3 Quick Actions to Stay Ahead of the Latest Social Media Trends (Pinterest, Timeline and Google+)

New (or improved) social media trends and tools crop up every single day. And to hear some people tell it, every single one is the next big thing. I don’t actually agree—the real secret to social media is creating a strategy that works for you, which may or may not include the latest new tools. But you don’t want to get left behind, either. The trick is figuring out how to simplify the actions you DO take to avoid overwhelm.

With that in mind, here are 3 specific actions (with tips and examples) to help you get ahead of the latest “big things” in social media: Pinterest, Facebook Timeline for Pages and Google+ social search.

 #1: PINTEREST: Add a “Pin It” button to your blog and your bookmark bar.

It seems like everyone’s talking about Pinterest. I think I may have even heard someone talk about it in the grocery store! But they’ve got a good reason: studies have shown that it’s driving more traffic to websites than Twitter—which is to say, A LOT!

So how do Pinterest newbies leverage some of that value without stressing? First of all, the same social media rules still apply on Pinterest: be nice, don’t be overly promotional, and share a good mix of content—including content from influencers in your field and content your followers are sharing. But the visual nature of Pinterest is new for a lot of business owners. Here are a few steps to get started:

 1.  Set up your account using your brand’s Twitter or Facebook account (right now you can only login with your FB Profile, not your Page – I hope that changes soon!), and then update your photo and brand description. Pinterest is a highly social site, so the more personable your approach here, the better.

2.  Get the “Pin It” button for your blog AND bookmark bar. You want people to share your content, product photos and even book covers on Pinterest to drive incoming traffic. But you also want to have a “Pin It” button for yourself, so you can pin things you find interesting in a snap. Find them both here:  http://pinterest.com/about/goodies/

3.  Share visuals with your audience’s lifestyle in mind. Think of Pinterest as a lifestyle-marketing hub, where you curate images, not just post them. Sure, you can have a pinboard of product images or services, but people on Pinterest are looking for pins they can relate to visually, that reflect their lifestyle and values. Look to balance fun and content. For extra punch, use keywords or hashtags.

 For example, I have a pinboard of “Books Worth Reading” that all appeal to my target market (but also allow me to show some love to the influencers in my field—and include my own book cover!). I also have “Crazy About Infographics” board—mixing my expertise (social media marketing) with valuable information (cool infographics). If you have a product, obviously, this is a good spot to post tutorials or product images. But the general rule for Pinterest is the same as on all networks: pay attention to your audience’s needs. What interests them? How can you share, participate, and create value?

For a helpful primer, check out “How to Use Pinterest for Business,”  an easy-to-follow HubSpot guide that fills you in on everything from Pinterest lingo to search impact.

 #2: FACEBOOK:  Create several Timeline cover photos so you keep your new Page fresh and fun.

There’s SO much hype, buzz and frustration around every Facebook rollout. I say we embrace this last one—the shift to Timeline for Pages —if only because it gives us all a BIG canvas to get creative and stay top-of-mind with our fans. Literally, through the Timeline cover photo—an 851 by 315-pixel canvas to be exact!

What should brands do with all that space? First, the bad news: there are a lot of rules for using this space. You can’t call out price or purchase info, promos or ads, use calls to action, or include contact info or reference user interface elements (e.g. “like” or “share”). Disappointing? A little. But the opportunities for promotion are still there—they’re just subtler. Here are a few specific strategies to keep your Timeline photo fresh:

  • Brand creatively:  Think outside the box. Use eye-popping photos with plenty of color. This is a chance to be different and command attention—though I still recommend you stay true to your brand. Simple but bold is key, as you’ll see in this example.  I love how this brand spotlights their product in an fun and eye-catching way.  Check them out at https://www.facebook.com/GoodPops


  • Promote an event or product launch: Use images and minimal copy to let people know what’s coming up.  Without promoting or adding a call to action, you can still let people know how they can do business with you.  The timeline cover below does a great job of promoting an event with a good mix of images and copy.  Check them out at https://www.facebook.com/agentsofchangecon



  • Create curiosity: Use images to tell a story and compel people to find out more about you. This might mean a striking macro photo of something you do well—like a food blogger with a close-up of something tantalizing, but complex.  This Timeline cover grabbed my attention the minute I saw it!  Now I always check out Amanda’s page.  You can too at:  https://www.facebook.com/ConfidentCooking

 



  • Spotlight your fans: Humanizing a brand is always a strong strategy. Showing appreciation to your fans is a great way to let them know they are important to you.  Alternate creative photos with photos of your fans to keep the images new and fresh. My good friend, Mari Smith, does a great job of this on her own page.  Mari changes her Timeline cover often.  Check them out here:  https://www.facebook.com/marismith

 



  • Show your ideal audience:  Want to really connect with your audience? Show them pictures… of themselves! Think smiling, happy photos of your target audience. The idea here is to show your audience who they will become by interacting with your Page—a strategy that always gets results when done well.  https://www.facebook.com/dove

 



  • Highlight a unique feature: This works particularly well if you have a product—think close-ups of cool features unique to your brand. But it can also work with brands and services. What’s special about what you do? Show it!  That’s just what Better Voice has done on their Timeline cover:  https://www.facebook.com/bettervoicemail

 


Quick Tip:  It’s important to remember that you don’t have to stick to the same Timeline cover image forever.  Create a few and change them out often to grab the attention of all your fans and potential customers.

 

To learn more on how to optimize Facebook Timeline for pages, click here to check out my recent webinar.

#3: GOOGLE+:  Leverage social search to improve your visibility and traffic.

Google’s Search, Plus Your World feature is a revolutionary approach to “social” search that all online businesses should really pay attention to. When users are logged into Google+ and searching for something using Google’s engine, all the Google+ content that’s been shared with them gets highlighted in the search results—resulting in potentially enormous traffic surges for businesses using Google+ well. Take a look at the new search—the “social” results are marked with a little blue person icon:

From a business perspective, this is the #1 reason to get on Google+ and start optimizing your business page and/or profile (even if you’ve resisted it so far). To make sure you’re getting the most out of Google+’s new search features, make sure you:

  • Fill out all your important data on your profile. At a minimum, include your relevant links around the Web. But don’t forget to fill out your business’ description using keywords wherever possible. What you fill out here will be crawled for search results, so it doesn’t hurt to be thorough.
  • Include Google+ icons and badges both on your content or blog, as well as your website—and pretty much any other social media network you have. This way, followers you already have know how to find you—and share your content with their own circles.
  • Grow your presence on Google+; the more followers you have, the better your search ranking (no surprises there). If you use your profile for business, this will be easy—but business pages need to be added to someone else’s circle first in order to circle fans back. So make it a point to ASK your fans to do so!

For more information and specific examples, read “5 Ways to Use Google+ to Improve Your Search Engine Optimization” by Kristi Hines. She includes some great examples of how social search can impact your results—and how to take advantage of the new features.

Remember, when it comes to social media trends, it’s never one-size-fits-all—social media is about honing in on the networks and tools that work for YOU.

Now it’s your turn—what’s one successful way you’re currently using Pinterest, Facebook Timeline or Google+ search?

 

 

  • Sidney Kutchuk

    My home work tonight is to go through your post and work your tips into my social media sites.
    Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/Floydilou Floydilou Kerr

    Thanks for the terrific post, Amy! With the ever changing social media opportunities, I really enjoyed the easy to implement strategies and concise info.

  • Jody Raines

    Thanks, Amy – you are always sharing great information!  Keeping the ‘cover’ fresh on Facebook is a great idea.   I love Google+ and am curious if you have any great tips for keeping those profiles sexy too? 

  • NanditaB

    Quite informative article. This article is specially for newbie bloggers who wanna ride the Social Media Wave smoothly.

  • jaybie

    concise. spot on. relevant. GR8 info here. Thanks Amy, for sharing some practical ideas
    for being Social in the right way! Respectfully, Jay

  • Robin

    love the idea of having several different facebook cover images ready to change out and keep it fresh!

  • http://twitter.com/CoachEllen Ellen Thomas

    Thanks, Amy, for another great blog chock full of tips that can be used right away! I paid close attention on your last webinar and just updated my cover: http://www.facebook.com/yourtransformationcoach The buttons/apps are still in process…

  • http://www.liveinakron.com akronohiohomes

    Thank you Amy, well done!

  • Freelancetina

    Fantastic information, very precise & very much appreciated! Thanks Amy.

  • Amber Keinath

    Thanks for the great tips Amy! I was looking for the best ways to go about using these 3 great new marketing features and this article took the guess work out of it. Looking forward to putting some of these tips to practice. :)

  • Exkalibur

    Something must have changed overnight, Amy, because when I visited Pinterest, they DID offer a Facebook login along with Twitter. Things change super-fast, don’t they?

  • http://twitter.com/MarqueeMktg Carol Wain

    Amy, it was a challenge to get our Timeline Cover Image done but I think we succeeded in being creative too.  What do you think?  (http://facebook.com/marquee.marketing)

  • http://TwelveTwoDesign.com/ Designer Rob Russo

    Great tips on 3 of the most popular social media sites. I learn something from each of your posts, even when you cover “just the basics.”

  • http://twitter.com/goddesshuntress Goddess Huntress

    Exkalibur, you cannot log in with a business FB page, only a personal page. I believe that is what Amy was referring to for the Pinterest log in.  You may not want Pinterest viewers to get access to your personal FB page, because that is where they will be directed when they click on the FB icon below your Pinterest profile photo…I opted to not link my Pinterest FB for this reason.

  • http://www.deliciousdecors.com/ Penny Bergstrom

    Great tips! Thanks so much Amy!

  • Maggie

    Great post Amy! One thing…. my market, artists & photographers, are freaking out about Pinterest.
    People are deleting all there boards and putting scripts on there sites to stop people pinning from there.

    Pinterest’s terms & conditions are the problem, apperently they claim they own every image that’s pinned to use in whatever way they like, claiming the copyright, or at the very least, ignoring the artist’s rights.

    Then, to add insult to injury, they go on to say that if they ever get sued about any off the images, they will put the blame on the pinners and sue them for all costs resulting from any legal action.

    Okay, this is a short version of a long doc that I never read when I signed up, what have you heard about this? Is it time to freak out, or just keep pinning? The traffic it has created has been nothing short of amazing!

    Looking forward to hear what your thoughts are!

    Maggie

  • Robert

    I am very wary of this new fad – as Maggie says, copyright is being abused (not a new thing on the internet, but Pinterest has to be the big offender, along with Facebook). I strongly advise anyone to watermark all your images OR stop Pinterest accessing your own sites if you can.

    I’m sure they will be forced to change/limit their T & Cs at some point.

     It’s obviously a great idea, but flawed in its respect for copyright, so use with caution and respecting other’s images.

  • http://www.AmyPorterfield.com Amy Porterfield

    Great point, Exkalibur – and Goddess Huntress :-)  I will change that up a bit in the article to make it more clear :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/pestrak Dave Pestrak

    Nice article, as usual.  You can feel free to borrow any of our stuff anytime too.  We got our FB cover pics going and even our Opening milestones.  Thanks for the guidance.
    http://www.facebook.com/betweenthebunsgranger 
    http://www.facebook.com/curvecafe 
    Or you can tell me what I did wrong!  LOL

  • http://www.damayanthijayasinghe.com damayanthi

    Thanks Amy for sharing this. 

  • http://ExxcelModelTalent.com/ Best Model Services Agency

    Creativity is the key. Few examples of timeline covers shown here give me ideas. Thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1027456506 Patty Jones

    Thanks for the great tips. I have stayed far away from Google+…now’s a good time to rethink.

  • KimS

    Great info Amy.  A friend was talking to Facebook about ads yesterday and of course the topic turned to the new covers.  They said they would love to see us change them twice a week, and that some brands (Starbucks) are changing them daily.  Even twice a week seems like a lot unless you are paying someone.  Thanks again Amy.

  • http://twitter.com/sierratierra Lisa Kalner Williams

    I think the Pinterest copyright issue for many photographers depends on how one weighs intellectual property v. global distribution. I write about how this scenario played out in the Napster era: http://sierratierra.com/2012/02/23/are-you-a-lars-ulrich-or-a-chuck-d-with-your-work-on-pinterest/

  • http://www.clairekcreations.com/ Claire @ Claire K Creations

    Thanks so much Amy! I always learn something that I can implement straight away from you. You’re a wealth of information and I love how simple your tips are even for a techno-beginner like me. 

  • http://www.AmyPorterfield.com Amy Porterfield

    If you find any that spark your creativity, I would love to see them :-)

  • http://www.AmyPorterfield.com Amy Porterfield

    Really?  Wow – that is great to hear, Kim.  That seems like a lot of work for most small businesses – but it makes sense that Starbucks can do it!  Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.AmyPorterfield.com Amy Porterfield

    So glad to hear you found some good tips here, Claire!

  • http://www.4localonlineadvertising.com/ Tony

    Great post Amy, thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/TimelineCoverCo TimelineCover.co

    Creativity is king, true…
    http://timelinecover.co/

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1388843142 Antonio Johnson

    Spot on w/ the cover info! Personally I think it’s a fresh new feature, that is huge for businesses. And frankly it’s good for individuals; most just haven’t come to the realization yet. 

    Also as mentioned by many above, never had any desire for G+. But after this, I’ll most definitely get on the ball. 

    Much thanks!
    Antonio

  • http://www.AmyPorterfield.com Amy Porterfield

    Antonio! So great to hear that you will check out G+ – I really do think it will be a contender to Facebook. Thanks for the great comment!

  • Jen Knoedl

    So many balls to juggle!  I’ve mostly just created a profile but I think they are getting a little dusty. Gotta work ‘em in to the rotation.  

    Thanks for this.

  • http://twitter.com/sandrodelmundo Sandro Marino

    I’m hosting an interview series of Enlightened Entrepreneurs on my site and Pinning my posts to People I Admire :)
    http://www.newlifestylesecrets.com/blog

  • http://www.facebook.com/dfrey David Frey

    Awesome article Amy! I’m starting to take Google + more seriously. I’m starting to see faces of people in my search results more and more so Google’s kinda forcing us to take + serious. And I just pinned my first blog article the other day so I’m learning!  Thanks for keeping us informed with the latest and greatest!

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/IgorALedochowski Igor Alexander Ledochowski

    Timeline for Pages is really frustrating. I had enough. I’ll leave my fan page as it is.