Pivot Communication, a Boulder-based marketing and public relations firm, announces that Melissa Brooks has joined the company as an account executive. She previously worked as an editorial intern at Pivot, and also gained experience in copywriting, editing and creative content planning at an agency in Chicago. She is the co-founder and former editor in chief of online entertainment magazine Cultural Transmogrifier, and graduated summa cum laude from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisc. Brooks will be working on Pivot accounts in multiple industries, including criminal justice, senior healthcare, transportation and more.
For more information about Pivot, call 303-499-9291.
Pivot Communication, a public relations, design and marketing firm, has been selected by Piedmont Health SeniorCare, a Burlington, N.C.-based healthcare system, to develop a marketing campaign for its elder care program.
Piedmont’s elder care program, a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), opened in 2008. Pivot will assist with marketing efforts to attract seniors to the program.
LinkedIn has added a lot of new features in the last couple years, positioning itself as the professional social network and working to provide functionality similar to Facebook. If you haven’t claimed or updated your business’ LinkedIn page in a while, it might be time to check out a few things you can do to liven up your presence on the fast-growing network of over 200 million members.
The so-called experts recommend that you update your website approximately every two to three years. I know what you’re thinking – all of these “experts” work for web design firms, don’t they? Who needs to update so often? Heck, who needs to update their website at all?
Here are 10 excuses you might be using to not to update your website – and 10 reasons why those excuses are invalid:
If you operate a website that is at all integral to your business, you are probably taking the time to review reports from programs like Google Analytics to check up on the performance of your site. But are you looking at the right things? Do you even know what you’re looking at? Google Analytics metrics are more than just visits and page views, but you don’t need to be a master of all things web to interpret the six metrics you should be keeping an eye on.
Facebook has made yet another change to its EdgeRank algorithm that determines how a user’s Facebook News Feed is sorted. For most users, this only subtly changed whose cat Instagrams and relationship statuses they see when they log in to Facebook. For businesses and brands that rely on Facebook to reach users and potential users, the change is highly unwelcome and seen as another grab for advertising dollars.
What is the change?
The EdgeRank algorithm is a closely guarded secret similar to the PageRank algorithm Google uses to bring certain web pages to the fore of its search results. Every time either company makes a tweak to either algorithm that affects potential ranking or potential “reach” of Facebook posts is met with ire from brands and businesses that rely upon being consistently on-screen in front of potential customers’ eyes.
Facebook’s News Feed Product Manager Will Cathcart explained to reporters this month that the early October changes were meant to increase the relevance of posts in users’ News Feeds, both from their Friends and pages they’ve “Liked.” Four factors determine a post’s hierarchy in the Feed, or whether it shows up at all:
- Previous interactions. Did you previously Like or interact with the author’s posts before?
- Crowd-sourcing. How is everyone else on Facebook reacting to the post?
- Habit. Do you always Like videos and ignore photos? You’ll see more videos than photos in your Facebook News Feed.
- Complaints. The new algorithm punishes posts from authors who get complaints or have other users block their posts.
Why has it made businesses and users so angry?
The change to EdgeRank coincided with the rollout of Facebook’s promoted posts, where advertisers can pay to push a particular post out to more Facebook users and increase reach. The move is widely viewed as taking away companies’ potential “reach” on Facebook while simultaneously offering to sell it back via promoted posts.
While Facebook insists that the reach of posts (how many people see each one) has not significantly changed, several social media companies have shown with analytics that reach has declined by possibly as much as 50 percent.
What does this mean for my business and my clients?
The changes mostly affect brands with large numbers of followers (people who’ve Liked the page) on Facebook. For most brands with fewer than 10,000 fans, the change in percentage of fans seeing posts is negligible. Larger brands, however, have reported seeing reach numbers of fewer than 6 percent of their fan base. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban angrily tweeted a screenshot of Facebook’s offer to allow him to reach a higher percentage of his fans by paying handsomely to promote his posts. He threatened to move to Tumblr or another platform.
While it’s true that the majority of brand pages will be mostly unaffected by this initial change, it signals a shift in Facebook’s relationship with advertising and its users. No longer do the fans earned through “Like” campaigns belong to the brand page to be leveraged as needed. Facebook has begun requiring that brands earn access to their fans through consistent posting of complaint-free content and by paying Facebook. Companies with smaller audiences on Facebook might soon be forced to confront the paradigm shift and come up with new ways to consistently engage their Facebook fans to avoid losing reach through inactivity or irrelevance.
Promoted posts are not a new idea in social media – Twitter has been offering promoted tweets for some time now – but it does represent a new avenue for Facebook to monetize its vast user base and potentially change its business model enough to stay viable. As it stands, there is no sign that Facebook will be backing down from its promoted posts as a future revenue stream.
Whether the change in EdgeRank purposefully coincided with the promoted post rollout or whether it was, as Facebook claims, only a tweak to clean up users’ News Feeds, the message is the same – Facebook users belong to Facebook, and brands who wish to leverage them will eventually have to pay.
Full-service PR firm Pivot Communication created a new website for local fine-dining establishment the Boulder Cork. The new web design showcases the restaurant’s dynamic and delicious menu options. It also enables visitors to learn about specials and events, and features the Cork’s wide selection of banquet menus and dining spaces for private parties.
The Boulder Cork is owned and operated by Alan Teran of Boulder, and its chefs and management staff together have over 100 years of restaurant industry experience. The Boulder Cork experience focuses on excellent service, and tasty and creative preparations of the absolute highest-quality ingredients. Head Chef Jim Smailer was a local pioneer in using humanely raised and local products.
Boulder PR firm Pivot Communication worked with corrections giant BI Incorporated on its California AB 109 campaign, aiding BI’s response to one of the most significant shifts in the criminal justice system in decades. The state of California announced that in order to cut prison inmate rolls, it would transfer responsibility for tens of thousands of inmates to counties. Pivot worked with BI to quickly develop a strategy for reaching counties in need of incarceration alternatives, developing a number of print materials, videos and a website. To view more of Pivot’s work on the AB 109 campaign, visit the AB 109 case study. To learn more about BI’s prison realignment services in California and to see Pivot’s web work, visit www.AB109.com.
Does it have marketing value? For whom?
As with most things in marketing and PR, the answer is – yes and no. It depends on what businesses you’re talking about, and how marketers and PR pros utilize it.
Pinterest’s appeal and value is in the visual. The most popular “pins” are visual items that people have been sharing for ages, such as wedding dresses, interior design inspiration, fashion and travel destination photos – think dog-earing a glossy magazine or snapping a cell phone photo of a dress and sending it to your friends. Early adopters of Pinterest are companies in retail or who deal in visual commodities, such as craft sales site Etsy, shoe manufacturer Toms and celebrity photos from People magazine.
Some marketers believe Pinterest has potential for B2B marketing, but this seems to only provide real value for companies with an already-robust media presence. Since Pinterest is an aggregator of visuals, it helps if companies have an active blog with visual elements such as infographics, or if the company deals in creative visuals that can be used on boards. And of course, B2B marketing is only as useful as there are companies you want to notice you and interact with on Pinterest. For other companies, using Pinterest as a sort of evolving gallery and an extension of existing web presence could be useful if they have the content to keep the Pinterest page interesting.
It’s hard to “pin down” the value of Pinterest as a spreader of content. Some retail sites indicate Pinterest has driven significant traffic, but “pins” are spread very thin across the platform – the sites that are sources of the most pins, like Etsy, only claim about 3 percent of total pins. Things that “go viral” on Pinterest likely have less staying power and overall views than viral memes on Facebook or Youtube, for instance, due to the decentralized nature of Pinterest with pins spread across many boards.
The fine-print writing on the wall – Pinterest as content appropriator
Pinterest might be a great way to show off content and spread it to a targeted audience, but the legal niceties might not be so nice for individual users and companies.
The user agreement gives hints that Pinterest might not be just a warm and fuzzy content aggregator. The agreement gives permission for Pinterest to distribute any uploaded content, which is a huge no-no for creatives dealing with original work. Members give permission for Pinterest to “use, copy, adapt…and otherwise exploit” any member-uploaded content, while at the same time affirming that the member has sole worldwide rights to the content. The latter is a large burden for casual users who likely find most of their content in the tricky ownership world of the Internet, and obtaining permissions for every upload could hamper the spontaneous nature of pins in the first place.
Pinterest also recently introduced a “no-pin” HTML tag, allowing sites to protect content against pinning, which also seems against the spirit of Pinterest. The move, which protects Pinterest against copyright concerns, is reminiscent of Youtube’s agreeing to take down copyrighted videos and work with the owners of the content on their terms. It might seem like a small thing, but it shows that Pinterest is not immune to legal growing pains, which might not ultimately benefit the end-user.
So what’s next for Pinterest? Should we encouraging clients to use it?
Pinterest recently announced that it will soon be releasing an API, meaning that tech companies could start getting VC funding to create useful apps. This could help the business and retail side of Pinterest, aiding companies in capturing Pinterest traffic in useful ways to increase sales.
The site continues to grow at an astounding rate, but for now it remains a platform mostly for individual, casual users. As Pinterest’s wave continues to rise, however, early-adopter companies and their PR and marketing teams will continue to think of ways to use and harness the growing platform’s energy. It remains to be seen if Pinterest is simply another arrow in a company’s social media quiver or if it has real bottom-line value.
For a company trying to take the long view of social media platforms, Pinterest might be too new and narrow in marketing potential for clients to adopt it now. At the rate its growing, and with signs that it wants to add value for businesses through apps, there might soon be a way to determine that pesky ROI. For now, adoption of Pinterest will likely stay within retail, creative and visual-based companies, or companies with a lot of resources to devote to social media marketing. Because let’s face it – as useful as Pinterest might prove to be, social media fatigue is setting in for individuals and companies alike.
If you’ve been paying even cursory attention to tech news lately, you’ve heard of it. The platform called Pinterest exploded onto the social media scene last year, and has gained a following of 12 million+ users. It was the fastest site to reach 10 million users in the history of social media statistics, beating out giants Facebook and Twitter to that No. 1 spot in the social media annals.
So what is it? What is the deal with Pinterest?
At its most basic, Pinterest is an aggregator of visual Internet content. The platform allows users to “pin” interesting content and organize it in “boards.” Most users choose to categorize their boards by topic – “Dream House inspiration,” “Cars I’d love to own” or “Tech gear I want to buy” – and pin content to those boards, sharing it with friends who follow them on Pinterest or Facebook. The inclusion of a Pinterest bookmarklet lets users pin something instantly as they browse the Internet, even if they are not on Pinterest’s site. “Repins” act like retweets on Twitter – users pinning someone else’s content to a wider audience.
Great. Another social media site.
As with any new social media element, it’s important to scrutinize Pinterest – is it useful? Does it add anything to an already crowded social media landscape? What makes it different than the last “latest thing”?
The rise of Tumblr comes to mind as a semi-cautionary tale about the next great thing in social media. Tumblr burst on the scene in a similar fashion in 2009, leaving similar platforms in its wake and causing frenzy and genuflection from tech and media pundits. While Tumblr still enjoys millions of users and is a staple of the social media landscape, it has not proven as agile as Facebook or Twitter in becoming an everyday tool for social media users.
Pinterest’s ease of use echoes the praise of Tumblr’s ease of use, but Pinterest has a few things that might give it more staying power than other platforms. Pinterest is not a blog or even a microblog – it is an aggregator. Anyone can be a prolific pinner. Pinning does not require creation of content, just finding and repurposing (or repinning) it. Discovery of content doesn’t require research or crafting a blog post – it merely requires being on the Internet and browsing for things that you’re already interested in. Pinterest also streamlined its signup process by letting users sign up through Facebook. This provides a ready-made potential follower list and doesn’t make the user feel like they’re signing up for yet another service.
In my next post I’ll talk about Pinterest for business use.