Quick Serves Pin Social Media Hopes On Pinterest

Tender Greens pins photos of the concept on its Pinterest board.

Social media continues to grow and emerge at a rapid pace, and quick serves are working hard to keep up with their various networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube.

Now there’s a new player on the field: Pinterest. Unlike other social networks that have evolved over time, Pinterest has exploded in the last year, and its impact may be far-reaching. This has made the social media outlet a must-have option for quick-service operators.

Essentially, Pinterest is a virtual, visual bulletin board where users can “pin” items of interest found online in one spot known as “boards.” These pinned items link back to the websites where they were collected, making them ideal referral tools. Unlike other social media networks, Pinterest relies on images rather than text. “It’s a new fun way to share photos with those of like interests,” says Linda Duke of Duke Marketing LLC in San Rafael, California.

The invite-only network (operators can ask for one on the homepage at Pinterest.com) launched in 2010 and grew quickly, reaching 11.7 million U.S. unique monthly visitors in January 2012, according to comScore. Users now spend more time on Pinterest than any other network except Facebook and Tumblr, per comScore.

Although initially popular with users sharing content related to DIY projects, recipes, weddings, and other visually strong subjects, Pinterest now has many brands building a strong following. Dunkin’ Donuts set up its Pinterest account at the beginning of February and already had more than 1,300 followers by month’s end.

“We spent a lot of time on Pinterest and saw that Dunkin’ Donuts fans were leveraging the platform to share what’s important to them, from their favorite donut, their go-to Dunkin’ Donuts coffee beverage, unique Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants they’ve seen in their travels, and more,” says Jessica Gioglio, public relations and social media manager of Dunkin’ Brands Inc.

To make the most of a Pinterest account, experts say brands should interact with their followers, not only by showing the latest menu items but also by engaging followers through shared interests, providing insight into the people behind the brand, and trading ideas with followers.

For instance, on Tender Greens’ Pinterest boards, followers can see what makes the company’s chefs tick, learn more about their local farming network, and see market reports on the latest produce, says Erik Oberholtzer, cofounder of the fast casual concept based in Los Angeles.

“It essentially gives Tender Greens a way to share our inspiration and information about our ethos, beyond what is offered physically at the restaurant,” he says. “It is a great way for Tender Greens to build a community with likeminded people. Plus the photos and links are a quick and easy way to see at a glance what Tender Greens is all about.”

To get the word out about the brand’s Pinterest account, quick-serve operators can promote their Pinterest boards through their other social media outlets.

Contests on Pinterest are another great promotional tool, says Katy Lynch, president and cofounder of SocialKaty, a Chicago-based social media marketing agency. “Contests on Pinterest can range anywhere from adding a comment on a photo, to ‘repinning’ a photo on a user’s own board, to submitting a photo,” she says.

As with all social media, Pinterest works best when brands are active and engaged with their followers.

“Those brands that are able to build a following, that are able to go out and evangelize about that brand, will have a huge advantage,” Oberholtzer says. “We also hope to be inspired by some of the other likeminded people out there. We will follow them to see what they have to offer.”

Although Pinterest’s future is uncertain, its visual format seems to be more permanent.

“Any brand that has a social presence should have lots of visuals, from photos to videos, to expand their brand’s presence online,” Duke says. “Whether the specific company and application Pinterest will be here in the long term is unknown, but generating visual content and sharing it online is here to stay.”

Quick Serves Pin Social Media Hopes On Pinterest – Restaurant News – QSR magazine.

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This report ranks brands according to popularity, receptiveness, interaction, network reach, and trust on social media sites. The sites were tracked on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the Web in general.

Technology and media companies had the home court advantage when it came to popularity and reach, with Google, Apple, and Disney taking the top three spots.  But other brands were more successful in different areas, like listening and responding to feedback from customers.  Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) like Johnson and Johnson seemed to do this especially well.

The chart also compares the top companies’ valuations (in U.S. dollars) to their social media performance scores. Analysts saw a positive correlation between the two, although it looks uneven on the chart.  The most valuable company on the list also had the highest social media performance score.

This infographic (from SBI) talks about modernization of health IT systems, and how $19 billion was allocated to expedite the health IT systems under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  It goes on to talk about spending technology-wise, and how technology is being used in the healthcare system.  It is not only an interesting bit of information about the healthcare system, but an interesting look at what types of gadgets doctors prefer to do their jobs.  The infographic informs us that US hospital spending on IT systems will be $4.7 billion by the end of this year, and will grow to $6.8 billion by the end of 2014.

 

Doctor’s Tech Toolbox Infographic | The Infographics Showcase.

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Some of the key findings from SocialTimes  are as follows:

  • A whopping 97.09% of respondents said that an online experience has influenced whether or not they bought a product or service from a brand.
  • The number 1 reason for following a brand is access to special offers and deals (36.9% of Facebook/Myspace users, 43.5% of Twitter users).  The runners up for top reasons people follow brands are that they are current customers or that they are following because of interesting and entertaining content.
  • Most admit that when they are following a brand they are more likely to consider the brand when in the market for the product, buy the product from the brand and recommend the brand to others.
  • On average, people follow between 2 and 5 brands on Facebook.  How many are you following?

Check out the full infographic below.  Why do you follow brands on Facebook and Twitter?

 

According to the infographic, 58 percent of Facebook users have liked a brand on Facebook and 29 percent of Twitter users follow a brand on Twitter.  Users want to communicate with and talk about brands—brands just have to give them a reason!

Consumers Prefer Brand Updates Via Facebook Over Email & Traditional Ads [Infographic] - SocialTimes.com

Consumers Prefer Brand Updates Via Facebook Over Email & Traditional Ads [Infographic] – SocialTimes.com.

The technology that makes up many of the systems in the IT world today is at a critical juncture and in the next five years everything from mobile devices and applications to servers and social networking will impact IT in ways companies need to prepare for now, Gartner Vice President David Cearley says.

Cearley offered the following as examples of the way the tech world is changing:

  1. 30 billion pieces of content were added to Facebook this past month.
  2. Worldwide IP traffic will quadruple by 2015.
  3. More than 2 billion videos were watched on YouTube … yesterday.
  4. The average teenager sends 4,762 text messages per month.
  5. 32 billion searches were performed last month … on Twitter.

So what issues need to be on IT’s radar screen for 2012? Here’s a look at the Top 10 Tech Trends and the implications of those issues according to Gartner:

1. Media tablets and beyond: Bring-your-own-technology at work has become the norm, not the exception. With that come security and management challenges that IT needs to address. By 2015 media tablet shipments will reach around 50% of laptop shipments and Windows 8 will likely be in third place behind Android and Apple.

2. Mobile-centric applications and interfaces: Here touch, gesture and voice search is going to change the way mobile apps work in the future, Cearley says. By 2014, there will be more than 70 billion mobile application downloads from app stores every year.

3. Social and contextual user experience: According to Gartner, context-aware computing uses information about an end user’s or object’s environment, activities connections and preferences to improve the quality of interaction with that end user or object. A contextually aware system anticipates the user’s needs and proactively serves up the most appropriate and customized content, product or service. The tipping point here could be technology such as near-field communications getting into more and more devices. Some interesting facts here: By 2015, 40% of the world’s smartphone users will opt in to context service providers that track their activities with Google, Microsoft, Nokia and Apple continuously tracking daily journeys and digital habits for 10% of the world population by 2015, Cearley says.

4. Application stores and marketplace: The key here is the rise of enterprise application stores that can develop specific apps for users. This will let IT manage and control certain apps. But embracing the idea of user choice might be a difficult concept for enterprise IT to embrace, Cearley says. Enterprises should use a managed diversity approach to focus app store efforts and segment apps by risk and value. Where the business value of an app is low and the potential risk, such as the loss of sensitive data, is high, apps might be blocked entirely.

5. The Internet of everything: The idea here is that we are building on pervasive computing where cameras, sensors, microphones, image recognition — everything — is now part of the environment. Remote sensing of everything from electricity to air conditioning use is now part of the network. In addition, increasingly intelligent devices create issues such as privacy concerns. Eventually IT will need some central unified management of all these devices, Cearley says.

6. Next-generation analytics: Most enterprises have reached the point in the improvement of performance and costs where Cearley says they can afford to perform analytics and simulation for every action taken in the business. Not only will data center systems be able to do this, but mobile devices will have access to data and enough capability to perform analytics themselves, potentially enabling use of optimization and simulation everywhere. Going forward, IT can focus on developing analytics that enable and track collaborative decision making.

7. Big data: Big data has quickly emerged as a significant challenge for IT leaders. The term only became popular in 2009. By February 2011, a Google search on “big data” yielded 2.9 million hits, and vendors now advertise their products as solutions to the big data challenge. The key thing enterprises have to realize is that they just can’t store it all. There are new techniques to handle extreme data, such as Apache Hadoop, but companies will have to develop new skills to effectively use these technologies, Cearley says.

8. In-memory computing: We will see huge use of flash memory in consumer devices, entertainment devices, equipment and other embedded IT systems. In addition, flash offers a new layer of the memory hierarchy in servers and client computers that has key advantages — space, heat, performance and ruggedness among them. Unlike RAM, the main memory in servers and PCs, flash memory is persistent even when power is removed. In that way, it looks more like disk drives where we place information that must survive power-downs and reboots, yet it has much of the speed of memory, far faster than a disk drive. As lower-cost — and lower-quality — flash is used in the data center, software that can optimize the use of flash and minimize the endurance cycles becomes critical. Users and IT providers should look at in-memory computing as a long-term technology trend that could have a disruptive impact comparable to that of cloud computing, Cearley says.

9. Extreme low-energy servers: What if you could turn 10 virtual machines in one box into 40 slow physical servers that are tiny and use very low amounts of energy? There is a call for this type of computing to handle big data. For example, thousands of these little processors could work on a Hadoop process, Cearley says. Gartner says that 10%-15% of enterprise workloads are good for this. Moving the application from 10 images to 40 slower, less capable machines will only deliver on that promise if the software will perform the same. Server technologies are going to change to handle big data.

10. Cloud computing: This topic went from No. 1 last year to No. 10 this year, but it’s still an important trend. It will become the next-generation battleground for the likes of Google and Amazon. Going forward, enterprise IT will be concerned with developing hybrid private/public cloud apps, improving security and governance, Cearley says.

GARTNER: 10 key IT trends for 2012