The Pros and Cons of Pinterest's New "Buyable Pins" Feature

The Pros and Cons of Pinterest’s New “Buyable Pins” Feature

Pinterest recently announced a new  “Buyable Pins” feature for iPhone and iPad users. This feature will allow users to shop without ever leaving Pinterest, but what are the pros and cons of “Buyable Pins”?

Pros:

  • Seamless integration with existing online stores  – If you’re already using Shopify or Demandware, then it’s as simple as connecting the API.
  • No added fees – Pinterest takes absolutely no cut from your sales.
  • Mobile-friendly design – Good mobile design makes selling and shopping easier.
The Pros and Cons of Pinterest’s New “Buyable Pins” Feature

This person will have to add the Pinterest app, soon.

Cons:

  • Pinterest’s scrollable layout is competitive – Pinterest is keeping mum on the interface specifics, but so far we know that a little blue price tag indicates a “Buyable Pin.” This means that a “Buyable Pin” item shows up in a sea of others, giving the browser/buyer more options and the pinning business more competition.

For instance: if I find an adorable but pricey custom made navy blue sailor dress on Pinterest, I can lower my price range and scroll through hundreds of cheap corporate copycats.

Luckily for independent sellers with higher price points, a “pin” serves the same function as a traditional “wish list” or “cart,” keeping them top of mind for returning users.

The Pros and Cons of Pinterest's New

Avast, ye! A veritable sea of navy blue sailor dresses!

Is it worth it?

As a consumer? Certainly! But for sellers, it is dependent on how unique your product is, how good your social media strategy is, and how competitively your products are priced.

It also depends on the other features Pinterest offers to seller accounts. If Pinterest were to provide sellers with an analytics dashboard that recorded the data of users who’ve pinned items for later purchase, this would give sellers some data to help nurture leads through email marketing.

Do you plan on using Pinterest’s “Buyable Pins” feature? Tell me why in the comment section!

When to post on social media

When to Post on Social Media: “The Burrito Principle”

If a campaign launches in the Twitterverse, does it make a sound? Even the most dynamic content can get lost in the ether when social media managers don’t post at optimal times. The data varies and sometimes contradicts itself, so how can you post at the right time for your audience?

A common sense approach proposed by Darian Rodriguez Heyman – “The Burrito Principle” – may help you reach your audience when they have down time. My favorite social app, Buffer created an excellent graphic that lays out optimal posting periods:

The Burrito Principle for Posting on Social Media

Of course, these times may vary based on your brand’s target demographic. Your best bet is to create a marketing persona for each potential segment of your audience, and then estimate when each of those personas is likely to have down time.

When does your company or employer usually post on social media? 

What Social Media Channel Should Your Company Use?

What Social Media Channel Should Your Company Use?

There are unique benefits to each social media platform. Here’s a quick breakdown of what each social media site can do for your business:

Twitter is for listening  If your brand is looking to start conversations with new leads or build long lasting relationships with closed ones, Twitter is the way to go.

Segment your Twitter followers and save industry-related keyword searches to listen in on what current and potential followers have to say. Of course, it helps if you have a product or service that people are already talking about!

What Social Media Channel Should Your Company Use?

Facebook is for showing off. Facebook’s dynamic page design options allow for contests, photo albums, videos, events, fan reviews, and location check-ins. Companies leverage Facebook page features, as well as its higher character limit for updates – to show off their company culture and brand identity.

LinkedIn is for thought leadership Whether your company is looking to hire or nurture leads, LinkedIn pages and groups put you in a position to publish original content on your industry.

Ambitious, high level professionals flock to LinkedIn for new resources from their favorite companies. With the right content, your brand can be one of the thought leaders that LinkedIn users follow and engage.

What Social Media Channel Should Your Company Use?

Pinterest is best for B2C… except when its not! If you can identify strong visuals for your content, and create more “infographic” material, then you can master Pinterest for B2B. If your company sells tangible products (especially pretty ones!) or services with tangible results (think, “food porn”), your brand can gain a Pinterest following.

Which social media channels does your business or employer leverage? Tell me in the comment section!

3 Steps Buffer needs to take to compete with Hootsuite - Success Kid Gets It!

The 3 Features Buffer Needs to Compete with Hootsuite

During this week’s Hootsuite outage, I decided to finally use the Buffer account I had registered for months ago. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a short term alternative, but found that this San Francisco startup could make a few changes to its free app that would help Buffer compete against Hootsuite.

Here are the 3 features Buffer needs to compete with Hootsuite

1. Support for more profiles per user, on more social media platforms

Buffer needs to allow more than one account for each of the social networks it supports. The free version of Buffer allows you to schedule posts for up to 3 of your social media accounts, while Hootsuite’s free plan allows up to 5 social profiles, including Google + pages, foursquare, wordpress, Myspace, and Mix (not included on Buffer).

2. Give us streams!

One of the most useful real-time features Hootsuite offers is the ability for users to create customizable streams for each of their social network profiles. A user can choose to display just her home feed pane, or add panes to display most recent mentions, retweets, followers, DMs, lists,  favorites, scheduled posts, searches, wall posts, events, or popular discussions.

Adding a feed feature to its free version would make Buffer a better tool for monitoring and engagement. But what Buffer lacks in engagement potential, it makes up for in content curation capabilities… almost. Which brings me to my last suggestion:

3. Content curation customization (say that 3 times fast!)

Buffer and Hootsuite both offer great bookmarklets for Chrome. But from what I can tell, Buffer is the only social media monitoring tool that offers up its own content for sharing. “Suggested Tweets” are both homegrown and crowd-sourced. A user can choose suggested content ranging from quotes, to trending articles, to Buffer blog posts – which is great for community managers on a time crunch.

This is the most unique feature Buffer has to offer, so why limit it? Although the maximum of 5 content suggestions per day per profile is meant to incentivize free users to upgrade, it hinders user experience. Placing a limit on the number of suggested content posts without offering customization features means that users may end up stuck with irrelevant suggestions. What if Buffer’s algorithm doesn’t find the user what she’s looking for? A simple “This isn’t relevant” or “Don’t show me this kind of content” button would do the trick.

Lastly, after seeing a few repeats in my “Suggestions” queue, I’d recommend that Buffer include a few top fold calls to action, reminding users that they can submit their own content. This would likely make suggested content broader and deeper, while transforming Buffer into a viable syndication tool for content creators seeking more web traffic.

What are your experiences with social media dashboards? Do you prefer Hootsuite over Buffer? 

Ragan’s PR Daily posted The 36 Rules of Social Media, an infographic created by Fast Company.

Do you follow these? Are there any you disagree with?

I like to keep #12 and #33 in mind: #12 because accepting failure comes with the territory when you’re working with an ever-changing and context-based medium – try predicting everything when building a new brand’s social media strategy. It’s pretty difficult/impossible#33 I enjoy as a mantra for marketing and business in general. It’s important to remember that your brand (if it’s a successful one) represents not only your product or service, but the people who use it. Your fans should interact with, and ultimately have a hand in generating content for your brand. Think of it as a 21st century take on “the customer is always right.”

Week 3: The Klout Experiment (Why One Bad Week Won’t Sink You)

This week, I learned that a downturn in engagement isn’t always a bad thing.

Every week, I document my Klout Experiment: a vain and foolish attempt to match Sarah Palin’s Klout score of 72 by January 1, 2013.

Generally, you’ll find me nerding out about all things Social Media, but I’m also looking for full-time work in Social Media. So, reading recent articles on the importance of Klout and other social scoring tools in recruiting got me thinking about the ways in which we determine our online influence.

Each week, I record the results of my Klout Experiment in a weekly social media engagement digest.

As we learned last week, my efforts to increase frequency across platforms proved ineffective, reducing my score to 60 from a glorious, glorious 61.

This week, I’ve actually managed to damage my score further, as I’m left this week with a measly score of 59!!!

After discovering my score decrease and short-circuiting my Macbook with bitter, bitter tears, I took a moment to re-consider the weight online brands put on their social influence scores..

What I realized is that a Klout score only reflects a small snapshot of my network’s engagement. So what if I miss the mark one week? Presumably, the measly 59 Klout points worth of engagement is from people who’ve enjoyed my overall online persona, before this week. Those followers will stay with me unless I start posting way too much on social media or I post something that really pisses them off.

The conclusion I came to about my decreasing Klout score applies to businesses, too: wavering metrics don’t mark failure, but a learning opportunity. And the fans who stick with you are the most evangelical, and thus the most likely to help you reach future benchmarks. 

How have you or your company leveraged a bad week? 

Week 2: The Klout Experiment (Why Twitter Might Not Be Worth It)

In my Klout Experiment, I attempt to match Sarah Palin’s Klout score of 72 by January 1, 2013 and record my findings.

Somehow, despite my best efforts to increase frequency and vary use of my social media outlets, I lost a point this week! I believe this may be related to how I divided my attention between Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare this week. I only posted on Facebook 4 times this week, as opposed to the 24 posts I had last week.

I decided to increase the frequency and interactiveness of my professional Twitter handle this week, replying to and RT’ing a few tweets from local comedians and Social Media Marketing bloggers. Although your Klout score accounts for only engagement (likes, comments, replies, RTs) and not frequency, I figured that tweeting more would help boost my score by potentially boosting engagement.

Getting traction on Twitter takes far more frequency (and great content, of course!) so  my hunch about increasing Twitter activity to increase my social influence score was partly correct: 1% of this week’s score originated from Twitter interactions, whereas last week’s score was 100% Facebook. But, that new Twitter contribution did not make up for a lack of engagement on Facebook and ultimately, my Klout score suffered.

Do you or our company think Twitter is worth the time and extra output?  

Twitter Gaffe

Staying Relevant On Twitter: A Checklist

Yesterday, I had the good fortune of noticing and deleting the following tweets I had scheduled for two of my clients: a curated month-old article on how to deal with “Supply Chain disasters” and a link to a report that named India as the leading consumer of green technology in 2011.

Why delete these posts? Because the word “disaster” has a heavier meaning in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and just that morning, Cyclone Nilam ripped through Southern India.

Twitter Gaffe

Image Credit: Salon.com

As the social media administrator for 3 separate brands from widely disparate industries, I have similar social media brushes with death almost daily. Like any content strategist, I schedule the bulk of my clients’ tweets in advance. However, if accidents like Celeb Boutique’s awful Aurora Twitter Fail have taught me anything, it’s that updating based on relevance is a high priority in the fast-paced world of social media. Not doing so can mean sacrificing quality, diplomacy, or worse, accuracy.

So how can I avoid generating insensitive or inaccurate content and stay on top of current events and industry news without being glued to the news, the blogosphere, and my Twitter feed for 23 hours a day?

Here is my must-have check list for maintaining frequent and relevant online content:

IN THE MORNING:

  • Give your editorial calendar a once-over (10 mins)

If nothing else, this is great for spelling and grammar (yes, that still matters!)

  • Take a look at Twitter trends (10 – 15 mins)

You never know what might come up – maybe a celebrity has worn something truly awful to a red carpet event and your working for a fashion blog or a designer. Also, don’t be afraid of a little snark… it’s what secretly fuels Twitter. Can’t think of what to write? Feel free to RT, but only as a last resort.

  • Take a look at the headlines (10 – 15 mins)

Reading the news can save you from accidentally tweeting something that may alienate a large portion of your audience.

  • Take a look at celebrity gossip/pop culture sites for top stories

May I suggest: Buzzfeed (WTF and Viral tags), PerezHilton, or Gawker 

  • Check Google Alerts

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend making google alerts for your brand name and industry

  • Check Google Reader

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend getting the RSS feeds for any and all industry blogs you read. It saves lots of time and screen space.

  • Get offline!

I know this is sacrilege, but sometimes talking to friends, family, and coworkers in person can give you nuance and context in a way that just can’t compare to your best friend Internetz. If you’re feeling especially stuck, schedule a walk to the water cooler or a midday coffee date with your chattiest friend.

All-Star Klout-Off!

The Klout Experiment – Raising My Klout Score by The New Year

As a Social Media Strategist or as my mom puts it,  “professional Tweeter,” I pride myself on not only finding and engaging online influencers, but being one myself. It’s my humble opinion that in order to engage your brand’s most active users, you must walk a mile in those users’ shoes.

After reading Seth Stevenson’s remarkable piece on the growing ubiquity of the Klout Score – and its importance as a professional and personal tool – I attempted to take stock in my own online influence by taking a look at my somewhat inactive Klout account:

  • I could only register one of my Twitter accounts. I have 2, but the one associated with my main email address (and thus searchable by potential employers) is only 2-months old. So I went with my personal account, which has more followers.
  • I’m a Facebook addict – this is where the bulk of my new points derived
  • I’ve just started to use Foursquare. I absolutely love it and have earned quite a few “first check in” badges. I only have about 9 friends, though, which has more of an influence on my overall score.
  • Linkedin is a resource for me as a young professional, but sadly, I linked my Klout to the Linkedin page for my previous employer and have lost access to enable me to revoke permissions.

After this narcissistic digital dissection, I decided I needed to dig deeper. I needed to figure out exactly what it would take to become the kind of influencer my future employer(s) need to engage. As an individual with a Klout score of 61, I’m taking my cue from the job-seeking subject of Stevenson’s article, and conducting a weekly experiment:

I will try to raise my Klout score to 72 by January 1, 2013.

Why 72? Well, according to Wired.com’s infographic, Sarah Palin’s people have managed to get her that score.  Since I tend to tweet for brands and individuals far less cuckoo-bananas than Ms. Palin, it would actually pain me not to match or exceed her publicists’ Klout score.

All-Star Klout-Off!

At least I have a higher Klout score than the Aflac duck.

So, here’s to (completely amateur) scientific inquiry!

Do you track your Klout Score? Tell me in the comments!

A Perfect Storm for Facebook’s Demise?

Links to the video demo of The new Myspace have been flooding my timeline like Facebook’s Intro to Timeline did months ago, only in a completely positive way. The preview, which showcases a more intuitive and “Pinterest”-esque Myspace interface, are evoking excitement.

The New Myspace

As my newsfeed is also teeming with stories of Facebook’s looming legal troubles and (apparently false) rumours of privacy bugs, I’m starting to wonder if we don’t have a perfect storm for Facebook desertion on our hands.

If we do, what will be the next Facebook?

For businesses – particularly those marketing to women – it could be Pinterest. But Facebook always seems to weather a storm, and with great developer tools like Open Graph, it’s setting new precedents for corporate social networking and sharing, for which there may be no competition.