Pinterest Adds Place Pins

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Pinterest is one of my favorite social media platforms, although I find myself using it not for the social aspect but for pinning things that I would like to make/do in the future. They recently just introduced a new type of pin called a Place Pin that allows users to map out the locations of their pins. “For example, if a user pins a photo of a burger from a local restaurant in her neighborhood, she can also add the restaurant’s location to a map on her board. With these locations, users can better create pinboards for trip planning and highlighting hotspots in their particular neighborhood”, according to Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann. After users pin these Place Pins, they are also able to share their boards with friends.

These types of pins have a lot of potential to be promoted pins as ads. The pins can offer information about name, location, and phone number of a restaurant or retail store. Stores could offer coupons or deals through these pins for potential customers. The only downside at this point is that Place Pins are not available on mobile devices, which would give retailers direct access to consumers wherever they are. This is a big new step for Pinterest and shows that they are moving in the direction of adding value for consumers and retailers. 

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Birchbox

After I wrote my last post about Sweetgreen, I became increasingly interested in its concept as well as the way it does business. While doing more research I came across an article about businesses that are better than the rest when it comes to content marketing. Sweetgreen was listed as well as another company called Birchbox. How it works is for $10 a month, Birchbox will send you a customized box of sample sized beauty products. 

Birchbox designed its content marketing strategy around the millennial generations’ “fear of missing out” mentality. It is very active on social media sites such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook where they post photos, videos, and articles. It highlights the previous month’s box showing how to use products as well as how other customers are reacting to these products. 

It is a smart idea for beauty brands to get on the Birchbox bandwagon and provide their products to these trend setting customers. If a sample of their product is included in a box, a customer may decide that they really like the product and then can buy a full size directly from Birchbox’s website. The service that Birchbox provides allows customers to not have to worry about sorting through the hundreds of thousands of beauty products available on the market, the new trends are delivered directly to their door. “The message is simple: If you aren’t getting Birchbox, you are definitely missing out — the perfect push to drive customers to whip out credit cards and subscribe”. 

If you want additional information about Birchbox, I found this video particularly informative. http://mashable.com/2012/01/31/birchbox-video/

You can also visit their website if you want to subscribe! http://www.birchbox.com 

Sweetgreen

Sweetgreen is a company that was started by students from Georgetown University. They saw a growing need for a place that served healthy and local foods in the D.C. area. They began to sell salads with local ingredients from farmers markets. The Sweetgreen brand quickly became one that connected “passion and purpose”, which made social media the perfect way to market the brand and message.

What sets them apart as a company is that they listen to customers well through social media and this allows them to be able to better tailor content on Instagram and Twitter sites. They believe that these are the most powerful platforms for their brand because of how well their product lends itself to being photographed. Sweetgreen also wants to focus on using social media as a tool for long term brand loyalty. The goal is to make a personal connection with customer and maintain it for life.

Something that I found particularly interesting is that Sweetgreen’s social media is tailored based on seasonal trends, just like those on the menu at the restaurant.

Sweetgreen does a great job at appealing to their niche market through social media. They are creating a lifestyle brand that people want to be a part of because of their values or even simply because it is trendy. In order for Sweetgreen to maintain their customer base, they need to convince customers that this is not a short term trend, but something that is going to continue to grow and be successful.

News Through Social Media

Because of the increase of smart phones over the last decade, people have started to receive news in so many different ways. We are no longer tied down to the traditional media through newspapers, magazines, and television. At any moment you can Google search just about anything that you want to know from wherever you are. With social media being one of the dominant forces in our lives today, I thought it would be interesting to do a little research about how people are getting news through social media.

Even though Americans are connected to many different social media sites, only 26% of them get their news from more than one according to a Pew Research Center study. The majority of Americans get their news from only one site, with the leader being Facebook. Surprisingly, the platform that came in second was YouTube, with 10% of Americans clicking on news links through their site. Facebook and Twitter are both good networks for news. Half of their users (47% and 52%, respectively) consume news while using those networks, according to the study.

I personally enjoy watching the news in the morning or picking up the daily newspaper, but I am a rare breed among people my age. I think the reason for this is that that is what I grew up with. I appreciate the time I have to slow down a bit from the hectic world in the morning. Although, this is not to say that I don’t receive news from social media sites also. I follow many different companies and news stations on Twitter, so I get many new updates directly from there as well. What marketers need to realize is that people are consuming news differently these days. I believe the quickest way to share information now is through social media or the internet, while 10 years ago people wouldn’t have hesitated to say television. News stations need to tailor their news for each of the platforms that they send out their media through. Breaking news that is urgent should appear online and pieces that are more informational are better suited for print or television.

Below is the link to the study that has all of the details of the role of social media and news.

http://www.journalism.org/2013/11/14/news-use-across-social-media-platforms/

Student Social Media Influencers

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College students have a great amount of influence on their peers and their social groups and are extremely connected to online social media platforms. This is the reason why they make a good target for the latest products because they are likely to share their experiences with their friends via social media which creates buzz around the product. I recently came across an organization that capitalizes on this concept.

Sumpto is a startup that finds the top social media users at colleges across the country and sends those students free products from brands. The hope it that they will talk about the product online through social media. Students are chosen based on number of followers or friends and how active they are across social media platforms. This is good for students because they get free things and it is also good for the brands giving away the free items because they are getting free endorsement through social media and around campuses.

They currently have more than 19,000 college influencers on the platform, half of whom have joined in the last month.The site works with more than 70 brands, which can search for students based on gender, Greek affiliation, and geographic location. The key to the success of Sumpto in the future would be to continue to keep the relationship between students and brands as natural as possible.

Double Trouble with Instagram

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Adding to my last post, which gave an example of the dangers that can be involved with social media platforms such as Instagram, I found another article having to do with an Instagram scam. More than 100,000 Instagram users fell for the scam that told them that if they inserted their username and password that they would get free followers and likes. This scam  app called InstLike would start liking random photos and following random users after the Instagram user signed up. “We don’t steal your account,” the app developers promised in the login screen. However, InstLike did just that.

We would think that by asking for login information it would make most people hesitant to agree to the terms, but it did not. It even got past Apple and Google for months, as it was available in the App Store and Google Play. From all of the 100,000+ users that downloaded this app, they were able to harvest unimaginable amounts of data from the accounts. Not only did this app steal the users information, but it also convinced many of them to pay money for extra likes and followers. It is crazy to see the extremes that people will go to to get additional likes on their photos.

If you were one of the people that fell for this scam, it is suggested that you change your password immediately and delete the app from your phone.

One way that this could be detrimental to an organization is if scams like this were able to get access to their account and post things from that account. This could be bad for the image of the company dependent on the content of the posts. This could also give scammers access to private information that could be sensitive information.

Mashable also recently posted an article titled “Don’t Fall for These 9 Instagram Scams”. It would be a worthwhile read if you are currently using that platform.  http://mashable.com/2013/11/06/instagram-scams/#_