LinkedIn announced last week that they will be changing the ability to publish on the social platform. Up until now, only top influencers such as Bill Gates, Martha Stewart and other bigwigs were able to publish on LinkedIn. As of the 19th, any LinkedIn member can publish professional content.
From the LinkedIn blog:
Starting today, LinkedIn is opening up our publishing platform to our members, giving them a powerful new way to build their professional brand. When a member publishes a post on LinkedIn, their original content becomes part of their professional profile, is shared with their trusted network and has the ability to reach the largest group of professionals ever assembled. Now members have the ability to follow other members that are not in their network and build their own group of followers. Members can continue to share their expertise by posting photos, images, videos and their original presentations on SlideShare.
Based on the idea that every business person has valuable experience to share, LinkedIn’s philosophy is that members will be able to share experiences, stories, ideas and tips with others in their industry and across the entire network. If this publisher takes off, it could provide LinkedIn with unlimited amounts of fresh, valuable content; not to mention the ability of new entrepreneurs, business people and graduates having a wealth of information and ideas at their finger tips. Following the trend of “knowledge over information”, this has the potential to be a very powerful tool for businesses, employees, and anyone with an interest in a particular industry.
What will you share on LinkedIn’s platform? Are you willing to offer your trade secrets to up & comers?
Target has joined forces with three of Pinterest’s top influencers. Target announced Monday that designers Joy Cho, Jan Halvarson and Kate Arends will all be designing party planning ideas and ware for Target. The designs will be available online and in stores mid-March. You can already see a lot of their ideas on Target’s Pinterest board, Party with Pinners.
If you are a Pinterest person, Joy Cho probably already sounds familiar, or you are a die-hard fan. She has 13.6 million followers on Pinterest and maintains her own blog, Oh Joy. Her party ideas and designs will be in-store on March 16th, and some of her designs images can already be seen on Target.com
Jan Halvarson, aka Poppytalk, has 8.3 million followers. Her party planning designs will be available at Target in June. Kate Arends of Wit & Delight has 2.6 million followers and her designs will be in Target stores by the end of summer.
Target has been heavily involved with Pinterest for a long time now. They maintain a profile, but while these designers have followers in the millions, even tens of millions, Target has a mere 150,000 followers. They have made strides towards creating an interest for Target on Pinterest, and even use little Pinterest badges on favorite items in store, but this new partnership is bound to really help Target grow their followers as well as create a new channel for the designers.
If you are a crafter, knitter, crocheter, or anyone who knows or loves one, you are familiar with Red Heart Yarn. In the yarn business for over 75 years, Red Heart Yarn is part of the Coats and Clark family of brands. Coats and Clark began in the 1800s originating in Scotland, making thread and needles. The Clark family expanded to the US, opening a cotton mill in New Jersey and quickly adding others in the Eastern states, eventually becoming the #1 needlecraft company in the United States. I had the fantastic opportunity to talk with Coats and Clark’s Crafts Consumer Marketing Manager, North America: Carrie Leahew, about the company’s web marketing strategy.
What is your policy regarding customer service via social media?
If a consumer contacts us via private message or through wall post the social media community manager determines if this is something she can answer or if it needs to go to our customer service department. We strive to answer our consumers back within 24 hours of the original contact.
Do you have a person or team on staff to respond to social inquiries, or do you outsource?
Red Heart has a team of people who are responsible for social media and a customer service department that helps answers queries that the social media team cannot answer.
What percentage of your marketing budget goes to traditional marketing, and how much to web marketing, and social media in particular?
40% of the marketing budget is for digital marketing activities. This year we increased our social media budget to 10% of the overall marketing budget.
I’m sure you have seen marketing evolve, especially in the last 5 years. What do you think has changed the most?
The fact that we have social media as a marketing channel. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are all within the last 5 years, so it is a whole new fast paced world we are exploring.
What do you like about marketing via social media? Is there any aspect that you feel does not serve your company well?
I love getting immediate responses from consumers on the things we are posting. Engagement is the most important metric for us on social media, so the more people interact with us through social media the more we feel we are getting out of it. Social media has been an important marketing channel for our business being in the craft industry, and I can’t think of one negative thing about it for us. Our consumers love making things, sharing photos and experiences through social media and we love seeing what you are making.
I personally think that your industry lends itself incredibly well to social business, and social media in particular. What platforms (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc) do you feel have the greatest impact on your sales?
I think they all collectively have an impact, but in the last 12 months Facebook has had the most growth going from 100,000 fans in January to over 280,000 in December, and that is sure to have an impact on sales.
Does your company use social business platforms such as Salesforce or something similar internally to communicate rather than email?
We do have Microsoft Outlook 360 which has a tool called Lync that we use to communicate a lot with video chat, IM and screen sharing.
Do you establish the same social media policy and efforts across all of your brands? Why or why not?
Yes, we are working towards establishing the same core social media policies across all our brands. It is important to be consistent in the manner in which we interact with the consumer from a corporate brand perspective.
Red Heart Yarn provides thousands of free patterns, plenty of social media interaction and a lot of great ideas on the website and across their social media profiles. Their fans are prolific with their photo sharing and very vocal on Facebook and Pinterest. The Red Heart site is very interactive, and appears to be where the brand chooses to spend the majority of their web marketing budget.
I am so glad Carrie Leahew was able to share a bit of their social strategy with TKG. It is fantastic to see a brand that is well over 200 years old able to adapt and grow with the way marketing has changed, especially with such rapid change in the last 20 years. Not all brands of the same age and scope have been so adaptable. The web, with it’s ever changing uses, trends and potential will continue to be a great way for Red Heart to market their brand, especially when they are so willing to go with the current trends. I look for the rest of their brands, especially Coats and Clark, to follow close behind.
As all social media sites do from time to time, Pinterest updated its Acceptable Use Policy this week. The important thing to note, especially for brands, is that you are now not allowed to pay for pins. We know this won’t affect our clients, we know you have been pinning authentically all along. This will, however affect brands that fall into the following circumstances:
Buying and selling pins
Paying people per pin, follow or comment
Run a sweepstakes where each pin, board, like or follow represents an entry
Suggests that Pinterest sponsors or endorses you or a promotion
While a brand can certainly pay to have someone create legitimate pins and do real, authentic pinning for their brand, Pinterest wants to eliminate pinning just for the sake of making money – it’s really just another safeguard against blackhat techniques to get ahead – you have to use social media platforms as they are intended. Granted, Pinterest and other platforms stand to make a lot of money from ads and brands, but they want their platforms to remain user friendly. Clogging up Pinterest with a lot of fake or repeated pins will drive users away, which will defeat the entire purpose.
Pin authentically…pin what interests you, your followers and customers and you will be following the new guidelines. Pay for pins, using Pinterest pins to promote a contest or special where the pin serves as an entry, and that post will likely be removed. For more information on this new policy, check the Pinterest News.
Happy Birthday, Facebook!
Today marks 10 years since then 19 year old Mark Zuckerburg launched Facebook from his Harvard University dorm room.
In a message from his personal Facebook profile this morning, Mark reflected on the last ten years, saying
It’s been amazing to see how all of you have used our tools to build a real community. You’ve shared the happy moments and the painful ones. You’ve started new families, and kept spread out families connected. You’ve created new services and built small businesses. You’ve helped each other in so many ways.
I’m so grateful to be able to help build these tools for you. I feel a deep responsibility to make the most of my time here and serve you the best I can.
Thank you for letting me be a part of this journey.
In honor of this important milestone, check out these interesting Facebook facts and figures…
5 Facebook Facts You May Not Know
Everyone on Facebook has an ID number and founder Mark Zuckerberg is #4 (the first 3 were reserved for testing)
You can change your language on Facebook to “pirate”
350 million photos are uploaded per day
600,000 hacking attempts are made to Facebook accounts every day
Facebook has been blocked in China since 2009
How Much Time Do You Spend on Facebook?
Do you remember when you joined Facebook? Ever wonder how much time you’ve wasted spent on the site? TIME offers a handy tool that helps you estimate how much time you’ve spent on Facebook along with the number of posts you’ve made! I was curious so I ran the tool for my own personal profile and here are my results:
Pinterest, the much loved social platform of crafters, cooks, artists, travelers, gardeners, hobbiests, fashionistas, browsers and brands, will be adding a new feature just announced this week. The feature will be rolled out in coming weeks and – an Interest page. Pinterest will begin showing you a page based on the pins you have exhibited interest in on the site in previous visits.
Your Interests Page, which right now is just a preview of what is coming, will basically just be a snap shot of the types of pins you have shown the most interest in during your most recent visits to Pinterest.
For example, I haven’t really used Pinterest much since planning my daughter’s 1st birthday party. As you can see, the page is full of new pin categories, more specific than the broad categories you are used to seeing. Mine shows cupcakes, party favors and lots of pink. I think this new tool could be a time saver…if you are looking to save time when browsing through Pinterest, the ultimate time suck of social media. It shows you specific pin categories related to the ones you have recently pinned or searched, or loved. As you use the tool more and more, it will become more specific to you. For example from the Pinterest blog:
Before today, all the billions of Pins on Pinterest were organized into just a handful of broad categories. So if you were browsing for ideas for your yard, you had to go somewhere like “Gardening” and sift through all the Pins. If you’ve collected lots of Pins that show climbing plants and wall ferns, your interests page might recommend vertical gardens for you to check out.
This is utter genius if you pin for your brand, within specific parameters, because now Pinterest is doing all the work of finding new pins for you. Just check out the Interest page to see what is new for you!
Have you checked out Pinterest Interests? What did you think? Will you use it, or do like doing all the discovering on your own (i.e. – the hard way)?
Well, it certainly was this week. Jelly garnered twice as many users in its first three days than Twitter had in its entire first year. Of course, Twitter was early on the social media scene, and really took a little while to gain more than early adopters. That being said, Jelly has been met with a good bit of enthusiasm. Twitter and Facebook both did their share of spreading the word on Jelly, which accounts for the enormous response it got right from the start. According to Jelly:
“Even though Jelly has only been ‘out in the wild’ for one week, people are helping with their own specific knowledge, experience, and opinions. Some folks are just kicking the tires, others are jumping right in with real intent.”
Name recognition for co-founder Biz Stone, who also co-founded Twitter, probably had a lot to do with the early rise in user accounts, though he warns that the number of accounts being added would steadily decrease as the novelty of a new platform wears off:
However, an amazing spike like this also means that our numbers will drop dramatically. Jelly will fall off the top free apps charts, reporters will stop writing about us, and we’ll begin the long, slow, organic growth climb that every startup faces. We’ve just arrived at the starting line of our long haul.
Stone also mentioned earlier in the week that Jelly would be getting some new features in the near future, including a search function and reach across a greater number of networks.
TechCrunch reported that in the first week, Jellly was asked over 100,000 questions, but that only about 25,000 of those were answered. Have you used Jelly yet? Were you able to get your question answered?
It’s an all new year, with new social media platforms, trends and best practices emerging all the time. According to just about every reputable social media monitor, multi-channel marketing is where your attention needs to be if you are in the retail biz. It’s been true for years, but 2014 promises to be THE YEAR for social media marketing. Here are a few things to look for:
Socialfresh reports that Content is King…yeah, I know you’ve heard that before. But the thing they suggest you be on top of is segmentation – making sure your copy fits the segment of the population you are trying to reach. That means switching up your copy depending on where you are posting. Posting to Pinterest? Great. Post knowing that you are mainly speaking to women, in fact, 1/3 of the women in the US use Pinterest.
The biggest mistake that marketers make is to assume that there’s a “one size fits all” solution for your social media strategy and each platform can be used the same.
Facebook is your community of brand advocates where you are posting relevant updates whereas
Twitter is where you’re having meaningful 1-on-1 dialogue
Vine and Instagram humanize your brand through colorful photo and live video
Pinterest connects your brand as everyday solutions
Foursquare rewards your most loyal customers
Your content needs to be fresh, appropriate and engaging, and ready for mobile. Facebook’s engagement level is going way down. The other social media platforms, such as Pinterest and Instagram, and other visual social platforms are going up. Make sure you know how to engage your audience on each platform. Business2Business Community points out:
Visual social content is now a serious contender in social media marketing due to the convergence of a few factors.
The rapid market penetration of smart phones and tablets
The widespread availability of high speed wireless networks
The decreased cost of data that makes high definition uploads cost effective
The emergence of focused visual media social networks such as Pinterest, Vine and Instagram
Which leads us to mobile. Social Mobile is a must. Your customers expect it. I know I get seriously annoyed when I can’t find a good way to view a business, get reviews, find out if the owner happens to be on a two week Caribbean cruise instead of dishing up my favorite pasta, on my phone. You have to do it. Accept and respect the social mobile.
Traditional media is being ignored more and more by the big brands and artists. An example from Business2Business Communications:
The first inkling of this was seen when Beyonce launched a new album in December last year. She ignored the traditional mass media release of a radio campaign, multiple TV appearances and retail and consumer brand promotions. Instead she announced it on Instagram to her 8 million followers with the word “Surprise” and proceeded to launch the 14 songs and accompanying 17 videos on iTunes.
The unofficial numbers are said to be 365,000 album downloads on the first day and 1.2 million tweets in 12 hours. Beyonce has her own distribution network and its called “social media”. The power of her fans and crowd sourced marketing is now apparent to all. An interesting question here is “does she need traditional mass media?”
And finally, look for Google+ to finally make a little headway, maybe move a little content this year. Google+ actually has about 540 million users, which makes it second only to Facebook. I know how that sounds, because who really uses Google+? Lots of people have signed up, clearly, but early on most of them were either curious, doing it for business purposes or something along those lines. Now that it is finally gaining some speed, Google+ will be one to watch as 2014 progresses.
What social media platforms are you watching for 2014? We know a lot of our clients are excited about the different visual platforms…they are a better fit for a lot of different businesses. I know a lot of small businesses and home based businesses, as well as the manufacturers who supply those folks are very excited about Instagram, Pinterest, Vine…we’d love to hear what you are using to reach out to your audience and what platforms work the best to get leads and sales.
Jennifer Lawrence won Best Supporting Actress at the 2014 Golden Globes on Sunday night for her performance as Rosalyn Rosenfeld in “American Hustle”, but that’s not what the Internet was buzzing about come Monday morning!
If you missed the Golden Globes from Sunday night, fear not because all of the best moments are all over the internet, including this awesomely timed photobomb of Jennifer Lawerence pulled from a video taken during Taylor Swift’s red carpet interview.
In addition to the photobomb, Jennifer’s dress got quite a bit of attention and you know what that means… It’s VIRAL MEME time! So here you go…
My Favorite #Lawrencing Memes
1. The Lawrencing Cat
2. The Lawrencing Coworker
3. Lawrencing Sub Sandwich
4. Lawrencing Pug
Share in the comments your favorite #lawrencing meme…
New apps and social services are far from common, but some launches tend to get a little more attention than others. Recently a new platform called Jelly has been getting quite a bit of press, and for good reason: the co-founders are Biz Stone and Ben Finkle. Biz has been involved in starting a handful of social media companies including Blogger and Xanga, but is most known as the co-founder of Twitter. Ben founded a Q&A site called Fluther, which was acquired by Twitter where he became responsible for the New User Experience team, helping to grow Twitter from 50 million to 200 million users.
What is Jelly? At a very simple level, Jelly is a platform that lets users ask questions using pictures. Those questions can be answered by anyone, with the system showing them to people connected to the user via existing social networks (Twitter or Facebook).
On the surface this seems pretty simple and doesn’t necessarily stand out from other social networks. But there is one, less obvious aspect of the platform that sets it apart. The company is named after the jellyfish because of the way the neural network or brain works: it is very decentralized, or as Biz put it: “more ‘we’ than ‘me.’” Unlike other social services, the user profile isn’t central. In fact, there isn’t any mechanism for self promotion. Instead the focus is on helping others by answering questions.
So, where does this put Jelly? It is still much too early to guess how things will turn out, but I think that Jelly could attract a pretty strong user base of people that enjoy helping out others without focusing on self promotion. In the same way that other single purpose services like Instagram, Vine and Snapchat have built strong followings, I think Jelly could be a service to watch.