What We're Reading | Why We love Pinterest, How To Aviod Spam and Making Your Brand More Social

Since the new year began, we’ve continued to see as expected even more innovations, changes and additions to the online community. Judging from what we’re reading this week, Google is instituting some questionable search tactics, Pinterest is steadily on the rise as the next hot social network and less can turn out to be more in social branding. By all means, feast your eyes on our free weekly reading list.

Brooke:  I came across this blog in my news feed and at first glance thought it was totally a “hate” piece on social media. Reading further, it seemed to sing an ode that I myself could have written: Don’t do social, be social! Many business owners, yes, even some of our clients, approach social media and

the services we offer at FSC as a magical, automatic “fix-all” to their marketing initiatives. Many believe that just being on social media is “good enough” but the truth is, and you may find this crazy coming from me: social media may not be right for every business. With all of our clients we tailor strategies to their needs and industry trends. A non-profit in a rural city may have a demographic that is on Facebook but may not be on Twitter. In this case why waste resources on a Twitter profile for them when you could spend that time to blow their Facebook account out of the water? Sounds like common sense right? If not, hopefully we’ve made you think and given you the confidence to make a change in the new year!

Andy: One of my favorite lines from the movie Easy A is when Mr. Griffith, a teacher, says in reference to posting constantly to social media networks:

 I don’t know what your generation’s fascination is with documenting your every thought, but I can assure you, they’re not all diamonds.

And it’s true. There does seem to be some kind of generational fascination with documenting everything that happens in our lives – good or bad – on Facebook, Twitter and the like. Unfortunately, being so open about our personal information also leaves us vulnerable to spam, scams and cyber crimes – particularly on Facebook. According to this awesome infographic from Mashable, cyber crime and spam is on the rise. In fact, “20% of Facebook users have been exposed to malware, and Facebook sees about 600,000 cases of hijacked log-ins every day.” Yikes. But, there are a few key things you can do to avoid getting scammed and keep yourself safe on Facebook.

Ashley: My Social Media obsession of 2011 was the image-based platform Pinterest. It’s a creative mind’s virtual playground filled with engaged users sharing their ideas, designs and gorgeous photographs. It broke into the Top 10 Social Media Platforms this year, and just like its competitors, it has seen an emergence of brands using it to interact with consumers. If you’re going to jump on board as a brand, you need to take the time to do it right, so take a look at these 5 ways brands are using Pinterest to boost consumer engagement.

Kristin: Not All Tech Innovators Look Like Mark Zuckerberg  – A startup accelerator named Women Innovate Mobile is working to increase exposure of tech companies founded by women, working on the premise that many startup investors are operating on the notion that the next visionary has been typecast by recent successes, such as Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. Women Innovate Mobile attest that these investors are missing opportunities where women can excel, particularly in the Mobile space, where design and strategy ideas can vary widely from the male perspective.

Tiffany: Page Not Found…oops. It happens; you post a broken link or a page gets out-dated and visitors that are hoping to find exactly what they want are greeted with 404 page error. Clicks are hard to come by and Search Influence has some great tips on how to turn lost visitors into prospects.  If you need some inspiration, check out these creative examples of 404 pages.

Sally: Some may pass off Pinterest as a frivolous social toy, but it can in fact be the next cutting edge tool to help grow your business. Some smart ways businesses are leveraging the digital bulletin board is by holding contests, adding the “pin it” widget to their websites and creating a company board. Read this article from Ragan for more in depth information on the tool’s brand building opportunities.

Noelle: 5 Tips for Making Your Brand More Social – Building your brand, creating an identity and conveying it through social networks is one of the largest challenges companies face. You want to make sure your voice and message is a clear reflection of your brand especially on social networking sites. This article gives you tips on how to market effectively during an era where social media reigns.

Sadie: We have always heard that the customer is always right, but possibly not in every case. Here’s a new perspective on supply and demand, and on creating a brand that people respect.  Read this article on Treehugger about a burger joint that won’t serve unseasonal tomatoes, no matter how much the customer wants it. Perhaps the inconvenience of not having every convenience at our fingertips will have consumers reconsidering our necessities.

Adele: If you are in the online marketing field, your job may have gotten a lot harder, or you can use the recent announcement of Google’s “Search plus Your World” feature to better explain that Web sites do not live and die by their SERP ranking.  But I digress. All this hub-bub about the latest change to Google has more than search marketers sitting up and taking notice – the FTC may just have something to say about all this access to your search habits and the how it blends results to give you personal and web-relevant content. Now’s the time to start keeping up with what has and is happening, as more changes are likely coming, but either way, folks won’t be abandoning Google, so there are takeaways that can and will affect how you market online with these in mind.

Burke: Official Google Blog – Search, plus Your World - I’m not so sure I like this. Google has been increasingly doctoring the search results it gives you based on who it thinks you are, what you have shared on social networks, and who your circle of friends are.  This is all fine and good and might be helpful at times, but I think if Google continues to produce over 70% of all web searches, then people’s vision and world views will become more and more narrow. Google will give you results that you want to see, rather than results that you ought to see with differing perspectives.  This has the potential to increase division and cut off open dialog.