It’s my third day at Baltz & Co and I am already busy managing the social media platforms for several accounts (no complaints, its awesome!). One of my recent assignments is to figure out how to boost the company’s Pinterest account. It’s a topic that is a bit unknown to me, but I’m getting acquanited and ready to figure it out.

There is a bit of fuss over Pinterest because people are unsure whether it’s a social media avenue that gives you an ROI. Like most social media platforms, it’s almost a for sure that Pinterest isn’t going to immediately have an extensive ROI. However, this doesn’t mean it’s not worth using. In my opinion, social media platforms work best for the long run of your company, product or service (CPS). Though each pin will not lead to a direct sale, the Pinterest process is sure to pay off.

This is how it works: You create a unique pin about your CPS. This pin has a catchy description, all of the relevant tags and a link to your site and is pinned to one of your boards (which should be categorized). A pinner with similar interests, peruses their feed and stumbles upon your pin. It’s of interest to them so they pin it to one of their boards. Though they didn’t follow up to your website or buy your CPS, this small interaction has value.

Your pin is now in another spot, to be picked up by others with similar interests. It is likely that one of these pinners, some time down the road, will stumble upon this pin, follow it to your website, browse your content and go from there. This could mean making a purchase or recommending your CPS to a friend– who then may make a purchase or recommend you to another friend. The process could go in either direction and may even lead to 100 sales, you just never really know!

Despite how unsure the process may seem, pins are a sure way to increase your site traffic which, in turn, will lead to more sales than if you had never pinned at all.

So here is some of my advice to make your pinning be as successful as possible:

  • Pins need to be geared towards your CPS or clients. They need to include accurate, well-thought captions that allow people to relate to them– remember to KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)! Pins also need good tags that allow them to be located when they’re searched and accurate, recent links that direct them where they need to go. One way to measure how much response a pin is generating, you can use trackable links. One tool to do this is PinReach (PinReach.com).
  • Boards need to include as much information as possible; they should be categorized, include accurate descriptions and links when possible (think about tracking these as well!). Try to have catchy titles, but be sure to stay consistent with your other boards and (MOST IMPORTANTLY) your brand.  

When mastered, Pinterest is a wonderful social media platform that will allow you to capture your audience in a visual manner. Be sure to monitor your activity, measure your effectiveness and make changes to your strategies when needed.

As I said in the last post, in order to measure effectively you need to have goals. In Chapter 2, How To Get Started, Paine lists 10 questions you need to know the answers to in order to get started.

  1. What are your objectives? It seems self explanatory but you need concrete objectives before you can begin measuring how effective you are at obtaining them.
  2. Who is your target audience? Try to be as specific as possible– Remember, we’re no longer marketing to the masses.
  3. What is most important to your audience?
  4. What gets them to utilize your CPS? Paine says “the answer will determine what you measure.”
  5. What messages are you trying to relay?
  6. Who influences your audience?
  7. How do you distribute your CPS?
  8. What will you do with your research? Paine expresses the importance of only collecting information that you can use to improve your CPS.
  9. Who all (In your CPS) will be affected? You need everyone on board when it comes time to making changes so it’s important to allow everyone to be a part of the process– If not, “your measurement program will be a waste of effort.”
  10. What measurement programs (if any) are currently in place? There is a possibility to incorporate research you already have into your new measurement program.

Paine’s 10 questions get right to the point and will be an asset to everyone who uses them. If you take these bare bone questions and build up from them, you are sure to have an amazing, effective measurement strategy.

So now that we have a good background, understand the new rules and know how to connect with our customers, it’s time to learn how to measure our efforts! To learn how to do this I am reading Katie Delahaye Paine’s book, Measure What Matters.

If you’ve been following along with my blog thus far, I probably don’t need to remind you that social media is changing the face of the business world. Because of this, business people are being forced to reevaluate their approaches. I agree with Paine when she says “it is critical that you continuously listen to and evaluate what your market is saying about you.” But it doesn’t stop there! You have to use what you find to your advantage– you have to measure!

My favorite part of Chapter 1, You Can Now Measure Everything, is when she clearly defines measurement. Many CPSs have the impression that measuring simply means adding things up– like the number of followers your CPS has on Twitter. As Paine explains, this is called counting. Measuring is taking these numbers and analyzing them until they mean something to your CPS. When doing this, be sure to be consistent and compare your measurements to predetermined goals.

There are several reasons measurement is important but I’ll pick just a few to share.

  • It helps you understand your competition– It’s no secret that your CPS is competing for business. Measurement helps you “know how you stack up against your peers and rivals.”
  • It sets goals– Measuring can’t take place until you have set goals. These goals should be agreed upon in the beginning and will cut out any disagreements from the get go.
  • It reveals your strengths and weaknesses

Research shows CPSs aren’t allocating enough time or money to measurement but “[CPSs] that measure do better than those that don’t.” By taking the time to do it, and do it correctly, your CPS can win customers and jump ahead of competitors.

As I’ve been explaining throughout the duration of this blog, anything on the social web has the ability to spread like wildfire. This is great when it’s something positive about your CPS, because each post has the ability to capture and influence audiences, but what happens when things go awry and you’re stuck in a social media crisis? Eliason discussed this in Chapter 25, Responding to Social Media Crisis, and laid out some guidelines that are sure to be helpful to anyone using social media. 

Eliason starts the chapter with an answer I could not agree with more– “The only way to truly fix and then prevent against these external issues is to fix the underlying problems that may exist within your  [CPS].” But for many CPSs this takes time, which is truly of the essence in a case like this. The social web moves fast and it is easy for people to quickly begin questioning all facets of your CPS when credibility begins to be doubted. 

With this in mind, you must also be quick to respond and mediate the crisis at hand– that way you face the least amount of long-term damage possible. You can start by trying your best not to sound like a robot. Customers connect on a human level and it is important to be as personal and transparent as you’re able to be. Be sure to answer the questions at hand and provide them to your customers directly where they’re talking about your CPS. This may mean offering interviews, blogging or commenting on blogs, tweeting or creating question campaigns on sites such as Reddit.

If all else fails remember to do these two things:

  • Try your best to connect on a personal level
  • Respond to the crisis so fast that it isn’t able to become a crisis

There is a ton of talk about my generation– Generation Y or the Millennial Generation. And the conclusion I’ve come across is that the Baby Boomer Generation and Generation X just don’t understand us. We are much different than them– we learn differently, interact differently, are adept with different technologies, and value different things. I hadn’t come across as great of an explanation about why this is until today when I read Eliason’s description of my generation in Chapter 11, The Social Business.

Eliason refers to my generation as Generation Why (how clever!!!). He says its because we questions things, no matter how embedded they are, and people, no matter how high they rank on the totem pole.

The fact is, we’re not that into the hierarchical structure that was, and continues to be, popular in many CPSs. We value the hard work, dedication, and opinions of people no matter what their job title and we appreciate when our ideas are challenged, as we are more than willing to challenge the thoughts of others. These characteristics can often be “mistaken as disrespectful when in reality [we] are simply trying to build a deeper understanding” and make our work the best it can be.

I predict that as my generation begins controlling businesses, the workplace will transition from this hierarchical structure, full of pyramids and cubicles, into open environments that encourage people to think freely. And I can guarantee it will not only include, but be defined by social networking.

Make no mistake, human relationships are a huge part of business– always have been, always will be (in my opinion, anyway!). The social web and, more specifically, social media are making it even easier for your CPS to connect to customers on a human level. Eliason discusses this in Chapter 9, Scalable Intimacy.

Eliason defines scalable intimacy as “the ability of a company or employees of a company to create a personal connection with their Customers.” Many employers, especially those who know little about the social web, are scared of having their employees online– they could leak confidential information, give customers the wrong impression, and potentially give your CPS a bad name. In some respects these worries may be warranted, but Eliason reaffirms the notion that you should encourage your employees to be present on social networking sites and use it to your advantage. After all, highly passionate employees often prove to be the best brand ambassadors.”

As I’ve said before, each social networking site has different benefits. This is still true when it comes to your employees.

  • LinkedIn is my personal favorite for business professionals. You are able to make connections with your coworkers, business partners, friends and more. It helps introduce you, and keep you connected to engaging people within your field and can help you with your long-term career goals. 
  • Twitter is a great way to meet people you don’t already know. You can search people and keywords to find information that is pertinent to you and your CPS.
  • Facebook helps your employee expand your CPS’s trust in the marketplace, which increases people’s “willingness to recommend your [CPS] to friends.”
  • Blogging is a great way for employees to share their thoughts and build leadership on topics they’re interested in. Eliason recommends giving guidelines about what is appropriate to share online.

Remember that in encouraging a presence on the social web will help build rapport with your customers “and therefore build your brand.”

If I told you to learn about something, what would be your first thought? Mine would be to Google it! Did you know that is still true when it comes to your CPS? Eliason discusses this in Chapter 7, The Starting Point. 

In today’s Digital Age, you can never say “there was no way for me to know!”– Especially when it comes to your CPS. All of the information you need to know “is at [your] fingertips, the challenge is getting to the info that is relevant to [you].”

Google Alerts is just tool that helps you weed through the plethora of information available to you. You’re able to search queries, decide what you’d like to search (blogs, books, media, etc.) and have the results delivered to your email as often as you want. Start with your CPS, narrow your search to include things that are important to your CPS.

Eliason recommends repeating the search on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and look for any posts about your CPS; this way you can stay informed about what people are saying about your CPS. You can analyze these conversations and make necessary changes to your CPS.

Once you’re comfortable searching your CPS, look into your competitors and see what you can learn from them!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.