Smart Tips For The Pinterest Smart Feed (The Pinterest Algorithm)

So, we’ve known about the Pinterest smart feed for a while now. You probably realized this new Pinterest Algorithm changed up how Pinterest works, and that some of your pins weren’t getting as much traffic as they used to. But did you change your pinning habits? If not, read on for a few smart tips for the smart feed. 

UPDATE: For a more up-to-date view of how the Pinterest Smart Feed works, check out “Why Aren’t My Pins Being Seen? Diving Into the Pinterest Smart Feed.”

Smart Tips for the Pinterest Smart Feed

The smart feed. You might have heard it reference in hush tones, with eyes darting. But is it really so scary? In all honesty- not really. It turns out that the smart feed, like other social media algorithms, simply connects users with truly relevant content, making the bond between you and your truly devoted followers that much stronger. But it also requires some action on your part.

First off, what exactly does the smart feed DO? Basically, the pins go back to high school. Yup, that terrible den of social awkwardness and final exams. First off, the almighty Smart Feed organizes pins into cliques based on popularity (yeah, it’s pretty fetch). Each pin is weighted according to two different factors: Pin popularity and the activity level of the pinner that originally posted the pin.

While pin activity is pretty self-explanatory, pin popularity is a bit more complicated. Like in Mrs. Robertson’s coma-inducing Math class, each pin is assigned a grade, or score, based on 3 factors:

  • Pin image quality
  • Pin description quality
  • The user’s followed interests

So if you want to minimize the amount of lost followers, you have to maximize these qualities. How do ya do that? Read on my friend. Read on.

Timing Schmiming?

Since pins no longer evacuate the home feed after a few hours (or maybe a few days), you might be tempted to just pin at any time willy-nilly, However, this really isn’t a good idea. Instead, step back and consider what it means for timing to no longer be the end all be all. You need to make sure all of your bases are covered if you’re going to make the Pinterest algorithm work for you. Combine your masterful mastery of quality content with the best timing, found on your Tailwind dashboard. Because Tailwind is able to analyze when your audience is active, our suggested time slots provide you with amazing ground work to help boost your pins into the smart feed stratosphere.

An Eye for Quality

You know how we usually tell you that your pins have to be not only great, but incredible? With beautiful pics and epic descriptions full of juicy keywords? Yeah, that’s even more important now. If you just throw anything up there, it’s going to get buried. And there’s no point in pinning stuff that’s six feet under – your followers will not (and should not) dig for it. Create pins that both show and tell the pinner what they need with eye-catching images and helpful descriptions. Pintastic pins should also be relevant to your followers interests (check your Pinterest analytics for that!).

Curate Your Content

Under the rule of the smart feed, Pinterest isn’t for the lazy or weak of heart. It’s a battleground full of competing Pinterenemies: kittens with a fondness for boxes pounce at majestic waterfalls rushing beneath incredible sunsets. Yeah, go ahead and take a minute to savor that majestically adorable image.

Given the ferocity of these battles, it’s a no-brainer that you have to make sure your content is the best it can be, especially with the smart feed watching your every move. For instance, don’t let your pins outside wearing frumpy descriptions. Dress them up with keywords and important information. Another seemingly obvious tip? Log into the site and interact with the pins that show up in your specially created smart feed. And finally, make sure your links work. If a beautiful image of a waterfall links to Bob’s Used Insurance Emporium, we have a problem. Sending people to spam sites is an easy way to watch your rank plummet.

As with other algorithm roll-outs on other social networks, the Pinterest smart feed is ultimately about getting the best content to people.  The surefire way to find favor with any algorithm is to provide what people want.  Simple as that.

So there you have it. A short and to the point introduction and explanation to all things smart feed. Just remember- if you follow these guidelines and keep your creativity jumpin’, you too can be smarter than the smart feed.

Have any clever tips about climbing Mt. Smart Feed? Let us know in the comments!

The Worst Pinterest for Small Business Mistakes at Tailwind, we love helping you perfect your Pinterest for small business campaign. An innovative paradise of images, each one perfectly in sync with the powerful story of your brand. This time, however, we’re going to tell you what NOT to do. Watch where you walk, because we’re about to step into the minefield of Pinterest for small business pitfalls.

The internet is a harsh place. You can spend years crafting an incredible social media strategy, only to see it crumble due to an ill-thought-out tweet or an unexpectedly offensive image. This can be especially dangerous when it comes to small businesses on Pinterest. But fret not dear people of Pinterest- we’re here to ensure that your Pinterest paradise never comes to an end. Read on to discover five of the most common Pinterest for small business marketing mistakes.

The Worst Pinterest for Small Business Mistakes

 1. Mixing Business with Pleasure

No, we don’t mean that. Get your mind out of the gutter! A big problem more than a few people make with marketing their small business on Pinterest is using their personal Pinterest account instead of a business account. Filling out all of the fields is a must to make sure you’re looking your best. A business account gives you access to Rich Pins, Pinterest Analytics, and more. Business accounts also have an entirely different Terms of Service agreement. So go on- get down to business!

2. Not so Innovative Images

This is the cardinal sin of Pinterest for small business. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Pin pretty pictures. We’re even using alliteration this time, so remember it! PPP. Easy, right? Your images should also have a consistent theme- even one picture out of line can make your entire page look unprofessional. White backgrounds are a big no-no, as are fuzzy pixelated pics or anything of low quality. Treat all of your Pinterest pics like you do your Facebook profile pic- would you use your drivers license? A pre-coffee morning pic? Maybe you want to delve back into your awkward high-school photos. No, you don’t. And you don’t want to use uninspired images on Pinterest either. Each image has a story. Learn it, read it, repeat it.

3.Strategy is Stress-Free

Do you know what Pinterest can do for you? What about the types of images you want to use? Do you have a firm grasp of the board structure you want to create? If you can’t answer these questions, you shouldn’t launch your Pinterest for small business page. The internet is not a forgiving place, and although you can make a comeback from a messy beginning, it’s much better not to make a mess in the first place. You need to have a set strategy before you burst onto the Pinterest for small business scene. Without a strategy, you really have two possible outcomes. One, you don’t get any traffic because you have no chance of breaking through all the other image-filled goodness out there on Pinterest. Or two, your brand name is enough to bring people in, but they leave soon after due to a lack of engaging content.

This holds true for those that already have a Pinterest for small business page as well. Take a good hard look at what you’re doing, and see if you actually have goals. Does that pleasantly peppy image tie-in to some greater scheme, or is it just pretty to look at? Do you have a good mix of boards, do your images relate to your brand image, are you making use of Rich Pins? Do you know what a Group Board is? And this is only the tip of the Pintericeberg. It might all sound a tad overwhelming, but if you’re here, you might as well make the most of the tools ya got, right?

4. More than just Pretty Pics

Engaging images are great, but they aren’t the whole shebang. You need descriptions and prices. Make use of those Rich Pins (particularly product pins) to get the most possible clicks. As per the Pinterest website: “Product Pins include real time pricing, availability and where to buy. Pinners also get notifications when product Pins they’ve added drop in price.” Think of it this way- you have an incredible new line of pumpkin spice scratch and sniff dresses come out. You put them out on display, and attract quite a few admirers. But your store doesn’t have prices. Or a cash register. You aren’t going to get sales with just a pretty display. Odds are that you’ll also earn the ire of a few disgruntled would-be-consumers. So make sure to include prices and helpful descriptions with each image. And descriptions are needed even if it isn’t for sale- people gotta have context!

5. Don’t Leave Me!

You need a break. It’s been a crazy couple of months, what with the successful launch of that insane Pumpkin Spice Gown Collection and the product testing for your new Pumpkin Spice dipping sauce. you deserve a vacation. Your Pinterest can take a little break too right? Or maybe you can just throw the whole thing down to your intern and let him post a funny cat meme or two. Your followers will understand. Oh wait. No they won’t! If you’re going to be away from your Pinterest page for an extended period of time time, put in some time with Pin Scheduling. Be there in spirit, if not in body. I know I know, you want to hurry up and get to sipping  pumpkin spice margaritas on the beach. But trust me, it’ll pay off later. The denizens of the internet are fickle, and any decline in the posting rate or general quality of the stuff you pin isn’t going to go by without notice.

So that’s pretty much it. Avoid these Pinterest for small business pitfalls and you’re sure to soar. Pin pretty pics, but realize that that images alone won’t ensure your success. Come in with a strategy, and make sure that it’s a strategy that makes sense. Realize that Pinterest is needy, and requires plenty of pre-planned content if you plan on taking even the tiniest of breaks.

Know any frequently-made Pinterest mistakes we left out? Let us know in the comments!

Battle of the Engines: Google vs. Pinterest Search

With the arrival of Pinterest, a new player joined the competitive search engine landscape. As time passed, social-savvy journalists began noting the rising power of the plucky image-sharing website. Even so, Google has apparently been unfazed by the rapidly advancing Pinterest search engine. In this blog post we set out to compare the two search engines in an effort to find out what this all means for small business. Google vs Pinterest Search This new bit of bloggy goodness started out with a seemingly simple concept. Here at Tailwind, we see Pinterest as a mishmash of social media platform and search engine powerhouse. But what happens if we compare Pinterest to Google, everyone’s favorite search engine? My search-happy adventure actually started with Google. I typed in ‘Pinterest vs. Google,’ ready for an onslaught of useful information. Said onslaught never occurred. My efforts essentially resulted in a grand total of two articles: one on Buzzfeed, and another on It’s worth noting that the second article was written to refute the former.  Let’s begin with a quick look at each of these articles, shall we?

Let’s start with the Buzzfeed article. Although the author is full of Pin-happy zeal, there are more than a few issues. Essentially, she decided to conduct a small experiment- she ran a few searches through each platform, and then showed the results side by side.  In every single instance, she declared Pinterest search the winner. However, the searches she conducted, along with her personal evaluation of the results, were a bit biased. She decided that more interesting results (interesting being entirely subjective) were ‘better.’ But this isn’t always the case, given that not every person that is searching for these terms will be looking for the same results.

So then, does this mean that Pinterest is in fact a worse search engine than Google? Not at all. As Danny Sullivan notes in his Searchengineland article, the two websites are simply used in different ways. As Mr. Sullivan states, Pinterest has a unique “search voice.” Essentially, Pinterest is perfect for finding artistically beautiful images with relatively simple keywords. Google, on the other hand, is ideal for getting exactly what you search for. There is very little room for interpretation. I’m basically in agreement with the Searchengineland article, although this is mostly due to the Buzzfeed article being a bit too click-baity for my tastes.

Pinterest search often begins with no clear goal. You aren’t looking for a particular picture or a certain event. You search for things you love, your hobbies and interests. And then you spend the next several hours scrolling through adorable puppies or super expensive gowns you’ll never be able to afford. Stuff that makes you happy. Or you search for what essentially amounts to brand qualities. Love, hope, anger, etc. Pinterest is amazing in that it’s engine turns abstract concepts into real, tangible images. Images that truly embody what those qualities are. This is one fairly unorthodox way that Pinterest can be used for small businesses. Get out that list of corporate values. Put each one into Pinterest. Start a board titled Corporate Values, or something fun like ‘What We Are.’ Fill it with these images. A picture is worth more than a thousand words, right?

But Pinterest isn’t just about the touchy-feely stuff. It also makes for an incredible research tool. Why, you ask? One word: infographics. Complex theories, how-to guides, life hacks- all made easily digestible with attractive images. Although Google can find infographics as well, they aren’t as focused, and come with a good amount of clutter.

Google, on the other hand, is unrivaled in connecting you with stuff, period. You will probably find exactly what you are looking for, in the most literal way possible. Look up cheese, you’ll get cheese. Blocks of cheddar and swiss. Want to find images of the latest news stories? You’ll find them. But these images are going to be a bit lacking in artistic cohesion and personality. You probably won’t spend oodles of time looking at Google images. But small businesses need to know that Google is how customers are going to find out about what you are, rather than what you’re about. Essentially, the Who, What, Where, When, and Why of your business. And that’s pretty much it.

Each platform is attractive in its own right, complete with its own strengths and weaknesses. Do I prefer Pinterest? Definitely. But this doesn’t mean that one site is better than the other. They’re just different.

Have any personal search preferences? Let us know in the comments!

The Power of Social Media Contests

Contests. Love ’em or hate ’em, these fun little competititons are sure to benefit any company, from software providers to fashion outlets. Armed with knowledge gleaned from years of contest-managing experience on Twitter and Facebook, you now decide it’s time to enter the pintastic world of Pinterest contests. But much of that wisdom may not apply to the pinning platform. This is due in no small part to Pinterest’s unique set of rules and regulations. In this blog post we set out to examine the ways in which contests differ across Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Social Media Contests

So you’re thinking about a Pinterest contest, are you? A little extra something to drive traffic to your page? Sounds like a great idea. After all, contests increase follower interaction with the brand, thereby increasing brand recognition. They usually cause a surge in new followers as well. Just don’t go in thinking that this is going to be 5 minute a day thing. In order to craft a truly effective contest, you’ll have to spend quite some time preparing.

As Jay Baer notes in his blog post “13 Ingredients in the Perfect Social Media Contest,” the perfect social media contest is like a lovingly crafted cake. He oulines 13 different ingredients for the perfect social media contest. Among these are venue, entry mechansim, timeline, graphics, and many more. in this blog post we want to focus on venue. Many of you may have held successful contests on Twitter or Facebook. Although these experiences do teach you alot about how contests work in general,you can’t do the exact same thing on Pinterest. Read on to see how what makes contest planning different on each major social media platform.


As Ted Prodromou states in his book “Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Business,”the goal of most Twitter contests is to increase the number of targeted followers.” These individuals are ecstatic about your brand and essentially provide free advertising. They’re also seen as quite a bit more credible than one of your own ads. In order to be successful, you need to have a clear goal, choose prizes carefully, and track your campaigns. Take advantage of the character limit. Although the guidelines discourage a “the most re-tweets wins” type of contest, Twitter is still the perfect place to spread information. You can find guidelines for Twitter Contests here.


So then, what about Zuckerberg’s baby? The goal here is the same as a contest on Twitter. you want to inspire followers to go out into the real world raving about your product. Also, similar to Twitter, promoting the sharing of content on timelines is not permitted. However, one outstanding difference between contests on Twitter and Facebook relates to the fundamental differences between the two platforms. Twitter’s character limit means going in depth in regards to the contest rules is difficult. It also makes it a bit harder to interact with followers. Facebook allows you to respond to complaints and follower feedback. Start your contest on Facebook, and keep the blood flowing with Twitter. Guidelines for Facebook contests can be found here.


Finally, we get to Pinterest, a personal favorite of ours. As you know, Pinterest is a bit of an oddity in the social media world. A huge focus on images, not so much on words. As far as contests go, the standards apply. No contests about the most repins, or requiring followers to repin. But, given its intensely visual nature, Pinterest is perfect for rather unorthodox contests. Thinking outside the box. Take Peugeot Panama, for example. They use fun puzzles to driver followers across their social media empire. It starts with a picture of one of their cars. They then separate the picture into several smaller ones, kind of like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Then they pin one of the puzzle pieces, and leave it up to followers to find the rest on their Facebook page. Pinterest is perfect for kooky creative stuff like this, but it’s important to follow Pinterest’s relatively stringent guidelines

Even with Pinterest’s strict guidelines, its not impossible to run a great contests. For example, we’re currently running a Pinterest contest based on who can create the Perfect Pinterest Tips board. Because we’re running our contest as a competition about quality and not quantity, we are able to stay within Pinterest’s set guidelines, all while adding value to the site.

So folks, what have we learned? For one, the world of social media contests is a bit complicated. You can’t do the same thing everywhere. And some platforms are better suited to particular kinds of contests. But the best (and, admittedly, most complicated) contests incorporate one or more of the platforms. A contest that start out on facebook can branch to Twitter for fast-talking updates, or trek on over to Pinterest for some crazy creativity. Perhaps the contest launches on Facebook, but actually takes place on Pinterest. You can also use contests to drive traffic towards your website. Perhaps that is the main contest hub. You can even require followers to create an account on your website to vote. As always, each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. All you need to do is combine them into the perfect contest cocktail.

When to Pin to Pinterest

When it comes to pinning content, timing is crucial. No matter how adorable that kitten meme is, it’s not going to get any repins if nobody sees it So, when to pin? In this blog post we try to find out when is the best time to Pin to Pinterest.

When to Pin

So you’ve started your Pinterest account. All your boards are set up, each one bursting with creative content. You have boards designed to promote your own interests, and a few fun boards as well. Each one is full of what you consider to be prime Pinterest material. But something’s not quite right. Although you have a modest amount of followers, you aren’t getting a satisfactory amount of re-pins. So what’s wrong? It could be as simple as timing.

How could timing have such a profound effect on re-pins? Not everyone lives in the world of social media marketing. It turns out that normal people actually look away from Pinterest every once in a while. For hours at a time. Crazy right? The hard part is figuring out when your followers are going to be on the site. This infographic shows the average peak times for the platform:

When to Pin

So, when should you Pin to Pinteres? The above image indicates that the best times to pin generally seem to from 2pm to 4pm and 8pm to 1am.  Other sources tell us the best days to pin are generally Thursday and Saturday. But it’s worth noting here that these stats cover a multitude of different types of pins. Different users too. So you should realize that different types of content need to be pinned at different times. For example, scholarly infographics are going to be viewed at different times than wedding dresses or inspirational nature pics.

This ties neatly into our next point – when deciding when to pin, you need to keep your followers in mind. A high school student has a different schedule than a stay at home mom, and a working woman won’t be on Pinterest as obsessively as a social media fanatic. Perhaps you have a segmented group of followers, with some pieces of content being more relevant to certain groups. In that case, you’ll need to post different types of content at different times to satisfy those major interest groups.

Sometimes marketers like to create a sort of ‘ideal consumer’ that represents a typical/prospective user of their products. They can go pretty heavy into the back-stories of these fictional characters, giving them names, careers, hopes, and dreams. Even their favorite brands. This process can be just as beneficial for those of us marketing on Pinterest. Perhaps your ideal consumer is a 20-something African-American middle-class working mom with three dogs and a stay-at-home husband. Or a teenage Asian-American upper-class only-child drama queen with a brand-name obsession. Just be careful of generalizing. This is a construct, not the end-all-be-all.

Finally, we would be remiss in not mentioning how Tailwind can help you out with your Pin-timing needs. Our dashboard has a calculation for finding your peak days and times for pinning, meaning that you can make sure your glorious images get maximum exposure.

So there you have it. Hopefully you now have a better idea of when to pin. Although general trends among followers are great, pay special attention to your business’s unique situation. Take a hard look at your brand and your fans. Figure out what a typical day looks like for your top followers, and give them the content they want when they need it.

Have anything to share about timing on Pinterest? Let us know in the comments!


5 Unique Pinterest for Small Business Ideas

So you own a small business, and decide it’s time to delve into the ever-changing Pinterest landscape. But building a Pinterest for small business isn’t easy. So you read a few tips online, an FAQ here, a helpful blog there… Eventually you get a pretty good handle on the basics. You know that Pinterest isn’t the same as Facebook or Twitter. It’s a different platform, with its own unique strengths and challenges. You have your boards set up, and a pretty good amount of followers. Amy loves your company culture board, while Joey just can’t stop pinning your content. Life is good. But you want more.

5 Unique Pinterest for Small Business Ideas At this point, everyone knows the Pinterest basics.You want to do something different, something to set yourself apart from the competition. It’s time to get unique. Following are 5 Pinterest tips that you might not have heard before. Every organization is different, of course, so the actual application of these tips is going to be different for everyone. Take our tips, put a personal spin on ‘em, and do something truly Pinterrific.

Pinterest IRL

1. First off, don’t think of Pinterest as something that only takes place on the web. It’s a living platform. Something people use and talk about throughout the day. So why not consider real life applications of the platform?  If you create your own custom clothing designs, perhaps you can provide iPads so that potential customers can sift through your Pinterest account . Have them check out boards chock full of clothing ideas, from both your own location and your competitors. Maybe even provide a few celebrity pics. Even if you don’t make your own clothes, Pinterest can provide outfit combination ideas. The same concept applies to hairstylists as well. Make a board for kids cuts, one for men, and another for women. Reserve one board for satisfied clients and their oh-so fashionable cuts.

Creative Content

2. Here at Tailwind, we love to remind users to make boards in association with what your followers want to see. This is especially important with Pinterest for small business, where close customer relationships are everything. The obvious way to do this is to look at what your followers have liked in the past, on both Pinterest and other social media platforms. Maybe take another look at those surveys you sent out a while ago. But making boards that your fans will love doesn’t necessarily require choosing a topic you already know they love. Think outside the box, and come up with special boards that appeal to combined follower interests or something new you know they’ll appreciate. Think of it as introducing a new product to the marketplace. Although you can rely on past success of a hot product when developing a new one, you can also combine other beloved products or make something completely new. Fashion boutiques can wow with smartly dressed kitten memes, while a jewelry store could invoke fuzzy feelings with pictures of heart shapes in every day life. (see Drew Barrymore’s book for some truly incredible pics).

Recipes for Success

3. This one’s short, but still a biggie. Make a board for recipes. Even if your business is only loosely related to food, fill that board up with scrumptious souffles and tasty tarts. Pinterest is a hit with aspiring chefs, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t get a piece of that pie. Come up with creative ways to link your product and your favorite tasty tidbits. A tire store could focus on circle shaped foods, an aquarium could opt for delicacies of an aqua hue.. The possibilities really are endless.

Memories Matter

4. As we’ve said before, Pinterest is mostly aspirational in nature. But even though Pinterest for small business is frequently about who users want to be, quite a bit of it also about remembering who you are. Take a look at a few of your friends’ pages. Odds are that more than a few of them devote boards to chronicling their own lives. So there’s no reason that your company can’t do the same thing. Designate one board as a sort of timeline, choosing a few pics to represent big events in your company’s history. A few boards for your company values and culture couldn’t hurt either.

Let’s Get Social

5. For this last one, let’s do something to help out your resident social media specialist. Don’t leave all your Pinterest business up to one person. Social media is social, so be social about it! Get everyone together, from CEO to cleaning staff, and come up with some great stuff. Everyone probably has their own idea of what the company means to them. These ideas might be similar, but they’re bound to differ in a few key areas. You don’t have to be directly involved with the platform, or really even understand what Pinterest for small business is, to come up with something useful.  Your social media superhero can take these incredible ideas and make practical applications out of ‘em. Win win, right?

Have any tips of your own to share? Let us know in the comments!

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Lessons Learned from Social Media Scandals

2013 was another great year for the rich and famous. A year chock-full of killer movies, stellar TV shows, hit songs, and serious scandal. From Bieber’s misadventures in Rio to Paula Deen’s racial slurring, 2013 was tabloid heaven. In this blog post we use these unfortunate incidents to highlight what NOT to do on social media.

Lessons Learned from Social Media Scandals

High-dollar divorces. Sexy secrets. Big time blunders. Scandal. It can be fascinating to watch real-life drama. Kind of like how it’s rather difficult to turn away from a car wreck. But sometimes it gets to be a bit too much. Will the scandals ever end? I can’t answer that, but I can provide a bit of comfort in the form of a few social media lessons. How could Bieber’s fall from grace possibly relate to your social media campaign? Read on to find out.

Simon Cowell’s Baby Mama

Andrew Silverman and X-factor mogul Simon Cowell were once good friends. It’s pretty safe to say that they aren’t so close now, since Mr. Silverman’s wife is currently pregnant with Simon’s child. Oops. No surprise that criticism was fairly fierce; scandals do that. But how does this apply to social media?

It’s never a good idea to steal someone else’s social media strategy. I mean, it’s ok to go out to lunch with their content, repost a funny tweet or share an informative status.  But don’t outright copy their strategy. What’s right for them might not be right for you. Find your own content, and make your own impression.

Julianne Hough’s Fashion Disaster

Last Halloween, Julianne Hough thought it would be a good idea to dress up as her favorite character, Crazy Eyes, from Orange is the New Black. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem. But she also thought it would be a grand idea to wear blackface. Unsurprisingly, this caused a bit of public outcry.  Miss Hough may have had no idea that what she was doing would be seen as offensive. She did apologize after a photo of her costume went viral, after all. Or perhaps she thought that it didn’t matter, as the public would never become aware of it. But we live in an internet age. Anything a celebrity does is documented, and it’s only a matter of time before even the tiniest mistake becomes a huge scandal. And this mistake wasn’t so tiny.

In the social media world, an insensitive tweet or overly opinionated Facebook status can ruin years of hard work, as Miss Hough’s fashion choice did for her public image. The fiasco surrounding The Onion’s controversial and profane tweet about young Quvenzhane Wallis during the 2012 Oscars comes to mind. In order to avoid mistakes like these, you need to carefully plan out what you’re going to say. It’s also a good idea to be a bit picky about who is in charge of your social media. They do represent the public face of your company, after all.

Paula Deen Gets Mean

In a highly publicized court case last year, a former manager at one of Paula Deen’s restaurants in Savannah, Georgia, sued Miss Deen and her brother “for sexual and racial harassment.” During the court proceedings, it came to light that Miss Deen had used the “n-word”. Although the context in which she used the word is up to debate, the media seized the opportunity. She was labeled a racist and worse. Her empire crumbled, with her television show and numerous appearances canceled.

In the realm of social media, you need to focus on your own core values. Be the company that your fans want to see. In the same way that Ms. Deen embodies her company, your social media presence embodies yours. You need to provide content that is both relevant to your core values and pertinent to your fans’ interests. If you take any action that isn’t in line with these two parameters, as Paula did with her language choices, bad things are going to happen. For example, funny memes aren’t for everybody. A nerdy meme about Harry Potter might not be best choice for a purveyor of sports equipment.

Bieber Takes On to Latin America

This last year was another big one for the Biebs. During his Latin American tour, the young lad got into quite a bit of trouble. Among other things, he was allegedly sighted leaving a popular brothel in Rio de Janeiro. Most definitely not the healthiest of decisions. If the reports are to be believed, he knew nothing about these women.

Which reminds us: be wary of outsourcing your social media campaign to strangers. You need to be careful – don’t jump into bed with just any company. Although outsourcing can work with the right people, sometimes it’s simply the case that nobody knows you as well as you do. They probably won’t end up filming you in your sleep like one of Bieber’s mysterious lady friends did, but there can be dire consequences. You never know how healthy your social media strategy is going to be once they’ve left it. There’s no going back. Beliebe it.

So there you have it. Nuggets of social media wisdom mined from the cavern of celebrity scandals. But this is by no means an exhaustive list. There were plenty of other high-stakes blunders last year in Hollywood, from Lamar Odom’s drug and alcohol abuse to Teen Mom star Farrah Abraham’s foray into adult entertainment. And there are sure to be plenty more going forward into 2014. But every time you despair over another celebrity meltdown or high-profile breakup, just think about how it could apply to social media. The insights might surprise you. 

Any favorite scandals we failed to mention? Tell us in the comments!

Social Media Reactions to MH370

When Malaysia Airlines flight 370’s disappearance first became public, discussion was fierce. In times past, such discussion might have taken place in town halls or behind closed doors. But this is the age of social media, the circumstances surrounding MH370’s disappearance have provoked discussion across a variety of social platforms. Everyone has their own personal soapbox. In this blog post we focus on a few notable exchanges from the social media discussion of this tragic event.


By this point, it’s hard not to have heard of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Departing from Kuala Lumpur International airport on March 8th at 12:41 a.m., the aircraft went missing later that day. The event sparked a huge response on social media, from hopes to hoaxes.

Hoaxes and Conspiracy Theories
Although social media can be an effective way to get the word out about various disasters and social injustices, it also has a darker side. In the case of MH370, this dark side has taken shape in the form of numerous hoaxes. It initially began with reports of the craft having landed safely, reportedly in Nanning, China. As NBC notes, one Twitter poster commented that he had “some inside news from a pilot uncle that #MH370 has emergency landed somewhere in China! Hope everyone is safe.” Regardless of the intent of posts like these, the effects were nonetheless damaging to those who had family members or friends aboard the aircraft. The rumors escalated, with Malaysian media outlets publishing similar stories. It did nothing to help matters that there were also reports of phones ringing when called without going to voice-mail, as well as passengers showing up as online on QQ, a popular Chinese messenger. However, it turns out that phones don’t necessarily have to go to voice-mail when disabled. Similarly, a functioning phone isn’t required to show up as online on a messenger app.

The missing aircraft also gave rise to a few rather far-fetched conspiracy theories. Alexandra Bruce at ForbiddenKnowledgeTV claimed that aliens were involved, while others claimed the Bermuda Triangle now had a twin sister in the Gulf of Thailand. One British tabloid even reported that the MH370 had somehow ended up on the moon. Claims of teleportation were made.

Volvo China’s Slip Up
There are many lessons for social media marketers to learn from this tragedy. Although it may seem like common sense, it is never a good idea to try and profit from any sort of disaster, especially when the connection between said disaster and your company is tenuous at best. Volvo Car Corporation learned this the hard way when an employee posted an insensitive message on Sina Weibo (a Chinese equivalent to Twitter). The following is that post translated into English:

“The rescue operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane is in full swing. Passenger safety is also a top priority at Volvo Cars, let’s pray together for the 239 lives that were on board of the plane. Bless them, and may a miracle occur.”

Even the quickest read-through can tell us what is wrong here. Although the post was taken down within the hour, the damage was done. Weibo users attacked the car manufacturer in droves, calling the post insensitive and greedy. Essentially, if you can’t think of a tactful way to comment on a disaster (such as mobilizing your own forces in some sort of relief effort), just don’t.

Malaysia Airlines’ Controversial Text
Another lesson comes from Malaysia Airlines itself. It’s a given that the media is going to have a field day with situations like these. Both because of the incredible nature of the story (how is it that, in today’s age of technology, we are still somehow unable to find MH370?) and the desire to get as many views as possible. This meant that, no matter what they did, Malaysia Airlines was in for a PR nightmare. Concerned citizens took to social media to air their grievances, while others took to their local branch of the Malaysian Embassy. Then, for one reason or another, at the height of emotional tension, Malaysia Airlines sent the following text message to families of passengers on MH370:

“Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived.  As you will hear in the next hour from Malaysia’s Prime Minister, we must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean.”

Sources vary as to why the decision to text these families were made. Some say it was simply a callous, inhumane mistake. There was no evidence to back the claim up. Nothing to assuage the pain. Others claim it was an opt-in service, something families could choose to become a part of in order to get up-to-date information about the accident. This makes sense, but when families opted to receive such updates, did they expect to get the text found above? Most likely not. Or perhaps, Malaysia Airlines simply thought this was the only way to reach all of the families as quickly as possible, before the Prime Minister’s report. Regardless, the fact remains that it DID happen. And criticism was fierce.

Social Media Lessons
So, what can we learn from this? To begin with, a text such as this should never be sent. A text is an informal method of communication. Yes, Malaysia Airlines may have had good intentions. They may have only wanted to make sure the families of passengers on MH370 found out before the rest of the world. But a short two sentence message like this could be worse than nothing at all. It effectively eliminates hope without giving any evidence.

Company scandals. Safety recalls. Layoffs. Disasters both natural and otherwise. None of these are good for an organization’s public image. In order to weather the storm of criticism that follows these events, a company has to watch what they say. The situation is different for each company, and for each situation. Although a public statement must be issued, we, as social media marketers, must choose our words carefully. If we are at fault, we should own up to it.


The situation surrounding and viable response to any one problem is going to differ depending on the company .So what would I do if I was in charge of managing Malaysia Airlines’ social media response to MH370’s disappearance? I don’t know. I don’t work at Malaysia Airlines. I don’t know the particulars of the incident. I don’t know anything about the company’s history or policies. The one thing I do know is that I would not send that text. Beyond that… not much.

To sum things up, social media can be a wonderful thing for building brand loyalty. Thousands, maybe even millions of fans right there, commenting and sharing your content in droves. But when things go badly, you could have thousands, or even millions of former fans and concerned citizens in the discussion. It’s important to watch what you say and act with empathy.


The Benefits of Blogging

Many organizations claim that blogging is dead and buried, never to rise again. A thing of the past, displaced by social media. Others say that blogging is for individuals, not companies. But it turns out that blogging is still pretty darn cool. In this blog post we set out to show a few reasons why blogging can greatly benefit any organization.


So, I was talking to my cousin the other day and mentioned that I’m a blog contributor for Tailwind. This comment was met with a quizzical stare.  “Dude, don’t you know blogging is dead? Tl;dr man.” According to his omnipotent reasoning powers (he’s a wise-beyond-his-years high-school senior after all) there could only be very few people that would be willing to scroll through the paragraphs of text inherent to blogging.  My ego bruised, I decided to brainstorm a few reasons why blogging is in fact wondrous and useful, and publish them on a BLOG. I also spiced things up by zoning in on why companies in particular should take up blogging. Take that cousin Robby.

So, why should your company start a blog? Read on to find out.

1. Gain a reputation of being an expert in your field. Organizations can use blogs to show that they do actually know what they’re talking about. For instance, here at Tailwind, we use blogs to show our own expertise in the social media field. We blog about Pinterest and social media in general, as well as startups and our own product. It’s important to note here that, as is the case with most social media, people don’t want to see a ton of advertising. So make sure that self-promotion takes up the minority of your posts.  If you write your blogs well, and make sure you aren’t just making things up, you’ll build up an easily accessible database of interesting information. Hopefully intrigued readers will flock to this database in droves.

2. Build rapport with your readers. Social media is all well and great, but blogs can encourage further debate. Despite the fact that the previous statement reads like something out of a Doctor Seuss marketing handbook, its nonetheless true. What I’m saying here is that blogs can further humanize your company. Although social media is incredibly useful, there really isn’t all that much space. A blog gives readers bigger chunks of knowledge that are still relevant to their interests. They actually benefit from blogs, making them more likely to be brand-loyal. Additionally, as is the case with social media, there are plenty of opportunities for reader engagement on the platform. Blogs invoke discussion, both on and off the website.

3. Increase employee engagement. This is often overlooked, but blogging can make your own employees more engaged with the company. It allows them to take their own interests, and connect them with the company’s values. It also allows them to become more educated through the research they do in preparing their blogs. Essentially, if you spin it right, you can take that cyber-loafing problem and channel it into something productive.

4. Drive traffic to the website. This is a fairly obvious one, especially if people don’t know you exist. Good use of SEO can make your blog show up in searches. And then good things can happen. As we said before, if you put out great content that shows you know what you’re talking about, readers are more likely to look at your main website to figure out who you are and what you do.

5. Solidify your brand voice. Social media is all about creating relationships with fans. As such, you develop a particular brand voice. A consistency in who you are across all platforms. Unfortunately, that voice never really gets to say all that much. Blogs give the brand an outlet for self-expression. In the same way that a personal blog allows Marcus to inform readers of how horrible his co-worker Cindy is for stealing his strawberry donut, corporate blogs allow businesses to give their thoughts and opinions on a variety of topics. Although they can’t be quite so opinionated as Marcus, they can give readers a chance to not only see what they think, but also how they think.

6. Create a locus for social media. Blogs can make a great tie-in with social media. Although many have said that social media is the evolution of the blog (and it pretty much is), the two can actually coexist quite peacefully. For instance, say you have an event coming up. A marathon, concert, hostile takeover, whatever. You use social media for the leadup to the event, building hype. Once the event is happening, you post live. Once it ends, you make a blog post about what the event meant to you and what it can mean for all of mankind, the world, etc. This is only one of many ways that you can combine the two. Think of it this way. Witty social media posts drive traffic back to an incredibly interesting blog, which in turn drives traffic back to your website.

7. Build a community. Chances are, you aren’t the only one blogging about your chosen subject. You probably have tons of witty and intelligent fellow bloggers out there. Why not reach out to these experts and build a community. Feature them as guest bloggers, and offer them a few blogs of your own. Collaboration is the better part of valor after all. Use blogging as a sort of shared hobby with experts in your field, and do great things together.

How do you use blogging? Let us know in the comments!


True Blue Social Media: A Logo Analysis

Here at Tailwind we recognize the importance of color in social media marketing, especially on Pinterest. As such, an interesting trend recently caught our eye. Why is it that almost all of the top social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin, to name a few) have blue logos and, for the most part, blue color schemes? And why does Pinterest break from the trend? In this blog we outline the possible reasons for this choice.

. Twitter. LinkedIn. The titans of the social media world. Although they differ in many respects, they share one commonly overlooked quality: a penchant for blue logos. This is no mere coincidence. According to various studies, blue is the most popular color in the world.  But this can’t be the only reason blue is such a popular social media color, can it?

According to the study “Exciting Red and Competent Blue: the Importance of Color in Marketing,” there are actually quite a few reasons for the color’s popularity. The study goes into detail in regards to the ‘personalities’ we associate with various colors. Most of these associations are taught to us by society, rather than being inherent in the colors themselves. For a marketer, it is incredibly important that the color personality of your logo is in line with your own brand personality. Blue tested as the color of intelligence, communication, and trust. Essentially, if blue were a person, he would be a mediator of sorts. The level-headed best friend that you can trust with even the juiciest secrets, a paragon of justice that is able to diffuse even the most tense of situations.


If you want further proof on the nature of blue’s personality, just take a look at your smart phone. As you swipe through your apps, you’re bound to notice that quite a few of them use blue logos. Of the ones that use blue logos, many will most likely have something to do with communication. On my own device, I count seventeen apps with predominantly blue color schemes. The majority of these have something to do with communication.

Blue also works very well as a complementary color.  This is why many of the aforementioned social media sites also have blue user interfaces. The same goes for popular programs like Skype and even the Microsoft Office Suite. Hyperlinks are universally blue, whether in Microsoft Word or Google.  Different shades of blue work better for different companies. Mark Zuckerberg chose his shade of blue because he’s colorblind.  Twitter most likely chose their blue as a natural choice for their avian logo. We chose a similarly toned blue to associate ourselves with the sky, full of endless possibilities.

But if blue reigns supreme in the realm of social media logos, why did Pinterest opt for a fiery red? I believe the choice has something to do with the inherent visual nature of the platform.  In the study mentioned previously, red tested as the color of strength, fearlessness, and excitement. If blue is the logic-minded head of the debate team, red is the heroic quarterback of the football team. He inspires others to take action through his own charismatic outlook on life. Unlike blue, red is not a complementary color. It stands out, draws the eye. It is not the color of serene skies and rolling waves, but the shade of active volcanoes and awe-inspiring sunsets. This is what Pinterest is all about- stopping to look. Eye-catching content.