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Stephanie Paige Miller

5 Ways to Harness the Power of Pinterest

Stephanie Paige Miller Consumer - 08/20/2013-14:54 PM

 

Given the changing landscape of content publishing, it's no surprise that a social media community like Pinterest has emerged as a power player for driving traffic, growing communities and fostering reader engagement. For some, Pinterest drives more than 20 percent of website traffic, topping legacy referrers such as Google and Yahoo. Others are seeing follower acquisition on Pinterest increase at a strong-and-steady 15 percent month-over-month. Recently I participated in a Pinterest webinar with social editors from Martha Stewart Living, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, and media agency Huge. Here are the five common themes that emerged.

1. Pin During Active Times
Rather than dumping 30 pins into Pinterest’s news feed a couple times a day, use a tool such as Piqora or Curalate to schedule 10 to 12 pins across several time zones. This way, content is surfacing when users are most engaged. For example, when I shifted pin times for SELF, we were able to  increase re-pins and click-through rates by nearly 30 percent.

2. Collaborate and Co-pin
Connect with on-brand partners, whether a celebrity cover star, a contributing blogger, a chef or an entertaining expert, on a co-branded board.  You’ll leverage the built-in followers from their Pinterest footprint and expand both profiles. Also consider organic co-pin opportunities with advertisers and brand sponsors. While “pin it to win it” contests are popular, look for meaningful ways to activate your most influential or active pinners. The goal is always more re-pins—they’re like a simple yet powerful social “thumbs up.”

3. Realize the Lifespan of a Pin
A pin lives longer than any other piece of social content. A Tweet can disappear within minutes, and thanks to Facebook’s algorithms, a post might not even be seen by 70 percent of your audience. But with Pinterest, a site might experience a spike in traffic from content pinned 30 days ago. 

4. Pinning Indicates Purchase Intent
In a recent survey, about 35 percent of users under 35 said that pinning led to a purchase and 24 percent said they found the item they eventually purchased on a stranger’s board, not a brand or retailer. This suggests the power of a brand placement on an editorial board or, better yet, a Pinterest user’s board. Your editors also play a role here when recommending a product on their personal boards. And it’s worth thinking about what Pinterest can do for ad partnerships or value adds.

5. Leverage Insights to Inform Editorial Content
Take a cue from top-performing pins and incorporate them on your site, either within a newsletter or as a slideshow (with proper crediting back to the original source). You can also think of Pinterest as another avenue for A/B testing. Trying to decide whether to lead with a food or a fashion image? Look at the native Pinterest analytics or those within your third-party tools to help you make that choice.

 

 

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Stephanie Paige Miller

5 Digital Metrics Your Magazine Should Consider

Stephanie Paige Miller Editorial - 07/24/2013-15:04 PM

Brands get a lot of power from metrics, and everyone should take advantage of useful quantitative data. But although they're key indicators of brand health, page views and unique visits aren't everything. Social media should absolutely be part of your 360-degree view.

Why? Because social media creates a consumer narrative, telling you where users are coming from, what they're doing and what they're saying when they get there. This kind of qualitative data can fill gaps in your brand strategy.

A monitoring tool such as Adobe Social, Hootsuite, Chartbeat, or any of the Salesforce products (like Radian 6) will help you craft your social consumer narrative. And there are five critical metrics (often overlooked!) that you should focus on:

1. Social Referral Activity
Do your Twitter followers behave differently than Facebook fans once they land on site? For those coming in via Pinterest, are they consuming more pages than those who came in from Tumblr? Pinpointing what social followers are doing on-site allows you to anticipate consumer needs and will help inform your editorial calendar.

2. Quality of Your Followers
Sure, you may have 200,000 likes on Facebook, but how many of these users liked your page to get a deal or as part of a sweepstakes entry? (And complicating matters, less than 15 percent of them sees your Facebook posts thanks to Facebook Edge Rank). I'd argue that it's more valuable to have a small, highly engaged social following than a large, flat number-especially if advertisers want to see click-throughs, conversions and comments.

3. On-Site Social Engagement
Having a grasp on the most pinned, liked and tweeted content is important because it indicates what stories have the most virality. Include share buttons on slideshows and blog posts and pin-it buttons on all images. Encourage readers to share, comment, tweet and pin on every page. And when you discover something's hot, by all means, repurpose it: Consider leading your weekly newsletter with one of your most-pinned images, or incorporate copy from the most-tweeted blog post as part of a subject line, then monitor open-rates.

4. Share of Voice
How does your brand perform during a key moment in time? Whether it's a b-to-b trade show or a red carpet event such as the Oscars, is your brand surfacing as an authority in its space? Set metrics that will demonstrate how your social media presence boosted the number of @ mentions on Twitter, lead to heightened activity on Pinterest, increased tags and followers on Instagram or influenced more connections on LinkedIn.

5. New and Returning Visitors
Consider your seven-day and 30-day visitors. There may be a loyal following that returns to the site every day, but how long can you depend on that traffic? Are returning visitors exploring new sections or coming back to a specific page or tool? If your brand's audience refreshes seasonally (Bridal magazines, for example), it's important to have social strategies in place to keep unique traffic consistent.

What do you think? Tweet me the most over (or under) rated metrics @StephaniePaige.

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Stephanie Paige Miller

Why Your Brand Should Consider LinkedIn

Stephanie Paige Miller B2B - 05/23/2013-14:10 PM

 

This month, LinkedIn celebrated its 10th birthday (that’s two more years than YouTube) and within the past decade, the social media network for professionals has really grown up. What was once viewed as solely a job-hunting destination has now evolved into a multi-faceted media channel, a place to consume thought-provoking content, digest POVs and commentary from industry leaders, share articles and access updates on-the-go via the beautifully designed LinkedIn app.

But you may be asking yourself: Why publish content on LinkedIn when your brand already shares on Facebook?

First, it’s another platform for your content, which is always a good thing. But second, remember that social media channels have unique offerings: What works on Twitter doesn’t work on Instagram. Your followers (likely) vary per channel, so naturally you’ll want to share content that resonates with the specific audience you’re targeting. LinkedIn users are engaged and hungry for smart content, and unlike Facebook followers, are less worried about being entertained and more interested in learning something.  

What’s more, as Dan Roth, Executive Editor of LinkedIn, shared in his keynote at FOLIO:’s MediaNext conference, “the vast majority of readers leverage media as a means to put forth a view, interests, and opinions to their network to generate interaction and help develop their social and professional connections and standing.” The role of the media is to be a conversation starter, and LinkedIn is an ideal forum.

Here are five reasons to stay up-to-date with LinkedIn:

1. A new audience is waiting to consume your content—the platform has 225 million unique global users.

2. You can mine for leads and industry news on the site, in a number of ways: LinkedIn Today is a hub for custom content sharing. Channels allow users to receive tailored news and sift through stories. There’s the option to “follow” Influencers who opine on trends and share actionable business tips.  Global leaders, from Jack Welch to Sir Richard Branson (who has 1.8 million followers as a LinkedIn influencer vs. 402K followers on Facebook) have amassed loyal followings.

3. There’s an opportunity for increased brand awareness. Starting a company page is a relatively low lift and puts your content right in front of readers. Are you a lifestyle brand? Consider sharing your career-related content or “big think” pieces at key moments in time (i.e. graduation). Real estate b-to-b publication? LinkedIn is an excellent vehicle for sharing insight on REITs and mortgage interest rates, as well as educating potential customers on your products and services. Long story short: Position yourself as a thought-leader.

4. LinkedIn can “drive enough traffic to crash your servers.” Add LinkedIn share buttons on your website and share your own content at least once a day. Roth says that the more content is shared, the more LinkedIn's algorithms view it as "important to the business community” and it will surface on the homepage.

5. You can connect with your readers. Start a group and host monthly discussions with those who join. The logistics and quality of comments is more fluid on LinkedIn than on Facebook, for example.

Check out these brands for thought-starters on how you can leverage LinkedIn for your publication:

Who do you follow on LinkedIn? What Influencers do you find insightful? Tweet me @StephaniePaige.

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Stephanie Paige Miller

Managing Social Media in a Crisis

Stephanie Paige Miller emedia and Technology - 04/30/2013-09:54 AM

 

In the midst of a national crisis—a senseless shooting in Newtown, CT, a natural disaster in Joplin, MO, or a terrorist attack in Boston—social media becomes a source for instant information.

And the recent events surrounding the Boston Marathon underscore just how complex managing these social channels has become. Misinformation spreads on Twitter, the front pages of major newspapers identify innocent men as suspects and witch-hunts begin in forums like Reddit.

As an industry, publishing is in a unique position: Even if we’re not all go-to breaking news sources, we are media outlets whose core mission is to inform. 

So, how should we handle these sensitive situations? Isn’t it our duty to dissipate information? Well, yes, but in order to maintain brand integrity, the info has to be factually correct. And in times of tragedy, early details are often foggy.

Here are my recommendations for what you should do the next time a crisis strikes. Take note: These are intended for lifestyle, trade and small b-to-b publications.  Outlets such as the NYT, WSJ, AP and Reuters are in a class of their own for breaking news.

Halt Social Media Posts

Until you can assess the severity of the situation and connect with your team (which could take time), pause content sharing so you avoid an awkwardly timed post. And that goes for retweets and shares from other sources. 

Communicate With Your Team

Start an email chain, gather in an office and get on the same page with your editors with everything you’re producing that day. Should the newsletter distribution be halted? Who’s calling tech to put a hold on the sweepstakes launching on the homepage?

Tip: Work with ad sales to include verbiage in advertiser contracts stating that any social support for brand promotions will be on tentative dates only. In the event you need to cancel or reschedule a tweet or Facebook promotion in the face of a tragedy, you won’t be legally bound to certain dates.

Be Cautious of What You RT and Share

Boston was a prime example of how things can go wrong in the race to be first. Inaccuracies were everywhere. Wired’s Matt Honan even called for Twitter to offer an “edit” button. So be judicious with your decisions: Remember that a RT is an endorsement of the content, and it’s your responsibility to make sure that what you are putting in your readers’ newsfeeds isn’t bogus. 

Have a Crisis Plan in Place

If you don’t have a basic protocol, make an outline now and ask yourself: Does at least one other person have access to the publishing tool to edit outgoing posts (or halt them altogether?) If the social media manager is unavailable at the time of a crisis, the keys to the kingdom should be accessible to a senior-level editor or publisher. Also worth keeping in mind: Do you need a POV on the subject? In most cases you’ll want to offer up very neutral information. If you’re compelled to acknowledge the event, a short and succinct post like Coca Cola or Ebay did for Boston will suffice. 

In The Aftermath, Consider a Reduced Posting Schedule

In the days that follow a tragic event, edit seemingly frivolous social copy. This is mostly applicable to lifestyle and consumer magazines. I’d suggest holding any “OMG, can you believe that actress got bangs?” tweets until the media climate has cooled. If you’re a b-to-b or trade pub, perhaps you could hold promotional posts or calls for conference sign-ups.  

Here are three posts and discussions I found helpful below:

Agree? Disagree? Tweet me your POV @StephaniePaige

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Stephanie Paige Miller

10 Ways To Leverage Social During a Redesign

Stephanie Paige Miller Design and Production - 03/26/2013-12:31 PM

 

It seems like everyone is getting a face-lift these days: The Atlantic, WSJ.com, Redbook, the XO brand, Self. And whether you’re hitting refresh on a legacy brand or a newer dotcom, the redesign and relaunch of a publication is a big deal.

Social media is a powerful channel to communicate and share your new, highly visual story. You can use your social channels to protect the integrity of your brand while disseminating your new look, fresh voice and updated content.

Plus, it’s a plum opportunity to build some major brand cred.

Here are 10 ways to leverage social media if or when your brand redesigns:

1. Start a Thunderclap. It’s like a social flash mob. Sign up in advance and the program will share your celebratory message via Twitter and Facebook. Your followers will create a social tidal wave by tweeting/posting one message at the same time. Incentivize your followers like W did for their 40th Anniversary.

2. Give social the exclusive. Think like Beyoncé and unveil your new cover on Instagram or Tumblr. You want to reach a younger audience? Activate in their channel. And make it good—don’t skimp on content.

3. Promote your Twitter content. Own a hashtag to ensure that your material surfaces. This dovetails nicely if it’s tied to a franchise that’ll work across platforms.

4.
Use Vine to capture behind-the-scenes snippets from the relaunch. Quirky moments that inspired the creative direction; art installations that influenced a clean, uncluttered, cover. Or try focusing on one theme: Glamour emphasizes fashion, VH1 opts for music over reality show content.

5. Have a consistent dialogue. Now is the time to be overactive and accessible. As the feedback (positive and negative) rolls in, respond. Tell commenters that you’re the same brand but have an updated image. Then provide a link to compelling or service-driven content. Are you seeing your brand tagged (@PopularSciene, @TeenVogue) on Instagram? Visit as many profiles as possible and return the love with a heart or a comment. Notice re-pins coming from the same people on Pinterest? Follow them back. Comment and re-pin THEIR content onto your boards.

6. Creative should be consistent, too. SELF’s Twitter backdrop is a compilation of the pillar categories that define our new look. Like the pages of our relaunch issue, our Google+ profile is highly visual, featuring a large, updated cover photo.

7. Take the road less traveled.
Ditch the Facebook chat. Try Spreecast to deliver a smart roundtable discussion with celebrities, experts or editors included in your new issue. WSJ has a smart, informed channel on the live stream video platform and owned the space during New York Fashion Week 2013.

8. Get your editors and publishers involved.
Use this as an opportunity to put a name and face to your experts via social. Include @ mentions of your editors in tweets. Encourage them to opine on topics within their beat. Have them RT content within their sphere of coverage. Like point-of-view publishing, readers like to connect with real people, not omniscient brands.

9. Establish a Google+ profile three months prior to the relaunch. Post once a day. Repurpose content from Facebook if you don’t have the bandwidth for original. The goal is to improve your search results in time for the launch--when you need all the eyes you can get.

10. Tidy up your social bios. Go ahead, flaunt your makeover. You look great. Include messaging within the “about us” section of each channel. Take inventory. Use this is an opportunity to freshen up your mission statements. Re-title and give your Pinterest boards a description. Update your You Tube channel.

I’d love to hear from you. In your opinion, what brands have done it right? Have you seen any social media fails? As a reader, what would you like to see? Tweet me @StephaniePaige.

 

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Stephanie Paige Miller

Beyond the Big Three: New Social Networks for Publishers

Stephanie Paige Miller Consumer - 02/25/2013-16:19 PM

 

Social media is a direct extension of your editorial voice and brand. For many, your publication doesn’t exist outside of the social world—until they find you in it. For instance, I was introduced to the Pulitzer Prize-winning site Pro Publica via Tumblr. Their “Officials Say the Darnest Things” Tumblog is focused and funny. Now I’m hooked.

Think of social as the front porch to your brand: It should have curb appeal and be inviting.

While it’s important to stay active within the Big Three (Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest), there are untapped audiences for content publishers in the social universe. Consider activating one of these “new” social media communities as you build your online strategy.

Some of these may not be for all of you, but the idea here is to think of unique avenues for growing your audience. 

Google+
The value in Google+ is its SEO benefits. The Google +1 button (think of it as a Facebook “like” that won’t share directly in your social stream) can lead to a better page rank.  When people +1 a Google+ post or +1 a piece of content from your website, it increases the link's potential for a high CTR, which leads to more social shares and amps up your search rank.

The bottom line: Start a Google+ profile for your publication so that it works in tandem with your traditional SEO strategies such as link building, relevant keywords, and URL structure, all of which have a more direct impact on search. 

Your To-Do List:

  1. Start and maintain a profile
  2. Add +1 buttons to your Web site
  3. Try a Hangout on Air (live-streamed on your dot com) with editors or contributing experts


Foodily

The beauty of Foodily, a food with friends social network where you can find and share recipes across the Web, is that it’s focused and niche. It’s a forum for food enthusiasts, registered dieticians, chefs, party planners and restaurateurs to have conversations about cuisine.

Food isn’t a main focus of your editorial strategy? Consider starting a profile anyway. For instance, if you’re a ski magazine, your compilations could focus on comfort food, après ski bites and Hot Toddy’s for the cabin. If you’re an automotive publication, think of top meals for tailgating.

As an official Tastemaker, SELF updates its recipe lists regularly and hosts focused discussions with our food editors and contributing experts. And like Pinterest, all recipes link back to the original source, so referral traffic is an ROI.

The bottom line: Join Foodily to have a presence in an emerging social community and introduce your publication to a new audience in an unexpected but on-brand way.

Your To-Do List:

  1. Start a profile, then download the free iPhone-only app
  2. Search for recipes by filter (low-carb, gluten-free)
  3. Engage: Ask a question and update your status with what your editors are cooking
  4. Explore other Tastemakers such as Cat Cora and Wolfgang Puck


Instagram

The photo darling of the social media set, Instagram is a great vehicle for visual storytelling. It allows mastheads to come to life, and the app puts a face on the wizards behind the curtain: your editors. There are contests and hashtag campaigns that publishers can execute, but for those just starting out, keep it simple. That’s what readers want. 

The bottom line: Mobile is arguably the number-one social trend of 2013. It’s a vital way to extend your brand. A must-do.

Your To-Do List:

  1. Download at the App Store. No more than two editors should have password access, for security reasons and for content continuity
  2. Have a point of view when snapping photos
  3. Leverage in-book franchises to create a 360-reader experience. SELF initiated the #UpNOut movement centered on a.m. workouts.  The story ran in print, there were weekly posts on Self.com and engagement via Instagram and Twitter 
  4. Don’t feel the need to dress up every photo, frame, filter and fade it. Less is more. Sure, you can enhance the photo to make it presentable, but be authentic

What new communities are you excited about? Respond below in the comments section or Tweet me @StephaniePaige.
 

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