A Bit More About Pinterest

Hello again!  In the last blog I posted there was a lot of talk about Pinterest.  People aren’t just talking about Pinterest, they’re using it.

Statistics show that Pinterest usage has grown from zilch in February, 2011 to a staggering 12 million unique visitors and 1.5 million daily logins.  Because of the engaging nature of Pinterest, people aren’t just popping onto the site like they do with Facebook.  Visitors actually stay and browse the site.  The average visit to Pinterest lasts 16 minutes, while a visit to Facebook is around 12 minutes.  16 minutes is like a week and a half in Internet time.  The craziest statistic of all is that Pinterest now delivers more referral traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined!

With these statistics in mind, it’s no surprise how successful Destination Halifax’s Best of Halifax Pin & Win contest was.  During 4 weeks, the contest generated over 19,000 pageviews, close to 5,000 photo pins within the Pinterest’s social stratosphere and garnered over 400 followers.  If you’re not a numbers person, I’ll clarify:  I’m pretty sure that’s the most Pinterest Followers of any Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) in Canada.

Pinterest is a cool new way to engage consumers and build your brand
as well as tangible, measurable results. And isn’t that what’s really
all about?

Social Networking and Productivity

              

The  office.  When you think about working what comes to mind?  It’s crunch time, deadlines and hard work.  That’s what being at work is all about!  Put in the time to get ahead and you will reap the benefits, right?  But, over the past few years, things at the office have really changed.  What’s changed, you ask?  A little thing called social networking. 

There’s the never-ending argument of whether or not employees should be allowed to access Facebook, or other social networking accounts while they’re on the clock.  Is it decreasing productivity or giving staff a chance to collect their thoughts? 

As an avid Facebook user, I argue that the use of social networking sites can be something like a “virtual break” for workers.  Give them a nice two minutes here and there and it feels like they’ve had some time to themselves, after which, they’re ready to work with a fresh set of eyes and gray matter.

Dr. Brent Coker, a professor at the University of Melbourne agrees.  He found that people who took small breaks between tasks were 9% more productive.   He says “it gives them a chance to reset their concentration.”  It could even be argued that by not allowing the use of Facebook or MySpace, employee productivity could actually decrease.

A recent study by Read Write Web shows that 46% of IT professionals polled said they felt social networking have no measurable business benefit.  10% even said that social networking in the workplace should be banned altogether!  Yet somehow, 30% of IT professionals polled still admitted that they log onto social networking sites, like Twitter or Facebook at least once a day.

Whether or not you are a member of the masses obsessed with social networking, you are definitely amongst them.  Nearly everybody wants to be online and stay connected.  When starting a new job, finding out that Facebook isn’t prohibited at work is likely the best news you’ll hear—personally even professionally.

The Voice, Daily Grace and Coca-Cola: Do You See The Connection?

First there was radio, then television and now the age of computers, the internet and social networking.  Ah, the media.  We live in the day and age where everything is connected and it seems inescapable.  Now here’s the sticky part.  Things are starting to overlap.  Platform to platform, and sometimes from within platforms themselves, it seems that nobody can wait to share and interact in every way they can.

We all love it.  Even if you say you don’t, I know you’re lying.  The Voice.  What a show!  It took America, and the world, by storm this year.  An interactive singing competition, but with the panache of judges and coaches like Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine, that actually have relevant star power.  It’s like American Idol’s funner, crazier kid sister! 

    

The other thing that The Voice has is the Social Networking Room backstage.  It gives fans of the show the opportunity to interact with judges and contestants via Twitter and, if they’re lucky enough, actually get a response.  Luck is the operative word.  Because on Tuesday nights, man!  Twitter was blowing up with #TheVoice.  Not gonna lying, my Twitter account has a few #TheVoice tweets sprinkled in there.


It’s not just big business broadcasters using multi-platform connections to reach their viewers.  A great example is a Vlogger named Grace Helbig.  She has a YouTube channel where she runs a show called “DailyGrace”.  Every segment is all about connecting with the viewer.  She takes to her Tumblr account to ask questions like “What do you want Grace to teach you today?”  Who knew learning how to sexily clean a toilet could be so hilarious?

Then there is Coca-Cola.  A little while ago, Coca-Cola became the first product that you could tag in a photo on Facebook to take you directly to the Coca-Cola Facebook fanpage.  Using their already huge fan base on Facebook to market their product cut out the middleman for posting photos on the page.  They don’t even need to ask users where they like to enjoy a nice cold Coke because now the users are telling them without being asked the question.

The overlap of media platforms was bound to happen, and is evolving so quickly that it’s hard to predict what the next step will be.   The changes are obviously going to continue, so now the best bet is to join in the conversation or risk looking like an old fuddy duddy.
 

Tweets and Likes to Sales and Dollars?

Oh, hello!  Remember last week when I told you about the CMA social media conference Colin and I attended in Toronto?  It was an amazing conference full of useful information.  In case you didn’t read, it was all about whether or not social media is good for businesses.  Here’s the thing: when going over the conference in my head, I realized that we were never really given a solid answer.  So, is social media good for businesses?

Some companies are banking on social media as a great way to get a buzz out there.  That buzz should really be bringing in the dollars right?  Recently, while reading Fast Company, I came across an article that tackled the exact same question.  Do “likes” and retweets add up to sales?

 Take Audi, for example.  With approximately 3 million “engaged” fans, Audi has become the most “engaging” entity in the vast expanse of Facebook.  That’s right.  Audi has surpassed the fan power of Justin Bieber.   Audi has even taken the next step in the world of advertising and social media.  During the SuperBowl, they revealed the first ever television ad with an official Twitter hashtag (#ProgressIs) being flashed on the screen.  The response was huge.

The hashtag went viral on Twitter and the “best tweet” containing the hashtag won an amazing trip to California to test drive Audis and have $25,000 donated to the charity of their choice (way to go @jetsetbrunette!  Jealous!) This is all well and good, but am I the only one who’s put two and two together?  Isn’t this costing Audi a lot more money than it’s making them?  Is all this online attention actually inspiring anyone to jump up and buy an Audi?

Doug Clark, Audi of America’s general manager for social media and customer engagement has the answer.  “The equation to measure that doesn’t exist.”

This is applicable to pretty much any ad we see in the social media scope.  Was it the ad you saw on the sidebar of Facebook a month ago that made you buy that pack of Excel?  Or maybe you just remembered that adorable doughnut on their TV spots.  Who knows?

According to Fast Company, funding for social media advertising is often pulled from the pile of cash labeled “experimental”.  But, when you think about it, pretty much all forms of advertising started out as a bit of an experiment.  Who knew telling people why products were “so great” on television would actually lead to sales?  In this crazy world we call the Ad-Game, social media advertising has clearly become the next big step forward, but it could just be a layover on the way to something bigger and better.  As of right now, nobody knows.  That’s what makes the future so exciting!

Is Social Media Good for Business?

Hello again, gentle readers!  It’s been ages!  How are things?  Have you been well?  We’ve been very well.  Thanks for asking.  We’re quite the busy bunch over here, at Chester + Company.  Summer is in full tilt, but that hasn’t stopped us from keeping our noses to the grindstone.  Did I mention there was a conference in Toronto?

On June 23rd, on a beautiful sunny morning in downtown Toronto, Colin Stinson and I ventured to the Allstream Centre for an exciting Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) conference asking “Is Social Media Good for Business?”

The line up of speakers was, as might be expected from the CMA, diverse, knowledgeable and eager to interact with the delegates.  Presentations topics included  Psychology of the Social Shopper, Measuring Emotional Response – Attaching Dollars to Sentiment Analysis, Monetizing Social and its Impact on Business today.

Vida Killian, Category Manager at Starbucks Canada, was a star speaker.  She had big shoes to fill, being the first of many presenters.  The word amazing comes to mind.  If you doubt the Starbucks brand power, or their efforts to communicate with their customers, Killian would convert even the most cynical of non-believers.

Something very different from other CMA conferences that I’ve attended were the interactive sessions.  Rather than just hearing about the practices, groups were assigned fictional tasks to take on and actually execute.  For example, Alfredo Tan, of Facebook Canada, asked us to design online campaigns for a new lip-gloss brand.  In a mere half hour!  It was a challenge, but a welcome change, and made for a refreshingly non-traditional conference setting.

What better way to showcase the value of social media, a non-traditional marketing tool, than hosting a non-traditional and cutting edge conference?  What I mean by this is that social media is not actually a direct tool of sales or marketing, but as a way of connecting people to each other and to a product.  Social media is all about people and our relationships.

This conference feels like a step towards the future of the modern business conferences.  Kudos to the Canadian Marketing Association, and to all speakers.  As usual, we look forward to another interesting experience to come with the CMA.

Cheers!

N