Got Pins? The Magical World of Pinterest for PR


I’ve always thought of Pinterest as a magical world of ideas and idea sharing. If it’s different, creative, fun and photo worthy, I can likely find it on Pinterest. Unlike its visual social sister, Instagram, if PR strategy hinges on engaging women in visually fun, meaningful and strategic ways, Pinterest is the place to be.

  1. Women Rule Pinterest

Social Times reported that about 80 Percent of Pinterest’s 70 million users are women. #girlpower

  1. Pinning is Sharing so Share Your Pinterest

Pinterest is all about idea sharing, so as women, we feel right at home hanging out awhile and rocking the Pins. Recent research shows that a whopping 92 percent of all Pins are shared by women.

So, how do we rock the Pin as PR folks? First, take advantage of Pinterest’s Smart Feed algorithm by Pinning regularly – between 5 and 30 times a day – afternoon to evening.

If it makes sense, add a Pin It button to the website. The Pin It button allows you to Pin something from the website to Pinterest that links back to the website. (For a “how to”, visit the Widget Builder.)

Be sure to share your Pinterest account on Facebook and Twitter, too. Sharing begets sharing, and when you do, you’ll typically see a measurable engagement lift across all platforms. #pinningissharing

  1. Measure and Share On

To gather audience insights and support for ROI, use Pinterest analytics to learn more about what your audience likes, where they went, and what’s trending including what has been Pinned the most.

Pinterest for Business offers a nice video primer on this. You can even download an Analytics Guide. Pinterest analytics are neatly organized into Profile, Your Audience and Website categories making it easy to review, evaluate and, yes, share.

One of our favorites? The Interests section – this shows us a visual display of interest areas giving us even more ideas about what we can Pin that will support our PR strategy and resonate nicely with the audience. Also, keep an eye out for new tools like these that allow you to publish content from Squarespace sites to Pinterest and gather data about the traffic Pins are driving to the site. #shareon

Copyright, 2015, Tracy L. Teuscher, APR

Facebook for Business – The Changes and What it All Means

Facebook-Logo-2013 As you may have already heard, read or figured out through your own Facebook use, Facebook for Business has changed dramatically since 2012 with more significant changes on the horizon.

What’s Been Going On? Facebook introduced Timeline. Then they introduced Timeline on business pages. Next, they updated business page functionality and user interface to include new user features. Many of these changes have been implemented this year.

Why is Facebook Business Page Reach Decreasing? I like the way sums it up in this article explaining filtered feed and the new algorithm that uses a primary formula of Interest x Post x Creator x Type x Recency stating, “Facebook chose to filter its feed. It built a news feed sorting algorithm, unofficially known as EdgeRank, that analyzes every signal possible to determine the relevance of each post to each person. Roughly 100,000 different indicators of importance are factored in.”

Translation: The algorithm decides how your Timeline feed is filtered and presented. Here’s the rub: Facebook users have become accustomed to thinking about Timeline feed as being organically chronological. In other words, if I select Facebook to show me the “Most Recent” news on my feed, I’m expecting everything to show up chronologically in the feed including posts from friends and pages I like or follow.

How is this Impacting Business Pages? According to a November 14 article published by, Facebook has refined this algorithm since 2012 explaining, “Facebook executives have announced that they will be making additional changes and updates to their algorithm that will significantly cap and even remove unpaid posts by retailers that are of a promotional nature. Current posts by brands (are displayed) organically to (only) about 2-8 percent of the fan base.”

Translation: The new algorithm scheduled for update in January will narrow that even more. If you want to grow and engage your audience or generate interest and support for your product or service on Facebook, invest in an advertising campaign.

What’s Wrong with That? Many businesses feel there’s a lot wrong with that. In the early days, Facebook was a level playing field for businesses of every size including small start-ups, non-profits and entrepreneurs. We quickly learned the rules of engagement and were excited about the opportunity to reach those people who were genuinely interested in our business, service or mission. As long as we were providing relevant, timely, engaging, authentic content to our audiences, responding quickly and professionally questions and concerns, and behaving ethically and transparently, the little guys could swim in the pool with the big fish – and, that was inspiring.

As Facebook for Business becomes a “pay-to-play” landscape, that changes. As near as I can figure, what this also means is that every Friend, Page, Community, Game, Group, etc. is competing with each other for presence in the news feed. So, that guy, (we all know at least one) that narcissistic look-at-me-all-day-long guy is competing with everyone and everything else you’re connected to via your page including the business pages you like or follow. (#Bummer.)

Some businesses have become so disenchanted with the many recent changes they’ve closed their accounts entirely – even with substantial fan bases. Take EAT24’s Breakup Letter to Facebook for example. The company  left Facebook with about 70,000 followers by writing them a very long public letter complete with memes and lots of ways to stay in touch.

What Else is New? Much of the research I found also noted that in the coming year, Facebook will be “cracking down” on “click-gate” or “click-bait” messaging that request readers to Like a page as part of a call to action. (If you choose to do this, it will need to be part of a paid advertising campaign, yo.)

Is There Any Good News? If you’re ready to use your Facebook business page as a strategic communication channel, then, yes. Why?

  • Pages offer an online presence for people to discover and learn about your business.
  • They work across desktop, mobile and tablets without requiring any extra configuration.
  • They also offer tools to create videos, photos and events.
  • They can be used as an effective customer service and reputation management channel.
  • According to Facebook, most online advertising reaches only 38% of its intended audience. Facebook says its average is about 89%.
  • Facebook’s “Promote the Page” and “Boost the Post” options allow for audience targeting and insights along with detailed reports of campaign success, giving companies the chance to learn more about their audiences and adjust strategy and tactics accordingly.
  • Facebook’s advertising can serve as a great tool to build and engage target audiences and build your email database. (#Smart.)
  • LAST BUT NOT LEAST, today Facebook announced it will be adding page call-to-action buttons. The call-to-action button can link to any destination (on or off Facebook) that aligns with a business’s goals. Page admins can select from a group of call-to-action buttons — like Shop Now or Sign Up — to add to the top of their Page. The seven calls to action available are: Book Now, Contact Us, Use App, Play Game, Shop Now, Sign Up or Watch Video.

What Do We Do Now? If you want people – the RIGHT people – to see your page posts (those that will be most likely to be receptive, responsive and engaged as a fan base) be ready to:

  • Invest in your business page regularly as part of your overall advertising and communication strategy. (Otherwise, only 2-8 percent of your fans are going to see it).
  • Create strategies to develop relevant content that is of interest to your page followers, and is also related to the communication, marketing and sales goals of the company.
  • Hire a professional or train someone to become one. Whether you hire someone in house or outsource this important function, you’ll need someone on your team who possesses the skill set, the intellect, the time and energy to remain informed, behave strategically, actively listen and regularly respond to this changing landscape while serving as a trusted voice for your company and your brand.
  • Use calls-to-action strategically and purposefully in an engaging way that supports your goals and objectives.

What Are Other Ways We Can We Set Our Business Pages Up For Success?  I asked my colleague Chris Sledzik, MA, a seasoned social media specialist, and Content Marketing Strategist at Brandmuscle to weigh in. Here are his top tips:

  1. Start with your profile picture and cover photo. Make sure you have the right size and a visual representation, and that it depicts your company brand at a glance.
  2. Keep content mobile friendly. More than half of Facebook’s 1.25 billion users access the platform from mobile, and according to Facebook, 3 out of 4 Smartphones have Facebook.
  3. Use humor and interesting facts to engage your audience. Think strategically, but have fun.
  4. Align your company with current trends and use hashtags to do so. Look for third party opinions to support your message in positive way.
  5. Go beyond your own page . To attract more Facebook users to your business page, visit and interact with other like-minded interest pages (“I Like…” or “I Love…”) as well as influencer pages hosted by celebrities, bloggers and other businesses.

Think about it!

Copyright 2014 Tracy L. Teuscher, APR.  Teuscher is an Accredited communication professional and president of The Buzz Maker Public Relations

10 Tips to Boost Your Small Business Website

This Buzz of the Month was contributed by Anne Dudley, MA

For many small business owners, the company website is a bit neglected. But, the website remains an important part of small business success. For small business owners operating in target markets or selling products or services primarily to a local audience, word of mouth, networking and referrals may still be the “bread and butter” that drives business growth.

Still, the website is a critical channel for communication and engagement – whether due to referral or web search. Making it as easy as possible for people to find you, and addressing their needs while on your site will help you engage and keep that customer.
ImageHere are some things to think about:

  1. Make the contact information easy to find on every page. Who is your audience and what are the top tasks that they need to complete on your website? Measuring Usability suggests conducting a Top Task Analysis to find out. For many, simply finding a clickable phone number, email address or street address is a key task. Include these in the header or footer of your website so that they appear on each page.
  2. Think about the way people search.As search functionality changes, most of the key themes of optimization have stayed the same. Include keywords in the content, page descriptions and tags, link from one page or social platform to another and provide regular content updates. However, helping the user navigate through your website is key. Website users now expect your website to be easy to use. PR Daily suggests you avoid things like using pop-ups, skipping the footer links or using optimized content.
  3. Use calls to found that 70 percent of small business websites lacked a call to action (among other things mentioned above).  A call to action gives your potential customer a reason to stay on the site. Think about the Staples Easy Button. Easy-ButtonHow can you make the action you want your potential customers to take easier? Would adding a “Call us for a free consultation” or “Buy now” button help? According to the article, others might be an invitation to connect on social media, subscribe to a newsletter, view a product demo or take advantage of a special offer.
  4. What about a blog? Think about the option to add a blog with diverse topics that serve the user, especially if the product you offer is unique and requires an educational component, or the service you offer requires that you be recognized as an expert.
  5. Make one website edit every week. This may seem like a lofty goal, but once you’ve made it a habit, you’ll quickly see the benefits reflected in website function and customer response. This will keep your website fresh and help you work toward larger website development goals. Start by making sure all the information you want is on the website and easy to find. Then, you can update photos and calls to action, or remove outdated content.
  6. Get creative, but be authentic. Websites (and social media) are unique because they allow a business to showcase its personality, its services and its people (including customers and fans). Make it fun and authentic. For example, the recent Chipotle™ scarecrow advertisement and application has been called “the future of business communication” by PR Tips for Startups. Why? Because it’s engaging, tells a story and it makes a point in a fun and interesting way.
  7. Always keep your customer in mind. Make the end goal as easy as possible for your customer to complete by keeping it uncluttered.

“When considering the needs of your customer, consider the emotional need as well as the immediate need,” says Nathan Boyd, of InTheRound Design Group’s Radius Webtools team. “For example, the folks at Neo Now offer a connecting point for internship opportunities. The prospective intern has a need to find an internship, but this can often be an intimidating, time consuming and complicated process. So, Neo Now speaks to the benefits of their site by reassuring site visitors that their site makes this a simple, stress-free process.”

  1. Connect with social media. Integrate your website into your social platforms to drive people to it. This is incentive to update it as regularly as possible.
  2. Check it out on mobile. Make sure that your website functions on mobile as well as it functions on a desktop, laptop or tablet.
  3. Think like your visitor. To engage your visitors, provide content that is relevant, useful or entertaining to them, and do it often.

“When thinking about engaging visitors, remember that compelling images are vital to story telling and emotional connection,” continued Boyd. “Try to use your own high quality images when you can, but if you’re like most small business owners, you’ll need to use some stock images, too. Check out the stock image sites, but make sure they are royalty free and ready for your use. Some offer images for free, and some for a modest fee. Take your time and choose the images that help you tell your story well, rather than the first ones you see.” 

Anne Dudley is Communications Manager at Health Sciences Library, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and is a graduate of Kent State University. Follow her at @AnneCDuds or connect on LinkedIn

Ethics and the Fake Twitter Followers Biz (But wait, there’s more!)

I’ve corrected a few small errors (my apologies) and added some of the latest research on this timely topic!

At the annual Poynter Kent State University Media Ethics Workshop, I heard from some wonderful talent from the Poynter Institute and a variety of experienced journalists who cover celebrity news.  Because of the focus on the entertainment industry, celebrities specifically, I heard Twitter mentioned all the livelong day. What I didn’t hear was commentary on the fake followers problem, especially as it relates to the inherent ethical issues related to fake followers. (Recent research shows the percentage of fake or empty accounts for Lady Gaga, for example, is 45% of her 36.2 million followers.)

Consumers (and PR Professionals) Beware

A recent Digital Trends article posed the question of whether someone can buy Twitter legitimacy with fake followers. The article sited Italian security researchers Andrea Stroppa and Carlo De Micheli who investigated the practice of buying Twitter followers. Stroppa and De Micheli learned that buying fake followers is now a multimillion dollar business. According to the NY Times article, there are now more than two dozen services that sell fake Twitter accounts, but Mr. Stroppa and Mr. De Micheli said that they limited themselves to the seven most popular. After eliminating overlapping accounts, the researchers estimated that there are now as many as 20 million fake follower accounts.

That’s big business. It’s so big, that there are now other supporting business models cropping up to help people identify fake followers. Check out services like Status People and Social Bakers.

Savvy Spambots

In another article, Digital Trends spoke with Jason Ding, a research scientist from Barracuda Networks, who completed several studies on fake followers, sometimes referred to as bots or spambots, to try to learn how savvy the fake follower services are becoming. He found a website called Fast Followerz that offers a monthly subscription and even lets customers control how often followers are added. According to the article, the site boasts fake follower quality that can be guaranteed to pass the fake account test. (You’ve got to be kidding me.)

The Big Ethical Dilemma

I don’t know about you, but as a consumer, a Twitter user and a communication professional, I think there are some serious ethical considerations here. PR specialists like me who may use Twitter and other social media platforms as channels to communicate with various audiences must adhere to the PRSA Code of Ethics.  Among the top six professional values is honesty. Here the code states, “We adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of those we represent and in communicating with the public.”

What’s a PR Pro To Do?

As PR professionals, it is our responsibility to behave in an ethical manner and to advise our management team or clientele regarding ethical considerations related to communications, and now we’ve got to add Twitter account validation and monitoring to the list. We are responsible to do our best to preserve the integrity of the communication process with the public. So, if we’re asked to add Twitter account management to our list of duties (and, even if we’re not), we better start asking some questions related to the integrity of the account, use some of the latest tools to evaluate it, and then be prepared to provide good council and to take action accordingly. Think about it!

Copyright 2013, Tracy L. Teuscher, APR 

Stay out on that limb. (The weather is fine.)

Tracy-CroppedAs The Buzz Maker!™ celebrates eight years and we move from the “fiscal cliff” to recovery and growth, I pause to reflect on the soul of entrepreneurship in a post-recession economy. I’m still around, and I’m thankful. There are some core principles, beliefs and habits that have really been at the heart of this little success story. Here are 10 worth sharing:

Practice super abundance – Always give more than is expected. Be super abundant. Treat each and every customer or client as if they are the most important person. Like Henry Ford used to say, “It is not the employer that pays the wages. The employer only handles the money. It is the customer that pays the wages.”

NeverGiveUp Stay out on that limb – As my friend and colleague Daniel  Moneypenny, CCO of 25-year branding and ideation firm  Emaginit says,  “Being an entrepreneur is all about going  out on aPourYourselfADrink limb.” Being out on the limb  means you’ve got to get used to  the weather, and sometimes, there’s a lot of weather. The only people who truly fail are those who give up. Never give up. Be prepared to fail big and stick around, but think and behave as if it is impossible to fail. If you’re having a really challenging day, be like Elizabeth Taylor; “Pour yourself a drink, put some lipstick on and pull yourself together.”

Be a solution providerIn order to capture hearts, minds and, yes, budget, you’ve got to be ready to answer the “What’s in it for me?” question for your client or customer. If you’re a service provider like I am, your job is to help others prosper. Ask diagnostic questions, listen to the answers, and be ready to explain how you can help to resolve a challenge, solve a problem, save money, make money, and/or reduce stress for the customer. And, then set about doing exactly that.

Apply the Pareto Principle – Also known as the 80/20 rule, The Pareto Principle simply states that 80% of the effects result from 20% of the causes. Applied in business, this means that 80% of your revenue will come from 20% of your customers or clients. So, spend 80% of your time and energy on the 20% of activities and relationships that will result 80% of your success. Time cannot be saved, but can only be spent. Your time is the most valuable thing you can give. When you spend it, you spend a piece of your life. So, spend it wisely. Eliminate or delegate the least important things.

brian-tracy Ask –  As Brian Tracy says, “The future belongs to the askers.” So,  ask for  what you want. Ask for the work. Ask for the opportunity.  Ask for the  project. Keep asking.

 Be authentic – There has never been anyone who is uniquely  you. Be  yourself. Bring your unique gifts, skills, talents,  experience, perspective  and personality to the table. Ditch the  persona. This one thing makes you instantly magnetic. Business  is still about relationships. To build meaningful relationships, you’ve got to show up to the party dressed as, well…YOU.

Say no – That seems counterintuitive, right? But, the reality is that saying no to the wrong opportunities is at least as important, perhaps more important, than saying yes to the right opportunities. Say yes to the opportunities that will allow you to be a true solution provider, that focus on your expertise, or that you’re downright passionate about, and say no to the rest.

Be-confident Be confident in your worth – Resist the urge to do more  for less  or to significantly reduce your fees. This is a very common mistake that many entrepreneurs make, and I’ve made it, too. Yes, you’ve got to do your research and be competitive. But, know your value.

Tell the truth – Be truthful and ethical at all times. Resist the desire to make excuses or pass the buck. If you make a mistake (and you will), own it. Be gracious, and do your best to make it right, or make amends. Be someone worthy of trust.

networking-guyNetwork, network, network – When times are tough, people in business generally experience a lot of fear. In that kind of climate, it has been my experience that people do business with two kinds of people – Someone they know and trust, or someone referred to them by someone they know and trust. So, make the time to network with others, including other entrepreneurs.  Share with them. Listen to them. Support and encourage them. Learn from them. Brainstorm about creative ways you can help one another prosper.

And, always stay out on that limb. The weather is fine.

Tracy L. Teuscher, APR – Copyright 2013