Pinterest launches rich pins for easier product pinning… and buying
Today, the highly visual social media site, Pinterest, announced that they’ll be helping pinners find fun stuff like recipes, movies and products by creating ‘more useful’ pins; great news for social media and digital marketing practitioners.
They have new pin types for product pins (including pricing and where to buy things), recipe pins (including cook time, ingredients and number of servings) and movie pins (including cast and content ratings). This not only helps people find pins by this information — i.e. products in a certain price range or recipes containing certain ingredients — it helps the pin be more useful when they pin it. I may pin a neat pair of shoes or a tech gadget, but if I can’t easily find it to buy it, I’m frustrated and the manufacturer has lost a sale.
They’re actually retro-fitting older pins with this information from popular products, movie providers and recipe favorites. Check out an example, like this Oven Fried Chicken recipe from Chobani:
So how can vendors be ready for rich pins like this? Your web developer can add certain meta tags to your product pages to define URL, product title, price (all 3 are required) and may choose to add information like brand names, availability (in-stock vs. backorder), product description and more.
It gets a bit more complex when talking about variations of an item, like a t-shirt that comes in multiple colors. They provide full implementation details in their developer tools section. (They even offer a working example from Etsy.)
Pinterest for Business – which launched earlier this year – has been an effort to help products, businesses and content creators more easily connect with those that love/pin their content and send links back to their verified website. These new rich pins were announced as part of that suite of tools, which is (so far) free for businesses to use.
We’re digging in with some of our favorite manufacturers to test out rich product pins and we’ll report back soon!
Already rockin’ rich pins for your products, recipes or movies? Brag on yourself in the comments — we’d love to check ‘em out!
the anatomy of a healthy sharable tweet
There is definitely an art to writing for social media, and for Twitter in particular. You think you have 140 characters to tweet with – already a hard task – but you actually only have 97. The anatomy of a healthy, sharable tweet looks like this:
The math: 140 – 22 – 21 = 97
You start with 140 maximum characters. If you share a link, Twitter will count it as 22 characters, no matter if it’s shorter or longer. HTTPS links will count as 23 characters. Tip: Sharing a photo is basically sharing a link, meaning it will take up 22 characters of its own.
Here’s the part you may not be doing: leave 21 characters blank. This is the maximum amount of space it takes to manually Retweet your original post. A one-click Twitter Retweet won’t add characters, but if someone “quotes” your tweet, they’ll need these characters.
Tip: For some, this 21-character Retweet space could be shorter. For example, @emfluence only takes 15 characters to manually Retweet. However, others may want to add their comments when they share your tweet, i.e. “This is a great article! RT @emfluence: [original post here]” It’s best to build in at least 20 characters of extra space no matter how long your own handle is.
What to include
Tip 1: In your precious 97 characters, approach your message like a journalist approaches the headline of an article. Relay the one thing about your article that will entice someone to click through and potentially read it. Try not to abbreviate words other than numbers, days of the week or months, and avoid “text speak”; leave OMG, deets and C U L8r out unless it fits your brand voice.
Tip 2: You should shorten every link, even though Twitter is going to automatically re-shorten it using their own t.co shortener. The biggest reason: you’ll want to track the number of people who click through. (Need a URL shortener for tracking? Try http://emfl.us – it’s free!)
Tip 3: Try including a relevant hashtag if one applies. If you’re tweeting about email marketing, using #email or #emailmarketing may help you reach people who might not otherwise see your tweet. Hashtags are a way for people to find content they might be interested in by topic (like email marketing) instead of by who they currently follow. You can use more than one hashtag, but more than three is probably too many.
Tip 4: You may want to put brackets around deliverables like [BLOG] or [VIDEO] as carrots to entice a click. Photos and videos tend to get a higher click through rate than articles.
Other important tweet tips
Not all your tweets will match this format. Replies – those tweets that start with @someone – are a common and encouraged part of being in the Twittersphere, and there aren’t many rules for those. It’s a natural conversation between you and another person.
Remember: if you start your tweet with the @ sign, it will only show up in newsfeeds for those people that follow both YOU and the person you’re talking to. If you want to start a tweet or a sentence with a brand’s twitter handle, you can add a “.” before the @ (just so the @ isn’t the first thing in the tweet) or try rewording the tweet.
“Wrong” way — this tweet acts as a conversation between you and @marketingsherpa. Others can only view this in their news feed if they follow both of you.
The BETTER way — reword the tweet (or simply start the tweet with a dot) to be sure that all your followers see this tweet.
The best way to learn how to tweet is to read tweets! Follow those industry people you think have smart things to say, and learn what type of content they share and how they tweet.
Need a place to start? Follow @emfluence on Twitter!
what’s in store for the 2013 Marketing Platform User Conference
It’s almost summer which around emfluence means it’s time for our annual emfluence Marketing Platform User Conference! A full day of sessions on best practices, training on new features in our Platform and case studies from our savvy clients. We’re brewing a lineup of super powered content for this year’s conference and we thought we’d let you sneak a peek at the sessions:
9:30a – Check in & networking
10:00a – What’s New & What’s Up Next in the emfluence Marketing Platform
(+ a future feature survey: vote for the next big upgrades!)
11:00a – Good Form: Best practices for Online Forms
12:00p – LUNCH
12:30p – Lunch Keynote Speaker: To be announced May 14th
1:30p – Trends in Email Marketing in 2013 and Beyond
2:30p – The Magic Touch: A Custom Survey Provides Exceptional Customer Service
3:00p – What’s Your Plan? Social Media Content Planning, Creation and Measurement
4:00p – Stick Around For Another Pint? Boulevard (re)Asks Their Email List for Permission
5:00p – Happy hour & schmoozing with fellow emfluencers and clients
Reminder: if you’re a current client, you’re invited to be our guest with 2 complimentary passes per company to the conference: a $498 value! Be sure to choose the “comp pass” ticket type and look for your company in the Company drop down menu (or create it by clicking the link to the right of the menu).
This year, we’re also welcoming those who don’t use the emfluence Marketing Platform but want to get smarter about email marketing, social media, landing pages and surveys.
tweet aggregator storify announces stories for business
Storify is among the newest and neatest tools for social media practitioners. It’s been gaining popularity as a way to collect and organize tweets, especially those around a specific hashtag or topic. Today, they launched a Storify Business account option, inviting journalists, agencies, brands and bloggers to upgrade.
The email announced a few benefits that are sure to appeal to many social media pros, including the option for branded, embedded stories, giving brands and agencies the opportunity to control the look and feel of a story. Business accounts will offer the option for “private” stories, which can be used to internal reporting and research without appearing in a public Storify profile. They also hint at making stories search-engine-compatible, though the actual Search Engine Optimization value of these stories, which are basically reorganized, repeated tweets, is yet to be seen.
The sneakiest of the upgrades is that they promise they won’t add advertising to your stories in the future — something that doesn’t exist in the current free release of Storify yet either. But it hints at Storify’s future plans for ads and allows brands and businesses the chance to opt-out of ever having to jump that hurdle.
Haven’t seen Storify in action yet? Check out this recap story from the panel on “Meta-Learning” with Tim Ferriss at SXSW Interactive. It’s a nice example of compiling the best tweets that tell the story/take the best notes from a hashtag or pool of tweets. (You’ll see my @bestofjess tweets in the stream, too — this was one I tweeted quite a few notes from!)
Has anyone used Storify for a brand or a business yet? Or do you have favorites you follow on Storify?
sxswi hangover: 5 takeaways on responsive web design
This is the last blog post of my notes from this year’s South by Southwest conference in Austin — it gave me a ton of great content! Check out all conference notes if you can’t get enough.
Responsive web design was a popular topic in many sessions. One in particular I attended “What You See Is What You Spec’d” touched on not just the importance of a flexible web design but the how-to:
The 5 top takeaways I learned about responsive web design:
#1 – “The biggest challenge in Responsive Design is decision-making.” What full-site content is needed on the portable and/or touch screen versions (any/all)? What about content that is relevant only for a mobile (portable, smaller, touch screen) visitor?
#2 – “I hear a lot of cries for mobile-first web design. It simplifies things too much! Don’t think mobile-first, think all platforms at once. Think interaction design, not page design.”
#3 – “Developers should build a program out of simple parts connected by well-defined interfaces, so problems are local and parts of the program can be replaced in future versions to support new features.” – UNIX Philosophy, applicable to Responsive Web Design.
#4 – Responsive design forces your design, content and dev teams to work together. Remember: “Argue early and often.”
#5 – “Prototype early & often: it can squash a lot of arguments early on.” You can use design tools or something simple like Keynote for a rapid prototype. Look at your decisions in a visual, real way with all members of the team.
Kudos to Alex Breuer, Dan Gardner & Dave Rupert for an extremely useful and yet highly entertaining session!
sxswi hangover: social media customer service
“Which is worse? Your competitors knowing your ‘plan’ or your employees not knowing your plan?” In a fantastic SXSWi panel on the growing area of social customer service, the people behind the social media voices of Southwest Airlines, Chase Financial and Samsung spoke to a packed room about how the big guys handle (and learn from!) social media. My 3 favorite quotes:
- “Your employees are your social brand ambassadors. If you don’t trust them you’d better train them.” – Brooks Thomas, Southwest Airlines.
- “I can teach anyone how to tweet or post. I need someone in social media who can display critical thinking during a crisis and who has strong writing skills.” – Bianca Buckridee, Chase. She/the panel also pointed out, she wants someone who is a true advocate of the brand! The right combination of clever, (grammatically correct), caring and quick on their feet can be hard to find for your social media position, but is necessary.
- “If you’re sending your C-Suite a report on social that just includes audience size or numbers, add sentiment and qualitative feedback to that report (especially if there is anything negative!).” - Carla Saavedra Kochalski, Samsung. It’s almost impossible for them to not see the value in hearing and listening to those statements.
We’ve definitely seen the importance of customer service as one of the 3 key components of great social media: customer service + marketing + research. Another key takeaway from the panel? Each of the three customer service reps sits (and/or works) close to their Marketing team! They talked about the impact that social media has had on the entire business structure for each of their very customer-focused companies.
sxswi hangover: Oreo talks real-time marketing
One of the biggest buzz words (buzz phrases) at South by Southwest Interactive this year was “real-time marketing.” A growing concept, RTM hit a spike after Oreo tweeted “you can dunk in the dark” during the Superbowl blackout. (Read my post about Oreo’s real-time tweet here.)
Far be it for a hot topic to go without a spotlight at SXSW (despite the fact that the line-up was already set 2-3 months prior)… A week before SXSWi, Expion, 360i and their client Oreo (Mondelez) announced a “pop-up” panel, outside the official line-up of SXSW programming and it was one of the best for content. My top 5 takeaway points from the panel:
- It is unreasonable to have your team read every tweet every moment of the day. Your monitoring system has to find the relevant content and be smart enough to alert you when to act.
- If your executives are asking for ROI and sales attribution for social media efforts, ask them to invest in measurement tools. Oreo can prove their ROI because they use tools like Expion.
- TV advertising and Twitter are described as “matching luggage” by the panelists, meaning they were born to work together for all campaigns.
- Real-time marketing – like Oreo’s tweet during the Superbowl blackout – doesn’t just happen. The Oreo social media team spent the 100 days leading up to the Superbowl practicing real-time engagement with their “perfect twist” campaign.
- “Don’t just test and learn… DO and learn! Believe these social channels work and invest in them and keep getting smarter all the time.” – Gary V.
The panel stressed the importance of using tools and training to make great real-time marketing a success. And most of all: practice makes perfect. Get out there and give it a try and start learning!
why it’s important to authenticate in email marketing
Last week, a client asked a question as we were working on their email/domain authentication: “Why do I have to do this?”
When email marketers go from an email platform that doesn’t utilize authentication tactics like Domain Keys and SPF records to one that does — like emfluence — it’s not uncommon to be confused, so they were asking a great question! The reason some email service providers don’t authenticate is because it definitely takes a bit of time and some technical/website help. It can be the difference between starting to send email today and having to wait until the end of the week. Most email service providers that don’t authenticate serve email marketers who are mailing to a few hundred or a few thousand people at most. So they choose to send email “on behalf of” your email address, which allows them to bypass the step of gaining authorization to send from @yourdomain.com.
However, authentication becomes very important when sending to more than a few thousand emails at a time to any one email client. For example, if you have about 4000 emails on your address list, statistics show that probably about 1500 of them are going to be Yahoo! addresses. That’s enough for Yahoo! to care whether you are who you say you are. They rightfully want to protect their users’ inboxes from fraudulent senders and if you’re not authenticating, they may decide to keep you out of inboxes to err on the side of safety. So emfluence – and most mid- and high-level email service providers – help our clients authenticate their domains so as to be able to send legitimately from the same domain as the website links in the body of the email.
Want to chat about how to authenticate your domain for your emfluence Marketing Platform account? Reach out to your account rep at emfluence — we’d love to help!
(Not an emfluence client but still need to know more about authentication? Reach out to us anyway! 877-81-EMAIL)
why is Gmail changing my links from black to blue??
A fun fact I ran into this week — some fellow email marketers may have already known this — Gmail doesn’t allow for links to be black (color = “black” or #000000). They default back to the standard blue! They override even when using in-line CSS (meaning, I changed the link color manually or near the link in the HTML code).
The biggest step is realizing what was happening. (Surely Gmail thinks it’s saving their inbox users from spammy “hidden” links in the text.) I figure the easiest solution is to just use a color that’s almost black (but not “black” or #000000). For example, I used #000001 and it seemed to work just fine — and still looks black.
If you have any issues with your link styles or colors, you can always reach out to me @emfluence on Twitter or email us at expert (at) emfluence (dot) com. We’re happy to sleuth out the issue with you!
sxswi hangover: learning to learn fast
Tim Ferriss, author of the recent release, The 4-Hour Chef, insists in his keynote, “You can become word-class in something in 6 months or less” if you learn to learn the right way. In his many experiences, he’s broken down the process of successful learning and shared a few key tips with session attendees:
Only focus on what you can model. If someone is genetically predisposed to gain muscle, for example, that’s not something you can imitate, so don’t get caught up on it.
Deconstruct complex skills into its parts. Learn the bits piece-by-piece, i.e. learn the sounds or basic word structure of any language in order to master a large portion of that language quickly. Find the “minimum effective dose” or the smallest amount of skill required to provide the greatest usefulness or benefit.
Avoid failure (for a while). For the first five or six session of learning something, avoid those things you know cause you to fail. This helps ensure you won’t quit the first few times out of the gate and proves you can succeed.
Add high stakes if there aren’t any. Can’t stick with your goal? Try writing a check to your least favorite organization/cause and send it to a friend who promises to mail that check to the organization as a donation in your name if you fail to reach your goal. That’ll motivate you!
Focus. One of the biggest impediments to success (in learning or anything) is saying “yes” to too many things.
In The 4-Hour Chef, Ferriss breaks down the “simple path to cooking like a pro, learning anything and living the good life.” Sure, it wasn’t about digital or marketing, but this was surprisingly one of my favorite sessions this year. In an industry where we have to learn every day to stay ahead, these insights are a great help!