Pinning for Perfection

When you were little, did you ever have one of those big cork bulletin boards? The one where you would use push pins to tack up your favorite images from magazines, mementos, or just anything else you wanted to remember? If you did, you’re basically already a Pinterest expert. 

Pinning the truly important things in life: pizza recipes!

Pinning the truly important things in life: pizza recipes!

If you don’t know what Pinterest is, keep that visual of corkboards and pushpins in mind because it’s not far off. Pinterest is a social media platform where you can “pin” anything that catches your attention on the internet (or your Pinterest homepage) onto a collection of boards. You can create a pin from websites you come across, upload your own photos, or you can search directly on Pinterest and save pins from other users. That’s what makes this social: follow other users and their boards, and repin or like their pins, comment on their pins, etc. 

So, why are we talking about Pinterest this week? While it may not have as many users as Facebook, don’t underestimate the power of the pins! There are 150 million users on the platform scrolling for that perfect post to spark an idea or inspire them, and if your target audience involves women, this is the place to be. 47% of US women use Pinterest. If you want to reach urbanites, you got it: 64% of Pinners live in cities or suburbs

A pin can be anything from that gluten-free pizza recipe you’ve been meaning to make to a photo of your dream patio furniture. Your boards can be public or private and categorized however you want. 

Think of Pinterest as a tool to create your ideal self -- it’s aspirational, and because of that a business or a non-profit has a big opportunity to help their users more fully realize those aspirations. In fact, the two main reasons people visit Pinterest are for ideas and shopping; 87% of pinners have purchased something they’ve seen. You can’t beat that!

The key to Pinterest is that it’s not just about self-promotion. 

Brands that are killing it at their Pinterest game have one thing in common: they really understand the lifestyle their customers are trying to create through their brand.

  • Take a look at Etsy. Etsy goes beyond curating its favorite Etsy Finds (although they do that well too). This craft-heavy retail platform caters to its artsy audience with boards on DIY Projects, Entertaining, and Living Room Style. While pinners are looking through Etsy’s boards for curated inspiration, it just so happens that most of the links redirect back to Etsy.
  • As you can imagine, Pinterest is a hit with fashionistas. Pinners use the platform to find makeup, hair, and clothing trends to try out. For example, Nordstorm uses its Pinterest to guide the style conversation with Back to School and Fall Fashion boards. They even have a board curating fashions, showcasing how we can stay on trend using Pantone’s Colors of the Year.
  • Chobani thought outside the confines of their yogurt container and has an entire board proclaiming Love This Life (which just so happens to be their motto), full of fun quotes and images.

Should you be on Pinterest?

Here are some questions to consider as you start pinning away. 

  • Do you have the time? Be honest with yourself. While Pinterest is an amazing platform to explore for brands, it is also smaller than Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Think about your overall social media strategy and if you can devote some of your energy to building boards and engaging with the community. Create an account if you don’t have one already, and try searching and pinning for 15 minutes a day. You might hate it, or you might find yourself planning your next dinner party!
  • Are your users there? We talk a lot about knowing your audience. Really read those demographics above. Are your customers already on Pinterest? Do some research and try to find several users who fit into your customer profile. If you’re selling artisanal leather watch bands for urban cyclists (it’s a thing), Pinterest could really work for you. If you’re selling drinkable, organic yogurt, it might work, but you have to think about the lifestyle you’re pushing as a whole -- not just the drinkable yogurt.
  • Do you really know your brand? If your brand was a person, what would she like? Would she be into planning her next vacation with travel boards, or would she save great examples of non-profit graphic design? Explore this concept and make some boards to get the creative juices flowing, and follow other users who are pinning on-brand content that would be great for you, too. Channel your brand.

If you’re retail, there is SO much potential. Remember that 72% of millennials use the visual pinboard to connect with the brands they love, and 71% of millennials turn to the platform for recommendations on what to buy. Need we say more?

Next week, we’ll go over some Pinterest best practices for companies and businesses, so you can make sure you’re coming correct! 

Why is everyone the same?

You probably know that most stock images are homogeneous, and in more ways than one. Not only are they edited in that bright, high-saturation stock image style, but the people in them are most often white, attractive, young, and thin. There are usually no minorities, ages, or different body types to be seen.

Looking for an image on stock site that actually represents our diverse world can feel like playing a game of “Where’s Waldo?”.

Thankfully, there are resources that recognize not everyone is a fit, young, and white woman eating a hilarious salad, or a white man with a chiseled jaw gazing triumphantly from a mountain. These stock image sites are focused on helping you find better, more diverse stock images: 

  • Stocksy: Stocksy curates its images to include diversity while highlighting fun categories like such as “Pantone Color of the Year 2017: Greenery” and “Love Wins."  When you search for an image, you can refine your search parameters not only by format and the distance of the subject in the image, but by gender, ethnicity, age, and locations (different countries). Prices vary depending on the size of the image you want to license.
  • Picnoi: Picnoi focuses on lifestyle and editorial photography, showing diverse ages, genders, and ethnicities. While the interface isn’t quite as intuitive to search, you can scroll through pages of images to select the best one for you. The photographer’s name is prominently displayed so you can easily search more of their images if you like their style. Images are free, or you can download the entire collection for $19.99. (So awesome.) 
  • CreateHER Stock: CreateHER is a grassroots movement to curate authentic stock photography featuring Black women. Their main “Stockpile Gallery” has hundreds of images based on need and requests to fill users needs for images of Black women in lifestyle shoots, blogging, and in creative businesses. CreateHER has a both a free gallery and a premium option for $7 per month.  
  • The “No Apologies” Collection: Getty Images partnered with Refinery29 to launch the “No Apologies” collection to diversify how women’s bodies are portrayed in stock images. The images highlights fashion, unique beauty, and women’s health. While the collection only focuses on millennial women, it is worth checking out as they work to make beauty standards in stock images more inclusive. Prices vary based on usage and image specifications.

As you peruse these sites, remember to keep your ideal customer in mind, since your audience wants to see themselves and their own interests in the stock images you choose. We know it can be a little more challenging, but isn't it worth helping your customer feel recognized and validated? Don't you want to feel that way, too? 

And when it comes to making your final decision on an image, review our tips in how to select the perfect one for your brand and your aesthetic.

If you have a preferred place to get diverse stock images, reply and let us know so we can feature them on our blog!

Tweeting into an Abyss

Welcome back to week two of our journey into Twitter Analytics! (If you missed last week, catch up here.) Whether you’re tweeting for an advocacy organization or to sell unicorn t-shirts, it can be challenging to stay inspired and engaged when posts are sent into a massive abyss with sometimes no response. 

Twitter Analytics can help save the day.

Let’s get back into your Analytics by visiting this little URL right here: analytics.twitter.com and logging into your account. 

Our first stop today is the “Tweets” category at the top. If you’re into graphs and percentages, you’re in for a tweet treat (try saying that five times fast)! This is where you start to learn how specific tweets have fared with your audience. There's also an overview on specific stats over varying time periods, which you can change in the upper right corner.

We suggest tracking your stats week by week (this means writing them down!) so you can know how things change over time. Other than impressions (which you learned all about last week), this view also shows you:

  • Engagement rate: Let’s do some math. The engagement rate is the number of times users engaged with your tweet, divided by the tweet’s total impressions (how many eyeballs have seen it). Engagement means anytime a user interacted with your tweet in some way such as retweeting it, clicking on a link, liking it, clicking on the hashtag, replying to it, clicking on the photo, etc. 
  • Link clicks: Did your tweet have a hyperlink? This measures how many times someone clicked on a link in your tweets. 
  • Retweets: Everybody loves retweets. Retweets are when someone “reposts” your tweet by using the retweet button, potentially sharing it to all of their followers. If they're a trusted voice with a large audience, this can mean great things for your engagement numbers.
  • Likes: Likes are simple, but a good way to tell that people are at least enjoying your tweets!
  • Replies: Replies are when someone responds directly to your tweet. People often use this if they have a strong response to something you post or just want to tell you to keep up the good work; don't forget to reply back, if appropriate.

You can also toggle between “Tweets," “Top Tweets," “Tweets and Replies," and “Promoted." This is where you can start cutting down on that "tweeting into an abyss" feeling. Decide which metrics matter to you the most (we're guessing engagement rate is near the top!) and track which tweets performed the best in order to double down on what's working. 

Now click on the "Audiences” category at the top. Not only can you see your overall audience size, but you can get an idea of your audience’s gender, income, location (not exact; Twitter isn’t quite that creepy yet), interests, age range, and languages.

As a company, you most likely have your idea of your perfect customer in your head. Click through these categories to learn whether you’re reaching that 18-25 year old designer living in the city who's interested in technology and politics. There are so many different ways to read these demographics, but here are some interesting things to consider:

  • What languages does your audience speak? If you’re a global organization, consider incorporating another language into your tweets and track if you're reaching users who speak it.
  • What is your audience interested in? Twitter divides interests into general categories so you can see if your audience likes more entrepreneurship news or current events. 
  • What income bracket does your audience fall in? If you’re a higher end boutique, are you actually reaching users who would be able to afford your products?

Our final category for the day is “Events." You can use this category to pick some events your company might want to tweet about and view their typical engagement stats. Events shows you holidays, sports, movie releases, and even trends like #MotivationMonday. Pull key information for your Editorial Calendar so you remember to draft some posts. Tweeting about an event (as long as its applicable) can be a great way to tap into a new audience.

Under the "More" category at the top, you'll see some advanced options like Video Activity and Conversion Tracking. We'll get into this in a future Slice; for now, go forth and tweet, analyze, and repeat!

Tweak Your Tweets

You write something perfectly insightful yet witty, diligently research the best hashtags, tag that perfect influencer for your business, hit “Tweet,” and then pat yourself on the back for managing to do it all in 140 characters. But what happens next?

Welcome to the world of Twitter analytics. Through Twitter analytics you can learn everything from how well a specific tweet performs to your audience’s age and income ranges. Even if your eyes usually gloss over when it comes to numbers, analytics are important. You’ll be able to learn what does and doesn’t work for your specific audience so you can tweak your posts in the future and slowly build your community.

When you open Twitter.com and log in, click on the profile and settings button in the upper righthand corner. Select “Analytics” and get ready to dive in!

The first stop on our analytics journey is your Account Home. If you’ve never used Analytics before or only have a few minutes to spare, your dashboard gives you a quick look at your number of tweets, tweet impressions, profile visits, mentions, and followers over the past 28 days. It also shows how much these numbers have changed compared to the last 28 day period. Keep these percentages in mind, so you can track them increasing or learn why they may be decreasing.

  • Tweets: The number of times you’ve posted in the last month. 
  • Tweet impressions: The number of people who saw your tweets. Due to factors such as timing, the number of accounts your followers follow, Twitter’s algorithm, etc. not every tweet gets seen by every follower. Boost your impressions by getting retweeted by influential followers and using hashtags.
  • Profile visits: This means exactly what it sounds like: how many times people view your profile. This is more important than you may think! Ideally real users are clicking to check out your business and hopefully click on your website. Track these visits month over month and make sure that number stays up.
  • Mentions: How many times people have tagged you (using “@” and your Twitter handle) in their tweets. The more you’re tagged, the more likely that you’ll get engagement with new users.
  • Followers: This is how many people have realized how great your tweets are and have decided to follow you!

As you scroll down, you’ll see your numbers broken out by month. It’s like your highlight reel; while they don’t tell the whole story (we’ll get to that!), they show:

  • Top tweet: This tweet gets a gold star. It’s what received the most impressions and engagement (people RTing, liking, etc.). Simultaneously congratulate yourself and learn from these tweets; they’re a great indicator of what your audience is responding to!
  • Top media tweet: This tweet is your best performing tweet that included media (image, gif, or video). You’ll be able to tell if that one tweet about bringing your cat to work really was your audience’s favorite. 
  • Top mention: Who has been talking about you this month? Hopefully someone cool. 
  • Top follower: Top followers are usually awesome at Twitter. This is your “Follower of the Month” who has the biggest following. If they’re important to you, keep tagging and making that connection.

Start to get into the habit of checking these metrics regularly; make it a habit to view your analytics at least every two weeks to see how you’re measuring up. And bonus points to you if you write this numbers down so you can keep track over time. Most of the free analytics you’ll find only go back to the last 90 days, so if you want to see how well you do every six months or every year, keep a record!

If you missed it the first time, read this refresher on how to maximize your tweets and we’ll catch you here next week to take a deeper dive into Twitter Analytics! 

Timing is Everything

Are there one or two perfect times to post on your social media channels? A sweet spot, where most of your followers will see your post and deliver a cascade of "likes" and clicks? 

It's a question as old as time (or, you know, as old as 2004, when Facebook first started). This week, we'll show you how to figure out when your fans and followers are online, and how to find out what you should post and when. 

First, learn when your audience is online.

Your analytics dashboards are a good place to start.

  • Facebook: When you’re on your business page, see the Insights tab at the top? Click on that and then click on Posts. Here, your audience is broken down into days and time they’re online. While there may be some obvious intel (yeah, posting at 4 AM is usually not the best call for a professional East Coast audience), you can also see some peaks, denoting hours when your fans are more likely to be scrolling through their feeds.
  • Instagram: Open your app and click the bar chart at the top, and when you scroll down you'll find Followers, with another handy hourly breakdown.
  • Twitter: This information isn't included on your regular Twitter analytics dashboard, but fear not. You can use Tweriod, a free tool, to get this info. Click here, connect your Twitter account, and you'll get a DM when their analysis is ready.

Think about a typical day of your target audience. If they’re 9-to-5ers, they probably open their social media apps right after that alarm goes off, while they're trapped in their morning commute (unless they're driving, in which case we hope that phone is tucked away), over their sad desk lunch, during that afternoon energy slump, and right before bed. And on weekends, it might be Sunday night, when they’re procrastinating even thinking about the workweek. Whether you're a food delivery company targeting late night snackers, or a boutique targeting those weekend shoppers, consider your audience and what they're up to at key hours of the day.

Next, orient yourself to scheduling tools.

  • On Facebook, you can schedule posts as you draft them, by hitting the down arrow next to Publish and selecting schedule for your desired time. 
  • Instagram is, unfortunately, still putting the "Insta" in Instagram. You can't schedule posts yet, but you can plan ahead.
  • On Twitter, we suggest using a tool like Tweetdeck to schedule posts.

Many scheduling tools conform to the time zone you’re in, which might not necessarily be the time zone your audience is in, so adjust accordingly.

Use those scheduling skills!

Check out this infographic on some of the best and worst times to post. Think of this data as a general guideline, but it can help get you started if you don’t quite have a good sense of your audience yet. You can use their suggested times to start posting, and keep an eye on the data to modify based on your audience’s engagement. Everyone is unique!

Finally, here are some last-minute timing tips.

  • You know what makes scheduling out and planning the timing of your posts a lot easier? An editorial calendar! Learn more about them and snag our sweet template here
  • Avoid posting at the same times and days every single week. You’d be surprised to learn how often companies just post at 9 a.m., 12:30 p.m. 3 p.m and 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and call it a day. Switch up your timing to reach different segments of your audience.
  • Don’t be afraid of weekend posts. Some companies have higher engagement on the weekends because that’s when their audience is free and more engaged on social. You can always schedule these weekend posts in advance so you can still unplug.
  • Think about timezones. Is your audience all on the East Coast, or are they in Europe? Plan your posts to span 24 hours instead of the 12 hours you might be awake. With the right posting schedule, soon your company might be taking over the world! (Or, at least, their Newsfeeds!)