreement people were gracious and considerate.

I've been living in the digital world for almost 8 years (Diva Marketing celebrates it's 8th year in May). OMG! that sounds like something from the Matrix. The reality is, at least for me, it's more E.T.. Not as scary and if you're open to possibilities beyond your safe world magic can happen .. including new friendships, opportunities and inspiration.

Before, as Neo says in the Matrix, "anything is possible" and you can collect the benefits from socal media, you have to step out.

Talking to new bloggers this week at the Possble Women conference I was reminded that one of the risks in social media participation opens the door for people to "talk back." In the the offline world, where you are face-to-face and see expressions and body language, that usually doesn't present a big challenge.  Jimmy Choo _ 124katimadtn_large_1_master_black

Girlfriend, I well understand those new Jimmy Choos can be wobbly when you first try to walk in them. Shh .. don't tell anyone but my first comments I was so nervous to post I must have rewritten them at leat half a dozen times. It was with a deep breath that I clicked on the comment publish link.

Kris Ruby, in his MSN Business On Main article, asked nine entrepreneur for their advice on how to handle anonymous negative comments. Skip over and take a look .. and then come back please.

Audrey hepburn little-black-dress_2Considering different opinions, hearing new points of view is part of our on-going learning experiences .. online or offline. If you do disagree and add your voice to the converstation, please keep in mind that your words are taken to heart .. be kind. Kindness is the new little black dress!

 Let's Have FUN!

MSN Business On Main/Diva Marketing Small Business Tip Contest ~ Win $100!

Your challenge is to share 1 idea on the new little black dress .. social media kindness. How can we ensure that if we if we agree to disagree we treat each other with respect and consideration?

Rules of MSN The Business on Main/Diva Marketing Social Media Small Business Tips Contest 

1. Post your tip for how to use social media for branding on this Diva Marketing post And on this MSN Business On Mail Post

2. Identify your post on Business On Main with the words Diva Marketing. Important! If you don't post on MSN BOM and indicate Diva Marketing in your comment you cannot qualify for the $100 prize. 

3. Winner is at the pleasure of Diva Marketing with the help of Max, of course!

4. Contest ends midnight May 11, 2012.

5. You must be at least 18 years of age

6. A valid eMail address must be included on the "Post a Comment Section" of your Diva Marketing comment. (How will I know where to contact you to send your check?)

This wraps up my blogger relations series with MSN Business On Main. Hope you enjoyed the contests and the added resources that MSN Business On Main provided to Diva Marketing's post. My lessons learned were it forced me to write more and to think outside of the box to ensure that the content created stayed true to Diva Marketing's mission of sharing learnings about social media marketing. 

Diva Marketing is part of an online influencer network for MSN Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. All opinions are 100% mine.

Pinterest Sweepstakes Microsoft Mouse Design: Case Study With BJ O'Hare

04/23/2012

Microsoft Pin It To Win It SweepsakePinterest, the darling of food and fashion pinners, is on a hyper growth slope with brands that at first glance have nothing to do with "life style" e.g. business-to-business, technlogy, software, finance, miliatry, staffing companies and more. Hop over to my Pinterest brand board .. Brands Beyond The Expected to see 101 (and counting!) examples.

As we've seen with Kotex (Diva Marketing interview with the brand manager and agency) brands are exploring ways to engage with customers that go beyond a pin and comment.

Contests are hot hot hot on Pinterest. When I came across an interesting sweepstakes from Micrsoft I wondered if Pinterest contests could really work for tech companies. BJ O'Hare, social media lead for Microsoft Hardware Team, graciously agreed to tell us the back-story in a Diva Marketing Mini Case Interview. Thanks to Kristina Libby for the intro.

BJ OHare_MircoSoft_DM interviewAbout BJ O'Hare - BJ O’Hare is the Social Media Lead for the Microsoft Hardware Team. Over the course of her career, BJ has combined her passion for interpersonal engagement with her enthusiasm for technology to develop expertise in the realm of social media and marketing.

In her current role, BJ is responsible for the management of all Microsoft Hardware social channels including its Blog, Twitter Handle and Facebook page, which she worked to launch in late 2011. She also collaborates closely with Windows and its social channels, particularly its Pinterest page. 

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Of all the tactics Microsoft could have chosen to create awareness for its new mouse designs, which by the way are very cool and fun, why Pinterest?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: Pinterest is a great way to virtually express yourself and be creative. The new mouse designs are very expressive and appeal to people looking for ways to personalize their everyday life, so Pinterest was a good fit for this Microsoft Hardware campaign.  

Diva Marketing/Toby: Were there other social networks/social media and/or marketing initiatives included in the campaign? 

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: It was promoted on various Microsoft Facebook & Twitter pages as well as Microsoft blogs. It was also a discussion topic during a Windows Tech Tuesday #winchat which is a weekly Twitter chat held by the Windows PR and social media teams from 12-1pm PT on Tuesdays. The chats cover a variety of topics from partner products to consumer trends. To participate in a chat follow @windows or @windowsblog and the hashtag #winchat.

Diva Marketing/Toby: How did Microsoft create initial awareness of the sweepstakes?

BJ O’Hare/Mircosoft: We announced the sweepstakes by partnering with the Windows team and promoting the campaign on various Microsoft Facebook & Twitter pages and on Microsoft blogs and continue to promote on those channels.

  • We also add new images every few days so there are fresh pins for people to use so they will continue to stay engaged with our boards.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What were your goals for the sweepstakes?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: Our main goal was to generate awareness of the new colors and artist designs through engagement with an audience that is active on Pinterest, and looking for colorful and rich assets to decorate their boards with.  We also wanted to increase followers of our boards and generate repins. Microsoft mouse
Diva Marketing/Toby: Can you share a high level of the results?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: We generated awareness which resulted in an increase of followers and re-pins.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Were the results what you had expected? Can you tell us why or why not?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: The audience that uses Pinterest is interested in images that they can use to decorate their boards. This was a successful campaign and allowed users to do that through repinning Microsoft mouse designs. We were successful in generating awareness and increasing our followers and repins by using colorful and stylish images.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Did you do any analysis of the pins/boards for consumer insights e.g. Designs most pinned, pin/board descriptors, etc. If so what did you consider?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: We did some simple analysis which included designs vs color images pinned, repinning the contest pin, pin & board descriptors, and group of images vs single item images. We are also doing some analysis on product images vs lifestyle images.

Diva Marketing/Toby: I noticed that the contest board is now the last board on the page. When the contest was running was it the 1st board? Also, do you plan to keep the contest board or delete it like Kotex did with theirs?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: When the contest was running it was in the first row of boards so it was clear to see. We have new sweepstakes we’ve run since Spring Inspirations and now currently Mother’s Day which is the 1st first board you see. We are building our long term strategy for what the presence of contest boards looks like after the contest has finished.

Diva Marketing/Toby: If you were to redesign the campaign, in retrospect, what would you do differently?

BJ O’Hare/Mircosoft: When using Pinterest as a platform to promote campaigns, each will have a variety of different tactical components that will work.  For this campaign, we achieved what we set out to do.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What lesson learned can you share with us?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: Pinterest is a great way to virtually express yourself and be creative.  Since we had such great artists that designed amazing art on our mice, Pinterest proved to be a great vehicle to promote this initiative.

This was a collaborative effort between the Microsoft Hardware and Windows teams and may not be representative of what other teams at Microsoft are doing with Pinterest.

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

To learn more about our Pinterest contest, please visit the Windows Team Blog. If you’re interested in learning more about Microsoft Hardware and Windows, please explore the following:

Microsoft Hardware

Microsoft Hardware Blog

Microsoft Hardware Facebook

Microsoft Hardware Twitter

 

Windows

Windows Team Blog

Windows Facebook

Windows Twitter

Life Without Facebook ~ A View From Gen Y #4

04/06/2012

Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12 _5Jessica Robyn, a typical millennium and 7-year Facebook member, has not seen any of the new time lines for brands.

You see, on January 13, 2012 Jessica disabled her account and began an experiment of "Life Without Facebook."

This quasi social media reality series with Gen Y Jessica Robyn takes us into her world of Life Without Facebook where she offers her insights into the questions: Why? What now? How do you exist without Facebook?

Read Jessica Robyn's Life Without Facebook ~ A Veiw From Gen Y Interviews Part #1 Part #2 Part #3 Part #4  

We found it interesting that Jessica's posts have been the basis for talking points for parents to discuss Facebook with their children. Brand managers have also gained insights.

We also discovered people were not only curious about how Jessica is living without her online peeps, but how her friends are reacting. We thought it would be fun to ask a few so we formalized the process into an online survey. 

Here are a few comments from the question - What was your your reaction when you discovered I disabled my Facebook? 

"I was very skeptical. Porter was ALL about facebook in her hayday."

"I couldn't believe it."

"I thought it was cool since I had disabled mine before in the past."

 Diva Marketing/Toby: Your friends were really supportive of you disengaging from Facebook.  Although some people thought it was a joke. But they miss you. Did anyone’s comments surprise you?

Jessica Robyn: I laughed a lot reading Greg’s answer that parents being on Facebook ruined it. It’s funny cause I think out of all my friends my dad was one of the first to join Facebook. That is why I was glad there were so many privacy settings. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: I found it interesting that it wasn't one of your friends who want to see you back on Facebook but someone from the boomer generation , Auntie Kaye. - “Holy cow, how will I be able to see what is going on in your life?” 

Why did you think that is? What are you doing to stay in touch with Auntie Kaye?

Jessica Robyn: I think Facebook is just an easier way to at a glance find out what a bunch of people are doing at once and what’s new in their lives. I know Auntie Kaye liked seeing pictures of what I was doing and who I was out with so clearly that hasn’t been happening. We have emailed and talked on the phone to keep in touch.

Diva Marketing/Toby: You’ve been off Facebook for almost 3 months now. Have you missed anything, other than chatting with your friends, from not being on Facebook?

Jessica Robyn: It’s weird cause I wasn’t really missing Facebook or thinking about it until a few weeks ago.

One of my close friends was throwing a surprise party for another one of our mutual friends and I found out about a week or so after that I wasn’t invited. She called me a few days later to apologize explaining that she and another person planned the party mostly via a private facebook event and she forgot to let me know outside of that resource.

I know at the time I wasn’t physically out or around as often (I sprained my ankle and have been recovering), but I had still been in contact with her via text message and email. I wasn’t on her mind during those conversations to invite me. To be honest, I was a little hurt, but I was also expecting something like this might happen.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Your friends have given you all sorts of suggestions for when you should go back on Facebook:

One year from the day you gave it up. 365 days of life without fb!

When you feel like you can use it on your terms. Don't get sucked into anything you don't want to!

Totally up to you. It is more a part of a younger person's world- but not essential. Certainly a nice resource to have- but not at the expense of meaningful relationships.

What do you want to say to them?

Jessica Robyn: I think the one year idea is interesting, but I have no idea if that will happen. I think a few of my friends know me well enough, are supportive, and also understanding which is why none of their responses shocked me.

  • I will reactive my account at some point and hopefully whenever that happens it won’t be as big of a part of my life as it previously was and I can manage my time on there better.

Jessica Life Without Facebook Tweet Bubbe

@JessicaRobyn on Twitter

New Social Media Network Road Map

04/03/2012

Recently Jay Baer asked a question on his blog that led to over 100 comments. Based on an interview that Guy Kawasaki conducted with INC Magaine, Jay wanted to know, "Is social media strategy required or redundant?"  As I began to join the comment thread, I realized that my response was a "post" and not a "comment." Toss of a pink boa to Jay for inspiring this post.

From the content on Diva Marketing, you can probably guess which side of the fence I'm on. Not to make things more complicated, but especially in social media marketing, you can't expect to build a strategy without first understanding the "tools" e.g. blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. etc. etc. 

Much of our learning about social media/networking is derived from experience and experimentation.

When a new social network tool hits the virtual scene making the decision to include or not to include and when takes you down a different road than if you were to incorporate email, advertising or public relations. Why? Glad you asked.

Answer: We have no history to base our decision. At the early stage there are probably few examples from specific industries or customer bases. Dare I say it, at this point in the game there are no "best practices." It's not a surprise that many marketers take the wait and watch approach

Although I agree strategy is critical, in order to determine if a technology should be considered you must first understand the tool. Although most social networking platforms include some sort of engagement and sharing features, each new category tool is slightly different. Each also brings a unique set of benefits and challenges.

I created a 4 step, call it a road map, to help you think thought the process. Let's use the newest darling of the social networks -- Pinterest as an example.

World map free digNew Social Media Network Road Map

I.  Before You Begin Questions

1. Does the brand lend itself to social visual content/communication?

2. Do we have the resources e.g. time, people and budget to create and maintain?

3. Will our customers and prospects enjoy and use this tool? Note: Your answer to this may be "yes" but your customers may not be using the technology yet. Now would be a good time for early learnings and testings. 

4. Is our culture open to learning without direct ROI? Note: In the early stages of a social media technology don't fool yourself that you know where the real benefits will occur. 

5. What unique issues might your company face? For Pinterest that might include: Terms of service, copyright, pinabilty of your own visuals. 

II. Tool Specifics Incorporated Into Enterprise Social Media Guidelines 

Example social network: Pinterest

Note: We'll assume that your company has created Enterprise Social Media Guidelines. If not here are some examples.

Note: These are not strategies 

1. What type of graphics are appropriate and which are not?

2. What type of sites will you pin from and which will you avoid?

3. How will you manage Terms of Service and copyright?

4. How will links to your pins be handled?

5. How will attribution be acknowledged?

III. Create A Whisper Campaign

1. To learn in a (relatively) safe environment, I encourage clients to explore and experiment with the tool by creating a page that does not relate to the company, brand or aspects of their personal lives that they don't want to share in a public forum.

Perhaps it's about a hobby, favorite sport or your favorite shoe designer. Not only will you have an understanding of the logistics but of the culture .. critical in social media/networks. Have fun, learn and when you're done feel free to delete the page. 

2. Don't have time to develop your own knowledge base? Find support through a consultant who has done the ground work and understands not only the tool but how it can support your brand, your culture and that of the social network. She can share critical learnings as she guides you to avoid mishaps in a new social networking space. 

 IV. Strategy 

Now you're ready to hit the strategy route.

You know the drill here: goals/objectives, metrics, content and the beat goes on ..  Keep in mind there are two ways to incorporate social networks into your marketing or business plan.

1. Stand alone - the social network is maintained as a long-term tactic.

2. Integrated - into other initiatives e.g. advertising campaign, trade show, new product launch campaign. For the most part, integrating social media into an imitative has a beginning, middle and end.

An example is the Pinterest Kotex Campaign where the boards were deleted after the campaign was over. (Diva Marketing Post: Kotex + Pinterest + Innovative Campaign) Or for a trade show the social media/networking elements may live forever on a special micro site.  Luggage free dig

Good luck on your next social media adventure! 

 Grapic credit: taoty / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Grapic credit: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net