Why a pin could be more valuable to a brand than your purchase.

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Delayed Gratification: A purchase made online from any given customer can be one and done- Forever 21 knows that if you’re willing to pin something, you’re more likely to buy it too. If you’re pinning a product, your followers will see it and are more likely to re-pin it when they may not have otherwise seen it all together. Why? Because Pinterest is responsible for 25% of retail referral traffic and this number is growing. (Rich Relevance)

Even if you pin, but don’t buy, Forever 21 is going to make more from the pin than your purchase in the long run. Ideally you’ll buy and pin, but the pin is just worth more and this effect is amplified when the ‘pinner’ is a blogger, influencer etc. In fact, top brands in the fashion/retail space average 46 re-pins on every pin. (Digitas) This is 46 opportunities to sell compared to your sole-purchase. 

Image Control: Those who pin from this email disseminate strategic images that include an item price which people literally like more-pins that include an item price receive 36% more likes. (Shopify

Time Well Spent: Many social channels have become notification-based meaning, you check your Facebook, Twitter and so on when you receive a notification and then go back to what you’re doing. Pinterest has managed to harness the un-divided attention of millions through enabling a winning combination of viewing, liking and curating things consumers can ultimately buy. If shoppers are spending more time viewing, engaging and curating on Pinterest, it’s where you want your products to be. According to Mediabistro, American users of the social network spend an average of 1 hour and 17 minutes on the site, well ahead of Twitter (36 minutes), LinkedIn (17 minutes) and Google+ (6 minutes). In fact, Pinterest gets more monthly usage than all of these other platforms combined.

Tunnel-vision: Why the Pinterest focus? Because Pinterest users spend more. Retail brands will be investing more and more into Pinterest strategies and campaigns because of this and many other wonderful things like…

  • Moms are 61% more likely to visit Pinterest than the average American. (Nielsen) and since Moms identify themselves as the primary purchaser 75% of the time, it’s a great way to be where they are.
  • Users drive the engagement 70% of the time (Digitas) This makes Pinterest likes and re-pins more transparent, authentic and trustworthy to other pinners.

What do you think about retail’s focus on Pinterest? Have you noticed a pivot toward this channel?

 

 

The thing about Social Media…

Is that it truly takes a lot of support of others before you can reap the reward. Others can mean customers, partners, vendors etc. but in order to get support you have to gain it. Why do people have so much trouble with social media? Because people have so much trouble giving without receiving in real life.

Make those connections, do what you can for others when it makes sense and that’s when you’ll really see what social can do for you. Those people you have relationships with, are so much more likely to support your social channels whether it be a like, a share, a referral. Foster those connections, be supportive, my golden rule in social is be a resource, and not just with your content.

No social media listening budget? That doesn’t mean you can’t hear.

You’ve likely heard about ‘social listening’ or ‘social monitoring’, but what exactly does it mean and how can it help your brand if you can’t afford software suites or tools? Social listening isn’t just about keeping track of your handle and hashtags- though I highly recommend doing both. There is a wealth of information surrounding keywords and phrases, especially on Twitter and Google+, that you could be missing out on.

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Companies like Dell have large budgets that allow them to operate social media command centers with the best software and tools to monitor things like brand sentiment, customer issues, product issues, and more. Most of us aren’t Dell and you may lack the budget, the team or the social buy-in (you may lack all three), but there are things you can and should be doing for a competitive edge.

Keywords and phrases you use in your PPC and SEO efforts are valuable too in your social efforts. Searching those keywords, as well as some more conversational variations that better fit the social ecosystem, on Twitter or Google+ regularly can help you identify a variety of things

  • Opportunities to be a resource, answer a question, offer your service etc. (*Especially when your competition isn’t) A beauty store, blogger, salon could really help this girl out!

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  • Opportunities to engage in topics, causes, conversations your customers or community care about. A sporting goods store, blog, could empathize with this tweet.

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  • Opportunities to retweet good things about your brand or address problems when people don’t explicitly use your handle or hashtag (*This is so common, you can publicize your hashtag, name etc. and people will tweet variations, or just not include either) In this example the event handle is @PreaknessPiazza and the hashtag is #PreaknessatthePiazza

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  • Customer service/product issues that may be publicly broadcasted, but not brought to your attention directly (*You want to address these, people make buying decisions based on things like this at a growing rate) Twitter isn’t a great example, but this guy has a good point. You can find tweets like this about almost every brand, store and company.

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  • Monitor competitors (*what they are, but more importantly what they’re not doing, that’s where you come in, you can monitor all competitor social channels in this regard) I bet there is another grocery store around looking for experienced employees!

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  • Content holes (*content creation is often hard for brands, especially with small teams, take a cue from your social listening) You could write a post on how to do this and ‘7 other things you might not know’ Lifehacker style and gain some followers, RT’s or maybe a reader for life.

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  • Don’t forget to search for typical misspellings, now that mobile is bigger than ever, spelling can be a little off, or can vary. People also abbreviate places, people and things in so many different ways. Check, you won’t believe what you’ll find!

There are probably so many other ways to put these channels to work without much of a budget for it, feel free to let me know what you’d add or what you’ve tried. Other networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest etc. serve as excellent market research tools too. Basic social listening and monitoring may be one of the most untapped aspects of social out there, specifically for small businesses.

Should Our New Goal in Marketing Be To Inspire Shareable Experiences?

The Ikea CatalogJ Crew Catalog

As I tapped through Instagram this evening, I couldn’t help but think of how important inspiration has become to social media, but also marketing as a whole. What drives social media is certainly our experiences, but what drives our experience? Let’s face it, we don’t pin, post or tweet everything we do (well most of us don’t) so what is it about the things we do share?

That answer is certainly going to be different for each person, but I know it comes down to inspiration. Was your service so great that you had to tell others? Did a product make such a difference in your life that you tell everyone they need to have it? Was something so beautiful that you felt compelled to Instagram it? I know I personally catch myself in these moments frequently. Often, my direct mail pieces inspire me, or at least the push me into action, they inspire me to share my experience.

This past year I can remember a few in particular and I can’t say that about any commercial or ad, so I just think it’s interesting. Why does the Ikea catalog I got in several months ago stick in my mind? Well I Instagrammed a particular page that really spoke to me + I really think it was that action that reinforced my memory of it. It got me thinking about direct and its value in a great, memorable digital campaign. With such an emphasis on imagery, will we use direct more and more often for that matter. And if not for the ultimate goal of sales but for shareable inspiration?

Obviously, our goals in marketing are changing and will continue as new customers of a new generation value new things. It may be time to start thinking about shareable inspiration?

VCVIB Sephora Mailer

Facebook Flips Our World

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Facebook has just made some changes to our timelines. Timeline and images overall are bigger and it appears of better quality, but absolutely emphasized. They, like every other network including eBay, have noticed Pinterest’s draw. You can also now choose which sections appear on your timeline, and which order them appear in. There’s also an emphasis on the about section ‘making it easier than ever to show friends the things you care about’. Facebook is fully tuned into Gen Y and this update make that clear.

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Places are also a focus and it seems like Facebook is looking to compete with Foursquare and Yelp. Facebook now suggest movies, books and TV shows based on your ‘likes’…(Marketers squeal) and ‘the things you care about are organized into sections’ and you can edit who sees what in each using the ‘audience selector’.

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It all seems really clear and organized, has it been formatted for our brains, I wouldn’t doubt it. I have to say I’m also very glad they didn’t make the timelines way too large like Google+, that’s just…weird. What do you think?

Gen Y doesn’t like you or your e-mails

It’s important that you take the long-view with e-mail as Gen Y + Gen C (if you don’t know about Gen C, read Brian Solis’ new book) gain spending power. Gen Y may be unemployed, up to their eyeballs in student debt + living with their parents, but things aren’t going to stay that way. In fact, Gen Y could outspend the Boomers as early as 2017. Because your business will be relying on Gen Y dollars sooner than you may have imagined, it’s to face the music. Marketing to Gen Y is going to require, well, un-marketing; collaboration, reciprocity, listening, trust and putting customer service and experience at the top of your priority list. E-mail can help you accomplish the aforementioned requirements, but it’s likely going to mean a huge shift from what you’re currently doing.

10% or ‘free shipping’ e-mails that come more frequently than our snail- mail

I know you see a small spike in sales on these days and it leads you to send these again and again, but what you aren’t considering is you’re missing out the opportunity to do so much more. People are giving you their e-mails and allowing you into their inbox because they expect more from you, Gen Y will be expecting a lot more. If you’re going to send an e-mail offering a discount, make it count, and earn your click-through. Less frequent, bigger discounts will lead to better open rates and sales. I’m willing to bet if you moved your discounts primarily to your social channels and used your e-mails for other initiatives, Gen Y would like you even more since that’s why they ‘like’ or follow you in the first place.

E-mails that alert us to your new blog post on a topic no one cares about 

It goes without saying that if your company is going to invest time into producing content, it should be content that the majority of your customers care about and can use. It should be a resource, it should be delivered in various forms i.e. video, visual, text, it should be mobile-accesible as 58% of Gen Y between the ages of 23-31 own a smartphone and are very connected, and it should rarely be about the actual company.

Email is your opportunity to share values and experiences. It’s an opportunity for you to let your customers know you’re listening, you’re growing with them and you’re tuned into their needs. Gen Y cares about making the world a better place and email is a great channel to show them that your company does too. Highlight the causes and organizations that your company is involved with and make them socially shareable or actionable for optimized reach and engagement.

Some other thoughts on changing the way we use email…

I believe there will be a huge change upswing in co-marketing, partnerships marketing and collaboration which will appeal to Gen Y because it’s easier to trust someone who is willing to support or partner with someone else, the same goes for brands and businesses. We see this with bloggers and industry influencers now, brands highlight bloggers with huge social followings hoping to get a piece of their loyal followers. I suspect we’ll see brands supporting and collaborating with other brands that make sens for their demographic. Is the future of marketing a place where shopping at Whole Foods gets you a pretty good discount and exclusive deals at Lulu Lemon? I could be wrong, but I see a great deal of strategic partnerships and collaborations that attract Gen Y. Highlighting these partnerships though e-mail and social etc. further emphasize brands understanding of their customers needs and wants.

Gen Y values peer reviews and recommendations and as heavy social media users, they’re seeing these reviews regularly. They rely peers and the Web when making purchasing decisions and they share their experiences good and bad. Highlighting customer experiences may also be something that should be included in e-mails regularly along with an easy way for customers to give feedback (though Gen Y will prefer to give feedback through another channel) asking and then showing the result of their inquiry will resonate with them.

These are just some thoughts as we move forward into new territory. One thing is for sure though; Gen Y will move out, get married and be a great challenge for all marketers. Using e-mail in new ways and for new reasons is a great start, but I think at the center of all marketing activity, we need to focus on customer experience for long-term successes. It’s important to Gen Y and a huge competitive advantage, if it’s at the core, I think you’re on the right track.

Your new marketing mantra for Gen Y should be “customers make my brand, my brand does not make them” 

Gen Y will eventually leave their parents' homes

Gen Y will eventually move out of their parents’ homes

 

Weekly Pinterest E-mails: Will they soon feature paid suggestions?

As Pinterest moves to monetize it’s popular social activity- will they look to their weekly e-mails for prime, effective ad real estate? It could be a great strategy for brands, especially those already vested in Pinterest, to capitalize on the increasing number of purchases made mobile.

Weekly Pinterest E-mailsI can see ‘featured brands’, ‘popular brands’ or maybe something a little more sly right in the opening section or mixed in with the rest. User-specific e-mails with brand board suggestions would likely really take off. I can also see brands leveraging their influencers boards and pins to drive traffic to the products and ultimately purchases.

I think Pinterest could work brands in their e-mails transparently + effectively; ultimately benefitting the consumer by connecting them with items and content that they want and hopefully want to purchase. It would also help brands grow their Pinterest presence and purchases as a result.  One thing is for sure, Pinterest and other social networks will be getting creative when it comes to brands and making money.

Brands: Get Off the Google+ Fence

@SearchMojo Infographic

SearchMojo has provided some awesome tips for businesses on the fence about Google+ above, but there are some other reasons I’d consider below, they have an impressive resource section here. Thanks to them for creating this concise, spot-on graphic that should get you leaning to one side.

8. Edit with ease

One thing I love for myself, but even more-so for brands, is the fact that you can edit your Google+ posts. You can’t do this on Facebook. If you’ve just created a beautiful post with witty copy, a perfect visual and appropriate attribution but used your instead of you’re-all good! Google+ has an edit button that allows you to update these common mistakes. This is awesome for community managers, saves time and allows brands or services to consistently share correct information.

9. Circle for relevance 

If you’re like me, you got into Google+ without truly realizing the potential of Circles.  Because many businesses are in the early stages or even just getting started, I want to shout it from the rooftops: Use your circles! Organize your advocates, customers + users into circles that ultimately help your brand or company get them the best information or content for them. Too often, we aren’t considering the end-user despite the fact that we know we can be successful by giving them what they want. Google is giving brands an amazing tool here that needs to be utilized to it’s full potential for improved relevance which will ultimately leads to more +1’s, comments and shares. This is a great way to also reward advocates or influencers with exclusive content or recognition. Circle up, brands!

10. Hangout with your customers

You don’t hear ‘focus group’ too frequently anymore, but there is a way to get some of those brand-changing benefits from actually hanging out with your customers or users. Hangout with specific circles, random followers or page guests. Do Q+A’s, FAQ’s or exclusive talks or announcements.  I love the idea of tying hangouts into an ambassador program. If you’re brand has recruitment as a top priority, open up the floor to some potential employees and talk about the industry to really get to know them. If your goal is outreach or product review, send it to them with an invite to a product feedback session. Hangouts have a limited capacity, but can be used in so many ways with huge benefits. If you’re asking for customer opinions or feedback, be sure to give them a reason to help your brand improve, as well all know a t-shirt goes a long way.

Obviously, there are many opinions about Google+ and its success or usage, one thing is for sure though, if anyone has the power and resources to make it work, Google does. I don’t think it’s in a brand’s best interest to ignore it. Overall, when we shift the thinking to what’s in it for my users or customers, social channels just start to make far more sense for the brand + the user.

If I Were a Brand, This is How I’d Vine

Vine

With Twitter, everyone became a journalist. With Vine, everyone will become a producer. The future is the user and most certainly then, their experiences. As a brand then, more than ever, you’ll need to focus on your users and customers in almost all aspects of your marketing (social, e-mail, etc.) Vine is pretty awesome, and we’re all having a great time getting started. Of course, where there is internet, there is porn, but Vine will undoubtedly have a lot more to offer brands. I always recommend people use social channels they way they want to, with that said, don’t use any guide as your be all, end all when it comes to using any app or channel, that’s truly the beauty of all these networks; you can use them the way they work best for you or your brand.

Sneak Peeks | Do you have a product on the horizon that people are anxiously awaiting? Give them a little Vine action. I see this being great for fashion cult favorites like Rebecca Minkoff, or even the big guns like Chanel. Video games, movies, toys…this works for any product. Build or maintain the excitement with time-released clues. Show people’s reactions to the product (instead of the product). Any way you  do it- it’s sure to have way more emotional pull than a text or link tweet!

Announcements | Announce big news, partnerships, events, sales or other promos. Similar to the idea above, you get the picture or should I say Vine.

Feature Customer Vine’s | Vine is now another way to feature user sourced content. Have contests where users submit theirs to win. Feature their Vine in your social channels, e-mails, or give them a prize.

Random Acts of Thanks | You probably get some great feedback, you also likely get your fair share of not-so-great feedback. Let your users or customers know you’re listening to their feedback, good and bad, but sharing a customer-centered Vine their way- I bet they’ll love it.

Put a Face to a Name | When a new person starts working for you- create- or let them create an ‘Intro-Vine’. Knowing who works at your brand humanizes it. We love to know who we’re really engaging with. You could also highlight great employees and what’s awesome about them.

Highlight Causes | Get your community on board with your favorite philanthropies by showing just what it is you do for or with them. Like pictures, people love seeing great causes in action.

Product of the Week | Or month or day in action depending on your offering. Brands like Sephora or Trunk Club could do this very well.

FAQ’s or Q+A’s | I’ve always liked the idea of answering questions via video. Sometimes, questions are just better explained when you don’t have to write the answer. This could be especially useful if you find you’re getting a recurring question.

Put it Together | Whether it’s an outfit or coffee table (Man, Ikea should do this, though they would likely need much longer than 6 seconds), steps via Vine could be interesting for many brands. We’re already seeing a ton of short recipes, and at the end of the day, this really helps your customers or users.

The overall idea for brands is simple, use this app, and apps to come to enhance your user or customer experience. Make sure your brand’s content satiates a need, even if that need is pure entertainment or novelty. Happy Vine-ing all.

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