Thursday, 18 June 2015

A Pinteresting Experiment

Pin love

So, I love Pinterest. Personally, I use it a lot and in my opinion it is by far and away the most pleasant social media experience around. However, I don't say 'social networking' because frankly, there is no networking going on. Not for me anyway. It's simply a place where people share cool stuff and I collect like a little online squirrel.

One of my favourite blogs about Pinterest has to be the Manly Pinterest Tips blog, created and manned by Jeff Sieh. His podcast, advice and guests are always top dollar and provide a fascinating insight in to how Pinterest is a growing platform for business. In North America at least.

As far as I know, Pinterest is ever increasingly a big deal across the pond and its reputation as a search engine is growing too. I'd recommend giving the search function a try; it really is something and in my opinion, way more engaging than using a traditional tool like Google or Bing.

Behind as ever

In the United Kingdom, and more specifically here in Scotland however, things haven't quite taken off. Sure a lot of people will have Pinterest accounts and pin like crazy every so often...but it'd be fair to say that it isn't quite the essential tool for people like Facebook or Twitter is at the moment. Pinterest in the UK is still vaguely known as the social network for girls looking at wedding dresses and elaborate cakes. But there is a TON of content on there aimed at guys just like me; Superman art, motorbikes, great clothes, football, music legends and of course social media stuff!

So with all that in mind, and in my professional role, I wanted to try an (albeit brief) experiment. Rather than check in and do the very occasional spat of pinning on our company page, I'd use the new Pinterest scheduling feature on Buffer to keep our page updated daily. I set my schedule to pin eight times a day; a bunch in the morning and a few in the evening, including three original pins created by me using Canva.

The objective? To see simply, if Pinterest could drive even a small amount of extra traffic to our website and/or drive up followers and engagement on the page itself.

Now, I perfectly understand that a week is a very short testing period and that the nature of re-pinning external links is unlikely to drive major traffic. All I wanted to get was a feeling (however small) of increased brand awareness via the above objectives.


First, what does Google Analytics tell me?

From the whopping (insert sarcastic wink) 827 visits to the site from social media, Pinterest accounted for four visits. What was that Scott? 44 visits? No, dear reader, four. Four visits. With a 75% bounce rate.

And from Pinterest? Well, Pinterest is still in its infancy in regards to business marketing insights but it's interesting that it defines between your profile's activity and the activity (i.e. pins being created) solely from your website.

From my profile:

  • 2,445 total impressions (peak: Saturday, low: Thursday)
  • 1,551 total viewers (same as above)
  • 15 repins
  • 13 clicks
  • 0 likes (and exactly what is the point in Pinterest Likes? They are the equivalent of the Twitter Favourite. Pointless.)
From the website:
  • 1,199 impressions (peak: Friday, low: Wednesday)
  • 876 viewers (same as above)
  • 12 repins
  • 5 clicks
  • From pins all created by me!
Impression and view counts ain't too shabby for a very much secondary social media profile and 15 repins I guess is not to be sniffed at in the short test period. Could I comfortably say however, that this represents a positive exercise in brand awareness?

Certainly, it was clear from the Pinterest stats, as pictured, that as the week progressed and pins were being published regularly, activity grew. This suggests that there is definitely merit in being consistent (a trait emphasized regularly by Sieh) and having a schedule in place.

I haven't mentioned the analytics that Buffer offers. It only gives numbers for 'comments', 'likes' and repins. The vast majority of which equal zero.


If my objective was solely to garner web traffic, I'd mark this as a big ol' stinkin' failure. But in regards to brand awareness, I'd maybe give it an average scoring. A more meaningful experiment would perhaps look at stats over a six month period so I'm not reading too much in to these stats at the moment.

Do you use a scheduling tool for Pinterest? Do you find my experiment results are similar to yours or is Pinterest either doing great for you, or not worth the effort?

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Social Media Processes For A Content Editor

As anyone whose role involves posting frequently to social media will tell you; anything that makes my role easier, is welcome.

Thankfully, there are a ton of tools on the web to help. But rather than do a big list of the top 50 or 100 I thought I would share the ones I specifically and practically use.

Monitoring: Hootsuite Pro

Every morning I open Hootsuite to check up on any mentions, RT's or Direct Messages that our pages have received while I've been away. I also quickly browse some of my saved key word streams to see if there are any conversations I can jump in on to potentially highlight our services. I don't, although I don't do it nearly as much as I should to be successful.

I use the pro version because it's only $12 (about £7-8) and it allows you to add more social networks and an extra user.

Planning: Google Sheets

Next up, I open my social media planner on Google Sheets. I prefer this to Excel as it means my colleague and I can both edit and collaborate at the same time.

Plus, it looks better than Excel. Sorry but aesthetics matter when you're staring at them every day of your life.

So I check what's in the planner for the day ahead, see where I need to create more posts etc., and also update my forward planner tab as each month whizzes past!

Images: Canva

Canva is awesome. It has pretty much everything a social media editor needs to create the best looking images possible for your posts.

With a HUGE library of images and graphics available and a comprehensive set of templates to use, I really recommend it. Yes, you have to pay for each licensed image you use but at only $1 a time.

Handy tip: create your Facebook link image (1200x627) and save to your device then crop it using PicMonkey for Twitter (1024x512).

Scheduling - Buffer Pro, Latergram and Facebook

I open Buffer to see which tweets have performed best. Although I can do this through Hootsuite, I think Buffer's simpler analytics option does this better and is a good 'at a glance' tool.

I then begin scheduling in the day's posts for our three Twitter channels. Another feature of Buffer I love is the 'Suggestions' and 'Feeds' options. I really think it's vital to share other people's content and so I use both of these to make sure my daily content schedule has something besides my own content.

For Instagram I use a website and mobile app called Latergram. This doesn't allow me to post from the web but it does let me tee everything up; image, copy, hashtags posting time. I'll then get a reminder on my phone for the specified time to post to Instagram in just a few clicks. Note: you also have to be logged into the relevant account via your Instagram app.

Facebook has its own scheduling tool and personally, I think it works great. I love setting up my posts on Facebook. Not only can you create your copy but you can edit the link preview image, headline and link description too. From what I've learned from others, Facebook generally prefers for you to stick to Facebook, rather than use Buffer or Hootsuite.

To-Do - Wunderlist

It's simple to look at, simple to use and is the perfect mobile friendly app. Once I've scheduled in posts and looked at/updated my planner, I check in here to see what I can tick off. And then what I need to add!

Notes: Evernote

For note taking and ideas planning, I use Evernote throughout the working day. The benefits are obvious and endless. There is also an elephant's butt worth of other blogs on the internet explaining why. None more so than the Evernote blog itself! Get reading.

Analytics: Google Sheets, Buffer, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest

Oh, that most exciting of topics! I use a mixture of the above to complete my weekly analytics spreadsheet.

I take an hour a week to put my earphones in and go through each channel, simply logging each metric and examining the why's and what's of our social media efforts. This also informs me ahead of weekly team meetings and I can marry up the data to my content roundup as well as informing me on actions needed to improve performance.

There you go; that's just my personal setup - what do you use? Anything you'd swap out here?