Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Utilising Pinterest for Brands and Business

As a business you may want to encourage engagement, either through visitors stumbling across your own Pinterest board, or allowing visitors to pin your content to their boards. Both of these are easily done through the lines of buttons under the images on Pinterest, similar to Facebook’s approach with their Like/Share buttons.

In order to facilitate this, the Pinterest site offers both a “Follow Button” and a “Pin it” button that can easily be incorporated into sites. You can even install a "Pin it" button into your browser bar or download the Pinterest App for iOS.

All this has lead to some very popular Pinterest boards and users, attracting thousands of views and followers. Back in February, Mashable & Zoomsphere looked into the top followed Pinterest brands. At the time the most popular board on Pinterest is The Perfect Palette, a blog focusing as a resource for weddings, and has amassed an impressive 240,000 followers. Many of the top 10 brands lend themselves well to the primarily female audience that Pinterest seems to attract, such as Real Simple magazine, Better Homes & Gardens and Whole Foods to name but a few.

Whilst there are plenty of home crafting and design ideas floating around, e-commerce has also been making leaps and bounds via Pinterest. Fashion retailers such as ASOS have been quick to get on side with Pinterest. The very fact that Pinterest's two main strengths are that it's primarily visual AND social lend it extremely well to products such as beauty and fashion.

Of course, on the other side of the coin, you may not want people to be able to share content from your site on their boards. Why? Because there’s no authentication process on pinning content, essentially the company allows its members to add copyrighted content without the original creator’s permission. Obviously, for many companies and individuals this could prove to be a serious issue.
As stated by Ben Silbermann, CEO of Pinterest, “We care about respecting the rights of copyright holders. We understand and respect that sometimes site owners do not want any of their material pinned.
To avoid such problems, Pinterest now provides site owners with a snippet of code, which can be found at the bottom of their Help page, which deters visitors from pinning their content.

Also in the works, Pinterest is currently testing a character limit for pin options in the hopes of preventing users from stealing content such as blog posts or articles, but this has not been rolled out to the public yet.

If you're interested in learning more about Pinterest, there's no shortage of information around, including our own Introduction to Pinterest on the Rocktime Blog.

There are quite a few lovely infographs available on the topic, which provide a great overview of how Pinterest has shot to fame and the kind of user base it attracts.

Whether it's technical, marketing or social, if you're after more information and want to talk to our sales team, then why not get in contact with us here at Rocktime.

Author: Alice Cheetham

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Geek Video of the Month

Touch screens are pretty cool right? We certainly seemed to have embraced them, with the popular trend of smartphones and tablets in fairly common use. How about a touch screen that can project onto any surface?

This month's Geek Video from Andy, our Technical Manager, demonstrates some "work in progress" tech from Microsoft; a Wearable Multitouch Projector. It may not be the most elegant of pieces to wear about, but it's definitely a start! The projector uses motion and depth cameras, as well as projector, to turn any flat surface into a gesture sensitive display.

It doesn't seem too far-fetched to think that in time they'll be able to shrink it down to something more manageable. Alternatively, maybe we'll see smaller wall mounted units for pop up displays or touch screens. It's an interesting idea, just imagine the potential!

Author: Alice Cheetham

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Facebook updates Insights; real time analytics

Rocktime talks Facebook Insights and Updates
The wind of change is certainly blowing strong in the Facebook camp. Along with their new Timeline format, of which the compulsory switch over for is fast approaching, Facebook Insights (their built in analytics engine) has also had an update.

Earlier this year Facebook updated their own analytics engine, Insights, to now allow statistics to be viewed in real-time, removing the two day delay previously in place. This is a great update for any brand that runs campaigns through their Facebook pages, especially those on a short time scale, as it allows brands to see how fast information is spreading immediately.

This change to real time statistics will also help brands and businesses to see what’s working and what’s not, and allow them to adjust their content or approach appropriately.

Facebook Insights
The update to Insights also includes a new measurement “People talking about this”, it’s a little ambiguous, and in fact covers quite a range of factors. Ultimately it allows you to view the numbers of Facebook users who have:
  • Liked your page
  • Liked, commented on or shared a post on your page
  • Answered a question you’ve asked
  • Responded to any events you’ve announced
  • Mentioned your page
  • Tagged your page in a photo
  • Checked in, or recommended your place
This certainly is great news for marketing and social media strategy, but developers will also need to be aware that certain metrics that once were read by Insights are being removed, check out their Developer page on Insights for more information.

If you’re interested in learning how Rocktime can help you with Social Media and adjusting to changes in the internet environment, then why not get in contact with our Sales Team and arrange a meeting.

Author: Alice Cheetham

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Why use Google Plus?

Social Media MarketingMaintaining a multi-platform social media strategy can be a demanding and time consuming task, but the benefits can more then pay off!

Using Social Media, such as Facebook, Twitter & Google+, has shaped up to be a powerful drawing-in tool, attracting potential customers. Case in point; Samsung had a fantastic mobile ad campaign, which saw three times above average click through rate by linking directly to their social media accounts. This example goes to show that linking to social media can certainly achieve very tangible results.

Google PlusOf course, using social media is all well and good, but nothing beats some good statistics and real figures for seeing how much of an impact you're having with it. Wordtracker has a great summary of methods of measuring your Google+ traffic on one of their latest articles. The article is well worth a read, not only are they looking at referral traffic from Google+, and how to measure it in Google Analytics, but Google's +1 button as well. By using tools such as Topsy, Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools you can get a great idea of how your social media pages and tools are affecting your search marketing.

On the topic of Google+, whilst they may be aiming for a slightly cleaner and simpler look then Facebook’s new Timeline styled profiles, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it look nice, as shown in Mashable’s article Google Plus Profile Hacks and Econsultancy’s Top 20 Google+ Photo strips. Of course, these aren’t anywhere near as complex as ‘hacks’ but instead just a smart use of images and file naming, and relatively easy to do. On a similar premise, you can also use animations to further hook your visitors at first glance.

Finally, coordinating a social media strategy alone can seem like a daunting task, let alone across comparatively new platforms such as Google+, there are many tools available to help ease the workload. Why not take a look at our own Useful Tools section on the Rocktime site, where you can make use of our Campaign Objectives Worksheet, ROI Sales Funnel and Percentage Change Calculator. Don’t hesitate to get in contact with our sales team at Rocktime to discuss your integrated marketing strategy.

Author: Alice Cheetham

Friday, March 02, 2012

Facebook Timeline for brands

Facebook Logo
As the final roll-out of Facebook Timelines for personal profiles rolls ever nearer, this week sees the introduction of Timeline for brands as well. The option to switch to Timeline is already available for Facebook Pages, and it’s looking like the 30th of March will be the date for compulsory uptake of Timeline for pages. Some well-known brands have already got in there with some great displays of what a business can do with Timeline, but what do these changes really mean?

Facebook Timelines
There's a lot of new changes to take in, perhaps the most immediate change off the bat is the removal of the landing page. In our previous thoughts on organising a Facebook Page, we were all for using iframes to create your own custom, free from Facebook formatting, landing page. In place of a landing page we now have the Timeline page, with its large header banner and Timeline arrangement down the side. Extra tabs that were once the mainstay of Facebook brand pages are now for the most part removed, and instead we have a section for photos, apps and company info.

The large cover photo is a new addition right at the top of your page, which offers a large space to personalise and open the look and feel of your page. Taking into account it’s prominent positioning, updating this regularly offers a great opportunity to make your visitors aware of new opportunities.

The profile image has also changed, from the sizeable rectangle we were allowed before, now we’re reduced to a much smaller square profile image, on the plus side, it will at least thumbnail neatly when making posts on your own wall!

Bear in mind what an app comprises of is largely up the administrator, whether it’s what was once a custom page in an iframe, or a list of free issue apps for things like events and other social network integrations, it’s likely that all previous custom tabs will be converted into ‘apps’ that the visitor can click into.

Furthermore these now load on a separate page. You can also rearrange the order of this section to highlight particular content to users.

Facebook Timelines
When it comes to the actual wall, as you can see on the side, we can now add in significant events from the past and date them appropriately. As a whole the wall becomes a more dynamic and visual experience. Images and videos are larger and take a more prominent position in the wall content over text, and can either cover half or the entire width of the wall.

Timeline also adds the ability to send private messages, meaning that fans and visitors can converse with you privately, adding another dimension to potential customer services.

Facebook Timelines
The backend has also been thoroughly updated and streamlined, as well as the ability to receive and send private messages. Through the admin panel overview you can check out notifications, new ‘likes’ as well as basic analytics for your page. As an administrator you now have more control over the content posted onto your wall by fans, allowing the option for all content to be reviewed before going public on your Timeline.

What are the benefits to brands?

The new cover image is a whopping 850 odd pixels wide, which presents you with a lot of graphical real estate right smack bang at the top of your Facebook page, excellent for grabbing a potential visitor and drawing them in. Its prominent position makes it great for product promotion and pushing, since it’s the first thing your visitor will see.

By pushing the info section right to the top of the page, rather than leaving it lingering in the sidelines, it now becomes a lot easier for users to get the gist of your brand immediately. Furthermore offering the ability to send private messages to and from pages opens up new channels of communication and prevents walls from becoming cluttered with conversation between admin and client, which whilst handy for engagement, may be entirely irrelevant to every other visitor to the page.

The Timeline format itself lends itself to giving out information and content much more so then the previous wall designs. Of course, the conversation between brand and client is as important as ever, and in a sense Timeline lends itself to encouraging such discussion. The constant stream of information is easily accessible on the first page, and limited only by as much information as you, the brand, put in. Offering up more information for the user to consume leads to further engagement, and prolongs the interactions you have with your visitor. Timeline appears to be less a case by case display of content and more of a streamed story, dependant of course on the information you put in in the first place.

As Mashable puts it in their explanation of why Timeline is great for brands post;

“With the focus shifting from building conversation to sharing content, the purpose of a Facebook brand page will be less about selling and more about telling an authentic story. Brands can express what makes them unique and build an emotional connection with fans through behind-the-scenes photos, blooper videos, real-time mobile pictures, sound clips and exclusive news. In addition to expressing the brand in the present, a brand can utilize the Timeline to speak to its past to reignite nostalgia and sentiment that may be associated with it.”

If you're interested in making the most of your online presence, or wanting to find out how you can include Facebook and social media into your online strategy, then why not get in contact with our Sales Team here at Rocktime.

Author: Alice Cheetham