Posts Tagged ‘Mashable’


Follow the Money, Follow the Pins: How Pinterest-ing Should You Be?

Monday, January 20th, 2014
flickr user mkhmarketing

flickr user mkhmarketing

E-Pins are landing on Target’s physical shelves.  When last browsing the store’s home accessories section, you might have noticed Pinterest tags next to certain items. This is one recent example of how hybrid retailers translate digital pins into tags and use social media in their inventory and sales decisions. With top-pinned items selling well online, the question is, will top-pinned items become best sellers on the shelf?

For business and communications professionals looking to Pin-tegrate their social media presence, Target’s evolving Pinterest strategy provides lessons and steps, as Pinterest has become a significant part of their sales and traffic strategy.

In late 2011 and early 2012, Pinterest started driving increasingly significant amounts of traffic to retailers’ websites, becoming a top five source of traffic for several retailers, following Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Yahoo, though search is still all-dominant.

2013 was a significant growth year for Pinterest, particularly among women. In fact, Pew Research data says that Pinterest is used by one-fifth (21 percent) of adults, and that one in three women are Pinterest users.

Inspire and Create a Path from Inspiration to Purchase

Target launched its Pinterest page in March 2012, and introduced the Pin button in the lead up to that year’s holiday season. Bonnie Gross, Target’s VP of digital marketing and loyalty, said last August that Target is in fact “still experimenting … We are in the phase of doing a lot, learning a lot and figuring out what works.” Gross says that Target boards are meant to inspire and then “create a path from inspiration to purchase.”

Target.com users have been pinning (saving) favorite products on their Pinterest boards. Target’s Pinterest approach has evolved into featuring and calling out the most pinned e-items in the physical stores with Pinterest signage.

Other retailers are using Pinterest in creative ways, most recently for their Black Friday and Cyber Monday strategies. Steve Patrizi, head of partner marketing with Pinterest, says that Lowe’s created Pinterest boards of items that were about to go on sale. It was a new way of doing digital circulars to ensure they reach Pinteresters.

Retailers are leveraging their Pinterest partnerships because, as President and CEO of Walmart Stores Inc. Mike Duke said, “The biggest opportunity we have is winning the intersection between physical and digital retail.”

Follow the Money:  Your Audience is Diversifying their Social Media Platforms

Is Pinterest a good marketing opportunity for your organization? Marketers tracking markets and their social media behaviors are honing their consumer connectivity accordingly. If your customers are diversifying their social media presence, your social media strategy should reflect that.

The growth of Pinterest does not mean that your audience is abandoning other social networks. Pew found that 42 percent of online adults in the U.S. use two or more social networks and nearly one-fifth use three or more social networks.

“People are diversifying their portfolios when it comes to [social networks],” Aaron Smith, a senior researcher at Pew, told Mashable. “The addition of a Pinterest user is not necessarily taking away a Twitter user or a LinkedIn user.”

Are you Pinnable? Making your Site Pinterest-Friendly

PR and marketing professionals are used to thinking about SEO and search-engine friendliness. With Google’s Hummingbird, which launched in September 2013, SEO stopped being about keyword quantity and link-building and became about content quality strategy. Pinterest, on the other hand, is image-driven and has different rules for directing the traffic to your site.

Pinterest’s visual focus can be a hard concept for some businesses, like news organizations. But even news editors are finding ways to turn text heavy articles into a Pinterest-friendly visual format. The Wall Street Journal has been using Pinterest, in conjunction with Instragram, to cover the New York City Fashion Week.

As with other social media platforms, the idea behind Pinterest is to foster community engagement along with self-promotion. You are more likely to have a follower share on Pinterest if you include a pin on your website. Pinterest has an application to install a Pin It button to the bottom of your page. You can also have the Pin It button appear when viewers hover over images on your site. Conveniently, Pinterest integrates with other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

How has your thinking about Pinterest evolved? How much of a challenge is Pinterest’s focus on the visual? Are you finding ways to visually express your business and products? What kind of results are you seeing from pinning?

Best Practices for Ethical Native Advertising

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Best Practices Ethical Native Advertising Ellis Friedman BurrellesLuce Fresh IdeasNative advertising has been enjoying considerable resurgence the past year, due in no small part to its potential to be mutually beneficial to advertisers and publications. Traditional sources like The New York Times are embracing native advertising as part of their strategy, with “high hopes” for its payoff. They follow online sites like Buzzfeed, Mashable, and The Huffington Post, all of which have already been using their editorial and production departments to generate sponsored content.

Native advertising is becoming more main stream, but that’s not the end of the conversation. Native advertising occupies such a gray area that the Federal Trade Commission titled a conference about native advertising after Robin Thicke’s popular but unfortunately misogynistic song “Blurred Lines.” Advertorial-wise, these out-of-focus lines arise when paid content resembles editorial content.

Why does this matter to PR pros? One of the appeals of native advertising is the chance to catch the attention of and appeal to a certain audience segment and receive instant feedback to reader reactions. In its worst cases, native advertising is a bait-and-switch routine; in its best, it’s an informative, useful item that also happens to be paid for.  Enter the FTC, which hopes that not only will there be a clear demarcation between editorial content and native advertising, but that the advertisers and marketers will self-regulate.

There’s nothing unethical about native advertising, as long as it’s clear to the reader that it’s sponsored. Of course, defining “clear” is a murky process, but we’re not here to define any guidelines; we’re here to look at ethics and best practices that PR pros can employ for native advertising. And many marketing or advertising pros aren’t so keen on labeling their advertisement, fearing that it undermines the purpose of the advertorial in the first place. But this fear may be misplaced, as some preliminary research shows that a third of consumers don’t care if content is an advertisement or editorial, and that many would be more likely to select an item if they knew it was an ad.

Being an ethical PR practitioner means that you don’t want to compromise a journalist’s ethics, either. And since one of the tenets of ethical journalism, according to the Society of Professional Journalists (SJP), is to “Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two,” the best way to start is with transparency instead of worrying about labeling the ad. This includes not only a label stating that it’s sponsored, but also physical demarcation such as borders and a different font. The FTC stressed, however, working towards such transparency should be a joint responsibility of publication and marketer.

During the FTC workshop, advertising widgets such as Outbrain or Tabula were a popular topic, however FTC staff pointed them out as specific examples of native advertising which were difficult to distinguish form editorial content.

The lack of hard and fast rules means that communication between PR/marketing/advertising and the publication is absolutely necessary. One way to do this is to work with outlets like Buzzfeed, which creates branded content in tandem with sponsors. It’s up to the outlet to ensure that in creating both editorial and advertorial content that journalism ethics are upheld.

An excellent resource to help ensure native advertising meets existing regulations is the FTC’s .com Disclosures: How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising, and make sure to check it for periodic updates.

How do you work with ethical issues in native advertising? Will the FTC’s findings impact content marketing pieces picked up by another outlet, and what implications would there be?

The Changing World of Copyright Compliance

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Copyright

Free speech, copyright and the Internet seem to collide, but that’s because they are all still evolving. Dr. Patricia Aufderheide, director of the Center for Social Media, American University, gave guidance on this very topic during the AWC-DC program on March 19. She used an example from the 1860s, when a German translation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin was not covered under copyright law, but now would be covered. At the time, one-third of the country spoke German.

You need to understand how “Fair Use” can be used correctly, says Dr. Aufderheide. If you are “adding value” to the information and using it in a new way, then you are most likely covered under the Fair Use Doctrine. Using the entire work without adding valuable information, would be considered an infringement on copyright.  Generally, sourcing a portion of the information with a link back to the original document would be considered fair use, explains Dr. Aufderheide.

Many journalists say their use of information is covered under the First Amendment of the Constitution. What they need to understand is that First Amendment is a part of copyright law, says Dr. Aufderheide.

The protests over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) lead to more awareness of copyrighted materials on the Internet. Dr. Aufderheide believes the best way to address the issue is to look at business practices. She thinks that blocking domain names, which will work against security, is not a viable answer. She also says businesses need to find a way to let people use copyrighted material legally.

Pinterest and Copyright

Pinterest is fast becoming this year’s social media sweatheart. (Understand Pinterest and Your Audience.) Many PR folks have asked if the social media site is violating copyright. The answer is maybe. In a recent Mashable story, The Copyright Question: How to Protect Yourself on Pinterest, the authors suggest that companies should only pin their own content and only include content they would include on their website. While Pinterest does not own “everything posted on the site […] posting other people’s pictures without permission could be problematic.”

Resources
BurrellesLuce has many free resources in the BurrellesLuce Resource Center to help the PR professional do their job even better and offers a turnkey copyright compliance program to help clients remain on the right side of copyright law.

Pinterest: The newest ‘pin thing’ in social media?

Friday, January 20th, 2012
Flickr Image: Nate Hofer

Flickr Image: Nate Hofer

Just in case you have been out of commission and haven’t heard of Pinterest, according to its About Page, “Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web […] Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.” 

The site was (soft) launched less than two years ago and is still by-invitation-only, but has exploded in popularity in the past few months. According to ZDNet, Pinterest received nearly 11 million total visits in the week ending December 1, 2011. That’s 4,000 percent growth on visits during a single week in just six months, points out CNET, bumping it into the top 10 social sites among the more than 6,000 properties that Hitwise tracks.

In fact, for the first time Pinterest made the new BurrellesLuce 2012 Top Media Outlets: Newspapers, Blogs, Consumer Magazines, Websites and Social Networks. The site comes in at number 9 on the top social networks (with 0.41 percent market share) according to Hitwise rankings for the week ending December 17, 2011 – beating out newcomer Google+ which rounds out the number 10 spot with 0.36 percent market share.

We all see cool stuff online that we’d like to share or save (aka “pin”) – I have some Facebook friends that I wish would use Pinterest instead of filling my stream with kitten images and quotation graphics, but that’s for another post. Snark aside, it is no surprise that people are finding use for this online pinboard. Friends and colleagues that are engaged are pinning wedding themed items, foodie friends are pinning recipes, fashion junkies are pinning wish-list items, etc.

So, I get the individual use, but what, if anything, can this do for companies or organizations? (more…)

Marketing Brand Loyalty: How Far Would You Go?

Monday, November 28th, 2011
Yfrog: the_951

Yfrog: the_951

As I was going through my daily ritual of skimming through my Google Reader and industry headlines, this one caught my eye, “Zappos Founder Launches New Voyeuristic Ecommerce Site.” I figured it was a teaser headline so after only a brief pause, I continued on.  When I saw this one a minute later, “Zappos Founder Wants to Peek in Your Closet.” I knew it was something I had to read!

Nick Swinmurn does want to see what’s in your closet, as do many other marketers and advertisers. According to AdWeek, his new platform RNKD (pronounced ranked) opened to the public (in beta) on Wednesday, November 16th. In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, Swinmurn said he felt there had to be a better way for vendors to know who their customers are and to create a channel of communication. 

Mashable explains, “The concept is simple: Take pictures of all the things you have in your closet. Tag them by brand and purchase location and get rewards and deals based on your proven likes.”

In a statement to Huffington Post Swinmurn says, “Every consumer has favorite brands and stores they are loyal to, but most have never been recognized or rewarded for their purchases. If you buy more shoes from Nike than anyone else – shouldn’t you be given early access to new lines and different pricing than someone who is trying the product for the first time and may never buy again? ” Swinmurn argued that RNKD, unlike many other social sites, gives people an incentive to share.

There are tiered rewards, presumably to make sure beginners are able to win some deals. Users can earn points, badges and discounts by uploading, “liking,” commenting, or accumulating a particular brand as well as inviting friends and sharing via Twitter and Facebook. There are also individual ranks for the various types of apparel. The user can even peruse other people’s closets to find new brands (although you are able to make your profile private if you prefer).

According to a WSJ blog, the catch right now is that not many brands have jumped onboard yet, and it could be a while before the site reaches the scale that brands really begin to offer discounts.  Currently the site shows users being rewarded based on weekly rankings with gift certificates from Zappos and Dethrone Royalty – two of Swinmurn’s own creations.  The blogger notes brands currently have no control over how their clothing items, shoes, and accessories are being portrayed on RNKD, since the content is user-generated – to which Swinmurn replied, “We’re telling brands, that’s just real life. Here are the $100 shoes in people’s closets, next to the $20 pair, because that’s what people really own.” 

So, as the old BASF tagline goes, “At BASF, we don’t make a lot of the products you buy. We make a lot of the products you buy better.” Swinmurn is betting that RNKD will revolutionize the brand loyalty arena by allowing retailers to offer the biggest discounts to those who deserve them – their biggest fans.

What do you think? Will you whip out your phone (yes, there’s an app for that) and start uploading pictures of what’s in your closet? Do you think Swinmurn is on the right path? I look forward to your feedback!