TAG | social media

Pinterest Drives Revenue

J Crew Pinterest Media Needle BlogWhen we talk to clients about social media they usually talk about Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but depending on the brands goals the real opportunity could be on Pinterest. Pinterest is the first social platform not only to drive eyeballs but also to convert significant sales.

Pinterest helped put Warby Parker on the map. In May 2012 Warby Parker said, “We saw traffic quadruple from Pinterest” and “Traffic from Pinterest converts at a higher rate than traffic from Facebook and Twitter.” Customers who come to the site via Pinterest actually bought more glasses.

Fast forward to Internet Week May 2013. Scott Galloway (Professor of Marketing, NYU’s Stern School of Business and Founder, L2) spoke about  how new “small data” streams are changing luxury. Galloway noted that Pinterest performs best for home décor, weddings and fashion retail brands.

To illustrate how brands are taking that idea to heart, on August 26 2013, J.Crew’s at-home catalog subscribers won’t be the first to glimpse the brand’s September issue: That honor will fall for the first time to J.Crew’s Pinterest followers, says Lauren Indvik from Mashable.

Pinterest is more than a virtual vision board. It’s an at-home retail shopping mall that users can browse from their couch. Its demographic is mostly women, and Ad Week says women are five times more likely to be on Pinterest than men. With 38% of Pinterest users between the ages of 18-49, it’s a market that won’t be ignored.


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The Rebirth of Daily Deals

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The daily deal business has changed a lot over the past few years. While it’s true that consumers still want to save a few bucks (perhaps more than ever), they’ve largely abandoned the model of prepaying for deals that are valid for only a short time—not to mention the challenge of remembering to use them if they do shell out for them.

Unlike the daily deals of yore, today’s deals are rarely listed for just 24 hours; they tend to run for a week or so, or until an allotted amount are sold.

On the vendor side, the old business model was a bust. The cost to acquire customers proved greater than their lifetime value; further, the deals were typically not profitable for most vendors once they got their cut from the deal company. The small business community was hit up repeatedly by numerous companies guaranteeing to increase sales, but the daily deals never really lived up to the promise of delivering local repeat business.

While many deal companies died following Groupon and LivingSocial down a rabbit hole, there are still a multitude of them, looking to develop social commerce sales any way they can. @Groupon, which is valued at a very substantial $3.5 billion, seems to be catching a second wind under the watchful eye of Eric Lefkofsky and looks to be leveraging its massive global footprint while adding to its arsenal of offerings with @Woot-type physical products. @LivingSocial seems to be re-focused on travel and experiential offerings. @Yelp deals are more merchant-friendly in its self-service approach to letting vendors determine the nature of the deals and discounts they wish to offer. (This also costs Yelp next to nothing, as it does not need to maintain an active sales force, like most other deal sites.)

One of my favorite deal companies remains @BlackboardEats. Its service is clean and easy; you get an email offer (not daily) that allows you to download a passcode for a restaurant discount. The best part is that you do not pay anything until you actually use the passcode—a much less intrusive way to offer value to foodies.

There have been a lot of successful specialty deal sites, from high-end baby stuff at @Totsy to hyperniche sites like @BiteDownDeals, for dentists looking to get discounted equipment/supplies. While their customer bases may be smaller than those of other deal companies, these are targeted audiences of subscribers—as opposed to larger deal sites where customers who prefer not to see their inboxes fill up with useless offers can opt not to subscribe and come only when they want to see what’s available—more pull, less push.

There are also new deal aggregators. @ShopChippmunk is a new savings search engine for deals that allows you to search based on parameters including budget. This seems an improvement on traditional aggregator models like @Yipit, which focus less on customer experience and still require email registration just to view deals.

Meanwhile, many brands are running their own deals or offering discounts and coupons directly through their sites and social media communities. @CoupSmart is a smart social commerce solution that empowers established brands to run deals in a variety of ways directly through their Facebook pages, while allowing the brand to keep all of that valuable customer data, rather than the deal company owning it.

Stay tuned for my next blog when I will look at how predictive analytics and strategy simulations can help decipher big data.


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2013 Rock Hall Of Fame Ceremony Recap

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The 2013 @Rock_Hall induction ceremony was a star-studded event celebrating this year’s inductees, Albert King, Randy Newman, Lou Adler, Quincy Jones, Public Enemy, Donna Summer, Heart and crowd favorite Rush.  Artists become eligible for entry to the Hall 25 years after the release of their first album, typically only voted on by members however this year they actually allowed the public to cast its vote (http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/vote-for-the-2013-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-inductees-20121004).

As always, @PaulShaffer did a stellar job putting together an all-star house band. To open the night, @TomPetty, Jackson Browne @SongsofJBrowne and @John_Fogerty jammed the @RandyNewman hit “I love L.A.” And Don Henley gave a good intro to induct Newman, who was a cool curmudgeon about getting into the fraternity.

Lou Adler, owner of the famous Roxy Theatre @TheRoxy has had a long and influential career in music, producing such acts as Sam Cooke, the Mamas & the Papas and Carole King. He also produced the first Monterey Pop Festival, where artists like Jimi Hendrix and The Who got early US notoriety. Adler is an avid @Lakers fan, so his buddy Jack Nicholson was there to support the cause. @CheechandChong gave a proper stoner introduction, and @Carole­­King sang “So Far Away”—she’s still got it!

Another fantastic act was @GaryClarkJr and John Mayer performing “Born Under a Bad Sign.” @JohnMayer gave a great tribute to induct blues guitar legend Albert King, whose daughter and granddaughter accepted on his behalf.

@KellyRowland delivered a tribute fit for the late disco queen, Donna Summer (@TheDonnaSummer) along with a touching speech given by Summer’s husband.

All followed by an impressive performance by Jennifer Hudson @IAMJHUD, who rocked the crowd out to “Bad Girls” and “Save The Last Dance.”

@QuincyDJones, who is now 80 and has almost as many Grammy nominations, as he has years, 79 showed his age a bit but was still hip and quick witted when he shared his personal influences and discussed how music shaped his life. @Oprah introduced him, and @Usher killed with a great rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Rock with You.”

@SpikeLee and @HarryBelafonte presented the award to @PublicEnemyFTP. Harry looked great and seemly heckled Quincy for grabbing a pole for walking assistance as Harry himself walked with a cane. Flava Flav rambled for way too long, making little to no sense, while @MrChuckD waited patiently for his turn to share his thoughts. A great jam session of “Fight the Power” and “Bring the Noise” brought the house down!

Heart @OfficialHeart was inducted by fellow Seattle rocker @ChrisCornell. They played “Barracuda” with Jerry Cantrell of @AliceinChains and Mike McCready from @PearlJam.

The main event was indeed the long overdue induction of Rush @RushTheBand, who received great intro praise from @FooFighters, Dave Grohl and Hawkins. The trio then played amazing versions of “Tom Sawyer” and “The Spirit of Radio”.

Dave Grohl, Tom Morello, John Fogerty, Gary Clark Jr., Heart, Chris Cornell, Rush, Chuck D and Public Enemy among others were all rockin the Clapton version of “Crossroads” to complete the night.

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It was a great night overall in L.A. Those of you who haven’t been to the actual @Rock_Hall in Cleveland should check it out – it’s worth it for the cool I.M. Pei-designed building alone. The ceremony event will air on @HBO May 18, 2013.


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+K – The Social Hot Commodity

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Thanks for the RT… Appreciate the mention! These reciprocal gestures and signs of gratitude are still well received but their ability to inspire online conversations is dwindling.

Recently, we began giving out Klout points also known as +K to influencers we either wanted to thank or acknowledge. The response has been overwhelming. Strong influencers who never before engaged with us are now sending 140 character thank you notes spilling over with affection. Even more so, the conversations have continued and meaningful relationships have formed.

Klout is an online tool that measures a persons’ or business’ social media influence through a point system of 1 to 100, 100 being the highest. +K is a hot commodity because it is just that… a tangible asset that bumps up the recipient’s Klout score and positively affects the giver’s influence level. So how does it work?

1.   Log into your Klout account. If you are not already on Klout, you can create an account here http://klout.com/home

2.  To give a +K, type in the Twitter handle of a person that influences you in the upper right and click on the user’s Klout profile

3.  Scroll down to their topics. Find the topic you think they are most influential about and next to that topic you’ll see the Give +K symbol. Click on it. (see image below)

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4.  Once you “Give +K”, a pop up window will appear for you to easily share the transaction on Twitter or Facebook. Klout automatically enters the recipient’s twitter handle in the prompted tweet so you can efficiently notify them of your appreciation and good will. (see image below)

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5.  Monitor your mentions and notifications for the forthcoming thank you messages, engage further and solidify the relationship.

6.  Users receive 10 +K’s to use everyday. This means each day you can give 1 +K to 10 different users or one user’s different topics. Giving +K heightens your chance of receiving +K’s from others. There is no limit to the amount of +K’s you can receive.

A little Klout goes a long way! These actions will serve you well by boosting your online engagement levels, adding value to your community and increasing your Klout score! It’s a win-win all around!

Feel like putting it to the test? You can try it out and show us a little Klout love by clicking here

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So, Where’s Your Hot Spot?

New York City is soon to be the home of over 12,000 hot spots and we’re not talking nightclubs, restaurants, or tourist attractions. In July this year the city launched a program converting pay phone booths into free public WIFI hot spots throughout its five boroughs.

The network appears as “Free WiFi” or “NYC Free Public WiFi” on wireless devices and the signal spans up to a 200-foot radius. A password is not required, however once opening your browser you will be prompted to agree to the terms and conditions before being able to surf the internet.  Currently there are six booths in Manhattan, two in Brooklyn and one in Queens. You can find a foursquare map of the WiFi-equipped booths here. (https://foursquare.com/nycgov/list/nyc-public-wifi-hotspots)

Turning these large pieces of outdated metal into high-speed Internet oases did not replace the pay phones’ original functionality, just made them more relevant for today.  This is especially great news for the NYC metro traveler, who is now starting to gain underground connectivity at many subway stations. Furthermore, it is not costing the city or it’s public a dime. NYC’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications along with Van Wagner and Titan, the advertising companies providing the booths’ ad campaign have worked together to absorb all installation, management and customer service costs.  In a statement, the city promised, “no personal information will be gathered and no advertising will be presented as part of the pilot program.”

NYC residents and visitors will enjoy more and more hotspots as the program continues over the next few months making NYC not only one of the greatest cities in the world but the most connected.


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 ROI and social media is an important topic. Here’s an interesting white paper recently released by Adobe Digital Index. It provides a short but thorough explanation of the challenges with attributing website traffic to social media efforts. There are some good stats and explanation of First and Last-click attribution measurement models. The main conclusion, not surprisingly, is that the increased value of social media (measured by first-click attribution) should be enough to change how marketers prioritize their investments in social.

Download here:

Adobe Digital Index_social_whitepaper


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Content Marketing for Successful B2B Social Media

 The basic premise of content marketing is simple…provide good content to your customers, your community and beyond…and the appreciation will build authentic relationships that may result in leads, sales as well as others promoting you and your product(s). There’s no one size fits all approach to what kind of content and how to make it available, but here’s a breakdown of what kind of content companies are creating: social media (79%), article posting (78%), in-person events (62%), e-newsletters (61%), case studies (55%), blogs (51%), white papers (43%) and webinars/webcasts (42%). This infographic from the Marketo blog provides a lot more stats and info, but the idea of content marketing, “the beacon approach,” etc., provides the foundation for any inbound marketing strategy.  (Click on the image to expand)


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Sales In LinkedIn

With 135M+ users and 11k new members every 90min, Linkedin has dominated the professional social media space as we all know it.

A question that’s come up from the sales side of business is “what can a sales person do on LinkedIn?”  How should one sell via LinkedIn? Using an MBA framework, consider “The 5Cs” of How to Sales-In LinkedIn:


CONNECT: Just as a sales person needs to leave the office to meet new prospects, he or she also needs to connect with new prospects on-line.

CREATE: In the era where “Content is King,” a sales professional also needs to be a source of knowledge and information. A well-crafted editorial agenda comprised of engaging & “non-salesy” content can position you and your sales team as a credible resource in your industry.

COLD-CALL: Rule #1 is to never cold call on LinkedIn, i.e., sending a request to someone you don’t know. However, finding a prospect’s Twitter handle/username, for example, and then following them and eventually replying to one of their clever tweets can be a very classy way to develop a relationship.

COLLABORATE: Get your sales team to cooperate and collaborate on LinkedIn. Develop discussion groups for teammates to exchange contacts, information and insights. Use the team’s collective LinkedIn connections to generate more leads and don’t forget to recommend one another.

CLOSE: Considering that any given prospect has a never-ending number of options at their fingertips, so focus on being an expert and educating the prospects before they have a need for a solution. If you manage the process correctly, the prospects will be closing on you instead of the other way around!

As Aristotle once said, “A friend to all is a friend to none.” With that in mind, go out there and focus on making relevant LinkedIn connections and sharing your knowledge and the sales will follow.



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No more free advertising for facebook and Twitter.

Everywhere we turn, we hear how businesses are hurting. Ad budgets are shrinking, fast. People are worrying if they can make payroll and keep locations open, yet everybody has money to promote facebook and Twitter.

What gives?

Last I heard, facebook and Twitter were doing okay. They have billions of dollars. They are working to take over the world. And guess what? They don’t run ads. They know that social media works organically. They also are enjoying the fact that companies, large and small, promote them for nothing, giving their logos all kinds of real estate not only on their online properties, but on their traditional print and TV ads.

Sure, you want people to know you’re “with it…” “Visit us on facebook! Follow us on Twitter!” Sure, if you’re online you can include a link, but anywhere else, print, radio, TV, let’s take a breath and reconsider. While it’s nice to make things as easy as possible for the consumer, people who are really using social media will know to look for you there.

If your brand has something to say, people will listen. The problem is, having something to say is a lot harder than putting a facebook logo on an ad. Of course facebook and Twitter are powerful tools, but we don’t need to sell the category. People are really into this stuff. It has become the fabric of their lives. And they know when you are just pretending to be in the space and when you are really utilizing it. The challenge is understanding how to spend the time, energy and resources to do something meaningful on facebook and Twitter.


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Get Out Of The House

Working from home can be a blessing and a curse. Many in the world of social media work out of their homes; in fact, I’d be willing to bet that most blogs are written by someone wearing bunny slippers. But while sleeping late and schlepping around the living room in your underwear definitely have their merits, there are times when you want to feel more like … well, an adult—a professional, surrounded by other professionals, producing whatever it is you produce without the potential distractions of daytime TV, the cat, the fridge. Sometimes, too, you might need to take meetings, but your apartment is most definitely not suitable for viewing, and the idea of a noisy hour in Starbucks is simply no longer appealing.

Increasingly, young Internet entrepreneurs are turning to shared office rentals as an alternative to the home office. In addition to a professional work environment—with receptionists, IT assistance, coffee machines—these shared spaces offer access to like-minded people who, in addition to inspiring and motivating you, may actually give you solid business leads. Who knows, they may even want to date you! That’s not going to happen when you’re on your couch covered in cat hair and Cheetos dust.

So, if you are interested in getting some fresh air, adding structure to your workday, meeting new people and, most likely, increasing your productivity, check out a shared office space. Not only are they affordable and require little to no commitment, they now exist in nearly every metropolitan area, and the latest companies are targeting young Internet professionals just like you.

Take, for example, WeWork, which has three locations in Manhattan (including the hipper-than-thou Meatpacking District) and plans to open soon in San Francisco and L.A. Designed like the coolest boutique hotels, these offices offer all the business infrastructure you might need—including high-speed Internet, conference rooms, and mail service—as well as pool tables, Xbox lounges, and even happy hour parties. Just like you, they’re concerned about the environment: the offices have fair-trade organic coffee, purified water systems, bike storage, and discounts for Zipcar rentals.

So, it might just be time to take the plunge: get yourself dressed, and get to an office where you can network with your peers. Not only is it highly likely to help your business, it will almost certainly provide new fodder for your blog, your tweets, your Facebook page, and what have you.

For more about shared office rentals, check out this article on All Business: http://bit.ly/okY1Bg

Meanwhile, you will be happy to know, as I write this, I am fully clothed.


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