How Very Pinteresting

Blog written by Adam Britten, follow him on Twitter @AdamBritten or visi AdamBritten.com

Have you heard of Pinterest yet? It is without a doubt the “hot website” of the moment. TechCrunch recently reported that the site’s traffic has grown 2000% percent since June, and now receives more page views than Etsy. The site is in Beta, and only allowing new users in through invite, but you can request an invite from their homepage or from a friend with an account.

What exactly is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a virtual pin board of your interests. When you are on a website and see a picture you like, you “pin” it to one of your boards. These boards are organized into categories of your choice, like fashion, food, art, etc. Users can follow each other, as well. One great element of Pinterest is that you can follow one board from a user, or all of their boards. You control what you see on the site. Simply put, Pinterest is a lot of pretty pictures organized neatly.

Anyone can have fun on Pinterest, but the visual nature of the site lends itself well to people in particular fields. Those trying to find a job as a graphic designer can display their work for others to find. A student applying to a school’s fashion program can upload their sketches or designs to Pinterest and then send it as a supplement to their portfolio.

Brands on Pinterest

Any site with a growing number of users will attract attention from brands, and Pinterest is no exception. Companies are flocking to the hot site in an effort to get their products pinned. Again, the visual nature of the site is making it easier for some brands over others. One great example of a corporate page is from luxury retailer Bergdorf Goodman. They have boards organized by trend, like florals or lace. They have a board for designer Tom Ford, showing that they might expand into more designer-specific boards. They even have boards dedicated to individual colors, if you happen to look better in red.

Brands outside the fashion and design industries are also utilizing Pinterest, but they are doing more than pushing products. Klout, the social influence analytics company, uses their boards to give a behind-the-scenes look into their office. You can see what costumes their employees wore to the office Halloween party, or see a picture of the company’s two founders facing off against each other in a ping-pong match. (It appears as if Klout even works once in a while, as some of their photos show their engineers concentrated on a laptop screen.)

The future of Pinterest

Sure, Pinterest is growing now. It’s attracting a lot of attention and generating a lot of buzz. But as with other sites, excitement will level-off at some point. What can Pinterest do to maintain growth? One thought I have is that they should integrate with more visual networks. Currently, they only allow you to share your pins with Twitter or Facebook. If they partnered with Tumblr or Instagram, they would probably get more appropriate, involved users.

What are your thoughts on Pinterest? What can they do to grow?

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Why is gamification important and how to become a master?

Blog written by: Michelle Chen, follow her on Twitter: @pinshian

Gamification has been a popular term nowadays. From 2010 to 2016, the spent on gamification is expected to grow from $100 million to $2.8 billion (Los Angeles, 2011), and the average growth for gamification over the next two years is also said to be 150% (Bunchball, 2011). Indeed, almost everyone enjoys playing games, and if brands can make their campaigns a lot of fun, it will certainly appeal to more prospects who might potentially become future customers.

During the Internet Week Europe in London, I attended one of the workshops “Gamification and Game Design” organized by PlayGen. The key points are listed below:

When talking about gaming, AAA titles such as the famous “Call of Duty” or Fallout series might first come to our mind, but do you know that actually everything can be turned into a game? According to PlayGen, gamification is actually simply 10% game design plus 90% psychology, and the most important thing to motivate human behaviour. That’s why a simple game like “Angry Birds” without great graphics can achieve such a huge success.

In fact, many big brands have adopted gamification to communicate with consumers, like Microsoft’s Be Ribbon Hero, Adobe’s LevelUp for Photoshop, and Volkswagen’s Speed Camera Lottery.

Another example is website platform DevHub, which lets users earn points to add new elements to their site. The more content users explore, the more they get access to use in making tailored sites. As a result, users’ actions before logging out increased from 4 to 12, the percentage of people posting to their blogs increased from 7% to 15%, and purchases per active user also increased over a number of months.

So, how do we design a game that can engage consumers? The following steps might be helpful:

1. Define the motivation

The motivations can include free, instant gratification, loyalty, mastery, meaning, ownership, power, and winning (according to statistics, only 2% of people are not eager to win.)

2. Define the victory conditions

It can be goals & objectives, checkpoint, elimination, race, territory, and control for example.

3. Set the rules for your game

They can be difficulty, levels, reward, time, resource management, points, and turns

4. Make your game social

What’s more, some social elements can be added to your game with mechanism such as achievement, currency, customization, communal collaboration, gifting, leaderboard, social points, social status, and virtual goods.

Applying these tips, then you should be able to design an interesting game with any topics in mind. However, do avoid to use gamification in the wrong scenario, where efficiency and simplicity are needed. Besides, remember to keep content updated through the new user-centric social analysis. When necessary, the exit strategy is as important as entrance strategy.

Have you created your own game? Why not trying to design one now to see how addictive it can be? It’s time to level up!

Source: PlayGen

 

Art and Social Media

Blog written by: Borja Covo

Social networks development on Internet offers new ways of information and communication, an also a new area for cooperation and interaction. But, can art and creativity be part of these new platforms of global communication?

Some people consider that the new reality of social media prevent the artistic expression due to the limitation of use and restrictions using images and text. However the reality seems very different as many people are using social networks developing new ways of expressing themselves through these sites and being creative.

Social networks as Facebook and Twitter allow people to comment, like things, inspire and collaborate; and today, more videos and photographs are shared than never before. These, if not considered “art” by some, are definitely creative ways of communication.

An important number of artists are going a bit further including social networks as part of their creative projects.

One of the last artistic projects linked with social networks I have seen, is the one denominated “Tweed life project”, where the design and trends magazine “Wallpaper” called its twitter followers to meet in a studio at Christie’s Multiplied Contemporary Editions fair to be photographed by portraitist Chris Floyd. People with different ages and backgrounds participated, and the result was an inspiring collection of 140 black and white portraits, as the 140 characters used on twitter. The project takes its cue from Floyd’s “One hundred and Forty Characters” series, for which he met and photographed his own Twitter connections last year.

During these years, the art world has naturally gone into digital either for business, communication, networking or creativity. What will be the next step?

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From PDF to App

Blog post written by: Written by: Daan Suijlen,  follow Daan on Twitter: @DaanSuijlen

Snappify (yes, like spotify) is a company that converts PDF files towards apps.The content is directly translated towards the application and is ready in 24 hours. PDFs become applications and your file is readable and browsable in the app. Especially for ‘heavy’ PDFs with a lot of high-resolution pictures this is ideal. The company is a start-up and targets publishers and other content creators.

Looking at newspapers and traditional news proving this is exactly what happens. Their content is offline and directly translated towards an application. So, instead of reading the paper you are now holding your tablet and read exactly the same. In this way, newspapers don’t take the possibilities of tablets.  The only point they catch is the fact tablets are more convenient than papers. However, they are missing the main advantages of those tablets. There is no integration of other media like videos, moving pictures and ‘live content’. When reading about news, I want to browse in the pictures and watch videos about it. When reading a review of a soccer match, I want to see the goals on my tablet, see the line up and details of the match. On tablets, headlines can show more than one pictures. Offering videos and quotes, all directly accessible within the tablet app, can support the text. Interactive infographics can offer newspapers possibilities that are so engaging and really make a difference between paper and tablet versions. In this way, the pay wall newspapers are now applying for their online content can be justified.

Of course, all of this is directly shareable via social media, however, within those tablet applications social media can offer the possibility to directly target the author or friends. Twitter conversations, integrated tweet fountains (widget that shows all the tweets about a certain hashtag) can all benefit in creating real engagement between newsreaders.

The guardians’ new iPad app does take a brave attempt. Their app offers more than just the paper, and at some pages video is integrated and everything is directly share able. However, still there is not one newspaper that takes fully advantage of this technology and to go back to Snappify, the idea is great, however, instead of focussing on just converting PDF’s in apps, it should focus on converting PDF’s into interactive apps. So in this way, those apps take full advantage of tablets and really offer something different that just the PDF (or newspaper).

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Resume: Paper is not enough

Blog written by Adam Britten, follow him on Twitter @AdamBritten or visit AdamBritten.com

Gone is the age where a job applicant will pick up a newspaper, find a job they want, and then mail in a CV. Long gone. Not only are job postings moving to a completely digital format, but resumes are as well. Glassdor.com recently posted an article claiming that “the resume is dead.” The author equated your online profile to your new age resume. When you apply for a job, chances are the recruiter or hiring manager will Google you and scan through your online presence. What you’ve shared on Twitter, LinkedIn, or your blog can be significantly more important than what’s on your CV. But instead of taking a reactive approach by waiting for them to look you up, consider being proactive by pointing them in the right direction. Here are three ways you can create an online resume:

Pictures

“A picture is worth a thousand words” right? By creating a picture resume, you are giving yourself more room to be creative as well as showing more about yourself than you can with a two page paper resume. Sites like Vizualize.Me take your background and turn it into an info graphic that is easy on the eyes. This info graphic is then easily shared by embedding links or icons into all of your social profiles.

Videos

Sometimes even a picture is not enough, so take it to the next level and create a video. Recorded CVs are a fantastic opportunity for applicants to show who they are as well as what they can do. However, these types of resumes are not appropriate for all types of positions. If you are applying for a creative profession, or a PR role, then a video is a great way to get a recruiter’s attention. Before you dive in, check out these tips from Mashable on how to create a video resume.

 “Hire Me Campaigns

The most time consuming, but probably the most exciting, way to apply for a job is by creating a full blown campaign on why you should be hired. Some applicants are so passionate about a specific job posting that they create blogs, videos, pictures, websites, Facebook pages, etc. with loads of content and try to get them to go viral. And sometimes, this technique has incredible results. In one case, Braden Young wanted to secure his dream job at Krispy Kreme donuts, so he created a unique Facebook page and Twitter handle to get noticed by the company. Just four hours after the pages went live he was contacted by Krispy Kreme, and three days later he was hired as their Sales & Marketing Manager.

 The most important thing to remember about these techniques is that the content still matters. You can create a flashy presentation, but you have to keep in mind that the recruiter is looking for specific skills and qualifications. Once you’ve gotten their attention with a picture, video, or campaign, really emphasize why you are right for the job.

Is Facebook better than Twitter?

Blog written Angela Cheong Follow Angela on Twitter: @angelacfw

A couple of weeks ago, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I came across this question posed by a marketing professor: Is #Facebook better than #Twitter???

Instantly, I tweeted a reply: I think they are different. Each has their (its) own function.

His response: Yes!

Apart from the invisible pat on the back I gave myself, the question made me think about something I had always taken for granted. Debate has always raged on about which social media platform would be more effective in reaching the public and which platform would eventually rule the world. Personally, I’ve always thought that question was moot.

An info graphic by digital surgeons made a comparison on the statistics for Facebook and Twitter in 2010. At first glance, you would think that Facebook is definitely ahead of Twitter. It has 500 million total users as compared to Twitter’s 106 million users. 40% of Facebook users follow a brand as compared to Twitter’s 25%.

But wait… while 51% of Facebook followers will purchase that specific brand, 67% of Twitter followers will do so. 12% of Facebook followers tend to update their statuses every day, but 30% of Twitter followers post daily updates. What this would seem to imply is that while Facebook has more users, Twitter users are more engaged with both the platform and brands and also more likely to make a purchase.

While all these statistics prove interesting fodder for both detractors of Facebook or Twitter, they are in my opinion somewhat irrelevant. Facebook and Twitter operate in very different ways. While Facebook boosts a wide range of functions from chat, to video, to status updates and photo uploads, among many others, Twitter is basically a micro blogging platform. Facebook allows the individual to create their own personal social space online to have conversations and share their lives in a more intimate way. Twitter, on the other hand, allows the user a much wider reach, to share ideals or comments and simply to network.

One isn’t better than the other, they both exist to serve different social needs.

Personalized content and advertising

Blog post written by: Written by: Daan Suijlen,  follow Daan on Twitter: @DaanSuijlen

One of the big advantages of digital marketing is the fact it can be personalized, never before marketers had the chance to target their customers (or potential customers) in such a personal way. When you look at the Internet this is translated to the fact that almost every website tries to gain your information and uses that in their communication. I got killed with the: “Hello Daan, Good afternoon Daan, Special offer for Daan” messages. Still, this is not really personalized, it uses names and makes it more personal, but it is not focused and targeted towards my personal interests.

The most interesting fact of digital marketing and personalization is the fact that content now can be totally targeted towards your own interest. So rather than showing a personal message, digital offers the possibility to tailor your advertisement and content.

Please compare that with mass media.

I’m a big fan of Seth Godins Permission marketing book, which is totally in the line of personalized content and advertisement. I don’t want to receive offers that I will never take or use, it is a waste of time for me, and a waste of money for the company that runs them.

The same is with news consumption; still there is not one newspaper that offers their digital content personalized towards your interest. When this content is personalized, advertising can be personalized as well. Can you image the big win – win situation that is created there? Newspapers offer their news towards customer’s interest; this news is given on a few keywords of your interests. Everybody reads the news different, so why not offer it different (it is still the same news though!). With the current technology this is possible and is absolutely no rocket science. I believe digital will change the direct advertising in such a way that in a few years, we will only receive advertisement that we allow and it will be tailor towards our profile.

The big challenge now lies in the fact which digital tools can optimize this process. Everybody is online and mobile is taken over the Internet consumption. There lies the big opportunity for targeted advertisement. What about location based offering. So the offer of any product will be for example tweeted towards the customer at the moment he or she is close towards the store, and this tweet will only be send towards customers who might be interested in the product. So there comes the combination of location based advertising (mobile!) and personalized advertisement, pure focused on your profile.

Fact is that you need to give a lot of personal information towards brands. Is that scary? No! It is great, in that we you receive great deals on your interest and advertisement does not annoy you any more, it rather helps you.

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Analysis of iBreastCheck campaign with 5Ss objectives

Blog written by: Michelle Chen, follow her on Twitter: @pinshian  

On the 1st of November, I attended the mediaPro(http://www.mediaproexpo.co.uk/) 2011 media and marketing communications event in London. In one of the sessions at Digital Theatre, David Barker, the Director of Communication at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, shared how iBreastCheck, their award winning iPhone application, has brought marketing disciplines together in perfect harmony.

This is the introduction video of iBreastCheck application:

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dK0lgvz0LkY)

The detailed strategy and outcome of iBreastCheck promotion can be found here(http://www.guardian.co.uk/voluntary-sector-network/2011/jun/30/breast-cancer-iphone-app?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3788), which was reported by Guardian when this application won first prize at the New Media Age Excellence Awards, and I’d like to further talk about it with the summarized e-marketing 5Ss (Sell, Serve, Speak, Save, and Sizzle) objectives described in the eMarketing eXcellence (written by Dave Chaffey and PR Smith, 2008), to see if the marketing campaign meets these goals.

1.      Sell – Grow sales

In a Non-profit organization, sales can refer to money raised. The campaign did not directly encourage people to donate, but users can link to the donation page through iBreastCheck application. Although the exact amount of fund raised was not revealed, I suppose the popularity of this application itself can induce charity donation to some degree.

 2.      Serve – Add value

The iBreastCheck application contains video and interactive contents, and users can set up a simple reminder for regular self-checks. Besides, the video was put on websites like iBreastCheck.com(http://www.ibreastcheck.com/), Breakthrough website(http://breakthrough.org.uk/), and YouTube(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dK0lgvz0LkY), so that even non-iPhone users can benefit from it as well. No wonder the application and the video on YouTube had been downloaded and viewed by over 22,000 and 28,000 people, respectively, at the time the article was written, and could achieve a 5 star rating in iTunes.

3.      Speak – Get closer to customers

Not sure if Breakthrough Breast Cancer conducted any online surveys or polls to learn about users, but they did utilize social media to drive conversation, and could possibly obtain customers feedback out of that.

4.      Save – Save costs

By introducing the iBreastCheck application and related videos, the cost of printing leaflets and posters can therefore be saved, and the information provided in new forms is even more practical.

5.      Sizzle – Extend the brand online

Through the PR programme to drive amplification and interest with influencers, this campaign successfully reached 46.79% of UK women aged 24+. The internet surely played an important role even though the PR programme spanned traditional and new media at the same time.

To sum up, the iBreastCheck application campaign has pretty much achieved the 5Ss objectives, and I’ve become its user, too.

A mini ruckus erupted among the social community recently. The reason?

Blog post written by: Angela Cheong

Let’s backtrack for a bit. What exactly is Klout? It does as its namesake implies. It measures online social clout through the various social networks one uses, on a scale of 1 to 100. For example, according to Klout, I am influential on three issues: marketing, B2B and social media. Klout’s website states that more than 100 million people have been scored by them since 2008 and the team, which consists of scientists and engineers, analyses more than 2.7 billion pieces of content and connections daily. This is based on:

True Reach – the number of people you influence Amplification – the extent to which you influence them. Network Impact – the influence your network has on Klout’s words, the new scoring model represents a huge step forward in terms of “accuracy, transparency” and “technology”. Not that this matters to the number of Klout users angered by the new algorithm – and corresponding drop in their score. While a blog post on Klout’s website stated that majority of the users would experience an increase in their score, I think it would be safe to say that a healthy number of users have also experienced a decline, based on the unhappy comments on that post. A quick check of my contacts revealed that several of them had experienced a drop in their score; I myself experienced an 8 point drop from a paltry 28 point score.

That said, should we be so concerned with a Klout score? To me the value in online interaction lies in the whole experience of learning from, connecting to or having a conversation with someone. Tweeting frequently for the sole sake of raising a Klout score seems to contravene this idea. While I find it fun to check in every now and then on my Klout score, I am not really sure that it has a huge impact on the real world. Will a recruiter drop me as a candidate because of my low Klout score? I hardly think so. Will a client drop an agency because of the same reason? I seriously doubt it. What I found more interesting was the fact that several renowned digital agencies that I had followed on Twitter had a less than stellar score of around 50 or below. Several of them were not even on Klout. Those who scored highly on Klout were usually individual social media marketers or enthusiasts.

Given that the value of a brand is based on the perception of their stakeholders, I would leave it to the individual reader to place their own value on a Klout score. Me? I’ve already made up my mind.

What LinkedIn should change right now (opinion)

Let me begin with what LinkedIn is in a few words. It is a social network where more than 100 million professionals meet, right? So, it can also be characterized as a networking event. At a networking event guests want to expand their circles, so they go up, say “hi” and introduce themselves to people they don’t know.

However, LinkedIn has a policy of not allowing its members to act like that. When adding someone, the option of “I don’t know this person” exists. Therefore, LinkedIn wants its users to only connect with people that they already know. But wait, where is the real networking spirit? What if, for instance, I want to link to a professional that I do not know in person, but I look forward to knowing him in the near future; adding him/her to my list of contacts would be an ideal start. Of course, the question could be, “What if that professional does not want to accept your invitation?” A simple “Disapprove invitation” button is the answer.

People are still adding others that they do not know on LinkedIn, either by indicating them as “friends” or by being part of the same groups. LinkedIn knows about it and should admit it.

In my opinion, the “I don’t know this person” option should be replaced by an “I am interested in knowing this person” option. When a user clicks on it, then a textbox, where the personal introduction can be written, will appear. When the invitation is sent, the other part has the right to either approve or disapprove the request. If it is approved, then the new contact will be added in a group of contacts called, for instance, “LinkedWill contacts”. The contacts of this group will have limited access to some LinkedIn features. For example, a “LinkedWill contact” will not be eligible for sending recommendations.

LinkedIn should bear in mind what the users want. They want to be part of a social network for professionals in order to stay in touch with their contacts and of course to make new ones. By introducing the “LinkedWill contacts” feature, both cases will be satisfied.