Showing posts with label pinterest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pinterest. Show all posts

Friday, November 23

Building Spaces: Environments Impact Minds

Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi
Fast Company recently covered a story in the Pacific Standard that explores how certain types of spaces affect our behaviors and ultimately our brains. Designers and programmers might take note of it.

Architecture isn't the only design that ties into neuroscience. When people click on a link and land on a page, design and organizational function create a cascade of immediate reactions, sometimes before anyone has the chance to read the first word. It dictates how we feel when we visit a platform.

The reason is simple. Our brains can't always distinguish the difference between stories, pictures, programs, and real-life experiences. This is the reason horror flicks can trigger our "fight or flee" mechanism. It's also why some photos, like the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi, have an immediate calming affect on our mood. In at least one case, as Fast Company noted, it inspires clarity.

Thinking spatially, contextually and visually will become a dominant design driver. 

In fact, neuroscience studies in this fascinating field use virtual renderings of architectural models to test their theories. One of their many findings concluded that design is often responsible for making people feel lost or providing enough guidance to create a confident, intuitive sense of where they are going.

There is a dual edge to this kind of design theory, both architecturally and online. While our brains may have some design preferences that may be universal (something along the lines of feng shui), some of our preferences are built upon other environmental factors that help set our expectations.

Ergo, there is a reason that architectural movements tend to occur in waves or that Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ all create similar streams of content. Advertising design sometimes does the same (the dark and edgy advertisements that dominated much of the 1990s have fallen off, for example). But that doesn't mean designers and programmers ought to be concerned with trends alone.

There do seem to be universal design elements and structures that touch our subconscious, which is why certain natural and classical architecture immediately appeal to our senses and feel timeless. Such consideration could make the design-build stage of everything — advertisements, websites and social networks — much more effective in delivering a memorable, automatically comfortable experience.

Perhaps there is a Pinterest connection to intuitive design.

This could even be why Pinterest took off as its own unique niche network. While there were several sites that were launched (and relaunched) around the same time, Pinterest propelled itself forward because it stumbled upon an interesting, universally appealing platform design that felt natural.

Sure, some people believe that Pinterest took off because it was all about visuals. But it seems to me to be much more than that. While the structural layout wasn't necessarily original or new, it did take advantage of a more universally appealing design — one that "feels" cleaner than other networks but not overtly sparse as Google+ looked when it was originally rolled out.

In other words, it seems a few answers to why some platforms succeed and others do not might be more linked to design and neuroscience than we think. And if it is, better design-program integration will eventually become a priority.

Monday, August 20

Emerging Markets: Will Shift Social Scores

A recent study by eMarketer pinpoints something marketers may need to consider in the near future. Emerging markets lead the world in social networking growth. And these markets are very likely to eclipse North America (China already did).

This simple but important truth could change the way people look at online measurement. With the fastest growth rates in the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific, places like North America will represent a smaller and smaller portion of the global audience.

Specifically, some estimates suggest 78 percent of the U.S. population is connected to the Internet, but it only represents between 10 and 11 percent of the global online population. Conversely, 38 percent of China's population already represents 22 percent of the global online population. India already represents 5 percent of the global online population, with only 10 percent of its population.

It also means marketers have to erase some of their previous preconceptions in terms of influence or importance. Looking at Alexa rankings or influence measurements might not mean what social media experts told them they meant. Some search engines will likely be impacted too.

There are several ways to think about the global population shift.

One old rule of thumb (although it was as erroneous then as is it today) was to ignore anyone who didn't meet a specific global threshold. Nowadays, it's even less true. Unless a site or social network account is attempting to cater to a global audience, it's not likely to have a global rank as high as its country, regional, or local rank.

Ranking or popularity doesn't have anything to do with content quality. It has everything to do with potential reach. If the potential readership has a smaller audience, then it likely won't perform at higher levels. It's a lesson I wish some communicators would have considered before dropping their communication blogs.

Some thought they were losing their audience, but the reality was that they were catering to an ever shrinking reach against the total population. Ergo, as online demographics diversified, a smaller percentage of people were interested in communication-related topics. Likewise, as time goes on, fewer people may be interested sites with English content or Western-style visuals or even hot topics.

Mashable scratched the surface of how global participation can shape a network. It compared participants in the U.S. and participants in the U.K. on Pinterest and discovered some very different statistics. In fact, the interests of U.K. participants looked vaguely familiar to me. They were similar to the online interests of U.S. participants five years ago (but on different networks).

What seems to be happening on the small scale is similar to what happens on a global scale. In this case, U.K. small businesses and consultancies are moving into Pinterest ahead of consumers. In the U.S., the migration patterns were flipped. Small businesses mostly stayed away until public relations and social media specialists began taking an interest, based on independent blogger traffic spikes.

It's a small example, but one worth considering. If your content or connection isn't geared for a global audience, you'll either have to accept your company's smaller global reach or begin altering the content in consideration of other cultural expectations and influences. The latter isn't necessarily the best idea. It all depends on what your companies does, who it serves, and where those people might live.

Wednesday, April 18

Making Lures: Oooo Pinterest Is So Pretty

Do you remember Dory being hypnotized by a pretty little light in the animated film Finding Nemo by Disney? Or maybe you remember how much fun she had bouncing a squishy little jellyfish. Or maybe you remember how much fun they had swimming with a shark until its addiction to white meat kicked in.

Pinterest is filled with those moments. But it's not Pinterest you have to worry about. 

There aren't so many lures on Pinterest as there are lures off Pinterest — enough tips, tactics, and strategies to game the buzzed up social sharing network to fill an ocean. Learn to say no to them.

There is no such thing as a Pinterest strategy, let alone eight of them. And pitching doesn't have much to do with repinning other people's pins just to attract attention to a wall of marketing fodder on a network. In fact, the entire reciprocal push of other people's stuff so they will push yours is becoming passé. People see through it, mostly.

There are always those legal considerations too. Plopping every photo from your company on Pinterest is paramount to giving up any copyrights (which isn't so bad unless you're a photographer or those pics have monetary value). And that doesn't even account for accidental repinning infringements, with your company being much more interesting to any infringed party than a lone network participant.

But I don't really want to get too wrapped up in making a win-lose column about Pinterest as much as I want to offer up some common sense. When your communication strategy begins to become so benign that you count pins, repins, likes, and comments as your objective, what you're really saying is that you have nothing to offer. Do something different with Pinterest if you are going to use it. It's simple.

The best "strategy" for Pinterest is to use it like participants do. Don't try to game it for glory. 

The best online communication comes from natural interests that are designed with the company's intent in mind, not a means to grab up flash-in-the-pan attention. If anything, all those tactics tend to backfire.

• Review your organization's mission, vision, and values.
• Elevate your plan to see if the network augments anything.
• Consider relevant content you can share at the right time.
• Become a participant without any agenda other than quality.
• Work at being a beneficial presence not someone who benefits.

That's my list of five, but it might not make sense for anyone who hasn't seen it through to execution. Personally, I enjoy Pinterest but it doesn't fit this marcom slant beyond the occasional educational and psychological threads. So I don't develop sneaky ways to force it.

The platform is much more in sync with Liquid [Hip], a music, film, fashion, and travel review site. But even with relevant content, we didn't make a marketing channel to push anything. Instead, I integrate what other under-the-radar creative people find with our own. And mostly, they pin it before we do.

The idea is to make like-minded quality content indistinguishable to the content we create — which is precisely how people use networks without agendas. Most people pin to express something. Maybe you can too.

For example, if you have a parks and recreation department, maybe you could host a beautiful park photography board (with photographer permissions). If you are a tech company, maybe you can share like-minded innovations. If you are a restaurant, maybe you can highlight recipes that you have tried to make at home (along with some from your establishment). If you are a general contractor, maybe you can have a board that celebrates architecture or designers. And the list goes on...

There isn't any mystery to using Pinterest. The only mystery is how you can avoid the temptation to use it for anything other than the intent of the network. It isn't really about ROI as much as market position.

Specifically, you have to ask if you are one of them or just trying to use them. If it's the latter, skip the pinning and mind the "teaching" lures that promise marketing. Some lights have ugliness attached.

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