Do we really want Pinterest to become the next Social Marketing Outlet?

How many of you are on Pinterest.? I know I am and have been for about a year…especially after my wife told me about this neat little social network. She had to send me an invite in-order to join and ever since then…I have been pinning away.

What do I use it for? Well, between creating a board for my favorite photography gadgets, my gift wish lists, books I want to read, and even vacation destinations for Sarah and I…I am hooked!

Lately, Pinterest is starting to get lots of interest with the mainstream media including USA Today and Mashable.com.

In October 2012, USA Today wrote an article about Pinterst, “Pinterest stands out in crowded social media field.” They state:

“Time magazine called Pinterest — a website where users post collections of images of their favorite food, clothes, places and everything else — one of the five best social media sites of 2011, along with Google-Plus and Klout. The company has raised $27 million in venture capital led by the firm Andreessen Horowitz, which several tech news outlets have reported as valuing Pinterest at $200 million.”

Mashable.com started posting articles about Pinterest this past June and ever since have been featuring articles about this social outlet, leveraging the holiday audience. To date, you still need an invite to join Pinterest…but if you have a friend, they can invite you to this “some what private” social outlet.

Is the Mashable Effect starting to set-in, since they are the online social media magazine. You can see articles listed headlines including “The Top Brands on Pinterest“, “5 Ways Brands Can Use Pinterest to Boost Consumer Engagement“, and my favorite “Pinterest: A Beginner’s Guide to the Hot New Social Network.”

If you are a growing social network and you want to grow to the masses, you want an online media outlet like Mashable to write about your organization…and write regularly.

But as social consumers and connectors, do we want Mashable to take interest? Do we want main stream media to take interest. Facebook is no longer Facebook with the slick marketing of brands. Twitter is becoming overwhelmed with daily satire of “he said” “she said” quickly jumping to headlines. Between athletes, political outlets, and other individuals…it has become the first place to find people in the match-up of “one-ups”.

Yes…many people are in social media overload. I know I have been…my Facebook page is overloaded with friends, family, and others ranting political discourse leveraging digital word-of-mouth. So…can we keep Pinterest closed…fun…private…and enjoyable?

Do I really want to be influenced inside Pinterest? Do I want brands trying to build an experience for me inside my digital repository of fun-ness? It is the next big un-tapped market…I guess. I have sat through many marketing meetings thinking and wondering if Pinterest is a place to build a brand presence.

Econsultancy.com writes in the article “Revealing the demographics behind Pinterest’s users“:

“comScore says that the blossoming social curation site has over 4m registered users and is growing rapidly, while Google Ad Planner shows that nearly 1.5m people visit Pinterest every day – spending 14 minutes on the site on average.”

Google Ad planner shows that Pinterest users are:
– Largely women (a 80% to 20% ratio)
– Aged mainly between 25 and 44 (accounting for 55% of the group, 30% are 25-34, 25% are 35 – 44)
– Just 25% of users have a bachelors degree or higher
– The majority live off a household income of $25-75k”

YES to this statement in the article: “So there’s some truth to Matt Buchanan’s post on Gizmodo yesterday that proclaims Pinterest as ‘a Tumblr for ladies’.”

No wonder brands and marketing staffs are trying to find an open path…this is a rich, wide open playing field. Even though these stats are wide in the bell curve, they seem every similar to the bell curve most healthcare marketers are looking for when connecting their brand to the end consumer.

Well, Facebook must see the value…now you can have a certain area to show off your pins in the new Facebook timeline. Yep…Facebook and Pinterest together connection people to brands. Hmm..

So…WHY. I want to keep it closed. PLEASE??? I want to enjoy pinning, sharing, and interacting with my little want lists. Well…I am not sure we can hold of the wolves, let’s get ready as brands and marketers like myself begin and continue to infiltrate Pinterest. Or maybe it has been open the whole time…we are pinning brands on our boards.

 

Accountability for ReTweets, Shares, and Likes – SHAME ON US!

Should we be accountable for the information we share, we re-share, re-tweet, “Like”, or repost? What do I mean…should we be accountable when we add to the mis-reporting of information?

Well…this is what had me thinking, and it all started with this report:

Then CBS News reported this on the social space:

Then a barrage of followers, local news outlets, media outlets, and social media consumers began sharing as fast as wildfire. This was just one of the many tweets that were flying around on Facebook, Twitter, and other social outlets…people sharing false information:

This is a tweet that was shared on someone’s Facebook feed. So this one piece of information was shared by three different source before I found it!

So should we be accountable for sharing information and adding to the massive mania that ensued, like tonight with Joe Paterno’s health situation.  Jeff Sonderman of the Poynter Institute does a great job of recounting today’s reporting or information surrounding Joe Paterno. I also used some of his screen shots for this blog post.  Jeff included this in tonights recap:

The Associated Press took some pride in having waited, and thus not reported the false rumor. AP Director of Media Relations Paul Colford told Poynter in an email, “At no time did AP report or imply Paterno’s death on any platform. AP was relying upon actual reporting. Just like with the aftermath of the [Gabrielle] Giffords shooting.”

Oh yeah…remember that!

Steve Safran does a great job recounting the escalation of tweeting and sharing from notable mainstream media outlets during the Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s shooting.

“While the story of the Tucson shootings spread, early reports were mixed and often conflicting. This is often the case in a breaking and developing event. However, incorrect reports that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had died spread across the Twittersphere, sparked by tweets by NPR News, Reuters and CNN — some of which were subsequently deleted.”

Oh…I guess if we just retweet, share, or even “Like” mis-reported information, we can just go back and delete it for some damage control. But it is sad when family members have to take on the social space to discount the social eruption of mis-reported information:

There are many great journalists out there and I want to give a shout out to @NewMediaJim for sharing this with us!  Here is the actual tweet from Joe Paterno’s son:

So back to my original question…should we, the collective social media voyeurs be held accountable for mis-reporting of information. Should Twitter, Facebook, and other social outlets hold the users of these accounts to a standard in the terms of agreement?  Here is something interesting in Twitter’s Terms of Services:

“You understand that by using the Services, you may be exposed to Content that might be offensive, harmful, inaccurate or otherwise inappropriate, or in some cases, postings that have been mislabeled or are otherwise deceptive.”

Now I realize that there is no way that we could hold every individual responsible and legally culpable for sharing, re-sharing, retweeting, or even clicking the “Like” button surrounding incorrect information. It is the same as standing in room with your family during Christmas and saying that Aunt Sue has a bad heart, and before you know it the rumor has spread to family members that did not attend the get together that she had died.

But…if you were Joe Paterno’s family dealing with the massive story surrounding Penn State this part year, would you be upset when it was mis-reported that Joe Paterno had died. I would even be inclined to say that they (the Paterno family) might have some legal standing to file a suite against the media outlets’ mis-reporting this information. An how about the Gifford’s family?

Should we as consumers of information hold  the outlets that share this information accountable? Should we publicly question there sources of information and even rally for larger ethical standards. Well…maybe not, we are voyeurs just as much as they are…we are consuming and still following them online.

Social Media Exhaustion – Over-Loading and Over/Mis-Reporting

Is this us…are we now the media? You know…”The Media”…

You know “those” people that compete to report information to gain readership? To gain clicks? To gain recognition of exclusivity? I used to be “The Media” and know what it means to compete to be the first to report, to provide the first images, the  first information…hell, I lived it! I still claim to be the first to fly over southern Louisiana in a helicopter to capture the first images for the world to see…just after Katrina.

Why does it matter? Why do we compete to stack our timelines when we hear some dies? Is it out of the need to share or to be the first to put it out “that” information? Do we consciously think about it as we do it…or have we bought into the synchronous style of social reporting. Are we digital voyeurs?

Facebook knows it…they openly admit they do not want to be the content creators but the content aggregators. Their timeline has the the “News Ticker” and will be adding new “Gestures” so people can do more than “Like”. Oh yeah…we can now subscribe to people without becoming friends, placing thought leadership into individuals’ timelines.

It can work to our advantage where we watch hurricanes and earthquakes unfold via Twitter. Providing rich information necessary to help people in need when the “mainstream media” had to have two sources to confirm. But…oh but…we see the flip side everyday from mainstream media we trust and support. We watched this misreporting happen during the Rep. Giffords shooting where it was misreported over the airwaves and the social spaces that she had died. Yep…just have to be the one to say it first. Mainstream media led the way and we followed by retweeting faster than we could stand it. We had to be the first to post the unconfirmed information to our timelines…to be the first to tweet and post those links. I wonder how many went back and deleted those posts? I wonder if I fed the frenzy?

We are overloaded…extremely overloaded. USAToday.com published predictions for 2012:

“In general, more and more people seem to be reevaluating their social and digital existence. Even the SOPA battle is revealing some unforeseen schisms. The Stop Online Piracy Act is a bad idea, not because piracy is good, but because of the plan for enforcement is wrong and dangerous. That said, no one who creates content can deny that the digital revolution hasn’t forced them to rethink how they create, sell and distribute content. There are no easy answers here and 2012 will be a year of introspection; one where we possibly rewrite the rules of content, copyrights and social interactions.”

Yes…I bolded the important part. An we are in the midst of a fight over how content is created via the web…all the way up the food chain to the Congressional ranks with SOPA.

Our timelines are overloaded with individuals fighting to report information faster than the next. Lots of unconfirmed information from deaths of people we know to out-of-context quotes from political candidates. My social space is a competition between individuals competing to express opinions formed from mainstream media about political figures to videos captured of political candidates in the midst of heated, out-of-context debate and conversation.

Have we become the 6 O’clock news right inside our own timelines. No offense to the many of my friends and colleagues that are true journalists…but my timeline has become daytime drama from 4-6:30pm replacing the soap operas and 5-6pm news.

We are overloading our friends, family, and colleagues with un-truths in our social spaces. No wonder the numerous predictions across the spectrum have predicted 2012 as the year we pull back from the social space because of fatigue. Forbes.com just reported that Facebook flirting causes 1 in 3 divorces in 2011 overseas in England. This past March, The Guardian reported: “Two-thirds of the lawyers surveyed said that Facebook was the “primary source” of evidence in divorce proceedings, while MySpace with 15% and Twitter with 5% lagged far behind.”

I am a bit overloaded, trying to help clients sift through the social space…in the hopes to find the way to engage in digital word-of-mouth. It is a lot to sift through especially when our own personal space is a barrage of over-achieving social reporters. They are either competing to become the first to report or the first to pick a fight with a local church, hospital, brand, or “ex” something. No wonder customer service has become the next marketing (as reported by Forbes.com), because people have lots to report and fuss about online.

Yep…so who is the customer service for this rant? Well…maybe it is time to just trim back our social spaces; find better connections, richer content, and fonder communities. Time to get real.

***Image from Mashable.com via this link: CLICK HERE

Facebook Community Funnel – Capturing Digital Word-of-Mouth

I am always thinking through how to find new ways to share stories and funneling like minded people to your story. The digital road map is important, especially when you have many communities online and great stories to tell. The goal is get people to share…basically take part in digital word-of-mouth.

For the last few years, I had the opinion that you should always make your website your mothership…but recently I have really began reconsidering this opinion. For one thing, it is all about audience! But…the delivery mechanism/channel is always a part of this equation…which leads me broaden my opinion with some new options.

If you look at this diagram…you will see that the information and audience flow is to build communities based on content/information in your social/digital spaces…driving them to your mothership (website). This is a simplistic view of how a B2C organization can capture audiences, distribute information, build conversation, and drive traffic back to the mothership. But what and how is a traditional website really serving your audiences especially in the world of dynamic content?

I am finding more and more people are using social outlets as their mothership, to capture and engage audiences then direct them to a final destination for final information. But, if the final spot is your website…what are we doing to deliver the information that provides the return on engagement? Why not keep them in the dynamic content area, where the community is thriving.

Two years ago, Sally Foister of Greenville Hosptial System looked at me and said something that has stuck with me…every B2C organization should a Facebook presence. Five years ago, that statement was applied to every B2C organization should have a website. Now the trick is to drive traffic to a destination point that is not the end destination but a dynamic portal that continually engages the audience with some action.

We are going to see some interesting movement in 2012 especially with Facebook planning a $100 Billion IPO. Let’s consider some stats surrounding Facebook:

  1. 800 Million Users
  2. 1 Trillion Page Views
  3. October 2011 – Facebook reached more than half (55 percent) of the world’s global audience and accounted for 1 in every 7 minutes spent online around the world and 3 in every 4 social networking minutes. (via ComScore.com)

So instead of thinking in terms of driving traffic to one mothership…how about funneling traffic through Facebook. Basically use Facebook as the community funnel of information, capturing the audience in one dynamic, community driven hub.

So let’s look at some of the reasons, well I mentioned the statistics above.

First – One of the first reasons is the Timeline which has aimed to make Facebook the destination for all media. People are able to dynamically  post all types of media right inside the Facebook Timeline making it easier to interact with the media and the community that surrounds the person/brand that posts the media.

Second – The Insights area for brand pages. The Insights tool provides publishers who use Facebook plugins with analytics on how content is performing. Now they can see those analytics in real time. You can see how “Like” button’s perform and the interactions based on demographics,which may enable site owners to target specific audiences.

Third – The Ticker which is the update to the News Feed. This serves as a “real-time feed of activity away from Facebook. Taken in tandem, these updates indicate Facebook’s growing desire to be to discovery what Google is to search — that is, the market leader for the new dominant form of currency on the web.” Facebook does not want to be a creator of media, they want to be the ultimate curator of media.

Fourth – The idea of expanding Gestures. They want to expand the “Like” button to developers allowing them to create concepts like “Watched, ” Listened,” Read,” and other buttons. “These actions are the next step in integrating Facebook with every part of the web. It’s possible you’ll be able to click a Facebook “Challenge” button that would let you post a game challenge on your friend’s wall, or a “Cheer” button that would let you support your friends when they need it. And yes, you could theoretically create a “Dislike” button through Facebook’s new initiative.” (via Mashable.com)

So for this model of the Community Funnel to work, you have to build a solid Facebook Community, give the community a reason to engage with one another, invite more friends, and make it easy and for the community to talk about you online.

The idea behind the community funnel is to build solid communities outside of Facebook, drive the communities to engage in Facebook, and given them a reason to want to find more information inside your mothership (web properties). Twitter, YouTube, and E-Newsletters are entry-point communities that can expose individuals to content. Then you drive this community to engage with more like-minded individuals within your Facebook presence.

Links and references used in this blog post:

http://mashable.com/2011/12/29/facebook-predictions-2012/

http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2011/12/Social_Networking_Leads_as_Top_Online_Activity_Globally

http://mashable.com/2011/09/22/facebook-gestures/

*** Image from MindFireInc.com

Happy New Year from the Cabin!

Rose is helping me with a little work, but the family is enjoying a wonderful vacation in the mountains of Georgia. We are looking forward to catching up with everyone once we return from our vacation on January 9th. Happy New Year!!!