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Pinterest Redesign and the ‘Buzz’ Around March Madness

 

Top Story: Pinterest Profile Pages Get a Redesign

 

If you checked out your Pinterest profile last week (instead of simply getting sucked into the boards everyone else was creating), you were in for a little surprise. Pinterest profile pages got a redesign! The new profile pages are much cleaner and, as many are saying, are actually a bit reminiscent of Facebook Timeline. It’s all about making the images prominent and bold, which is exactly how they should be.

 

So, what changed? Instead of having all of your profile information to the left of your boards, it now runs across the top of your page, including your photo and bio, recent repins, followers and following, and other recent activity. Below, live your boards, but they’re set up a bit differently than before. Instead of giving your pins equal real estate on each of your boards, the boards are now featured with one main image (the most recently pinned) and other smaller ones below it. While you can’t change that larger image (unless you pin something new), you do have the ability to change the order your boards show up on your profile page.

 

The redesign is certainly an improvement on Pinterest’s end, but it didn’t blow us away and we think there’s much they could do to make it even friendlier on the eyes, as photo-sharing sites should be. But we also think they have a few other updates they should concentrate on before more redesigns (private boards, anyone? Character limit on descriptions?). After all, it really is the images that make the website.

 

Of course, at SXSW last week, Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann led us to believe the site will be rolling out lots more changes in the coming weeks. We can’t wait to see what they are!

 

Under The Radar: NCAA Tourney Upsets Causing Twitter Madness

Selection Sunday always causes a lot of buzz because hopeful fan bases are waiting to see what seed their team will receive, or whether they will make it to the big dance at all. The selection committee takes into a lot of different factors into their decisions; record, RPI, strength of schedule, how teams finished the season and much more – but one thing they do not take into account is online buzz. While this may not be a good indicator of who should make the tournament, it does make for an interesting study of fan bases and online discussions.

 

Edelman and Simply Measured teamed up to track buzz for every team in the tournament on selection Sunday, and remade the bracket based on the amount of buzz. Surprisingly the 4 number 1 seeds all stayed in their respective spots, while the rest of the bracket got shook up big time! St. Bonaventure shot up to a 5 seed, Wisconsin dropped to 10 and California (who had to play themselves in) shot up to a 3!

 

 

On closer examination there is one team that was didn’t make the cut on the buzz bracket – but made waves in the first round – Norfolk State. While they were one of the 68 teams selected the buzz bracket had them in the bottom 4 teams, meaning they ‘lost’ the play-in game. After beating Missouri in the first round as a 15 seed (only the fifth time that has ever happened) their popularity soared, getting a mention every 0.082 seconds following the upset.

 

 

Around the Hub
Last week, after a transformer fire in the near the Back Bay Hilton lead to widespread blackouts, social media sites were abuzz with pictures and messages about the #BackBayFire and #BostonBlackout. The news spread like wildfire (excuse the pun) on Twitter and images flooded feeds.

 

Via @atowne07

via @AllEyesOnJenny 

Event the historic Citgo sign in Kenmore was out:

Via @sdavy

How did you learn about the #Backbayfire? What images did you find most compelling? Tweet us @451Heat.


Tool of the Week: InstaCover Integrates Facebook Cover Photos with Instagram Photos

 

 

With most personal pages now on Timeline and the recent news that business Facebook pages will be forced to Timeline by the end of the month, getting the perfect profile cover photo is on many of our minds. And while lots of tools and services have been launched to help us get our ideal cover photo, this may be one of our favorites yet.

 

Instacover is a new service that lets you build a cover photo using your own (or somebody else’s) Instagram photos. We know, we know, you could totally build your own cover photo with Instagram photos, but you would need a little bit of design skill and it would be some pretty tedious work. Instacover gives you a few options for choosing photos and then automatically generates your cover photo and sends it to Facebook for you. Easy peasy.

 

There are a few drawbacks that might just prevent us from using the service ourselves just yet. It’s not completely customizable. You can choose which user’s images you want to display and can either utilize all images, the most popular images, or images in certain categories or with specific tags. Once you generate your cover photo, you can’t remove specific images or add others. When I generated mine, there were plenty of images I wouldn’t want to show up on my Facebook cover photo. However, from now on, I might start tagging my Instagram photos, so that I can choose precisely what will show up on the Instacover generator. It also feels a bit odd that you can generate a cover photo with someone else’s Instagram photos… And I don’t love the idea of my images making up someone else’s cover photo. That’s just strange.

 

Would you use Instacover to generate a Facebook cover photo of Instagram images?

 

Let us know what you think about this week’s #451Labs post – tweet to us @451Heat.

 

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The New iPad & Gronking the Madden Cover Curse

 

Top Story: The New iPad

The iPad is coming. What? You thought it was already here? Well, technically we’ve had a couple versions. But as was unveiled this week, the new iPad 3 will simply be called iPad. Clever. But was the simplistic new name the biggest surprised about the brand new iPad? While there are some pretty cool features coming with the new version, it may not be enough to get you standing in line or waking up early to jump on the computer.

 

So, what’s different? The new iPad will have a 9.7-inch display screen with a “retina display” of 2047 by 1536 pixels, compared with the current model’s 1024 by 768 pixels. This gives the new iPad a higher resolution than any other tablet or laptop on the market and will not only look snazzy, but will also be pretty great for gamers.  Another awesome upgrade on this new version is the 5-megapixel camera. Of course, unless you’re the type who carries your iPad around to snap photos, this probably doesn’t mean much to you. Isn’t that what your iPhone is for? It will also be the first iPad to run on 4G wireless networks, if you’re willing to pay a bit more.

 

Will you be trading your old iPad in for the new version when they hit stores on Friday? The good news is, the new iPad will is selling for the same price as iPad 2 (of course, you can likely get the iPad 2 for a whole lot less now). The bad news is, the third-generation iPad is already sold out for pre-orders, so you’ll have to wait a little bit. As for me, I still have the first edition iPad and think I’ll be waiting for the next one to be announced before I take the plunge again.

 

Under the Radar: Facebook Timeline for Brands

As of March 30th, the way that brand fan pages will appear on Facebook with change dramatically. Similar to personal pages, brands will now be shown in the new Timeline format featuring a prominent cover photo, enhanced and customizable tabs displayed at the top of the page, the addition of milestones allowing for an interactive display of the brand’s history, and the ability to privately message fans, effectively taking the conversation ‘offline.’

 

 

Want more information about the changes to Facebook for brands?  Check out last week’s Labs post or contact a 451 Marketing social media specialist for more information.

 

Tool of the Week: Getting Loopt into Green Dot

Before SXSW began this weekend, Loopt was already causing a buzz in the LBS world by getting acquired by Green Dot – a U.S. provider of prepaid debit cards. If this news doesn’t shock you, you are certainly in the minority. There are two major reasons this has come as shocking news to most:

 

Green Dot Who? If all of a sudden one of the tech giants (Google, Microsoft, Twitter, or even Yahoo) had swept in and bought up the nearly seven year-old location-based service, people may not have been quite as taken back. But instead a little known debit card provider has made the acquisition.

 

How Can Green Dot Use It? Tech acquisitions are not uncommon, but most have more obvious motives than Green Dot’s purchase of Loopt. How can the debit card provider leverage technology like Loopt?

 

With a slightly deeper look though, it looks like it could make sense. With Google Wallet and similar mobile wallet services becoming popular, Green Dot may be looking to strengthen it’s play at the world of prepaid mobile debit cards in the near future. And because Loopt was one of the original location-based services, it holds a number of important mobile marketing patents that could be used as an advantage, particularly in developing customer retention programs that are already built in to Loopt.

 

While acquiring Loopt does not transform Green Dot into a game changer by any means, it shows a forward thinking attitude when it comes to the future of mobile payments. Look out for how they may use the location-based service in the next few years, especially since they are retaining core employees on the Loopt team.

 

Around the Hub: Gronking the Madden Cover Curse

If you are unfamiliar with the “Madden Cover Curse” then it may sound somewhat silly – why would a pro-football player NOT want to be on the cover of one of the most popular video games of all time? Because almost every single player who has graced the cover of the franchise that has generated over $3 billion in sales has had some bad fortune the following year. From season ending injuries to career-worst years, players seem unable to escape the curse.

 

And here is where it gets really interesting. The player on the cover is decided by an online vote, meaning players can campaign for themselves to win. The curse has stopped most players from going out of their way to get put on the cover, but fortunately for Pats fans, Gronk is not like most players. He spikes a football that hits the ground with force of 650 pounds. He runs over defenders like they are bowling balls. He also campaigns himself to get onto the Madden cover with a hilarious video featuring his brothers (one of which is also a professional football player).

 

The beauty of his video is it is as low value as it gets. All he uses is a using a flip cam, his parents living room and his brothers. They didn’t even bother to get real props, just his crutch and some plastic bags – all of this makes it even better.

 

We certainly hope this gets him onto the cover just so he can defy the curse!

 

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Let us know what you think about this week’s 451Labs post – tweet to us @451Heat.

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How Social Media Enhanced the Academy Awards

The 84th annual Academy Awards was a chaotic event to say the least. Between Sacha Baron Cohen dumping “Kim Jong Il’s ashes” on Ryan Seacrest’s designer suit, the cast of “Bridesmaids” presenting their Martin Scorsese drinking game, and J.Lo’s debatable wardrobe malfunction, viewers gave up their regularly scheduled Sunday night programs to see what other vagaries might ensue. While I’d like to congratulate everyone who walked away with an Oscar on Sunday evening (congrats Meryl Streep!), we should also acknowledge one noteworthy contributor to the show’s success that made their “speech” through a different channel…social media!

According to Bluefin Labs, the Hollywood, CA event generated some 3.8 million comments on Twitter, Facebook and other social media websites during its ABC broadcast (compared to last year’s 1 million). This statistic places the Academy Awards just above last year’s MTV Video Music Awards, which produced 3.1 million social media comments. The only award show having received more commentary through social media was this year’s telecast of the Grammy Awards, which had an astounding 13 million comments!

An estimated 57% of the Oscars’ comments were made by women, with the remaining 43% coming from men. Bluefin Labs further analyzed the results to determine that 22% were positive, 16% were negative, and 62% remained neutral.

 

High-traffic moments occurred somewhat predictably throughout the evening:

 

1. The most-talked about moment was the Best Picture announcement for the nearly silent film, “The Artist.”

Last year’s Best Picture: An English dude who couldn’t speak. This year’s: A French dude no one could hear.” – Andy Borowitz author/comedian

I am officially announcing that I am re-making THE ARTIST with sound.” – Alec Baldwin actor

 

2. The second peak of social media commentary took place when crowd-pleasing comedians, Tina Fey and Bradley Cooper presented three awards. Cooper’s mustache created a lot of buzz while fans encouraged The Academy to consider Fey as next year’s host.

Tina Fey should host next year.” – Kelly Oxford writer/famed tweeter

Bradley Cooper is just in from robbing a train. #Oscars” – Hulu online service for ad-sponsored video streaming

3.  Octavia Spencer’s emotional acceptance speech claimed the third most popular spot for social media discussion. Spencer’s comments additionally ranked highest in positivity ratings.

Congratulations to @OctaviaSpencer for her Oscar win! You truly deserve it! God bless!” – Kelly Rowland singer

Yes!!!! Welcome to the family Octavia !! Congrats!!! Amazing!!” – Jennifer Hudson singer/actress

Other unique moments during this year’s Oscars generated additional online discussions, and continues to prove how real-time social media platforms are changing the face of awards show commentary, as well as television watching in general. One such example was the somewhat controversial exposure of Angelina Jolie’s right leg. Viewers immediately shared opinions of Jolie’s wardrobe choice and, almost instantaneously, a Twitter account was created for “AngiesRightLeg.”  The Twitter account currently has close to 35,000 followers and about 30 tweets.

The above statistics and results only reinforce existing research in support of the effectiveness of social media. Clearly, with active individuals across such a broad spectrum, sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. can all assist in amplifying anything – whether that’s celebrity limbs or your brand. Celebrities who utilize social media for public relations’ benefits also have the opportunity to translate the increased popularity of their profiles and pages into potential business success. Advertisements cost $1.7 million per 30-second commercial, but given the popularity of the 2012 award show, it’s likely that this was money well spent.

Were you commenting on the Academy Awards via social media last Sunday?  What was your favorite part of the show?  Do you think social media is changing the face of television commentary? Tweet us @451Heat or share your comments below!

-Katie O’Brien, 451 Marketing Marketing Intern

@KGOBrien

Katie is a senior at Boston College majoring in Communication.

Thanks for the images:

1. www.gradley.net

2. www.laist.com

3. www.hollywoodreporter.com

4. www.blogcdn.com

5. www.cbswbbav.files.wordpress.com/

6. www.laist.com

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The 411 on the New Facebook Timeline

A few weeks ago I began to notice some of my Facebook friend’s profiles were different. Immediately I began to worry because like most people I don’t like change, especially on Facebook!

Come to find out, this profile “upgrade” is the new Facebook Timeline. After doing some research, I discovered that on January 24, 2012 Facebook announced in their blog, that over the next few weeks everyone will be getting the new “Timeline”. Until recently, users were able to opt-in to Timeline which was originally announced in September 2010, however within a few weeks everyone will be switched over.

According to the social media giant, Timeline gives you the ability to browse through your entire Facebook, from your first friend to your most recent post. When I first saw it, it reminded me of an online scrapbook of your life because it shows all of your status updates, photos, friendships made, job history, marital status changes, and other information that you’ve recorded on your page since it launched.

As Paul McDonald, an engineering manager on Facebook’s Timeline said, “Timeline gives you an easy way to rediscover the things you shared, and collect your most important moments. It also lets you share new experiences, like the music you listen to or the miles you run.”

Facebook hasn’t specified how long the change-over will take, but as you prepare to be switched to the new Timeline design here are some helpful tips you should know:

  • There is a 7 day preview period during which you can review everything that will appear on your Timeline. Take this time to delete anything that you don’t want on your timeline, such as silly pictures or posts from high school when you first had your Facebook, because after the 7 days you won’t be able to delete them!

 

  • In addition to a profile picture, you now have a “Cover Image”, which is a large splash photo that you can change at any time. You can pick any photo to represent you or your life without it being the picture people see of you. Keep in mind that it is a very large space to fill so higher-resolution pictures look best! 

  • A new tool being introduced with Timeline is the Activity Log where you can see all of your posts from today all the way back to where you activated your account. You are the only one that can see your activity log, and you have the option to hide the posts you’d rather not share for privacy. 

  • You can edit individual posts so only certain people can see them and also separate your Facebook friends into groups and showcase only certain items to those groups. Surprisingly this a good privacy feature of the Timeline!

 

My hope is that after reading this you feel a bit more relaxed about the new Facebook Timeline and now have some helpful hints when it becomes your time to “switch over”! Because according to Facebook, whether we are ready for the change or not – it’s coming! Tweet us @451Heat to share your thoughts!

 

-Melissa Garabedian, 451 Marketing PR Intern

@M_Garabedian

Melissa is a senior at Merrimack College majoring in Business Marketing

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Is the Early Release of Super Bowl Commercials Beneficial?

With the big game on Sunday, it’s almost impossible to go online without seeing something pertaining to the Super Bowl. While I enjoy hearing about the Patriots, one thing that really caught my attention has been all the talk regarding the widely anticipated Super Bowl commercials. I like Super Bowl commercials just as much as the next person, but I was surprised that I am already seeing the full commercials before the game has even happened. Did I miss something? Isn’t the point of paying 3 million dollars so the commercial will have its big debut during the Super Bowl, not weeks before on the internet? Well I really thought about this and tried to figure out the reasoning behind this new marketing strategy. While at first I was rather confused by this approach I do think it can have a positive impact for some companies, but definitely not all.

I just recently saw Chevy’s 2012 Super Bowl ad “Happy Grad,” a simple yet memorable commercial. Although it was posted early on the internet, it is greatly entertaining, which puts Chevy in a good position for when it does air. People are already talking about the commercial, which adds to the anticipation of other viewers. Instead of just being viewed during and after the Super Bowl, Chevy’s ad is being seen before the game has even started. The “Happy Grad” ad has already had 905,921 views on the popular site YouTube. The commercial will have a much longer lifespan than ads that are waiting to air on Super Bowl Sunday. This strategy has also given Chevy the advantage of having a larger return on investment by allowing their commercial to circulate for a longer amount of time on the internet and television. People will constantly be seeing the Chevy brand, giving them more incentive to buy from them. While this is a risky strategy, it works for Chevy because they have a good commercial that viewers find desirable.

While Chevy will most likely see a positive impact from releasing their commercial early, not all companies will get the same outcome. Another 2012 Super Bowl ad done by Lexus is called “The Beast.” Sounds pretty cool, huh? Well don’t let the name fool you because this commercial isn’t that special. When I began watching it, I was pretty interested, but then it became rather predictable and unexciting. I really didn’t find it entertaining and wouldn’t be too excited to see it again during the Super Bowl. While this may be my personal opinion on the ad, I think many people would feel the same way about seeing a commercial in the future that they didn’t even enjoy the first time. For me, now that I have already seen this commercial, I really don’t feel a need to pay attention to it again during the Super Bowl. I think this is a great downside to companies posting commercials that aren’t very entertaining and enjoyable before they are supposed to air. People already know what the ads are like and may not have an interest in them the second time around. Now that this Lexus ad has been around for over a week, people might even be sick of it by the time it actually airs.

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Overall I think it’s a pretty risky strategy to post your Super Bowl commercial before the actual game. You really have no idea how people will react to your ad and once it’s out, it’s out.  Viewers like the element of surprise and seeing Super Bowls ads before the game just doesn’t have that same effect. While some companies like Chevy may see a positive outcome from posting their ad, not all will get the same response. I was really surprised to see this happen this year and while I may understand the reasoning a little better, nothing beats seeing new commercials on Super Bowl Sunday.

Do you think releasing Super Bowl ads early is a good strategy? Will it detract from watching on game day? Tweet us @451Heat to share your thoughts!

Thanks to @bonnielester530 for this week’s post!

Bonnie is a 451 Marketing Marketing Intern. She is a senior at Worcester State University majoring in Business Administration.

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