How to target the male on Pinterest?

Every women surrounded me are addicted to Pinterest. Pinterest is a female-dominated social media site that allows customers to pin images, videos, and other object to their pinboard. Currently, according to the Visually, Pinterest has been embraced with over 13 million users in 10 short months.

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In fact, 80% of the mainstream users are still women, but the male audience grows from 20% to 28%, according to Brangignity, March 2013. I strongly believe that male will share the pie with female in Pinterest in the coming three years.

First thing the market should consider is guys’ general common interests. Pinterest is a new platform to let pictures talks rather than words. From my life experience with my male friends, there are several categories that they are highly interested in.

  • Sports: Hockey, snowing boarding, basketball and baseball
  • Men Fashion: there is an increasing trend for the male to pay attention what clothing brands and what the trendy color and pattern they are wearing. What they are wearing is showing their taste as well.
  • Cars: Cars are one of the things to present their social status.

So let us see what companies and brands are using Pinterest to expand the male market.

  1. NHL: Currently, NHL, the national Hockey League, has over 1.3 million followers. The Penguins accounts for 950 followers and Duck has different 12 boards. Using Pinterest can easier to generate more super fans attention.

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  1. Karmaloop: Socially Targeted Email Marketing stats “Between November 12 and December 5, Karmaloop has gained a 204% growth in revenue from Pinterest and a 419% growth in followers with socially targeted email marketing from PinMail by PinLeague” Additionally, the sit traffic grew from 114030 to 139320 and the revenue grew from $5145 to $15656.

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Reference

http://pinleague.com/targeted-email-marketing-karmaloop/

http://thumbnails.visually.netdna-cdn.com/pinterest-usa-vs-uk_502914da25b27.jpg

http://penguins.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=77686

http://socialmediatoday.com/melissamegginson/1326076/hey-dude-you-can-market-men-pinterest-too

 

 

What is the future of the Location Based Social Networks?

Location-based social networks have brought numerous benefits to customers and business companies. The location-based social networks can be used massively in the future, except connecting with friends, locating themselves and reviewing restaurants. Based on people’s daily life, I have come up with three promising outlook how the future of the location-based social networks is.

Shopping mall location-based social networks: shopping malls have huge opportunities to take advantages of the location-based networks by sharing information which customers may need during shoping in the malls. For example, Metropolis shopping mall, the largest shopping mall in BC, has 5 floors and more than 450 retail stores. Customers are so easier to get lost in shopping mall. So what can large shopping mall use location-based social networks to solve the problem?

Customers can use the location-based networks to access every store, location themselves in the mall and find the fast route to the next store. Customer may also can read reviews about stores’ products and check what deals or coupons the stores offer before they set foot in an individual shop. Having it on customers’ mobiles can enhance their shopping experience and make shopping more effectively.

Parking lot location-based social networks: Have you ever complain about why there is no parking lot available in downtown? Where I can find the free parking lot? These location-based applications have opportunities to help users to find the nearest parking lot or available parking lots depending on their current geographic location. It can save customer more time when driving around to find a spot.

Second, in the future, customers maybe can reserve a parking lot in the nearest parking if they book a table in the restaurant in a specific time. It can bring a special and delightful dinning and parking experiences to customers.

Location-based companies merge together into a big corporation: when I research about the location-based social platforms, most of them share the similar features, which is easier for customers to lose interest and get tired of these similar applications. As far as I predict the future, it has possibility for the small location-based companies to merge into a big corporation.

Five Location Based Social Networks that You Should Have on Your Phone

Foursquare

Foursquare is a location-based check-ins application that incorporating game element, launched in 2009 by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvaduria in the U.S. Registered users have the ability to share their locations and activities allowing them to stay connected and activated in their social network. Additionally, businesses have continue to find creative ways to promote their business using the Foursquare, such as offering discounts at specific check-ins, offering contests for users on check-in locations, offering a to-do list at their Foursquare webpage and so on.

In order to distinguish Foursquare with other applications, Foursquare utilizes a game mechanism in which users can compete for virtual positions. By checking in a certain number of times or various locations, users can collect virtual badges. Meanwhile, in order to motivate users to be active on Foursquare, users will be crowned “Mayor” if they have checked in the most times at a certain venues and also allow others to compete in their own social networks (CrushCase, 2013)

Facebook Places

Like other location-based social networks, Facebook also launched its location-based service, namely the Facebook Places in the summer of 2010. Their slogan is “Who. What. When. And now Where.” It allows Facebook users to share where they are, what they are doing and who they are hanging out. Tagging friends on photos, videos and places are one of the special features in Facebook place. Checking in places on Facebook will leave marks on personalized Facebook Timeline. It has become a way to record people’s life.

Yelp

Yelp is a local directory service with social networking and user reviews, established in October 2004 in U.S. It had more than 100 million monthly visitors in January 2013 (TNW, 2013). Yelp is my favorite location-based application on my phone. It is my decision making tool for selecting and searching a restaurant near my location, browsing reviews and recommendations, and checking addresses and phone numbers in order to make a reservation. Yelp allows customers to add tips, upload photos about their food and share their dining experiences, so that Yelp can become a guidebook to potential users. It has changed the traditional way for people to select a restaurant by word of mouth.

Groupon

Groupon has become one of the trendiest applications on iPhone. Groupon has been launched since November 2008. It features a daily deals on the products and service to do, see, eat and buy in more than 565 cities and 48 countries(Groupon, 2013). It currently has over 1000 employees working in Chicago headquarters. Groupon works with local businesses to offer unbeatable deals to local customers. It is a location-based networking platform to connect customers and buyers together in a more collaborative way. In addition, CruchBase states, “To date, it has saved consumers more than $300 million and claims it has generated million in revenue for the business.”

Waze

Waze is a free, community-based mapping, traffic and navigation application. Waze is a location-based service that can passively identify problems and select the best route for users while driving. Compared with Google Map, Waze can provide community-contributed road alerts and a voice-guided navigation including accidents, hazards, policy traps, and road closures. It is the smartest navigation app that I have never experience before.

It is a customized device that allows users to check Facebook friends who are also driving to the same destination on Waze. Users can also earn points and move up the ranks in their communities as they contribute the road information. Having this location-based application on the Smartphone can help customers to save more time on the traffic and get to the destination efficiently. Waze won the Best Overall Mobile App award at the 2013 Mobile World Congress (Hoffman, 2013)

In this part, I will list and analyze the main players that depend on the number of users, the number of check-ins and revenues. There are three main players in different areas of location-based platforms.

Foursquare is one of the main players in this field. It has been in the market only for three years. In January 2013, Foursquare has over 30 million people worldwide and over 3 billion check-ins with millions more every day. Currently, it has over 100 employees in New York (Foursquare, 2013).

Yelp can be considered as the second players in location-based networks, because it has been established for over 9 years. Yelp has more than 86 million monthly unique visitors as of January 2013. It has 1214 employees now. Yelpers have written over 36 million local reviews. Customers can access 19 countries in Yelp.com

Groupon was just launched in 2008 with over 11471 employees working worldwide. Groupon has over 115 million registered users in 2013. In 2012, Groupon reported that they had $591 million revenue (Groupon, 2012)

Reference

Nicole.K. (April, 2007). Dodgeball Left for Dead: Twitter Victorious. Retrieved on March 23, 2013, from http://mashable.com/2007/04/15/dodgeball/

Prix Ars Electronic Archives. (2001). New Vision/New Excellence. Retrieved on March 23, 2013, from http://90.146.8.18/en/archives/prix_archive/prix_projekt.asp?iProjectID=10954

Belic. (2008). ABI Research: 82 million location-based mobile social networking users by 2013. Retrieved on March 23, 2013, from

http://www.intomobile.com/2008/11/11/abi-research-82-million-location-based-mobile-social-networking-users-by-2013/

Foursquare. (2013). About foursquare. Retrieved on March 23, 2013, from https://foursquare.com/about/

CrushBase. (2013). Foursquare. Retrieved on March 23, 2013, from http://www.crunchbase.com/company/foursquare

CrushBase. (n.d). Whrrl. Retrieved on March 23, 2013, from

http://www.crunchbase.com/product/whrrl

TNW. (2013). Yelp surged past 100 million unique visitors in January, not counting its 9.4 million mobile app users. Retrieved on March 23, 2013, from http://thenextweb.com/insider/2013/02/06/yelp-surged-past-100-million-unique-visitors-in-january-not-counting-9-4-million-mobile-app-users/

Kincaid. (December, 2011). Facebook has acquired Gowalla. Retrieved on March 23, 2013, from http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/02/report-facebook-has-acquired-gowalla/

Hoffman. (February, 2013). Waze wins Best Mobile App award in Barcelona. Retrieved on March 23, 2013

http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/docview.asp?did=1000825700&fid=1725

What is Cause Marketing?

Cause marketing is type of marketing involving the cooperative efforts of a for profit business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit.
Advantages
§   Increase the sales: according to the study by Cone’s 2010 cause evolution study, 61% of customers are willing to try the new brand which they never experience before if the company is associated with cause marketing. While cooperating with the positive image of nonprofit organization can boost the sales revenues and generate the public awareness. The word of mouth in these cases will be so strong that the companies will see a phenomenal growth in their sales turnover and net profits.
§   Building a positive company image: cause marketing campaigns can assist to build the public image to customers, which leads customers to viewing the companies into a more trustworthy, reliable, and charitable image.
§   High employee’s involvement into the cooperated non-profit organization: the cause marketing always requires the companies’ employees to get involved in all perspective of the campaign. It makes all employees bond together to be the volunteers to help each others. Additionally, the companies itself can benefit from a rise in the morale of their employees from tying up with the organization
Disadvantages
Companies’ mission statement and products doesn’t fit with the theme of the non-profit organization: too many companies are too profit-driving to cooperated organization. For example, in 2011, KFC has the cause marketing campaigns to support Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. It has caused a public confusion about the relation between the image of the Juvenile and the chicken. People and public confused about the purpose and relation of a fast food chain store with the non-profit organization
Recommendation
1.      Choose the right organization to fit: it is important for the companies to choose the right organization to fit with the mission statement and their own related products.
2.      High involvement in employees: make all the employees feel more value and engage in the activities with the non-profit organization.
3.      Company should be special and environmental stability: It is necessary for the employees to get involved in the activities who love doing the activities.

Traditional Media V.S Social Media

Traditional Media
Advantages
Ø  Higher customer involvement
Social media provides higher customer engagement and improves communication channels between the company and their customers. The company will also be able to generate customer feedback and reviews faster.
Ø  Higher conversion ratios
Companies are able to measure online traffic and social media marketing easily and in a timely manner with numerous online tools available such as Google Analytics (Social Media Today, 2012). They are also able to receive higher response rates in providing products and services with lower costs.
Ø  Monitoring competitors
Information about competitors is available in all social media platforms. Companies are able to read first-hand what consumers are saying on competitors’ Facebook pages, Twitter, blogs and etc. With all this information, companies are able to improve on their marketing strategies.
Ø  Market research
Companies are able to conduct market research with their target audiences more efficiently and with various different online resources (Canada Business Network, 2012). They are also able to track trends and identify customer needs using different digital methods more conveniently without high costs.
Ø  Connect and attract new customers globally
The use of social media enables companies to interact with customers from different parts of the world. Using this powerful tool as a way to market to other global consumers will attract and expand new target audiences.
Ø  Word-of-mouth/viral marketing
Social media functions as a spider’s network for company to generate public awareness. Social media is an effective word-of-mouth marketing strategy to promote companies with extraordinary spreading speed. Customers have higher trust level on what the comments and feedback given by other customers on social media.
Disadvantages
Ø  High Expense
Traditional forms of media such as television and magazines are costly to companies and their marketers. Television ads can range into the hundreds of thousands of dollars while print ads need to be published numerous times to be effective.
Ø  Lack of Sustainability
Traditional media lacks sustainability as ads are shown for brief periods of times. Companies and marketers must continuously work to develop new ads often of the same brand to hold consumers attention and make the message sustainable.
Ø  Limited Space
Television requires your message to be delivered in 30 seconds or less which leaves customers little time to understand the true meaning of a message. According to contentgroup (2012) companies and marketers who do not have an interesting story to tell should refrain from using traditional media at all. Time and space that is available is in fact rented and not owned (The Content Market Revolution, 2007). This means that they must pay a fee to the advertising agencies to host their ad for a period of 15 to 30 seconds.
Ø  Lack of Target Market Reach
Unfortunately reaching the right target market can be extremely difficult through traditional forms of media. Often time’s messages shown on television, placed in newspapers or heard on the radio are geared towards one particular group. According to Canadian blog site Six Pixels of Separation (2012) only 28% of the audience knows about products and services advertised and the rest seldom pay particular attention to the message.
Ø  Ability to Ignore & Clutter
Finally traditional media can easily be ignored and messages are often cluttered. Mediums such as television and the radio can easily be switched off or changed to another channel. Newspapers and magazines can also be ignored by choice while the same can be said for SkyTrain and bus advertisements.
Social Media
Advantages
Ø  Higher customer involvement
Social media provides higher customer engagement and improves communication channels between the company and their customers. The company will also be able to generate customer feedback and reviews faster.
Ø  Higher conversion ratios
Companies are able to measure online traffic and social media marketing easily and in a timely manner with numerous online tools available such as Google Analytics (Social Media Today, 2012). They are also able to receive higher response rates in providing products and services with lower costs.
Ø  Monitoring competitors
Information about competitors is available in all social media platforms. Companies are able to read first-hand what consumers are saying on competitors’ Facebook pages, Twitter, blogs and etc. With all this information, companies are able to improve on their marketing strategies.
Ø  Connect and attract new customers globally
The use of social media enables companies to interact with customers from different parts of the world. Using this powerful tool as a way to market to other global consumers will attract and expand new target audiences.
Ø  Word-of-mouth/viral marketing
Social media functions as a spider’s network for company to generate public awareness. Social media is an effective word-of-mouth marketing strategy to promote companies with extraordinary spreading speed. Customers have higher trust level on what the comments and feedback given by other customers on social media.
Disadvantages
Ø  No face-to-face interaction
Social media lacks the formal face-to-face interaction that can come from one-on-one company and consumer meetings.
Ø  Time commitment and management
Companies will have to commit to maintaining and updating digital/social media networks to provide necessary feedback to customers; these procedures are time consuming for companies.
Ø  Online public complaints and bad reviews
Companies have limited control of the online negative public complaints from customers. According to the Retail Consumer Report, conducted online by Harris Interactive in January 2011 among 1,605 online customers, it showed that 68% of customers having a negative review got a response from the company and 18% of these people ended becoming loyal customers. These negative comments can cause 21% of customers that decided not to buy any products from the website.
Ø  Security issues
In January 12, 2012, Zappo official website got hacked and was stolen 24 million client’s information, including names, address, billing, shipping address, phone number, even the last four digits of credit card and online password. Luckily, Zappo stored this data in a different file. These online companies have caused the security issues that not only can reveal personal information, but also can increase the customers and society chaos.
Recommendation:
Traditional media provides consumers with a better level of trust in what is printed while social media provides the speed and convenience of getting information on the go. There is no right or wrong of each side. To take advantages of each side is depend on the company itself. If the company focus on on-line business, it is unnecessary to go traditional media to promote itself. The most thing important thing for companies is to how to take advantages of the social media and traditional media effectively. Every company needs to find the key promotion selling point by which media is the most effective and is most high targeted.

Online Audit for Zappos.com

Company Background

Zappos.com is the most popular and largest online shoes and apparel retail store based in Henderson, Nevade. It was founded in 1991 by Tony Hsieh and Nick Swinmun. Zappos.com is premier selling various selections of branded shoes, growing ranges of accessories, and clothing. Beside the tangible products, Zappos.com is famous for its loyalty business model and relationship marketing. What makes Zappos.com competitive and distinctive is their excellent customer service in the industry; they promote three benefits to customers, free shipping both ways, a 365-day return policy without extra shipping and restocking fees and a 24/7 call center.
Official Website
Zappos has put a lot of efforts in designing, optimizing and managing their official website in term of being accessible and easy to navigate for customers. At the top of their website, it has a search engine to allow customers to find their products in a second. On the menu bar, the website list all different categories from shoes to accessories. It also presents the popular shopping items as recommendations and customers testimonials about their products (Zappos, 2013).
From my perspective, although Zappos.com positions their unique selling point which is their extraordinary customer service in the entire website, I found that Zappos still has traditional online shopping website pattern. Their website is too informative to distract my attention. It is important for Zappos.com to distinguish themselves of the website between eBay, Amazon and other online shopping stores.
Facebook
Zappos.com uses their Facebook page to update with the latest news, photos and products. They currently have over 420,747 likes and over 6373 people are talking about them, as well as hundreds of other likes for their individual posts (Facebook, 2013). What astonished me the most is that they actually respond every single customer’s comment promptly on Facebook. Zappos.com presents an image of outstanding customer service at anytime and anywhere.
The second most surprising thing I found is that Zappos was one of the earliest companies creating its Facebook page in 2004 when Facebook was just established. It is a company that is able to seize the trends of social media beyond other competitors. Additionally, Zappos has put a lot of efforts on their Facebook page. Their theme, image, branding and message coincide with website, blogs, and other online presences.
Twitter
Zappos initially encourages 500 employees to use twitter as a daily and causal communication approach instead of promoting and marketing. Tony Hsieh commented that it was a great way to help build their company culture, as well as connecting with customers. Tony Hsieh-the CEO of Zappos.com is one of the most followed persons on Twitter with 2.67 million followers (Hsieh, 2012). There are several twitter accounts from Zappos to function differently, such as Zappos customer service, Zappos Stylists, Zappos Insights and so on.
Unlike other companies on Twitter, all of the Zappos.com twitter accounts deliver a joyful company culture, present employees’ own personality and communicate with customers and followers. On the other hand, the company did a great job at responding to direct tweets and replying every customer’s positive or negative comments.
Blogs
Zappos.com has various blogs online, such as Zappos Family, CEO and COO Blog, Inside Zappos. Zappos’ blogs, updated frequently, focus on fashion trends which may appeal customers’ eyeballs, some top-picked products, and introduce the new brands and products (Hsieh, 2009). The message and photos on blogs are consistent on their Facebook page and Twitter. After I read many their blogs, I found that their posts were more female-oriented, because women are their major customer base. By posting those fashion trends blogs, Zappos.com has a desire to position their company as a fashion hub.
The only issue I found is that there are limited numbers of people to comment on blogs or even share to customers’ own Facebook. The reason of this problem is that Zappos only allow the users who have Zappos accounts or Amazon accounts to comment on their blogs.
YouTube
As a social media savvy company, Zappos.com has its own YouTube channel since March 2006 with only 3020 subscribers, 354 videos, and total 3.74 million video views. Zappos.com keeps the overall outlook consistently. For example, they use “Zappos.com offers free shipping and free return shipping with a 365-day return policy. Choose from over 1000 brands, over 100,000 styles, and over 3 million items from our warehouse full of shoes, clothing, handbags, and accessories!” in any channels of their online presences.
Their channel mainly still focuses on fashion trends, new brands or products introduction and even their employees’ activities. At the same time, they encourage customers to upload and share videos on YouTube about Zappos. Compared to eBay on YouTube, eBay has double subscribers and views than Zappos.com. Additionally, the average view of Zappos’ videos is around 800 to 1500 (Zappos, 2013). I have watched couple of their videos; I found their videos were not interesting and entertaining enough to attract customers. At this point, Zappos needs to switch the focus and create more impressive videos.
Google+
Although Google+ is a new social media platform online, Zappos.com has made numerous contributions to it. They try to be consistently updating information on Google+, also presenting similar content and pictures to it as same as Facebook and Blogs. Personally I think that Zappos.com should tailor Google+ differently than other online presences, instead of posting similar contents and pictures. Repeatable posts could lose customers’ interests and attention.
Mobile Apps
I consider mobile apps as one of the most important online presences for Zappos.com. It is available for IOS, Android and Kindle (Zappos, 2012). Zappos has taken a customer-centric approach to capture more new customers and provide a better navigation tool for them to shop. Having the mobile apps could not only improve customers’ shopping experience up to the next level, but also can increase customer loyalty and trustworthiness. Ordering products on Zappos mobile apps could able to earn more VIP points, expedited returns and 24 hours shipping (Kats, 2012).
Online Influencers
When we talk about accessories, shoes and clothing, the very first thing coming into my mind are fashion, trends, and brands. Since Zappos.com targets itself as a fashion leading company on different online presences, other fashion magazines are the key online influencers to Zappos at the same time. These magazines such as Elle, Trend Hunter, and Vogue have huge influence on fashion trends and customers’ shopping decision making.
The second online influencers are Zappos’ suppliers and existing customers. The voices of customers and suppliers online have ten times effective and valuable than advertising. Customers’ comments, posts, testimonials and suggestions can influence the credit, reliability, and reputation of Zappos.com. Zappos.com has done a great job on maintaining long-term and stable relationship with all three influencers.

 

Recommendations
Zappos.com, as one of the leading online retail empires, has done an excellent job and has effectively used different social media platform to communicate with customers. Zappos.com has handled successfully on the security threat that was happened in Jan 2012. Zappos has well established crisis management skills to comfort customers and respond every single negative comment online immediately. There will be no company like Zappos who could maintain its reputation and win customers back after being hacked 24 million accounts information.

After researching about Zappos, I recommend that it is better for Zappos.com to use every online presence differently and try to avoid posting the similar contents and pictures. In addition, establishing a long-term relationship with customers and fashion leading online influencers are the key to increase their sales and build their brand.

Bibliography
Zappos.com . (n.d.). Shoes, Clothing, and More- Zappos.com . Retrieved February 8, 2013, from http://zappos.com
Zappos. (2013). Zappos-Facebook. Retrieved February 8, 2013, from http://www.facebook.com/#!/zappos?fref=ts
Hsieh, T. (2012). Zappos.com ceo -tony. Retrieved February 8, 2013 from https://twitter.com/zappos
Hsieh, T. (2009, January 3). Instant dance party at Zappos! [Web log message]. Retrieved February 8, 2013 from http://blogs.zappos.com
Zappos. (n.d.). Zappos – YouTube. YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. Retrieved February 8, 2013, from http://www.youtube.com/user/zappos?blend=2&ob=0
Kats (May, 2012).. Zappos exec: Apps are a loyalty tool. Retrieved February 8, 2013, from Mobile Commerce Daily http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/zappos-exec-apps-are-a-loyalty-tool
Zappos. (n.d) Zappos-Google +. Retrieved February 8, 2013, from https://plus.google.com/+zappos