Sharing Print and Social Media

Have you ever come across a print ad that was very ‘loud’ in regards to spreading their social media seed? Yes, we’re fully aware of your widgets that let viewers know that your business is on every social media outlet known to man. In all honesty, what is the best way to promote your social media pages through your print work without looking desperate or downright over the top?

Soshable.com posted an article suggesting different ways to complement your print marketing with your social media marketing efficiently. If you know me, you know that often times I treat Soshable somewhat like my social media bible, but this time I had a little trouble believing exactly what the article states.   Even though this article was posted on January 4, the advice appears to be a little outdated…

Last time I checked, QR Codes were becoming more and more a thing of the past.  Am I right?  I uninstalled my QR Code app several months ago… I also have a love/hate relationship with contests. I want viewers to be intrigued by my business and the good work we provide, not by the opportunity to win free stuff. (Believe me, I love free stuff just as much as the next guy girl, but I more times than not I don’t end up using the business from which I won the free goods.)

Check out this article and decide for yourself whether or not it’s fully beneficial. The One-Two Punch: Print and Social Media Marketing found on Soshable.com. Don’t get me wrong, a great majority of the article is excellent but a small portion I disagree with. “To each his own.” Right?

What are your thoughts on QR Codes?

Have any of these suggestions really worked for you?

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Facebook Timeline

A little over a month ago, Facebook went through with their new “face lift.”  Basically,  Facebook now requires all users to use their new design called the “Timeline.” This new look completely changed the Facebook page you’re used to viewing. Not only is this look a little more confusing for viewers, but it is also quite time consuming for those of you that have your corporate social media pages created/updated ‘in house.’  Thankfully, ‘in house’ at Patterson Riegel Advertising means there’s an entire department designated for social media.  Other companies, are not so lucky…which is why my job tends to be fairly successful. (For now.)

Now that Facebook users have had a month (or so) to get used to the new look, it’s time to decide our true feelings.  Do you think this new layout is geared more towards just personal pages? As a business woman, I fail to see many benefits for the corporate pages. A recent Jeff Bullas blog helps to put our feelings about the Timeline on paper…or computer screen rather.  Take a look.

 Is the New Facebook Timeline a Failure in Design?

Written by Jeff BullasView Comments
Categories: Facebook, Facebook Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Visual Web

Generally people don’t like change! The majority of us like routine and familiarity.  Mess with someone’s habitual routine and watch them start to sweat, stress and squirm.They also say that a change is as good as a holiday but is all change good?

Facebook’s new timeline is now live on both the personal profiles and pages and it has taken the known and familiar and replaced it with a very new design.

Steve Jobs said in an interview with Wired magazine in 1997 “People think that design is how it looks, but it goes much deeper than that, it is actually how it works

So does the new Facebook timeline design “work”?

The impact for business is that it needs to evaluate the implications of these changes to ensure that they maintain their engagement and utilise the stronger visual format that the brand “pages” now have.

So the changes are in place and the dust has settled, what are the implications for the managers, administrators and users of the “new”Facebook timeline “page”.

Is Facebook’s Timeline User Friendly?

Is it a failure from a usability and design perspective? One study by Simple Usability looked at how viewers scanned and interacted with the new Facebook timeline and by recording eye movements and actions while users browsed online, they could see exactly what elements each user was drawn to, distracted by and engaged with.

Here are their key findings.

1. Cover images aren’t as important as you may think

We all love great photos but the usability study that looked at how people interact with the Facebook page showed that other than to orientate themselves with what Brand page they were on users paid little attention to both the cover and profile images.

I think timeline like that works much better for a personal than a product page, I just think because it is a banner with a main picture, it just looks like advertising.”

2. Your company and its history is interesting

There are 2 key elements here that tell your company story. The “About” section and the Dynamic “Timeline” which can go back to when the company started and this new feature of the Facebook timeline is that you can post updates that are dated such as when your company or brand was established.

The research showed that users were very interested in this “About” section on Facebook but usually found it difficult find on a company’s official “website”

Feedback from one the users in the test group “Just the general information, I like to know a little bit about their background… I liked the bits where it said founded and a little bit of information on when they started and what year, I thought that was interesting. The websites, it’s not obvious on there but I liked seeing it on here.

Scroll down to the beginning of Ben and Jerry’s Facebook page and you will see photos and information that reveal a great story about their humble beginnings at a renovated gas station in 1978. (thanks to Jacinta from the digital agency “Croagh INK” for pointing out this great story timeline to me)

It is certainly worth considering placing the important dates in your organisations history on the timeline. This will make the brand authentic and real.

3. The Timeline needs to remain current

Regular updates keep the sequence of the Facebook page connected and tell a story over time. The study showed though that no users scrolled back more than a month.

Users appeared to be put off by the breaks in the “Timeline” as the new sections loaded and stopped scrolling.

Users feedback -“When it started loading February..I thought it had finished, because you know with timelines, it stops at a certain bit… so I thought that’s it… because there is a big gap and the big gap is quite misleading because there is more stuff later on.”

4. Users take notice of friend interactions with a brand

The research also showed that seeing which of their friends already liked particular page split user opinion on whether they themselves would also like the page.

A status update or a comment from a user’s friend was more likely to create motivation to interact withe page especially if it was recent.

5. Pinned posts aren’t obviously different to users

The study also showed that the layout doesn’t differentiate the posts.

Few of the pages were utilising the pinned posts at the time of testing. Those pages that did had little effect; no users realised the pinned post was intended to be highlighted.

Clearer definition of pinned post as a feature would help or a unique use of content that works with other elements of

6. Users aren’t interacting with apps

According to the study un-expanded app positions are the most important real estate.

Other than to click through and see photo albums, the majority of users failed to interact with the row of apps. More importantly, nearly all didn’t spot the arrow which makes all of the available apps visible.

Participant in the research said “I never even noticed that arrow, maybe it should be set out slightly differently.”

Takeaways

The study suggests that much in the new “Timeline” layout is flawed. Even following Facebook’s guidelines for creativity and opportunity isn’t enough as users are navigating as if using established design formats.

According to the study, here are the major takeaways:

1. Brands should also make full use of new functionality – such as the Timeline and cover Image – to engage users, being aware that the latter has to be used imaginatively and not just considered to be a Facebook ‘billboard.’

2. Page managers should consider how promotions, competitions and themed content can be contained within a specific timeframe that doesn’t require excessive scrolling.

3. There is also no longer the opportunity to set a default landing tab or application, so brand managers should think about how the cover Image and pinned post functionality can support and reinforce competitions and campaigns.

4. The relationships and interactions a user’s friends have with a brand are now more prevalent than ever before, as such brands should focus on nurturing positive brand mentions wherever they may be on Facebook.

SimpleUsability MD Guy Redwood said:

But is clear that the average user doesn’t fully understand the new layout, or interact with it in the way intended. The mechanics of obtaining ‘Likes’ has become more difficult for brands, they now need to drive engagement more than ever. Page editors no longer have the ability to set targeted landing tabs or applications for non-fans. In the past you could direct people onto a particular tab to encourage likes or interaction with a promotion“.

How About You?

What do you think about the new timeline for Facebook?

Do you find it confusing? How do generate “likes” now with the new page?

How are you using apps and which ones are you making visible?

Do you think it is a user friendly design?

Look forward to hearing your stories.

To Pin or Not to Pin? Deciding if Pinterest is Right for your Business.

As a social media marketer for Patterson Riegel Advertising in Fort Wayne, Indiana, it is in my job description that I stay on top of all that relates to the web based phenomenon.  Therefore, I have a tendency to eat, sleep and breathe my job.  Not because I have no life, but because social media is ever changing.  The buzz around the water cooler as of recent is the new obsession with Pinterest.

Within the past few months Pinterest has become “the cats meow.” No, really! Check out this picture on Pinterest of a really cute cat!  

Pinterest has become third from the top in regards to social media websites.  Surprisingly enough, the site has been around for several years, only to have gained millions of followers within just the past few months!  To be honest, I made the best grilled cheese sandwiches for my family last night with a recipe I found on Pinterest. Granted, I’ve been making grilled cheese since I was old enough to use the stove, but these were oven baked…and simply amazing.

Those that aren’t busy spending hours on end getting their fill of photos consisting of recipes, animals, and outfits that normal middle class people will never be able to afford, are wondering what all the fuss about?

What does Pinterest even mean?

Pinterest is a social media site based on the users bookmarking or “pinning” their favorite sites and images on to a virtual pinboard. This then allows thousands of other users that share your same interests or just those just intrigued by your photo to “re-pin” your pin.  Thus creating a  cycle of recipes, craft ideas and cars.  Confused?  Take a look at my pinboards for example: 

Okay, okay now that you’ve taken a quick trip into the depths of my interests (and fitness desires) it’s time to put my marketing skills into play.  How would putting my clients on Pinterest benefit their business? In a recent Hubspot ebook, “How to Use Pinterest for Business,” it provides four benefits to B2B marketers on using Pinterest:

  1. Traffic – if more website traffic can increase sales, you should consider using Pinterest.  Early research indicates that Pinterest is more effective at driving traffic than other social media sites, including Facebook.
  2. Links – Adding a “Pin It” button to your product pages or blog posts will allow your customers and readers to pin your products onto Pinterest, thus providing a link back to the source.
  3. Leads – If you have closed-loop marketing analytics on your website, you can measure how those links become leads.
  4. Social Sharing – Pinterest enables users to log in using their Twitter or Facebook profiles. This enables users to automatically post new pins to their Facebook and Twitter feeds for others to see. That makes for more eyes getting access to your pictures.

One of the challenges some B2B marketers might face is a lack of visual content. However, there are some visuals that you can use:

  • Existing visual content – executive headshots and bios, employees at work or at company events.
  • Visuals from your website and blog articles – product visuals, offices, images from your company blog.
  • Infographics and data charts – Infographics are becoming very popular. And even data charts made in Excel can be pinned.
  • Ebook and book covers – Take a picture of the covers of any ebooks or whitepapers that your company has authored, pin them up and include a link to request the actual publication.
  • Pictures of your customers – It’s a great way to show how your product or service helps the user.

 Click here to download a copy of “How to Use Pinterest For Business.”

Along with this e-book comes a perfect Pinterest visual:

Who knows, maybe Pinterest will die out faster than Google+? (Whoops, was that out loud?) But that doesn’t mean that it’s not appropriate or beneficial for your business, at least for the time being. Patterson Riegel has taken the plunge into Pinterest, and thus far we’re seeing a reasonable amount of traffic. 🙂 Consider how appropriate it is for your business, and whether or not you have the means and the resources to make this addiction worth while. Happy Pinning!