Today, Facebook’s new Timeline is made mandatory for all brands. Though the new timeline has only been around for a short period of time, brands have already adapted the new feature and have began to use the Timeline in a variety of creative ways. Here are 10 brands that we think are doing a great job telling their brand story and history :
Have you seen any brands utilizing the new timeline in a creative and innovative way? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Driving engagement on social channels at times can pose a challenge. Whether you are a brand looking to increase your numbers or you are looking for a way to engage your current fans, contests and giveaways can be a great way to create buzz and excitement.
Here we’d like to share with you three great tools we use to run contests and promotions.
What is Strutta?
Strutta makes it easy for marketers to build, launch and manage social brand experiences that create content and stories worth sharing. With this application, brands can launch a sweepstakes or contest in under an hour. This application allows you to create a page with minimal coding and allows for a great deal of customization.
- Launch full-featured promotional campaigns with flexible DIY tools. No coding required.
- Create professional looking sites and apps to ensure a seamless and positive brand experience.
- Time for your campaign to go viral with Facebook integrations and built-in share tools.
- Track key social metrics in real-time and export data for campaign management.
Strutta has two pricing options ranging from $298 for the basic version to over $2,000 for the pro-account.
What is Rafflecopter?
Rafflecopter makes it crazy-simple to create, run, and enter online giveaways and sweepstakes. With Rafflecopter, you can easily embed a contest onto a blog post or Facebook page.
- Turn an ordinary visit into a fun, engaging experience.
- Expand your reach and keep visitors coming back.
- Get creative. Award points for anything you dream up!
- Verify winners and squash cheaters with 1 click.
This widget is currently free and is a great product to test out.
What is WildFire?
With Wildfire you can build and track powerful custom promotions across multiple social networks.
- Simple Sign Up
- Social CRM
- Fan Gate (Like Required)
- Ease of Use
- Design and plugin variety
Wildfire has a few tiers of pricing that range from $6 per day to $250+ depending on what kind of customization you’ll be needing.
Whether you’re looking to host a quick t-shirt giveaway or run a month long promotion, we recommend these tools for your endeavors. What contest tools have you tested? Found an even better option? Let us know in the comments below.
Google+ has been making some big changes over the past few months. With over 100 million users, Google+ is striving to become “The Social Network” of choice.
Today, Google announced that now Related People and Pages on Google+ will be showing up more prominently in the search. Now, it is become more important to push blog posts and content not only your Twitter and Facebook, but also your Google+ account.
Here is what Google has to say :
“It’s now easier than ever to discover and connect with other people who share your interests—right on Google. Find people and pages related to your search. Make sure you’re signed in and have joined Google+ so you can add them to your circles and see new stuff they share, right in your search results.”
How to appear as a related person
1. Fill out your profile
Fill out your profile
Make it easier for people to find you by completing your Google profile. Make sure to have a high quality photo and update your interests.
2. Post about your favorite topics
Post about your favorite topics
Share and comment on the topics you care about and Google will share your posts and comments with people in your Google+ circles when they’re searching.
3. Appear in search results
Appear in search results
Once you’ve created a Google profile and engaged with an audience on topics you’re interested in, you’ll be eligible to appear on the right hand side of search results. The more quality content you create and the more people that engage with you, the more prominent your profile will become.”
What does this mean for brands?
If you’ve been ignoring Google+ for your brand – it’s time to get your profile filled out. By filling out your profile, your Google+ pages and profile can get more exposure when searches are made for keywords on your profile.
Give it a try :
Search “music” on Google.com
You’ll see in the right hand corner Google is now highlighting relevant Google+ pages and profiles. By filling out your profile, your brand has the opportunity to appear in this same way.
While there is no data available to the algorithm Google is using to choose these pages, we can infer that pages in the most circles will initially gain the most exposure for broad keywords. By carving out a niche market on Google+, smaller brand have the opportunity to gain exposure within their industry.
It will be interesting to see how Google will continue to incorporate Google+ in their search over the coming months. We can only speculate how the search giant will incorporate new features, but for now, it doesn’t look like Google+ is going anywhere.
What do you think of this new feature? Leave us a comment or tell us on Twitter.
Government entities are highly regulated and often times bureaucracy prevents early adoption and innovation. In the last few years, social media has been adopted to the marketing mixes of both consumer and B2B services. It’s been interesting to see that not only restaurants and software companies are utilizing social media, but so are government departments and entities.
In Washington State, we’ve seen a few of these entities break the barriers and join various social networks. Here are three examples that we think have been doing a great job establishing a social presence, building a brand, and reaching out to Washington State residents. Know of any other good examples? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Name of Organization : Washington State Department of Transportation
Why should government entities have a social presence? As the mass population flocks to social networks, they become one of the easiest and fastest ways to relay and communicate information. Whether a national disaster, or a change in government policy, social media is a great way to spread the word. As government entities are brands in themselves, greater awareness and customer relations can help them become stronger more trusted organizations.
Right now, you may be thinking – great… I still don’t get it.
If you’re looking for more information on the platform check out our post here. If you’re ready to build your own Pinterest account keep reading.
Let’s get started!
Who is talking about your brand?
A great first step to getting involved in Pinterest is to see who is talking (aka “pinning”) about your brand already.
You can do this by typing in your brand’s website here but replacing the URL “WEBSITE.COM “with your own.
After doing a bit of research on what others are saying about you, you are ready to make an account. Currently, to use Pinterest, you need an invitation. To get an invite, ask a friend on the platform to invite you from their account in the top right corner. If you don’t have a friend on Pinterest – send an an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you one over.
During the signup process you can choose a username and follow users that you’re connected to on Facebook and Twitter. This is a great initial way to build followers on the service – by embracing the network that you already have. By following others on Pinterest you’ll immediately receive a stream of content to start “pinning” and “liking”. As you sign up, you can choose privacy settings and whether or not you would like your posts to be pushed to your Facebook and Twitter account.
Creating your first board
To create your first board on Pinterest simple click the +Add button in the top right hand corner. You’ll then see a screen that looks like this :
Click the “Create a board” icon on the right.
Then, name and categorize your board. It is important to properly categorize and name your board so users can easily find you and re-pin your content.
Hitting the create board will create your first board. From this point, you can now start pinning on your board.
Have unanswered questions about using Pinterest? Leave us a comment below!
A site that has been gaining traction this year is Pinterest. Pinterest is a social sharing website that allows users to create their own personal pin boards. Much like the bulletin board you would find in a bedroom, Pinterest lets you visually categorize your interests on a digital board. Pinterest launched in 2010 in private beta and to this day an invite is still required for access to the site. The viral growth of the platform has been incredible and businesses are already finding ways to incorporate the site in their marketing mix.
Pinterest’s mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” This mission has since resonated with individuals around the world. Millions has since flocked to the platform and an active and engaged user-base frequents the site often times multiple times a day.
Pins, Re-pins, Likes…. What does this mean for businesses?
According to a recent study by Hitwise, Pinterest drove more traffic to retailers than LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google+ combined. While many social sites come and go, Pinterest managed to establish itself as a leader and giant in the social media space. Pinterest is the fastest site in history to break the 10 million unique visitor market. Since then, many brands have integrated the platform into their digital efforts.
- Pinterest is optimized for sharing – A user can re-pin something to their own board in a matter of seconds. With great content, proper naming, and correct categorization, the likelihood of virality on this site is much higher than platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Not only does can your content go into your own feed, but can be found in the feeds of others once re-pinned.
- Pinterest is a referral engine - With proper tagging and board categorization, Pinterest is a great way to drive traffic to your website. The top pins have been repinned as many as 10,000 times. Many brands have seen their traffic increase from just a few posts on the medium.
“In the last six months, the retail deal site ideeli.com has seen a 446 percent increase in web traffic from Pinterest and sales resulting from those visits have increased five-fold.
“We continue the Pinterest conversation with [the] members by following their pins, and we love to give feedback outside of the shopping category — whether that means commenting on a great recipe or [giving] a heart next to our favorite pet pics,” says ideeli.com social media manager Sarah Conley. “We also see Pinterest as a growing resource to better understand our members and the larger retail landscape.” via Entrepreneur.com
What are users saying about Pinterest?
Who is using the platform?
Brands like your local mom and pop clothing store, to retail giants like Forever 21 have all embraced the platform as part of their digital strategy for 2012. Here are 14 Brands on Pinterest for you to check out.
Here is an example of how one of our clients, Merrill Gardens is participating. Over the past week, Merrill has began creating boards catered towards the interests of their residents. In just a week, Merrill has been re-pinned hundreds of times and has begun to build a following of those with similar interests.
Ready to start? Check out our post tomorrow on “Getting Started With Pinterest”.
Need an invite to the service? Shoot a mail to email@example.com and we will be sure to send you one.
Already a Pro at Pinterest?
Have you tried these neat hacks?
This week, Google launched a new feature called Google Personalized Search. What does Google have to say about their new feature?
“We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships. We began this transformation with Social Search, and today we’re taking another big step in this direction by introducing three new features:
- Personal Results, which enable you to find information just for you, such as Google+ photos and posts—both your own and those shared specifically with you, that only you will be able to see on your results page;
- Profiles in Search, both in autocomplete and results, which enable you to immediately find people you’re close to or might be interested in following; and,
- People and Pages, which help you find people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest, and enable you to follow them with just a few clicks. Because behind most every query is a community.”
The first thing I did when I heard about this was open a second browser, one which I was not logged into any Google profiles. I made the same search and compared the results I got back from the two browsers – one where Google knew who I was and one where it didn’t.
It will be interesting to see if Google chooses to keep or can this new feature.
I’m not a geographical scholar, so when our marketing coordinator Kirk told us about his upcoming trip to Ethiopia and Zambia, I had no idea if they were even close to each other. It seemed like an odd place to visit out of the blue, and I became fascinated by his reason for going.
Kirk and his girlfriend Aly will be travelling with a group lead by former Mariner Dan Wilson, to build baseball and soccer fields at some schools that Wilson’s Foundation established a few years ago. Aly will be shooting the whole 3 week trip and preparing a full documentary of the event. The footage should be unbelievable.
We look forward to having Kirk and Aly back safe and sound at the end of the month. But as we get some communiques back from them, we’ll be sure to post the information, photos and footage up here and on our Facebook page.
We always upload our slides from SVC presentations up to Slideshare. But if you just want to zip through them, feel free to give them a whirl here. Give us a call if you want an audio overview.
The NW Daily Marker broke a story this week that has made national attention. The story recounted the drinking exploits of congressional staffers of Congressman Rick Larsen (D WA) and their unsavory work ethic at his office, in the efforts to create a December to Remember (#D2R twitter hashtag).
On one hand, it is funny that they thought their private Twitter conversations wouldn’t become public. Either they don’t understand partisan politics, or that social networks are open for anyone and everyone to see your ugly exploits, or they’re too immature for those realities to register.
But on the other, the fact that congressional staffers, in highly desirable positions, would waste taxpayers money by treating their jobs like a college party on a Saturday night was galling.
While partisan politics will fuel the discussions around this ugliness, it’s worthwhile to remind ourselves that A) this wasn’t the elected official, B) this may be more of the norm for young 20-something congressional staffers in DC (just that these were dumb to publicize their exploits), C) there are still problems with adults drinking at lunch or medicated on prescription drugs all day while they work. But in the end, this was a reprehensible act, and I’m glad that Congressman Larsen fired these 3 staffers within an hour of being informed of their stupidity.
Since we work in social media, we understand that anything we do might enter the public domain. But this is a good reminder for everyone, that we can’t tweet or post about malicious or nefarious actions with impunity. It’s also a painful reminder that young employees, despite their college educations, may need oversight and are at times immature.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the Pinnion below.
- No public Twitter messages.
Why social media is important for marketers."Social media is bigger than Search. Social networks account for 12% of Internet visits whereas search engines account for 11%."
(Experian, June 2010)