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Top Ten Instagram Tools

Top Ten Tools – Instagram

Instagram is one of the newer social media platforms on the block, when compared to digital veterans like Facebook and Twitter. However, it is rapidly becoming one of the most popular, with the site reaching the 10 million user landmark within 10 weeks of its launch. The photo-sharing site now has more than 150 million active users, with 55 million images being shared around the globe each and every day. 

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The Prohibition Seven Days of Social

3256859352_cf35412c5f_zFast moving, always adapting and often controversial, social media is an area where many of us have divided opinions. We like to keep our ear to the ground in the social media world, and as the week comes to an end, we’ve put together a few of our favourite pieces of social media content from around the web that you might not have spotted.

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How mobile is paving the way for social media developments

Worldwide mobile phone sales are on fire. Currently, over one billion mobile web users are scrolling through the 1-4G universes, and their massive influence over social networks is becoming increasingly more apparent. If you’re after a good example, look no further than the new Facebook new Messenger app and how hard they’re pushing it on consumers, or how popular the Vine app is among brands for creating simple, snappy video content.

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The Top 10 PR Campaigns in 2013

Time is ticking away and we are now five months into 2013 and after several stonking PR campaigns in 2012 which we shared with you lovely people in our lengthy review last year, we felt it was only right to analyse some of the best of 2013.

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Pinning Your Hopes On Pinterest

None of us need to be told that social media is a fast-moving world and the site du jour is a vivid example. Pinterest has come a long way in a very short space of time. Launched just two years ago and still in open beta status, Pinterest is already attracting more 1.9 million visitors a month in the UK, and more than seven million globally.

Pinterest is an image-sharing service, based around the design metaphor of a pinboard. Users ‘pin’ images of things they find interesting or products they like onto virtual pinboards with different themes. Despite its focus on visual imagery, Pinterest is closer to Twitter than Facebook in its approach to social networking: users ‘follow’ rather than friend others users to view their inboards, and can ‘repin’ pictures they like onto other people’s boards, just as Twitter users can ‘retweet’ other people’s witty remarks or insightful comments as they wish. Pinterest also supports Twitter-style hashtags.

One of the easiest ways to use Pinterest is as a product moodboard or shopping wishlist and the site certainly brims with pinboards devoted to such topics as home decor, hair and beauty and wedding planning, leading to a popular perception that the site is ‘for girls’. This may sound like a stereotype but in fact the analytics bear this out: a massive 83 per cent of the site’s users are female in the US. Interestingly, the gender split is reversed in the UK, with 56 per cent of users male. Of course, pinboards can be created on almost any visual topic.

Superficially the site resembles flickr in its focus on pictures but the resemblance ends there. Flickr is built to host and display large numbers of photographs and other images in virtual catalogues but these are, in the vast majority of cases, created by the user themselves. Jus its name implies, however, Pinterest by contrast is firmly focused on allowing users to pin and share images which have caught their interest around the web. And of course, many of these images will be subject to copyright. Major stock photography libraries such as Getty Images and iStock have already expressed concern about Pinterest users repining their images without permission, with the former known to be having discussions with Pinterest on the issue. Commentators have cast doubts on the legal status of copyrighted imagery on Pinterest, and it is an uncomfortable fact that site users run a theoretical risk of legal action by pinning such images.

Pinterest has now established a system allowing copyright holders to notify the site of copyright breaches and as recently as last month the site also introduced a HTML meta tag which will allows sites to prevent pinning. Flickr has already begun to offer this tag as an option to its users.

Social media sites almost invariably grow from the ground up: they are created to provide a compelling service for individuals and it is only when (and if) they begin to take off that commercial and business interests begin to explore the possibilities of the site. Thanks to recent explosive growth, Pinterest has now reached this stage, with a variety of firms beginning to slowly and cautiously establish a presence. These include US department stores Nordstrom and West Elm, international clothing retailer The Gap, and popular vintage and handmade e-commerce Etsy, which already has more than 50,000 followers on Pinterest.

Of course, the site’s focus on visuals limits Pinterest’s commercial potential. If you are a lawyer, accountant or sell car insurance, Pinterest is probably not the social networking site for you. But if compelling pictures can be attached to your product – or your client’s products – with some degree of relevance, then a presence on Pinterest could yield value. An attractive product photograph linked to your or your client’s site could easily be repinned by one or more of your followers. In turn their followers will see the photograph, and some may repin and display it to their followers, and so on. This is the online equivalent of that most valuable of all marketing commodities: word-of-mouth advertising. And anyone sufficiently interested in a photograph to repin it is also quite likely to click through to your site and may even make a purchase.

Pinterest is still in its early stages but is already pushing more traffic to commercial websites than LinkedIn, Google+ and Youtube combined, according to a report recently published by Shareaholic.

But Pinterest is not a shopping catalogue and the same rules unwritten rule applies to commercial use of Pinterest as to any other social network: don’t be too strident. Blow your own trumpet too loudly and your are likely to be ignored. Create a sense of community around your images. Repin images posted by your followers if they are relevant or of potential interest, even if they show products you do not sell. Give your followers more than a commercial reason to follow your pinboards.

And of course, don’t forget to make it easy for people to pin your images. Don’t rely on people to acquire the Pinterest ‘pin it’ java bookmarklet themselves – sprinkle ‘pin it’ buttons liberally across your site. They should be as ubiquitous as the familiar Facebook ‘like’ button. A range of Pinterest plugins are also now available for popular blogging platform WordPress.

What is the fundamental difference between Pinterest and other big fish in the social networking pond? On Facebook, Twitter, Quora and Google+ I think it is fair to say that words are fundamental. Yes, you can post pictures and videos but in most cases these only illustrate the words and ideas expressed. On Pinterest this equation is reversed: images are the fundamental semantics of the site. Descriptions and comments serve only to illustrate the pictures and provide them with meaning and context. The image is primary.

Three useful sites for PRs looking to evaluate online sites

This week I have been doing quite a bit of analysis and research into bloggers and online influencers. This has become part of my day job reading, researching and engaging and I am often asked by other PR professionals to give recommendations on some of the tools that I use. So I thought a quick post on a few might help.

1. Searchmetrics Essentials

Now today I received an approach (from a friend of mine) for this blog to cover an SEO website analysis tool called Searchmetrics Essentials. Basically, you enter the URL and you get key metricsimage including the site’s visibility on social networks ( Facebook, Twitter and Google+) as well as data about its organic and paid search visibility. The example you are given is that if you type bbc.co.uk into the site, you can see that the BBC web site is estimated to have 68,007,133 Facebook likes, shares, and comments which link to its pages and 35,706,182 links shared on Twitter. Apparently and I quote:

“it is powered by the largest, fastest databases available for search and social media giving instant access to competitive intelligence in organic, paid and universal search, as well as visibility on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +1, Delicious and StumbleUpon.”

imageSo do I like it? Yes I do this is by far the best of the three with only one downside. The downside is the fact that the free element shows you some metrics but not everything, you have to upgrade to see the really useful social media metrics. This is clearly its USP and where it feels it can make the money and you can’t blame them for that.

Personally, I like tools that provide you with a lot of information and then charge you for reporting etc. I think I would like to trial the product out for a while with full access before I can give my wholehearted opinion though.

2. URLSPY

A nice and easy free option is URL Spy this is a nifty plain looking site that you simply punch in your imageURL/website address and out of the other end it delivers a number of statistics. To make this test fair I have used a local theme park that my family and I like to visit called Flamingo Land as I thought it would be a bit more fun that the usual corporate stuff.

As you can see on the right URL Spy reveals that the site gets 35,154 monthly visits and is worth an estimated £12,000. The most interesting part of any analysis for me is usually the amount of links. As the more links something has the better the authority it has. There are a huge amount of other factors but that is a good start. I have linked up the image so you can see what else this application provides.

3. Statmyweb

This site didn’t really start very well as you can see I kept getting a not found message but I persevered and then it kept breaking imageand I gave up. I did use it the other day and it gave me some useful statistics but nothing as good as URL Spy so for now I would stick to using that one.image

Finally, if you have some real money to throw into this area the best site of all is https://www.seomoz.org <This costs $99 a month but it is the best software of all for tracking rankings, keywords and links.

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