Archive for July, 2012
So far, there have been 220 million total views to Pinterest, the picture sharing social media site. The site is notorious for its predominantly 20-something female user base, boasting 34 million registered users. Google Ad Planner presents the ratio of women-to-men on Pinterest views as 3:1. While this shows a heavy favorability toward a female audience, this still means men have accessed Pinterest over 50 million times. For marketers, this presents an opportunity to capture male attention that has been largely passed over.
Are you a marketer trying to reach a male audience? If so, here are some industry best practices. First compile some categories or “boards” that would pique male interest. Cars, drinks, technology and architecture come to mind. Learning what guys are seeking on Pinterest is the most important piece of the puzzle. For example, Men’s Health magazine has been lauded as one of the first male-centric brands to have a following on Pinterest. With everything from workouts and grooming to cooking and gift-giving, Men’s Health is capturing both male and female eyes with almost 3,000 followers to date.
What can be learned from Men’s Health‘s lead for reaching these male pinners? Here are some tips:
- Create boards that showcase your audience’s user generated content – Keep the dialogue going with your audience, and let them show you what their interests are.
- Pin regularly – The more you show you’re taking Pinterest seriously and putting your company out there, the better your odds are for gaining a following.
- “Repin” your followers – Show them that they’re on your radar. Following male Pinterest users can give you hints on what is interesting to them.
- Go off topic – Your company is not only a reflection of your product and industry, but also the people that work for you. Be creative with your account, and remember that most Pinterest users are not there for business purposes. Post pictures of food you enjoy, DIY projects, cool new gadgets etc. Initiate interaction in any way you can.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has declared the 2012 Olympics held in London the “social games” whereby spectators, fans, families, friends and teammates can participate through social media, texting, blogs and good old-fashioned email.
Get your smartphone, tablet and laptop fully charged and get ready for an onslaught of following, liking and sharing of athletes you likely don’t know along with their international fans of every language.
No more remote on my lap; there’s no room! I will have too many e-comm devices buzzing and blinking on my lap and vying for my attention to watch the actual sport itself. The IOC has taken social media participation very seriously by establishing IOC Social Media, Blogging and Internet Guidelines.
How interesting you make these Olympics Games depends on your satisfaction level of how deep you want to immerse yourself into the social media aspect of watching sports. NBC Sports network and the official NBC Olympics websites have their own Facebook and Twitter feeds. TEAM USA really goes the distance with a micro site for news, photos, videos and links to the Facebook page and Twitterfeed for every one of the 38 sports TEAM USA is participating in, even Field Hockey. (I will be following @USSailing Team).
And if that doesn’t keep you busy, many of the renown participating athletes as well as former Olympian medal winners will be tweeting. By the time these games are over, you will be as exhausted and euphoric as the athletes themselves.
Here’s a partial list to get you started:
NBC Network @NBCOlympics
TEAM USA: @USOlympic
TEAM USA US Sailing: @USSailing Team (Other sports are patterned similarly. Visit their website to find team pages and Twitter handles.)
It took great insight, drive, effort and insistence across geo-political borders by the IOC to create a social media mandate like this. No doubt, the driving force was to deepen the level of engagement with these games by enhancing the spectator experience.
The fast food giant that introduced the world to triple thick milkshakes, McGriddles and the infamous Big Mac, may have finally outdone itself. McDonald’s will open doors to its largest restaurant ever built for this summer’s Olympic Games in London. At 32,292 square feet, the restaurant will employ 2,000 workers and accommodate seating for up to 1,500 customers at a time. The massive eatery was built solely for the Olympic Games and will be torn down when the ceremonies conclude. Due to its brief existence, the building was constructed using all recyclable and reusable materials.
As a top tier sponsor of the Olympics, McDonald’s will be the only restaurant allowed to sell brand-name foods in the Olympic Park and Athlete’s Village. You can imagine the uproar this has created! From ordinary citizens to doctors and other professionals, this partnership has been receiving constant criticism. McDonald’s, a fast food franchise often condemned for its unhealthy menu options, serving as a major sponsor of the Olympic Games – a historic event celebrating the world’s greatest athletes – does sound a bit off.
Then again, what fast food chain is recognized as a healthy option? I can’t think of one. So then why has the International Olympic Committee (IOC) maintained this partnership with McDonald’s since 1976 and recently signed an agreement to continue it through the 2020 Games? The answer, as you may have guessed, is because they’ve got money!
The first Olympics on historic record date back to 776 BCE and some would even argue they’ve been around longer than that. Today it’s a tradition that has continued and grown for thousands of years. Being chosen to host the Olympics is a great honor and every four years the new Olympic host tries to out-do the last with a more elaborate opening celebration, beautiful décor and immaculate architecture. In fact, the Olympics have become such a colossal event that billions of dollars are spent on construction, decorations and security for the Games.
Although McDonalds may seem like an inappropriate pairing for the world’s greatest athletic competition, the company does appear to be making responsible marketing efforts. They began a global campaign aimed to encourage kids to get active by including “activity toys” in their happy meals. The toys will count how many steps the child takes or how many times they jump, etc. in a day to promote physical activity. The campaign has also been perceived as a tactic for counteracting the negative attacks they’ve received due to their exclusivity as the only food vendor at the Olympics and the construction of the world’s biggest McDonald’s.
Despite differing opinions, the reality of the situation is that without the backing of major corporations like McDonald’s, the Olympic events could not fulfill the extraordinary expectations we have grown so accustomed to. Instead, the costs would become the taxpayers’ burden, which probably wouldn’t be a favorable alternative.
McDonald’s is forking over big bucks to help fund the Olympics, so why shouldn’t they get exclusive rights to sell their product at the Games? Isn’t it the consumer’s responsibility to make healthy lifestyle choices? Is it McDonald’s fault if you eat a Big Mac and fries but never work out? After all, their food is now packaged and labeled with its nutritional content so it’s no secret what you’re ingesting. So what if it’s sold at the Olympic Games, it’s doubtful the athletes are consuming chicken nuggets before they compete and what does it matter if a spectator enjoys a soft drink and some fries while watching sand volleyball? Don’t they sell beer and hot dogs at all major sporting events too?
It all seems to go back to the permeating debate over responsibility and accountability. With obesity being a growing concern in many countries across the globe, food companies and consumers alike have been blamed for the problem. Should McDonald’s be allowed exclusive rights to be the only food option at the Olympics? Should they even be allowed to sponsor the Olympics? Who should be held accountable for the obesity problem facing so many individuals around the world? What’s your opinion?
In addition to the work that I do at CBD, I sit on the Board of Trustees in a suburb of Chicago. Like dozens of other communities in Illinois, my village passed a municipal electric aggregation referendum in March of 2012. I, along with another Trustee and our Village Manager, was tasked with seeing the aggregation process through on behalf of the village.
When determining what was important to me in aggregation, I understood that savings was a given. What mattered to me was getting the most flexibility for residents and making sure that I was making the right—not the wrong—decision. It’s easy to explain to residents that they are going to save a significant amount of money on their electric bills, but the last thing that any elected official wants to deal with is making a decision that creates issues for residents. I wanted to be confident that residents would get good customer service and that they could opt out without financial penalty at any time.
Other things I would have liked to see that may have helped tip the scales in favor of one provider or another, if everything else was on-par:
- Help with getting the word out about the referendum, as the village was prevented from taking a side on how to vote when informing residents about the ballot initiative for aggregation. This could include:
- Augmenting regular consumer-focused customer acquisition campaign tactics with a “vote yes on aggregation” message.
- Hosting a coffee reception for residents (not Village Board members) to explain what aggregation is and how it benefits residents, encouraging them to vote to pass the referendum.
- Reaching out to local press to discuss the benefits of municipal aggregation and explain what a “yes” vote on the issue means to residents.
Knowing that a company was willing to act as a partner with the village prior to the referendum would have created some goodwill, not to mention positive visibility, for the provider.
After the referendum vote, bidding REPs could have considered:
- Providing concise, yet compelling “why us” narratives to the Village Board. Help the decision-makers understand that there is a qualitative difference between providers.
- In the bid package, offer to send out a mailing explaining why the board made a good decision in selecting the provider (if they are selected).
- Offering more than one plan for residents to choose from. Ideally, I would have liked to have offered residents a default green plan, but also give them the option of a brown plan to opt into—with both plans priced at an attractive, aggregated rate.
Bottom line: There’s opportunity for REPs competing for municipal aggregation contracts to meaningfully differentiate themselves at a time when it’s very likely that bids will be a tenth of a penny per kWh or less apart.
I recently read an article that questioned whether resumes would become obsolete. The author, a very talented man by the name of Doug Gross, interviewed companies and asked them about their hiring process.
The results were intriguing. Most businesses claimed that perusing someone’s Facebook or Twitter would tell them more about a worker than a resume. Some companies went so far to say that they would hire based on a bit of social stalking.
To us in the technological world, this makes sense. Social media is a tool. It would be foolish not to use it. Running someone’s name through Facebook or Twitter is really just a business doing its due diligence— a background check of sorts.
However, how long this tool will be available to companies is questionable. If you haven’t noticed, social media is a touchy subject. It began as a personal outlet and remains as such today. Even if businesses started using social media to solely recruit from, a little issue called invasion of privacy is bound to get in the way.
Our advice would be not to write off resumes just yet, but we would love to hear what you think. Is it smart to focus more effort on social media platforms than a resume?
When Pinterest first started, it was a predominantly female platform, known for its “fluff” appeal. Many business-to-business (B2B) companies wrote it off, claiming that women who frequently posted cakes and kittens weren’t ideal target audiences. However, this fluffy network is turning out some serious statistics and has grown well beyond its do-it-yourself crowd. As the platform extends its reach, many B2B businesses are forced to reconsider.
If your company is among them or is thinking about adding Pinterest to its social sphere, here are some things you might want to consider:
1. The power of a good hashtag still applies. Hashtags are usually only thought of when Twitter is in question, but Pinterest actually works in the same way. Using hashtags makes pins searchable and boosts rankings in Google, Yahoo, Bing and the like. With every pin, try to include one.
2. Pinterest is a referral site, so refer! Unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, Pinterest is designed to lead users off its platform. Whether by design or flaw, this provides companies with a prime opportunity to post website links without people considering them spam.
3. Content is still king. The popular saying still applies: You need good content to develop good leads. On Pinterest, many B2B businesses are finding success by posting infographics. Others are generating buzz around e-book and guide covers. The trend among the B2B crowd is research—good research—that is visually displayed.
4. Original content does not mean new content. Good news! What’s new to Pinterest can be old to you. Website photos, banners and even ads can be posted to Pinterest and shared like new. Just keep in mind that the material needs to be interesting. The rest will be taken care of by pinners.
5. When in doubt, track. Pinterest has learned from its social media predecessors and has decided to provide tools for tracking. PinReach.com, Pintics.com and Pinerly.com do an excellent job of deciphering pins. More importantly, everyone seems to be using them, which provides industry standards.
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