Things to keep in mind when monetizing your Pinterest account

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“With great power, comes great responsibility.”  This philosophy doesn’t just apply to superheroes that have been bitten by radioactive spiders, it also applies to Pinterest influencers, accounts with several thousand up to millions of followers. If you’re one of these Pinterest superstars you might be thinking of monetizing your Pinterest account but are you putting your account at risk?

If you’re not a Pinterest influencer with several hundred thousand or millions of followers, you might be wondering how they did it. Here are a few possible ways:

  • They were very early adopters of Pinterest and have been building their accounts for years.
  • They have had their account featured by Pinterest though email campaigns and other sources.
  • They have teamed up on group boards with others to build their followers together.
  • They have a large online following that they brought to Pinterest too.

Pinterest influencers are sometimes approached by brands and PR agencies to leverage their Pinterest following in exchange for some sort of compensation, sometimes monetary compensation.  This practice has the potential to quickly lead to spammy behavior. For example, if a company approached an influencer to pin their product and offered to pay them each time they pinned their product making it visible to their large number of followers, it’s easy to see how this could get out of hand very quickly.

To prevent this, Pinterest has established an Acceptable Use Policythat addresses directly compensating Pinterest users for pinning, following or unfollowing. Not adhering to the policy could result in something as serious as the violating Pinterest account being shut down permanently.

This doesn’t mean that Pinterest influencers can never work with agencies or brands, to avoid the risk of having their account shut down, they should adhere to Pinterest’s acceptable use policy. So before you jump at an offer from a brand or agency wanting to pay you because of your level of Pinterest influence, pause and make sure that the deal doesn’t violate the policy.

There is some confusion regarding the policy as to what really is and isn’t acceptable to Pinterest. In this week’s episode of the podcast I invited Kim Vij of The Educators’ Spin on It to join me in a discussion about the policy.

Twitter Best Practices for – 2014 and beyond

Twitter is rolling out a change to its layout.  Naturally, we’ve provided you the latest best practices including the all-new cover and profile photo dimensions!  As with our last best practices, enjoy them, let us know your thoughts and remember, “Above all else, be social on social!”. Cheerio! – See more at: http://www.passiondigital.co.uk/blog/2014/04/11/23-rather-marvellous-twitter-best-practices-2014/#sthash.UmcV6hdZ.dpuf

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Courtesy of: Passion Digital

How to (correctly) Use Hashtags to Increase Your Social Media Presence

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Hashtags first started out on Twitter and have made their way onto all of the most popular social networks including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+. A hashtag is a symbol used to mark a certain category on social media.

The use of a Hashtag in a strategic way can be effective when creating popularity around your brand or business. Finding relevant conversations and interesting people to follow is one of the key uses of hashtags along with increasing engagement.

It is important as a business to understand why hashtags are so important, especially onTwitter. Below you can see some great statistics around how hashtags improve a business’s online interaction when it comes to Twitter.

Hashtags have become somewhat of a trend which isn’t necessarily a good thing if a user doesn’t understand why they are using a hashtag and the reason behind why they are so powerful. Here are three benefits to using hashtags;

How-to-Use-Hashtags-to-Increase-Your-Social-Media-Presence1

1)Gain Followers

Using the right hashtags when trying to build engagement can increase your following extensively over just a few days.

  1. Improve Reputation

If you show expertise when using a hashtag to start a conversation, people will see you as an influencer and follow you because of your reputation.

  1. Get Information

Searching the right hashtags will allow you to find vital information on an subject matter.

When using hashtags on Social Media, they can lose their value if not used correctly. Hashtags should have a purpose whether it is to increase engagement or following, their is always a reason. Below are 5 uses of hashtags that you should be aware of.

How to Use Hashtags to Increase Your Social Media Presence

The whole idea behind a hashtag when using one is to make sure it is not to obscure or too long. Remember that a hashtag is only effective is people are actually using it. If it isn’t popular enough, it won’t help you boost your profile however you don’t want your post to get lost if your hashtag is too popular.

How to Use Hashtags to Increase Your Social Media Presence

How to Use Hashtags to Increase Your Social Media Presence

It’s great if you are using hashtags and you understand why you are using them but you also need to make sure you measure conversions and by this I mean making sure that you are using the right hashtags. If your key performance indicators (below) have not increased since you have changed your hashtag strategy, you might need to revise your plan.

How to Use Hashtags to Increase Your Social Media Presence

If you don’t know how to measure the above KPI’s, you can use hashtag applications and social analytical tools to measure your businesses performance. To see how certain hashtags are performing in general, you can follow the conversations yourself or Google the specific hashtag to see how it is performing.

I hope you now know how to use hashtags to increase your social media presence.

Images taken from Digital Formation World

Facebook Has Made New Algorithm Updates: Spammy Social Marketers Beware!

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Facebook has made an update to the News Feed algorithm that has been a long time coming. If you are like me, you are very tired of being asked to Like a photo to save a baby seal or seeing the same content over and over. This kind of content is NOT social media marketing. Thanks to the most recent Facebook News Feed algorithm update, spammy marketers will have their page content devalued. These people will undoubtedly be the most vocal when it comes to the reduced Reach conversation, but that is another blog post entirely. Before we dive into the changes, let’s revisit what makes the newsfeed algorithm tick. In short, the more engagement you get, the more people you will reach.  If you want a more lengthy explanation, take a peek at this great graphic from TechCrunch

facebook-news-feed-edgerank-algorithm

You might notice that this equation doesn’t include Negative Feedback which is another important aspect of the algorithm. The recent updates were actually developed by monitoring what triggers a Negative Feedback action and appear to be a step in the right direction when it comes to user experience. Here are the updates Facebook has made to stick it to spammy social marketers.

Frequently Circulated Content

If you are in the habit of just reposting what you have seen work for other pages on Facebook, stop what you are doing. The News Feed has been optimized to de-emphasize pages that publish content that has already been uploaded to Facebook over and over again. Early testing of this update has shown that people hide 10% fewer stories overall.  Many marketers switched from content creating to content curating last year, however it looks like it’s time to think about switching back.

Spammy Links

With the explosion of publishing on Facebook came the rise of super spammy links. You know exactly which ones I am talking about. Spammy links feature misleading titles that prompt users to visit websites that promise awesome things like cute baby animals but then serve a website riddled with ads. By measuring how frequently users engage with the original post containing that link, Facebook is now able to better detect these spammy links. Early testing of this update has shown a 5% increase in people clicking on links that take them off of Facebook. This demonstrates that people are seeing more relevant and valuable content in their News Feeds.  Be sure that your messaging about a link is accurate and engaging enough to get people to leave feedback.

Like-baiting

Like-baiting is pretty straight forward and we have all seen these posts. Any post that explicitly asks users to Like, Comment or Share the post in order to get further distribution is considered like-bait. It used to be social media best practice to include a call to action in each post. Well, it might be time to take a different approach. Facebook has made a change to better detect these posts and make sure that they aren’t shown more prominently over content from users’ friends or highly relevant pages. Facebook says that this update won’t impact pages that are genuinely trying to encourage discussion, only those pages that repeatedly ask for engagement. I would suggest that you don’t need to abandon this approach altogether, however few and far between might be the best bet.

So what have we learned? People don’t like spam in their News Feeds and neither does Facebook. These slight updates to the algorithm should hopefully make big impacts when it comes to user experience. How can you ensure that your Facebook content strategy isn’t considered spammy?

  • Do your best to start creating fresh content. Even if you see something that is working for another brand, try to recreate it with your own spin. As marketers we have to begin creating new stories and not just retelling old ones. I would recommend starting with a blog.
  • Make sure that the text and titles that accompany the links you publish are accurate. Bait and switch will no longer be effective.
  • Continue to encourage people to engage with your content, however do so with restraint. Great content doesn’t always need a call to action. People know what to do at this point.

Cross posted with permission from Social Media Today

Authored by: Nathan Mendenhall

 

Social Media Tracking: 5 Simple Techniques to track ROI

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Are you measuring the performance of your social media efforts?  If so, what are you measuring?  

Return on Investment (ROI) with social media may not turn into dollars or Euros immediately, but there’s still a value in getting traffic to your site and building a community online.

You should have a core set of metrics that you track on a regular basis, and social media tracking doesn’t have to that complex.

1.  Conversions from Guest Posting

Writing a guest blog post on someone else’s site can be a source of immediate and ongoing traffic.  But what happens to that traffic when it arrives?

If the traffic arrives and there is no engagement on your site, then there is less value than if somebody arrives and signs up to become an email subscriber, tries out your product or service or buys something.

You need to monitor this traffic and make sure that it is a providing a good return on investment.  If you blog on a third-party site and get 500 visitors, 10% of them might sign up to your newsletter. With a larger size email list you can sell more products or services, get more money for ads in your newsletter and drive more traffic to your website.

Check ‘all referrals’ in Google Analytics and open up the details of the site where you guest posted:

tracking guest blog posts

Track to see how beneficial your blog posts are

We write on Social Media Examiner and you can see those conversion rates can be quite high.  For example, from  a post on Google Plus tools there were 16 new subscribers with a conversion rate of 14.02%.  

You can also see we have a very low bounce rate: people come to the site, like the content and read more of it.

2. Conversions from your own blog content

What about the content you write yourself?  Which content is useful and which is not?  There may be some types of content that you write that get very high conversion rates, and some that get very poor results.

What counts as a conversion will vary from person to person, for example it could be a new email subscriber or it could be a sign up for a trial of your product or service.

If you select behavior -> site content -> landing pages in Google Analytics, you will see the conversion rate (if you have set up goals) for any of your blog posts.

Nice, eh?  What if you have a low conversion rate on a post that’s getting a ton of traffic?  Why not create an opt-in box that is specifically focussed on that piece of content?

3. Conversion from social media channels

Which social media channels are achieving the highest conversions for you?  You can spend a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other channels, but what’s the point if they are not helping you achieve your goals?

Of course, driving traffic to your site and converting that traffic might not be your only goal, but it should be one of your overall aims.

It’s important to keep track of what people are doing when they come to your site.

Google analytics social conversions

View the conversions across each of the platforms

In the above image, you’ll see that our conversion rates are higher for Google+ and LinkedIn.  You may also find that you get a lot more shares on Twitter than other networks, but that you get more conversions from visitors who arrive via other channels!

Like I said, it’s not all about conversions, but this is one area to watch.

4. Tracking Specific Shared Campaigns

What about sharing a deal out on LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and Facebook?  How do you track which conversions are coming from each channel?

Or what if you share a post on Facebook and, at the same time, set up an advertising campaign for the same promotion.  Which one achieved the conversion?  The post or the advertising campaign?

One way to start to unpick this is by using Google URL Builder which will tag additional parameters onto the link so you can view them within Google Analytics and see where your conversions are coming from.

There is a Chrome plugin for Google URL builder which makes it a little easier to create the URLs.  You add it your browser and it will automatically pick up the URL of the page you are on.  You then just fill out some basic details, and you can even create a shortened bit.ly link directly within the tool.

You can also create lists where you preconfigure items for your forms.

Google URL builder plugin

An easier way to set up the Google URL builder

The parameters you fill out are as follows:

  • Source: Where are you going to share out the link.
  • Medium:  Is this an ad, a Facebook post, an email?
  • Term:  Is this part of an AdWords campaign? If so what keywords does it relate to?
  • Content:  If you have multiple ads running for your keywords you can use this to differentiate between them.
  • Campaign:  If this is related to a particular campaign, enter the campaign details.

5. Tracking the value of awareness and engagement

When articles about us are published in the press, that is great for building brand awareness.   The newspapers will tell us how many people read the paper so we’re meant to work out our reach based on this?  C’mon, you know it’s impossible to really work out how many people have read or seen your article.

Yet, you’d still be happy to get your article in the hands of a big newspaper and if you could pay for an editorial piece you’d probably do that also.

The difference with social media is that it’s more measurable.

You can see on Facebook how many people have seen your content in their newsfeed (though they may not have read it).  You can then see how many people engaged with your content, and how many site visits you get.  You can then track these site visits to sales.  Even if you don’t get the site visits you have increased awareness of your brand.

Jon Loomer recently advertised his great Facebook course on Facebook.  He advertised to fans and to non-fans.  Because the fans knew of him and trusted him, they bought it but the non-fans didn’t.    So, Jon knows there is a lot of value in a fan.

Measure what reach you are getting, what engagement you are getting and how many visits you get back to your website.

What tools do you use?

There are many tools available, such as LeadSocial.

As the name suggests, it is all about measuring the value from social interactions and tracking that value to sales.  As well as tracking engagement, it allows you to put a value against this engagement, based on what it would have cost if you had advertised on Facebook.

Lead Social

Another way of measuring the value from your posts

Then, when you’re posting, you can see how much it would have cost and start to measure the value to keep track of whether it’s going up or down.

All of this assumes that you have a relevant audience.  If you simply ran a competition to give away an iPad, chances are your fans aren’t that relevant,  so they won’t be engaging too much anyway.

Leadsocial also identifies your most loyal fans.  These are the ones that are more likely to buy from you so it’s worth tracking them.  If you know who they are, you can do extra promotion just for them (e.g. advertise on Facebook and target the ads directly to this group).

So, think about the value you get from social media channels and measure how much it is worth: this is invaluable information.

Summary

Social Media activity is measurable and, because it’s online, it’s a lot more measurable than other forms of traditional advertising.  For example, how do you measure the value of a billboard?  Do you calculate how many people drive or walk by and work out a value based on this?

At least with social media you can know how many people had the chance to see your update, and then you can see who actually engaged with it and even who came to your website and took some action.

So let’s start measuring!

Data analysis, phone apps and social media are rapidly changing political campaigns

The detailed digital profile makes her conversation easy, even friendly. Taxes for you. Schools next door. Law enforcement down the street.

Some houses can be skipped: no potential votes here, the phone says. That vision or a version of it is popping up in political campaigns across the country.

“It’s a completely different environment,” said Stephanie Sharp, a Johnson County officeholder and consultant who uses and sells a version of the app. “There’s a gold mine of data. … You’re not cold calling when knocking on doors anymore. You know a little bit about your relationship with someone.”

No one is throwing the yard signs away. But the big-data digital revolution rocking media, entertainment, retailing and sports is coming to politics.

The change is arriving at a blistering pace.

“Things are moving very quickly,” said Jared Suhn of Singularis, a political consulting firm. “You shouldn’t be doing one thing anymore. You should be doing 10 things to 10 different groups of people.”

The shift is built around sophisticated and relatively inexpensive hardware and software that now give campaigns rich stores of private and public information — powerful tools for identifying voters and winning elections.

“Ten years ago it was TV and mail and radio,” Suhn said. “Now, you have so much more on-the-ground canvassing going on, strategic grassroots operations, digital stuff online. … There’s a way to get your message out.”

That message is first sharpened by polling and outreach, then reshaped for easy distribution to specific voters.

“You can target people literally to the house,” longtime consultant Jeff Roe said.

Fresh digital technologies emerge in every election cycle, enabling candidates and campaigns to become even more efficient and effective. A campaign’s most important hire is no longer the paid-media guru, it’s the algorithm guy.

Kansas City-based consultant Marcus Leach said combing through digital data allows him to instantly link voters with candidates and campaigns with friends and neighbors.

“It takes only a single ‘like,’ ‘share,’ or mention on Facebook or Twitter,” he said, “and our servers will automatically data mine that person’s Facebook, LinkedIn, look for associations, look for friends.”

The digital revolution in politics is relatively well-known to consultants and campaign managers, but candidates are now catching on too.

“You have to expand your footprint. To a different universe,” said Kelly Kultala, a Democrat now running for the 3rd district House seat in Kansas.

The move to a digitized democracy began to accelerate six years ago when then-candidate Barack Obama successfully used email and a social media presence to reach younger voters and raise money.

His campaign saw the future. Voters who signed up to learn Obama’s vice presidential pick found themselves in an email database, becoming the foundation for his voter contacts for years.

By 2012, Obama’s digital targeting operation blanketed the country, identifying and turning out voters in battleground states like Ohio.

Mitt Romney was far behind.

“Marrying grassroots politics with technology and analytics, they successfully contacted, persuaded and turned out their margin of victory,” the Republican party’s own post-election study found. “There are many lessons to be learned from their efforts.”

Suhn, who works with Republicans, says the party is working hard to fix the problem. “Everybody is catching up,” he said.

That could include state-level Democrats, who’ve often grumbled that Obama’s campaign refused to share its digital secrets. The national party is now considering a major data share, Sharp said.

But the move to digitize voter contacts isn’t driven entirely by partisan politics and isn’t limited to deep data sets and microtargeting.

Even low-visibility, nonpartisan races and issue campaigns can use digital tools. They’re easy, effective — and cheap.

Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are free. So are Instragram, LinkedIn, and whatever other social media site pops up this afternoon.

Websites can be produced and put online for a fraction of the cost of a slick video or 30-second TV commercial.

“You can find your facts, and you can find your Q and A, and you can find your opinion online,” said Pat O’Neill, a Kansas City campaign veteran who advised a winning candidate in the recent mayoral election in Independence.

Indeed, the use of low-cost digital tools, plus big-data and microtargeting techniques, mirror the revolution in big league baseball outlined in the book “Moneyball.” As with the Oakland A’s baseball team, the goal is now to firmly identify voter “bargains” cheaply instead of wasting campaign funds on high-cost, low-efficiency mass media.

“The cost of yard signs has doubled,” Sharp said. “Have you seen the cost of postage? … Every dollar has to stretch farther.”

Big data is even affecting political TV commercials.

“You can actually run one ad to a TV in a home, and in the very next home you run a different ad — based on what their buying habits are like,” Roe said.

 


 

Not everyone thinks the trend is healthy for democracy.

Low-cost, high-impact voter outreach efforts can help underfunded candidates and neutralize the effect of high-dollar donors. That means the digital revolution could help level the political playing field for thousands of candidates and campaigns.

At the same time, though, the proliferation of communications outlets might make it impossible for voters to thoroughly scrutinize political messaging. A candidate can support lower taxes in an ad aimed at one house and more spending in an ad next door.

“It does fly under the radar,” Suhn said. “You can use that for good and for bad.”

Political reporters and ad-check groups are increasingly worried. Fact-checking TV ads and speeches are one thing, but looking at every tweet and Facebook post isn’t practical, let alone examining what a candidate says one voter at a time.

“It’s going to be a challenge for us,” said Eugene Kiely, director ofFactCheck.org. “The strategy is going to remain the same, which is try to crowdsource, get our readers to try to get this material to us.”

A candidate’s opponents will find it harder to respond to statements as well.

“There’s no way to follow it or track it,” Roe said. “It’s hard to do a truth watch on an ad targeted to a select group of people that you never see.”

Digital targeting can also lead to circular political messaging: like-minded activists talking to each other, eliminating the undecided or independent voter from the process and making compromise even more difficult.

“They’re not getting a rounded view anymore,” Sharp said. “They’re only getting the side they want to hear.”

Candidate Kultala sees the same phenomenon.

“The things you like on Facebook or the things that you follow on Twitter are things that you support or agree with,” she said.

 


 

The digital explosion won’t mean an end to negative ads on your television this fall, or blurry postcards in your mailbox. Traditional media will still consume more than half of all campaign budgets this fall, experts predict.

“We must evolve in order to keep up with the younger mindsets,” O’Neill said. “But if you forsake traditional media, you do so at your own peril.”

Indeed, much of the digital revolution is aimed at younger voters, not the entire electorate. Older voters still rely on traditional cues — newspaper and television reporting, commercials and other mass messaging techniques.

Eventually, though, today’s grainy 30-second TV ad may seem quaint.

“For so many years, we’ve just blanketed districts with mail, and hope the name sticks in their head,” Sharp said. “But that doesn’t hit people where they live. You’ve got to target the issues that get them to the polls.”

 

Social Media and Political Engagement

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The use of social media is becoming a feature of political and civic engagement for many Americans. Some 60% of American adults use either social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter and a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project finds that 66% of those social media users—or 39% of all American adults—have done at least one of eight civic or political activities with social media.

Overall, there are mixed partisan and ideological patterns among social media users when it comes to using social media like social networking sites and Twitter. The social media users who talk about politics on a regular basis are the most likely to use social media for civic or political purposes. And the social media users who have firmer party and ideological ties—liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans—are, at times, more likely than moderates in both parties to use social media for these purposes.

Some of these activities are more likely to be pursued by younger social media users compared with the social media users who are ages 50 or older. Younger users are more likely to post their own thoughts about issues, post links to political material, encourage others to take political action, belong to a political group on a social networking site, follow elected officials on social media, and like or promote political material others have posted.

Here are the key findings in a recent nationally representative survey:

  • 38% of those who use social networking sites (SNS) or Twitter use those social media to “like” or promote material related to politics or social issues that others have posted. Liberal Democrats who use social media are particularly likely to use the ‘like’ button—52% of them have done so and 42% of conservative Republicans have also done so.
  • 35% of social media users have used the tools to encourage people to vote. Democrats who are social media users are more likely to have used social media to encourage voting—42% have done that compared with 36% of Republican social-media users and 31% of independents.
  • 34% of social media users have used the tools to post their own thoughts or comments on political and social issues. Liberal Democrats who use social media (42%) and conservative Republicans (41%) are especially likely to use social media this way.
  • 33% of social media users have used the tools to repost content related to political or social issues that was originally posted by someone else.  Republican social media users are more likely to do this on social media—39% have used social media to repost content, compared with 34% of social media using Democrats and 31% of independents.
  • 31% of social media users have used the tools to encourage other people to take action on a political or social issue that is important to them. Some 36% of social-media-using Democrats have done this as have 34% of Republicans. This compares to 29% of independents who are social media users.
  • 28% of social media users have used the tools to post links to political stories or articles for others to read. The social media users who are liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans are the most likely to have used social media this way (39% and 34% respectively).
  • 21% of those who use SNS or Twitter belong to a group on a social networking site that is involved in political or social issues, or that is working to advance a cause. There are no major differences by ideology or partisanship when it comes to using social media this way.
  • 20% of social media users have used the tools to follow elected officials and candidates for office.  Some 32% of the conservative Republicans who use social media follow officials on social media and 27% of liberal Democrats who use social media do so.

Pinterest Announces It Will Be Rolling Out Ads

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Pinterest announced that they will be rolling out ads in the next quarter, great news right? Yes, but before you start putting together your next Pinterest Campaign, you might want to put together funding. Rumor has it that Pinterest will follow Twitters lead in pricing these promotions.  So, what will entice brands to pony up? Pinterest hits that proverbial “sweet spot” demographically and is uniquely qualified for commerce integration.

Here are some of the top statistics on Pinterest’s users:

In full, the special report: 

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