Introducing The Underdogs of the Social Media World

January 23, 2014

By: Ciaran Ryan & Zara McAlister , Business Wire Toronto Editors

The odds are forever stacked against them, and yet we can’t help but cheer them on. They may not be as big or as strong as their rivals, but they all hold the potential for greatness. They are underdogs. They’re the stuff of sport’s Cinderella stories, history’s conflicts, and Hollywood’s scripts. If you look hard enough you can always find the underdog. Even in the social media landscape, dozens of underused platforms are waiting for brands to try them on for size.

Facebook and Twitter may be the current top dogs, but other platforms boast their own unique strengths that could be beneficial for your brand. We’ve paired these platforms with notable underdogs of the past for entertainment value.

G+ & Rocky Balboa

rocky

Image source: IMDB

Google + is a lot like Rocky Balboa, the “Italian Stallion” from the Rocky movie series. On paper the diminutive boxer stood no chance against powerful fighters like the Soviet Union’s Ivan Drago. But the manly Rocky persevered when few believed in him, save his trainer Mickey and his love interest Adrian.

G+ has more supporters than Rocky ever did, with 540 million users. This social networking platform may not have Facebook’s numbers, but it’s quickly gaining ground. About 70% of its users are manly men, like Rocky. Typical users are in their mid-twenties to early thirties with technical interests such as engineering and modern technology. If this fits your brand’s target demographic, then appeal to these users by using G+ Hangouts to connect directly with them in a video chat environment. G+ is also useful for sharing learning-based content, hosting product demos and Q&A sessions. Sidneyeve Matrix, media professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario suggests making use of your brand’s evergreen content (not time sensitive) on G+ or posting information exclusive to your G+ circle.

If you need another reason to try G+, it’s no surprise this social network is the number one driver of Google SEO.

Pinterest & Danica Patrick

Few people thought Danica Patrick, a high school dropout, would succeed in the male-dominated sport of auto racing. Yet she defied the odds in 2008 to become the first woman to win an IndyCar Series race. Patrick’s underdog status and photogenic appeal have made her a household name.

Pinterest has also made a name for itself with 70 million users worldwide. The photo sharing community-based platform has a predominately female user base that works well for consumer brands. Pinterest ranks higher than Twitter for driving SEO on Google according to Search Metrics. What’s more, a recent study by GIGYA found Pinterest generates more e-commerce traffic than Facebook. And Pinterest’s industry leading 85% click through rate means more visitors following advertised links to get additional information about your brand. Ms. Matrix thinks Pinterest works best for brands that are rich in original content. “Think outside the box. You’re not always trying to sell. Sometimes you’re just trying to inspire,” she says. If your company fits the Pinterest bill, add a pin tool to your social sharing buttons, create targeted boards and consider running contests to get your customers more involved.

monet

Image source: Wikipedia

Vimeo & Monet

Two years ago Monet’s “Water Lilies” painting sold for over $43 million USD. Not bad for an artist whose work was initially panned by critics in France. Monet was an artistic underdog because most 19th century art critics didn’t know what to make of his Impressionist style. Eventually the Impressionist movement flourished and Monet became one of the most celebrated painters of his time.

Much like Monet is his early years, video sharing site Vimeo flies under the radar. Its 100 million unique monthly victors are a drop in the bucket compared to YouTube’s 1 billion. But for what Vimeo lacks in size, it makes up for in the quality of its content. Vimeo is a hotbed for indie filmmaking. You may not find tributes to Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” or music videos about what foxes are really trying to say to us, but you will likely stumble upon something like this emotional ad produced by Google.

Vimeo is well categorized and less cluttered then other video sharing platforms. It’s not necessarily the right network for launching viral videos, but if your brand is interested in showcasing high quality content to a creative audience, then this is the place to do it. Last year Vimeo started the Brand Creative Fund, which helps to connect brands with Vimeo registered filmmakers, to create branded content that the community will appreciate.

These social media platforms are only a sample of the ones out there that encourage creative content and “out of the box” thinking. Always keep your target market in mind when considering what platforms will work best for your brand. Can you think of any other social media underdogs? Share your thoughts with us.


Business Wire Presents: Everything PR and IR Pros Need to Know for 2014

January 2, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social & Emerging Platforms

Let’s face it; there is nothing better than working the last two weeks of the year.  Oh you may think it is better to be with friends and family or battling mall crowds or lines at the airport, but in reality, those of us working this week are enjoying shorter commuting times, phones not ringing and a few spare minutes to catch up on the latest industry news and trends.

As we in the Business Wire marketing team catch up on our reading, we compiled this list of posts to catch you up on the best of 2013 and prepare you for a productive and successful 2014.

Top Gaffes for 2013 (after all, you don’t want to end up on this list next year!)

2013 Industry Changes + Best Practices

Looking ahead: Top Tips and Predictions to Prepare You for 2014

And just for fun, a hat tip to Buzzfeed for this scarily accurate look at Isaac Asimov and his 1964 predictions for 2014.


New Social Tool Alert: Pinterest Launches Article Pins for Publishers

October 2, 2013

Ask any travel fan, bride-to-be, home cook or mom what social network they spend the most time on and you might be surprised to find it is not Twitter, Facebook or YouTube, but rather the image-based discovery site, Pinterest.

What is Pinterest?  Considered an aspirational social network, Pinterest is a website that allows users to upload and share a wide range of web-hosted images, sorted by categories or boards.  Users “pin” images they find on the web to “boards,” which the user has organized by theme.  For users and publishers alike, this is a highly utilized social network, with a heavy emphasis on content discovery and sharing.  What makes Pinterest so successful is that the pinned images include links back to hosting websites, allowing interested parties to click through to the original website for additional action.

This week, Pinterest revamped how they present pinned articles.  Previously, one could pin an article, and the image would appear but the pin would be missing necessary information to make the pin relevant and compelling for search and discovery.  But no longer!  This week, Pinterest released its new article pinning service.  Now, when a user pins an article, additional information such as the headline, author, story description and article link appears. This is highly beneficial for both the pinner and the reader.  For the reader, this provides clearer context of the pin, and for the pinner, it is a perfect way to bookmark a great read.

ImageImage courtesy of Pinterest

Pinning articles was a natural next step for Pinterest.  With more than 5M articles pinned every day, this new feature provides a better experience for those interested in pinning news as well as those discovering them.  And it is a boon for publishers as well. As YieldBot notes from its recent publisher referral traffic survey, Pinterest (85%) dramatically outweighs Facebook (8.3%), Twitter (0.5%), Tumblr (0.1%) and more for desktop inbound referral traffic.  Imagine if you could increase the inbound traffic from your social shares by 80% simply by using a new platform!

So how should public relations professionals implement Pinterest’s latest tool?  First, download the new pin tool and add it to your company website’s existing social sharing buttons. This will allow site visitors to pin your news releases, images, articles and content to their own boards, kicking off viral sharing.

Next?  Make sure your website images are tagged properly to help you be found within Pinterest’s own search engine.  This, too, is easy, it just requires a slight adjustment to your image tags.

From here, the rest is about context.  Pinterest is an image-based social network so of course, you must have image-based content.  Then ask yourself, who is this image relevant to?  Technologists?  Scientists?  Brides?  Cowboys? Search Pinterest and determine the level of interest by its members for your type of news or product and pay attention to the terms being used by your audience.  Every brand has brand fans, and every brand has a fan on Pinterest.  The trick for reaching and being found by these fans is in images you share, the name of your boards and the caption you create.  Consider creating highly niche boards to reach highly specific audiences, and more general boards when featuring industry specific industries.  Looking for other ideas on how to maximize your Pinterest presence?  We love this piece by Gini Dietrich, “16 ways to use Pinterest for PR.”

So where is Pinterest going next?  While it is still too soon to know, this new service will allow Pinterest to track article uploads and reads to build out its own internal user “interest graph” data set providing additional customization and monetization options down the road.

What do you think about this new Pinterest feature? Do you plan on implementing it on your sites? If you are using it now, what do you think? We would love to hear how you are using this tool to increase the overall awareness of, and click through traffic to, your company, products or news.


Seeing the Big Picture: How PR Pros Can Use Infographics to Tell a Story

April 17, 2012
by Shawnee Cohn, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/NY
MRT

Shawnee Cohn

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but what about a thousand hits? Defined as “graphic visual representations of information, data, or knowledge,” infographics are more likely to be shared via social media than your standard text article. Therefore, both journalists and PR professionals are taking notice of this visual phenomenon. (Need some examples? Take a look at this slideshow from Mashable).

Here at Business Wire, we encourage clients to create infographics and include them as Smart News release assets in their press releases. For example, Kaplan Test Prep recently utilized an infographic to summarize their annual survey results. Convio also offered a visual look at the data included within their press release about online giving, and Mashable later republished that same infographic.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So if you’re a PR professional embarking on the infographic challenge, what do you need to know beforehand? The Publicity Club of New York recently hosted a discussion about these popular visual representations of data. The panel included:

Here are some highlights offered by the experts:

Infographics help us cope with information overload: With the abundance of raw data that is available to consumers today, the average person’s “attention span is declining,” and infographics are an effective way to spark a reader’s interest, says Spurlock. Pachal agreed, stating that infographics are “more clickable” than other multimedia, such as video, which may turn a reader off since it usually requires sound, as well as investing more time to watch. Consequently, including the word ‘Infographic’ in your press release headline is a great tactic to increase your number of hits.

Not all infographics are created equal: If you’re compiling numbers into a graphic, yet those numbers do not relate, the purpose of the infographic is lost, notes Spurlock. Bergmann agreed, suggesting that PR pros evaluate the usefulness of an infographic on a “story-to-story basis.” At the Associated Press, staffers are very interested in interactive graphics as well as animations. However, Neesa pointed out that “not every story renders well into a visual,” and PR pros should be cautious of jumping to the assumption that every poll translates into a legitimate news story. The panelists agreed that pitching an infographic that blatantly promotes your brand is a major faux pas. If your visual looks the least bit like propaganda, any legitimate news organization will be reluctant to post it, as it could hurt their brand value, says Bergmann.

Be clear and concise; editors and readers will thank you: One of the main advantages of creating an infographic is that it allows you to “mold and present information in a way that’s clear to the reader,” commented Bergmann. If you cram too much information into your graphic, you’re defeating its original purpose. Pachal mentioned that your infographic should easily translate to Pinterest, which drives much of the online traffic today. Whether you’re pitching an idea for an infographic or an actual infographic itself, make sure you are presenting “tabulated, nugget-style information,” suggests Neesa. Focus on how you can break the product/idea up; if your information is already organized for the visual staff at a news outlet, this makes their job that must easier. Lastly, stick to the facts, and facts only. The editorial team will vet and research the data you present before they post or link to your infographic, so you must be absolutely sure that your methodology and sampling are valid beforehand.

For more information on the Publicity Club of NY, visit www.publicityclub.org. You can get the latest news with photos/multimedia by registering at www.businesswire.com.


Is The Next Big Thing a Lot of Smaller Things?

March 7, 2012
by Chris Metinko, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/San Francisco
Chris Metinko

Chris Metinko

Remember MySpace?

Remember when Facebook was going to be the next big thing?

In social media — just as in everything — there always is the “next thing,” and many are pointing to the exploding popularity of niche social networks as exactly that. Many such sites have seen tremendous growth in the past year, as they cater to specific interests, hobbies and likes.

According to the online data measurement firm comScore, the online virtual pinboard site Pinterest saw the third largest percentage jump in unique visitors from December 2011 to January 2012 — behind only the IRS’s and the Department of Education’s websites. Also according to comScore, it became the fastest user site ever to hit 10 million monthly visitors.

As Business Wire media reps attended programs held in San Francisco during February’s Social Media Week, some of the talk was not on the titans of social networking — Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter et al. — but rather these niche sites that seem to be taking up more and more of social networkers’ time. According to some officials in the burgeoning new category of social media, the migration of users is easily explained.

“There’s a lot of noise in the system right now,” said Oliver Hsiang with StumbleUpon, a search engine that creates virtual communities to rate and rank search results. “People want something to filter through the stuff you don’t care about.”

Niche sites allow users to focus on certain subjects and likes instead of Facebook’s all-encompassing style, which some can find hard to navigate. Sites such as Reddit, a social news site where users post, rate and rank news stories, have gained increased notoriety and users. Jena Donlin, business development manager with Reddit, said the site even allows users into different communities and subcategories to more narrowly focus on interests.

Such niche sites also can potentially be gold for journalists, because they reach a specific, targeted audience. For instance, if a reporter is writing about weight-loss and wants to talk to someone trying to lose weight, going to the uber-popular social network DailyBurn seems logical. If someone is writing about the public’s take on a new, hot restaurant, going to food-obsessed network Foodspotting should do the trick. While these sites may not reach the audience numbers Facebook does, a journalist knows the site’s members are extremely interested in their specific topic or beat, and the site can let writers know what people are talking about on a more regional or national level — not limiting reporters by geography.

Despite the current popularity some of these sites, they still face obstacles in their battle for users’ time. One, obviously, is they are exactly what they are suppose to be — niche sites — meaning they are not going to interest everyone.

Donlin said increased popularity also can bring issues, as it can become increasingly difficult to “keep up with the conversation” on sites. Hsiang added niche sites also face the same problem nearly every website eventually confronts — coming up with fresh and new content to keep users coming back and spending time on the site instead of doing other things like watching television, reading or using other social media.

“You compete for discretionary time with everything,” Hsiang said.


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