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As a marketer who has been put in charge of several client’s Pinterest accounts I have dove head first into the pinning world. Glamour, recipes, and crafts galore! In fact, I am a more stylish and handy chef than I ever was before the social media site existed.

However, not only have I become a craftier individual since endeavoring in the Pinterest world, I have also become a better person. Yes, this social media platform filled with visual stimulation and motivation has empowered me to live a better life. Curious on how my life has changed since I have begun pinning? Continue reading to check out the 4 lessons I have learned from this social media giant.

1. Never underestimate the power of planning ahead.

In life, spontaneity can be a good thing. However, there are also times when planning is necessary. For example, a rehearsed speech would have been a great idea when I was the maid of honor in a wedding. Not only could everyone in the room hear me swallow because it was so quiet (my jokes did NOT incite laughter) but my stage fright pit stains showed in every picture taken that night.

This same philosophy can be applied to Pinterest. When creating boards, be strategic. Anticipate what type of information your customers would enjoy and think before you pin. I promise that the results of a well thought out board with a solid theme will be more successful than one you just decided on a whim would be a good idea.

2. Always credit your sources.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “There is much difference between imitating a man and counterfeiting him.”

See what I just did there? Give credit, people… nobody likes a thief.

3. Connect with your community.

One of the best ways to gain more followers on Pinterest is by connecting with your fellow pinners. Not only will your audience increase but so will your repins. If you ask me, word of mouth marketing is the best approach and will only increase your like-ability. And isn’t this something we would all like in our personal life… to be liked?

4. Quit talking about yourself. 

We all have that dreaded friend who only talks about themselves. In fact, anytime you see their name on your cell phone caller ID you can’t help but roll your eyes. This involuntary reaction is a result of an annoying predictability that you friend presents. Don’t be THAT friend on Pinterest. Pin others away and I promise people will be engaged. In fact, some of my most interesting friends are those who tell great stories about OTHER people.

Have you gained any life lessons through Pinterest or other social media sites? We’d love to hear about them!

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As you know, Facebook announced last week the rollout of Timeline for Brands. We have scoured the internet and really feel that Mashable has some of the best tips and know-how, so we wanted to share them with you. We’d love to know what you think about this new change for Facebook.

From Mashable

1. Updated Look and Feel


What’s new: The format of Timeline for brands is quite similar to Timeline for personal profiles. It employs a cover photo at the top of the Page, and the Page is separated into two main columns by a dividing line, which represents the passage of time. This format provides brands with new options for self-expression: They can outline their corporate history with milestones (such as product launches, store openings, etc.) to construct a narrative for their audience.

Recommendation: Milestones present an important and dramatic opportunity to educate the public, humanize the brand and remove a perception of corporate anonymity. Our analyses of Page engagement have continually shown that brands posting content that depicts behind-the-scenes activities, exclusive updates or promotions encourages user interactions and promotes higher engagement rates. Using interesting milestones to craft the story of the brand over time (and updating the Timeline with new milestones as they happen) can help to stimulate conversations around major achievements.


2. Reduced Tab Visibility


What’s new: The new Timeline format does not have the left-side panel of links, which could include hundreds of different tabs. While applications still exist, they’ll display differently, in rectangular panels underneath the cover photo. The width of the Timeline and the space allocated for native apps like Photos means that only three tab panels are viewable at any given time. To see more, users must expand the tab panel by clicking a drop-down box.

Recommendation: For marketers, this major change means that the three above-fold tab apps need to be considered carefully — this will be one of the first things users see when interacting with your brand on Facebook. Brands will want to switch up which tabs are visible “above the fold,” according to current company objectives or project popularity. A good Page analytics tool will be useful for determining which tab to promote on a day-to-day basis.


3. No Default Landing Page


What’s new: With the new Timeline Page format, you will no longer be able to set a default landing Page, a favored feature for many savvy brands. The option was one of the primary ways to control the first (branded) impression a user encountered. Since there are no more tab Pages, there is no way to set one as a default. This will drastically change user impressions when they first visit a brand’s Timeline Page.

Recommendation: You will need to apply new and careful attention to all the top messages in the Timeline, as they will be the first objects seen by visiting users. Likewise, Facebook ads for brands will become ever important, as ads will be one of the major ways brands on Facebook can control a user’s experience. Setting up an advertising campaign for a Facebook promotion or new application will be the only way to guide new and clicking users directly to that application (as landing on this Page cannot be achieved by default).


4. New Way to Feature Content


What’s new: One major new feature that marketers will love is the ability to “pin” certain posts to the top of the Timeline. Similar to marking a blog post “sticky,” so that it remains at the top of a blog for a specified period of time, pinning a post to the top of Timeline allows it to precede any other content. A pinned post is distinguished by a small, orange flag. Brands can pin only one item at a time, and the pinned item then exists in two locations — as the top item on the Timeline itself, as well as within its chronological place. Once unpinned (which happens automatically when a new item gets pinned, or the item has been pinned for more than seven days), the post remains in the chronology of Timeline posts, but there is no visual history that it was pinned in the past.

Recommendation: Since you can no longer create a default landing Page, pinning items to the top of the Timeline will become every marketer’s go-to strategy for highlighting new and interesting content. We will begin to see savvy brands design posts specifically to be pinned, whether images, a well-designed call-to-action, a statement about brand value, or a message calling for the user to click one of the tab panels under the cover photo.


5. Current Tab Content and Applications Become Outdated


What’s new: The new Timeline layout displaces Facebook’s existing Page tab configuration (including a tab’s 520-pixel width), and replaces it with a new 810-pixel layout. As a result, existing Page tab content will look centered in the middle of the 810-pixel layout without any adjustments. All applications that remain on a brand’s Page will need new application icons (the new dimensions are 111×74).

Recommendation: The most pressing updates for brands will be to update the images and tab functionality of the above-fold two apps. As these are the first tabs users will see, they will likely be the first to be interacted with, or entirely ignored if not optimized for the new experience.


6. Private Messages Between Brands and Users


What’s new: Finally, brands will be able to send and receive private messages with users. This allows for much deeper consumer interaction, and will also enable Page managers to take extended customer inquiries off the Timeline and into a private message.

Recommendation: Be mindful of noise in the Timeline. Since the real estate allocated to each post depends on how engaging it is or how much interaction it has received, it can be easy to clutter your Timeline with customer inquiries. When these inquiries can be better serviced in a more one-on-one manner, reach out to the consumer with a private message and resolve her question. It’s a good opportunity to yield both a happy user and a clean Timeline.

Timeline for brands will certainly shake things up for social media marketers who seek to make an impact on Facebook. One thing is for sure though: The way content is shared and viewed within a Timeline Page is incredibly important. Brands that constantly create engaging updates and share important milestones will stay at the forefront of users’ attention. Create and rotate new apps for engagement, pin relevant and timely content, and update the feed with user-friendly dialogues to stay relevant in this new space.

Will you or your company do anything differently, right off the bat? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

3. Timeline leveraging history

Dating back to 1878, Manchester United can use Timeline to honor its rich history. This photo shows the club’s league championship from 1908.

Here are some great examples:

1. Cover photo potential

Here, Coca Cola uses snazzy design to make a strong visual impression on visitors.


2. Cover photos for teams

Manchester United uses its cover photo to reflect the inherent passion, camaraderie and joy of sports.


3. Timeline leveraging history

Dating back to 1878, Manchester United can use Timeline to honor its rich history. This photo shows the club’s league championship from 1908.


4. Timeline for callouts

Here, Manchester United leverages Timeline’s strong visual elements by starring a specific current post, making it appear twice as wide.


5. Coldplay cover photo

Coldplay’s Timeline cover photo hints at the wealth of potential the new format holds for bands and other performers.


6. Ben & Jerry’s cover photo

Ben & Jerry’s cover photo further illustrates Timeline’s potential to make a strong first impression on Page visitors.


7. Ben & Jerry’s Timeline

Ben & Jerry’s timeline itself showcases the new brand platform’s strong visual elements.


8. Ben & Jerry’s milestone

Here, Ben & Jerry’s uses the new format to call out an important company milestone — its introduction of several new flavors in 1999.


9. Timeline makes Pages more social

When you visit a Page, you see how many of your friends have liked the company, as well as friends’ relevant public posts. Here, Ben & Jerry’s serves as an example.


10. Different cover photos for different Pages

Restaurants can leverage the new design by showing off what they serve. Here, Starbucks flaunts its coffee beans.


11. How many of your friends like Starbucks?

Further evidence of how Pages are more social with Timeline.


12. A local twist

Here, the Page of Manhattan’s Magnolia Bakery shows how, for local businesses only, a map appears

in the row of apps below the cover photo.


13. ESPN’s cover photo

ESPN’s cover photo is an intriguing shot from the set of its iconic Sportscenter show.


14. Baby’s first show

Here, ESPN highlights its first Sportscenter broadcast with a doublewide photo in its timeline.


15. Livestrong’s cover photo

Livestrong chooses to make its logo the central theme of its Page cover photo.


16. Starring an important message

Livestrong starred this post that provides resources for people under emotional duress as a result of cancer.

Starring it calls extra attention to the post by making it twice as wide as others.


17. A Livestrong milestone

Organizations similar to Livestrong can highlight specific milestones, such as the opening of new services.

This post celebrates the debut of Livestrong’s Cancer Navigation Center.


18. Meet the admin panel

Timeline introduces a new format for administrators of brand Pages, and one that should be simpler to use.


19. Getting to know you

The admin panel features notifications, analytics, messages and, yes, a help menu to ease your transition to the new set-up.


Guest Relations has – and we love it.  Specifically, Allan Vigil Ford Lincoln Mercury has brought on our agency to manage their entire marketing program.  Vice President, Mike Vigil commented, “We want to deliver a superior customer experience and love the hospitality perspective Guest Relations brings to our business.   We’ve had agencies that knew the automotive business.  We like the fact that they understand how to connect marketing to what we want to be as a brand.”

Allan Vigil Ford Lincoln Mercury has a terrific history of being a trusted business partner in the community, and Ford is now simply delivering the best value vehicles on the road.  That is a great combination to work with. Stay tuned – we are working on a new campaign that will break all stereotypes of dealer marketing and advertising.

United Airlines announced they will be closing their phone line with an India-based call center which handles their customer complaint line. What they may not realize, is that they are missing out on potential opportunities for finding Zealots among the customers of their brand.

A customer complaint situation is an opportunity for any company, hotel or airline alike, to take advantage of turning a guest from a detractor into a true supporter of the brand. If a guest is upset enough to complain, the opportunity exists to take the complaint and turn it into a home run for your brand. And even moreso, Zealots for the brand are highly engaged in the brand and highly believe it in. They are potentially among those who are more likely to complain because they are so familiar with it, they know how things are supposed to be, and when things go wrong they are sure to take notice.

Customers don’t want an Indian call center “logging” their issue, they want to feel as if their voice is being heard, with both understanding and sympathy and to have the situation rectified to their liking.  They want the experience to be personal and they want to feel as though a change is being made as a result of their speaking up, that they have helped in some way in the success of the brand.

Brands should make the  process as easy and hassle-free for their guests as possible to provide feedback, both positive and negative, and should always take a proactive and responsive action to such feedback. Perhaps this is an opportunity for United to tackle the competition and refine their customer feedback process; to do it and do it well. And the shocking thing is, a phone conversation gives you a two-way conversation and the ability to ask questions about the experience, rather than a one-sided encounter on paper. Why would you want to only go to a less-effective way of handling guest relations?

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