It’s the most wonderful time of the year! To keep in the holiday spirit, and, more importantly, to share it with those less fortunate than we are, Flying Cork has started our very own Toys for Tots toy drive challenge!

Starting today and running through Monday, December 8, we’ll be collecting new, unwrapped toys for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.

But there’s a slight twist. The Flying Cork team kicked off the toy drive today by donating our toys and taking our places on the nice list. Now, we’re turning to Facebook and challenging our family and friends to make a donation!

The principle is similar to the Ice Bucket Challenge from the summer, but we’re not asking anyone to get wet in the frigid November and December temps. When you’re challenged, simply send a new, unwrapped toy to the Flying Cork office. Then it’s your turn to challenge two people to follow (Santa) suit and get on the Flying Cork nice list.

The way we figure it is if each of us challenges three people, and each of them completes it and challenges three additional people, by the end of the 20-day challenge, we’ll have roughly 34 billion toys stuffing every corner of Pittsburgh (trust us, the math holds up, see below). It’s a lofty goal (only 7.12 billion people live on Earth), so we’ll start with a nice, even 1,000 toys. And remember, you don’t have to be challenged to join in!

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During the holiday season, the United States Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots drive collects new toys in October, November, and December. The presents that are collected are then distributed to less fortunate children throughout the United States.

We can’t thank you all enough for your help, and happy holidays from everyone here at Flying Cork!

Social media continues to evolve every day. What once started out as a meeting place for young people to connect with others has now expanded its reach to help companies connect to their audience too.

As a digital marketing agency, we understand whole-heartedly just how important social media is in building a better business.

In this day and age, social media is in the driver’s seat and continues to steer companies in the direction of what’s trending.

The older generation of businessmen and women sometimes grapple with understanding the importance of social media for a brand. They seemingly stick to the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality.

What I mean by this is that they think if they aren’t on social media, no one will talk about them or their company. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth because the world of social media never sleeps and people are always trying to connect with and talk about the brands that they like and dislike.

That’s why I want to highlight the importance of social media as it continues to illuminate the intersecting paths of companies and consumers.

Though we aren’t at the dinner table, etiquette is definitely needed when using social media and today I’m going to serve up some do’s and don’ts of how to use social media for your benefit—but be careful, these tips are coming in hot!

The Do’s & Don’ts of Social

Don’t be fooled – social media is not private! At its core, social media is in fact public. With this being said, always keep in mind that anything you post will be seen by the public. So, don’t write things that you wouldn’t want to be shared with others. In short, everything on social media is fair game, so write with caution!

Do review your content before hitting “send.” Have you ever written a text about a person and mistakenly sent it to the person that you were talking about? It’s that heart-stopping, cold-sweat inducing panic that can be felt when you publish a social post only to find errors after hitting the send button. Posts that are riddled with misspellings and grammar mishaps lessen your brands’ credibility. How can a consumer trust a company if they can’t spell correctly or write in complete sentences? On the same note as the previous tip, social media is public so always review your work prior to publishing. If you want to send a private message, double check that it is, in fact, a private message. Attention to detail is very important when it comes to social media.

Don’t blindly share things from the internet. As the saying goes, “sharing is caring;” however, that notion can take a turn for the worse if you share something that offends someone. Always remember to fact-check your posts prior to publishing. Sometimes, you may share an article that you thought was seemingly innocent, only to realize after hitting “send” that the article contains inappropriate content. As a word to the wise, always read articles in their entirety before sharing.

Do interact with others. Social media isn’t a one-way street. In fact, it’s like a highway that allows consumers to merge their opinions with different brands which in turn opens the lines of communication between both. Just as a company can publish posts to the public, they should always be prepared to respond to consumers as well.

Don’t schedule out posts. Though this is a super tempting, time efficient way to ensure that you follow a publishing schedule, imagine if a post that you had scheduled weeks in advance publishes on time. Sure, that sounds all well and good, but, this post, in particular, causes a firestorm of comments from angry consumers. To add insult to injury, you’re away from your computer and you can’t access your account in order to begin the damage control. Though this is a situation that could give any social media manager a sense of anxiety, it can be avoided.

The solution to this problem is to post in real time. But, there are times when you can schedule posts, for instance, motivational quotes are usually safe from backlash. When scheduling, think objectively and ask yourself the question, “Does this post have the potential to make anyone angry?” If you are wavering, your best bet is to publish while you are near a computer or better yet- don’t post it at all!

Though some people are slow to jump on board, the social media train has left the station and isn’t showing any signs of stopping. So, the next time you post to social media, take note of these tips or you might end up kicking yourself in the caboose!

Marketers spend tons of time and money trying to connect with the right customers, often through getting them to fill out an online form. Designers, developers, and content creators spend endless hours fabricating, testing and fine-tuning the online experiences to optimize lead generation.

An often overlooked (or at least underestimated) element of the journey from prospect to purchasing customer is the experience offered right after a form is completed: the thank-you page. Too often, this experience is just doing that: thanking you for filling out a form. But think about it for a moment: your prospect just raised their hand, showed interest in your product or service, apparently wants to engage, and now you’re just saying “thank you”?

Instead of this rather cold shoulder, consider ways to build upon the momentum and provide ways to further engage with your brand. It’s nurturing time!

Some examples of how to make better use of your thank you page:

1. Be More Personal

If you captured a first and last name, speak to him or her directly. Use the name in the thank you (“Thanks for signing up, John Wayne”). It’s warmer, friendlier, and creates a tighter connection. Don’t overdo it or make it creepy.

2. Provide Next Steps Information

Now that they have become a lead, what should they expect to happen? Are you going to call them? Email them? Make sure they know what comes next.

3. Keep Selling

Cross- or upsell other related products or services (“You might also be interested in …”). Create the opportunity to buy more, perhaps with a nice discount as special thanks for being a customer. Don’t forget to provide an easy way to buy later (“Thanks, not now, but maybe later”).

4. Share the Joy

Let new leads share the joy and enthusiasm of their purchase with their friends. Use social media shares that make it easy to post. You could even provide prefabricated posts. Amazon does a great job with this; after a customer makes a purchase, they provide an image of the product bought plus brief copy saying “I just bought [product name]”.

5. Subscribe for More

You collected data about someone’s interest. Use it to recommend related news resources, or subscriptions.

6. Refer a Friend

No better time than now to ask for a referral. Make it easy to refer a friend, or if you want to take it a step further, offer an incentive. You can also offer a discount to the referee!

7. Provide Access to More Content

It is best practice on landing pages to confine users to that very page so they can concentrate on their one task—converting. Once they have completed that task, keep the new lead engaged by providing access to more content. Since you’ve already captured their details, there is no longer a need to confine them to your landing page. Set them free! Let them navigate away (to your properties, of course).

8. More Funneling

If the form was just the first step into your marketing funnel, think about ways to make the next step easy. Maybe now they would like to subscribe to your newsletter or your blog?

9. Ask for Feedback

Show interest in your new leads’ opinions. Ask for their feedback or suggestions on how to improve. A simple survey might generate some surprising insights.

10. Congratulate

Especially when your new lead has just purchased a product or service, congratulating them on their purchase and making them feel good about it can further strengthen their connection with your brand. Testimonials are a good way to achieve that feel-good effect as well. Make them part of your existing fan base!

11. Educate

Now that you just sold them a cool new kitchen tool, don’t leave them without proper resources that ensure they will enjoy using your product. Show them how. Give them recipes. Make sure they have a place to start!

12. Follow Up

Nothing shows you care about your new customer more than following up with them to make sure all is going as expected and they are happy with what you have delivered to them. This goes a little beyond the thank-you page, but it’s worth mentioning it regardless. Genuinely caring about your customer, and showing that care, goes a long way!

Not sure where to start with your lead generation strategies? Drop us a line!

Now that you know all about the advantages of using Pinterest for your business, how can you tell if the content you’ve created and shared is attracting customers to your website? How do you know if anyone’s actually using that “Pin It” button? Sure, you could always check your referral traffic in Google Analytics (GA), but there’s a way to get even more data than what GA alone will give you. Pinterest isn’t just for fun—there are ways to measure your success and shape new strategies if you have a business account! A business account gives you access to Pinterest Analytics, which can provide a lot of insight on how to adapt your content strategy based on specific user interests and trends.

If you haven’t configured your account as a business account, you’ll want to do that first. While a business account will automatically give you data specifically for your Pinterest boards alone, you’ll want to attach Pinterest Analytics specifically to your company website so that you can monitor pin-able content originating from your domain. To get this data, you have to verify that the site is yours; Pinterest will generate a unique code that you have to insert into your website’s HTML. Once that’s in place, head on over to analytics.pinterest.com to start mining information through the “Activity from [your website]” tab.

Once you’ve shared content on your website with your Pinterest audience, you can start to use some of these Pinterest insights to help refine your website’s content strategy.

Counts of Impressions, Repins and Clicks

An impression is a count of how many times a pin is displayed in user searches; a repin is a count of how many times a pinner has added your content to their own board, and a click is a measure of how many times a user arrives at your website through a shared pin. In other words, clicks send quality traffic to your website, and that’s what you want! Remember that you can only get clicks if you’re getting impressions, so you’re going to want to optimize those pins for

search (which we’ll discuss below). If you have a high amount of impressions but few clicks or repins, it means that your content is showing up in user searches, but isn’t convincing pinners to take a closer look. Drilling further into Pinterest Analytics can help you figure out why users aren’t clicking.

Audience Interests

If you want to get a better feel for what pinners are looking for, check out the Your Audience tab, then click on Interests. Here, you’ll be able to see the different subjects and categories your followers are interested in. Are the subjects of your website’s posts aligning with the interests of your audience? Are there other, related interests being identified that you haven’t thought about speaking to yet? Use those interests to fuel ideas for future blog posts or content! Say you’re a coffee shop, but a lot of your audience is showing an interest in tea. Stop focusing on flavored seasonal lattes and blog about your tea selection for a little while! Pin your content to your boards, making sure it links back to your site.

All-Time Highs

Once your website is linked, you’ll be able to see your all-time best-performing pins. Here, you’ll see what has been pinned the most and what shows up in searches most often, and you can start to analyze why. Do these posts have a well-optimized description? Make sure you’re using the Pinterest Widget Builder to craft automated, keyword-rich descriptions that will be applied to pins users curate from your site. The Pinterest algorithm uses pin descriptions to judge relevancy, so be specific. For example, instead of describing a new pin as “cupcakes,” use the more accurate “lemon cupcakes with strawberry filling and homemade vanilla buttercream.” Hashtags have even started to appear on Pinterest, so don’t be afraid to use them! Don’t forget your original image files, either; those should also have optimized names. Pinterest content can show up in a Google search, possibly even above your organic website results! Help Google find you with optimized image names. Analyze the results of your all-time highs: Are your optimized pins getting the highest impressions? What keywords are drawing impressions or clicks?

Identify Power Pins

“Power Pins” have a high combination of repins, likes, comments, sends, shares, clicks, and other interactions. They’re the pins that are creating a buzz. Are you surprised by which content is receiving the most attention? If so, focus more on creating content that follows a similar vein. While Audience Interest can help you expand into areas you might not have explored before, Power Pins can help you narrow down what’s already working for you, so you can take advantage of it.

Pinterest Insights

Pinterest is not going to let you flail around; it wants your brand to be successful on its platform (hey, your success is their success!). In order to help you, Pinterest has scattered tips across their Analytics tool that will help you polish your pins and better connect your audience to your website (and vice versa!). Each tip will link you to an article in the Pinterest Help section that thoroughly explains how to take advantage of it. Listen to Pinterest, reap the rewards.

This is by no means a list of all the things you can find in Pinterest Analytics, but hopefully, it will give you a better idea about how to adapt your content to interests and trends. The great thing about a Pinterest Analytics account is that it gives you access to more emotional data than just a Google Analytics profile. With the ability to tap into users’ related interests and passions, you’ll be well on your way to capturing more site traffic and interested consumers through a fun-to-use digital marketing tool.

Still not sure about the role Pinterest can play in your website content strategy? Don’t worry – that’s why we’re here. Our expert content and social teams can help you mine Pinterest Analytics for the most actionable, useful data. Just say the word!