5 Ways Communication on Pinterest Differs

Twenty-eight percent of adult Internet users and 22 percent of the entire U.S. population are on Pinterest, according to Pew Internet. In total, Pinterest is third amongst the social networks, trailing Facebook and LinkedIn.

According to an Ahalogy study, many active Pinterest users indicate they turn to the social network in place of traditional media:

• 43 percent use Pinterest in place of reading magazines
• 49 percent use Pinterest instead of browsing catalogs

Yet Heck, even B2B darling LinkedIn seems to get more love from social media experts.

So, why so little attention relatively speaking?

“Because to successfully market on Pinterest, you must act a little differently,” said David Weinberg, CEO and founder of Pinterest marketing firm Loop 88. “It offers a unique visual aesthetic with different uses than other social networks.”

So what does it take for communicators to succeed on Pinterest?

1) Build Content for the Pin

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People don’t act the same way on Pinterest. They are searching for and adding things that are meaningful to their lives. The context is completely in the realm of the end user.

Hypothetically, if you are a travel company you usually post on why Paris is a great place to visit. But the end user would search for romantic places in Europe to propose to your fiance. While it may seem obvious to some to propose in Paris, it may not be to Romeo. A Parisian travel site may want to build content that includes the top 10 places to propose to your girlfriend/boyfriend in Paris, each location with its own image and short story.

In 2013, Target created a unique campaign for those looking for party supplies called Best.Party.Ever. They hired renowned event planner David Stark, and the board went crazy with more than 160,000 followers. It was a brilliant network-specific campaign that highlighted one of the primary reasons people shop at Target.

2) Codify for the Pin

It’s not enough just come up with great pictures that link back to a story. Communicators need to take the contextual step further on Pinterest. Build pins that fit common search terms, and place them in boards that fit larger consumer searches.

“The right pin boards and keywords are critical for success,” said Dave Weinberg. “You can see it with repins, sponsored posts, and even the successful influencers. People are looking for stuff. If you think about the lifetime of a pin, it can work for your brand over a period of years.”

3) Hire Influencers to Build the Pins

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In most other social networks, influencers mention your brand and your happy. More often than not these mentions tend to be news bound, though they can be topical. With Pinterest, it’s better to have the influencers build content rather than re-pin it. This often drives incredible interest.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported how large brands are moving towards hiring influencers to work their networks rather than buying sponsored pins. The article cites how VH1 hired influencers to create pinboards for its show “Hindsight.”

“It had 600,000 followers for an influencer-created pin during a single week,” said Tom Chirico, VH1’s vice president of marketing.

4) Promote the Pin

Most social networks have native advertising products these days, and Pinterest just launched its Promoted Pins product. Promoted Pins are different in that Pinterest is building its platform now to justify its $5 billion valuation.

Success is paramount for Pinterest. To help, the social network is investing editorial control over the ads to make sure they are interesting enough that the larger community will enjoy them. As a result, the optimized pins will garner success beyond the paid reach, creating content that will perform well for the lifetime of the Pin.

Promoted Pins are new, but Pinterest says brands are experiencing a 30 percent bump in earned media, or free impressions, from their campaigns.

5) Spread the Pin

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It’s one thing to work within Pinterest. It’s another to understand that Pinterest fits within the larger ecosystem of Internet websites. If a good percentage of your customers are Pinners, then integrate your Pinterest assets throughout your web experience.

Some brands are going further than just offering on-site Pin sharing. They integrate entire Pin boards onto their websites.

For example, HSN’s The List fashion show integrated a pin board onto its site and references Pinterest on the show. This is a great way to curate deep content on site, while highlighting your additional Pinterest properties and account.

What Pinterest tips would you add to the list?

This post was published originally on the Cision blog.

Why Yik Yak Makes Sense to Me and Snapchat Doesn’t

Yik Yak has received a lot of media attention as of late, most of it negative from fearful adults. One psychiatrist [on Fox News] called it the most dangerous form of social media.

Funny. Yik Yak offers the most obvious form of social media to me, much more so than other youth-driven apps like Snapchat. Yes, the critics are right. It allows people to be as mean as they want to be without repercussion, and that’s why everyone is afraid of it. But it also let’s people show their barest souls.

I’ve been on Yik Yak for less than a week, and I have seen some incredibly sad and beautiful and funny updates. It’s touching, a reminder of what Robert Scoble and Shel Israel called Naked Conversations during the blogging era (think 2006-7).

Oh, by the way, Yik Yak expressly states in its rules that people aren’t allowed to troll. Further, really nasty updates can get voted off the island. I noticed the fear mongering articles didn’t mention that.

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Conversations is what social media was supposed to be about. Not providing the optimal social marketing expertise, nor was social meida meant to create personal branding platforms to generate influence (which was a movement that arose in 2008). Social media was supposed to be about people interacting with others in a transparent authentic fashion.

And Then There Is SnapChat

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Yik Yak offers honesty where the more popular Snapchat network offers naughtiness and the potential for public spectacle. Snapchat’s value lies around the promise that you won’t be able to see content ever again, that it won’t exist. People love the thrill of the momentary content, some of which is wacky, weird, naughty and/or crazy.

Some brands are capitalizing on this platform, both individuals and corporate (Taco Bell pictured above). Yet, the opportunity is a fleeting one in my mind. Is Snapchat a zeitgeist, a reaction to the over-indexing of Twitter and Instagram by companies and data spiders? Or is it a network that will stand the test of time?

Personally, I find Snapchat to be absurd. I don’t understand why people would post content under their own name only to have it disappear. Maybe that’s the writer/photographer in me speaking.

Nevertheless… So you want to post something mischievous or naughty. People will still remember you posted it. And I hate breaking it to all the sexting youth of America on Snapchat, people can still make a record of those pics and updates.

So why not post it elsewhere where it is public and the content remains? I just don’t get it (cranky old man).

If I have to choose between entertainment or relating in my social media, I’m always going to lean towards the relatable. With its forced anonymity, Yik Yak offers both. But if you are going to opt for entertainment via spectacle, at least you can’t take credit for it or shame yourself for a few shout-outs.

Maybe anonymity makes Yik Yak a lot less exciting to marketers. But it sure makes for a better user experience.

What do you think of Yik Yak?

Some More Thoughts on Using Periscope/Meerkat

Periscope and Meerkat are all the rage. Like Robert Scoble I still think these services will create many bad videos. But at the same time, I’d be a fool if I denied that some brands like GE are already using these tools to build a narrative, and actively engage audiences.

So this Tuesday Tenacity5 Media will be experiment with it during GiveLocal America. C.C. Chapman came on board for tomorrow, just to help the team here in DC. I’ll be in New Orleans covering GiveNOLA, and Erin Feldman will be in Kimbia’s office here in Austin, TX and Jessica Bates will be working with C.C. in DC.

All three of us will be providing updates from our various locations about what nonprofits are doing to win their communities’ respective giving days. These updates will be short and spaced out with each oof us reporting every hour, and one of us reporting on the @givelocal15 account every 20 minutes.

Getting ready! Just under 32 hours until #givelocal15

A photo posted by Give Local America (@givelocalamerica) on

So I needed to brush up on live streaming best practices. There have been some good pieces on best practices put together already. A quick summary of some smart tips:

1) Get a tripod for the phone so the video is steady.

2) Make sure your battery is charged.

3) Use the top third of the phone for your head (and shoot vertically).

4) Turn off notifications from your other apps so they don’t interrupt the broadcast.

5) Do your best to schedule your broadcasts in advance.

One thing I’d like to see some more of is using live video to offer citizen journalism broadcasts. So I started thinking about how I was going to use live video in combination with photos from the scene. More often than not, I thought of major events and how networks cover them live

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GiveNOLA will offer a live event in Lafayette Square with organizations actively fundraising. So it’s a great opportunity to use live video to execute interviews with donors as well as Greater New Orleans Foundation and nonprofit staffers.

There will be many nonprofit parties, too. So the trip offers an opportunity to show live event activities, parades, music, etc. Then there is the behind the scenes management of the giving day from the community foundation’s perspective, the metaphorical war room shots. Finally, there will surely be good stories unfolding on site, and this is an a opportunity to report on them.

One thing I think traditional broadcast media does well is that they keep video material short. I think livestreaming offers the temptation of continuing to show live coverage when in reality, we know social videos do better when they are brief. Five minute livecasts of in-street action or behind the scenes interviews is probably too long for this purpose. I am thinking two minutes give or take is the cap for these efforts.

What do you think of Meerkat and Periscope so far?

Featured photo by Iwan Gabovitch

When the Novelty of Livestream Video Wears Off

Right now people are wowed by the ability to livestream video as they go, most notably in the form of Periscope and Meerkat. But what will happen after the novelty wears off?

Perhaps the trend was predictable. Cameras on smartphones, more bandwidth and mass market adoption of social networking have combined to bring the widespread consumption of rich media. Now these technological advancements have wrought large-scale adoption of live streaming video on the go.

There will be some talented livecasters who garner significant, engaged followings. We can also expect some incredible use cases, such as great and terrible news events livestreamed by citizen journalists. Other niche uses include collaboration amongst friends and workforces discussing the evolution of now. There will be the celebrities who stoke their legions of stalkers, er, fans. Finally, others will share important moments like marriage proposals.

For every interesting livestreamed video created, we can expect thousands of bad ones. In my opinion, society’s tolerance of the Instagramization of live video feeds will be much lower than photos. We’re going to be looking at a lot of really bad content creation live.

Boring Content Won’t Succeed

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The average person’s filter of quality information and entertainment is contextual at best, and frankly just piss poor most of the time. That’s before you even factor in video creation skills.

Congratulations, Joe, you’re at the zoo. By the way, every time you pan down you’re showing me the guacamole stains on your shirt. And that your fly is open. Oh, by the way, no one above the age of eight really likes the Mediterranean Donkey.

Maybe you do like Mediterranean Donkeys, and I just made an ass out of myself with this post. But I think we will grow weary of everyone’s interpretation of awesomeness in the moment, just like we have gotten tired of feet photos at the pool. Or as we have grown weary of the average social media tips blog (or article if you prefer).

Perhaps the most compelling reason is that we’ve scene this game before with webcams. You didn’t hear much about webcam streaming after the public got tired of someone showing us their world in a room over and over again. Why?

Because it’s really hard watching someone doing nothing most of the time. Some webcams are interesting in the moment, for example the Cherry Blossom Watch webcam at the Tidal Basin. But invariably, most of them are just downright boring. In fact, even the good ones become boring in a matter of minutes.

Just like 99% of Periscope and Meerkat videos are boring, too. In a time of TLDR (too long did not read), we will soon see TBDW (too boring, did not watch).

Perhaps the novelty wore off for me a little sooner than others. What do you think?

Featured image via Techcrunch. Donkey image by Helen ST.

5 Tips for Posting Pulse Articles on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Pulse uses an algorithm to determine how it should source your post. It matches content to an industry professional’s interests. So if you are a healthcare provider, you won’t receive posts on accounting.

There are ways to optimize LinkedIn Pulse to better reach intended audiences. Here are some suggestions based on research:

1) Social Validation Ratio

Social Ratio

The LinkedIn Pulse algorithm uses as social validation ratio to determine how often it sources a member’s Pulse post, says data scientist Andy Foote. The relative number of views doesn’t matter. Instead, the percentage of likes, reshares and comments per view is what triggers a featured article in Pulse.

Sharing your post as soon as you publish is critical. Send it on to your most engaged communities. You need people to like, share and comment to achieve the right ratio. I can already see scenarios where people are gaming initial social engagement to trigger featured Pulse articles.

2) Timing Is Important

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Because social validation drives success you want to publish on days when most people use LinkedIn. Those tend to be Monday through Friday during business hours, with an emphasis on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. You can further refine time-based optimization by targeting times when people are at their desks; before work, lunch hours, or the end of the business day.

3) Format Posts for Social Validation

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Creating strong posts means requires a few things to make content more share and comment worthy. These are blogging best practices, but just for the sake of being intelligent about formatting let’s offer a few reminders:

  • Use relevant and interesting images. There’s a reason why LinkedIn suggests a strong header image. But go further. Build subheads, and use a new image every three to five paragraphs. Or you can build a BuzzFeed-esque post with subheads for every paragraph. List posts do seem to go further than the average essay, but you better be sure the content is awesome. There’s nothing worse than a lame, self-promotional BuzzFeed hack. You can also embed rich media if you have good video content or Slideshares you’d like to add.

  • Titling is important to drive interest from readers. It should also be descriptive and match back to keywords that will signal to the algorithm which audiences will prefer the post.

  • Offer links to give readers additional insights and depth. LinkedIN’s editor recommends you do this as a matter of good form.

    The social network does recommend generous linking. As far as ranking content goes, LinkedIn’s Pulse algorithm is closely guarded, but if it is anything like Google’s, it rewards posts with strong links. Generally speaking, Google likes sourcing content with frequent and credible links, as it provides an extended and good user experience. Since Google actually indexes LinkedIn posts, this a good practice regardless of how LinkedIn factors links into its algorithm. You want to rank well with your post.


  • There are those that preach long form, and others who say short form matters most. Most of the posts I see succeeding on Pulse are greater than 500 words, but not more than 1000. Brian Lang’s research confirms this observation. At the same time given how few posts actually extend beyond 1000 words, it may be the odds of success are higher with long form.

4) Write for the Audience

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It’s really important to keep content laser focused within the sector. The algorithm will source content to audiences based on keywords and phrases. And it will also exclude audiences if the content won’t appeal to them.

5) Tag Your Posts

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The 10 most overused buzzwords on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn specifically recommends tagging your posts. You can add up to 3 tags in each post, but you cannot customize the tags, instead using what LinkedIn has offered for categories. To add tags:

  • Scroll to the bottom of your post.
  • Click the Tag icon next to Add tags like consulting, sales, marketing…
  • Click into the text box and begin typing.
  • Select an available tag from the drop-down.

These five tips should help your LinkedIn Pulse Article go further than just a standard text-only piece that one might be tempted to post.

Can Flickr Catch Instagram?

Flickr celebrated 10 years of serving photos earlier this month, making it an old man amongst social networks. But the photo network is still relevant today, ranking in the top 10 social networks thanks to a resurgence under Marissa Mayer’s watch. In fact, Flickr is now ranked just one spot behind rival photo network Instagram.

In the past two years, Yahoo! redesigned the site to give it a modern feel, added new apps, gave photographers a massive amount of free space (one terabyte), and continues to evolve its feature set. Most recently, Flickr added Creations, an easy way for photographers to create their own Photo Books. The series of changes has produced a visual renaissance.

Flickr has 92 million users now, from amateur to the most professional of photgraphers. Unlike Instagram, Flickr’s robust copyright protection mechanisms provides more experienced photgraphers a safe place to post, in turn attracting higher quality images.

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Image by antony5112 on Flickr.

While Instagram may be the place for casual photo sharing and in-the-moment visual hashtagged memes, Flickr offers a search beast and credibility. Google, Bing and Yahoo alike index the site, and offer its images in their results. Tagging drives additional native search traffic, too. As a result, Flickr is a top resource for those looking for creative photos.

In my opinion, Yahoo!’s Flickr may overtake Facebook’s Instagram as the number one photography social network. What a coup that would be for Marissa Mayer.

I post on both Flickr and Instagram, and I can safely say that I have never had an Instagram photo featured in a news story, book, or on Getty Images. My works on Flickr have been featured in three books, twelve were licensed by Getty Images, and hundreds have been featured in blogs around the world.

In fact, Flickr is so powerful that my photo blog regularly outperforms this blog every month. I am expecting my one millionth photo view (none of which include me) early this Spring, outpacing this blog’s page views (which includes the old Now Is Gone blog, launched at roughly the same time as my Flickr blog, but not the Buzz Bin from 2006-9).

The combination of better apps and features, higher visibility to influential photography users, and increased social function gives Flickr the edge over Instagram in my book. What do you think?

Featured image by me, shot in Philadelphia this past Saturday.