Pinterest: A Tool for Businesses

Background + Introduction of Topic

Pinterest: a safe space for any girl (and some men) to plan any creative aspect of her or his life. An organized collection of unique, recreate-able ideas in the form of pictures, videos and links to save for later. A self-wedding planner’s favorite tool. An expecting mother’s decor guide. A sorority girl’s hub of bid day themes and big/little gifts. A home decorator’s dream. An artists’ source of inspiration and DIY projects.

But now, Pinterest: a platform for businesses and bloggers to post a glimpse of their content on that results in brand exposure, consumer interaction and website click-throughs.

I’m no amateur when it comes to Pinterest; I joined back when either a member had to “invite” you to the platform or a desiring member had to “request” to join (then had to await an acceptance). So exclusive, right? It was less than a year after the platform first launched that I was invited into the exclusive society of creative planners and idea-seekers, so I’ve seen the results and the components of this platform’s growth.


Relevance to Public Relations + Strategic Communication

While I’ve spent my years on Pinterest as an average user that Pins wedding, home decor, art inspiration and nifty idea related content, I’ve seen in my jobs and in my research that there are major ways in which businesses can use and benefit from utilizing Pinterest.

It’s relatively easy to find collections of tips and tricks for businesses on Pinterest, and Pinterest even offers its own collection of best practices for businesses on the platform. Whether a brand on Pinterest is just getting started, is using the promoted content feature, or putting the most work into marketing efforts or presence efforts, Pinterest is the place and now is the time.

The best part of Pinterests’ opportunities and features for businesses is that it’s free and inexpensive options easily play into the PR objectives, strategies and tactics that a business may have in place. The following graphic has interesting and useful information as to how to use Pinterest wisely and effectively for business:


Importance of Topic

How can Pinterest benefit a business? JPL says that traffic, insights, connections, inspiration and recruitment are the categories that benefit most from the maximization of Pinterest as a platform for business. Businesses have to look at Pinterest of an extension of social media presence, to be used in addition to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat, Google+ and any other platform appropriate for any certain business.


Using this research and the understanding that Pinterest is way more than just an idea book for daydreaming women, businesses can really increase their site click-throughs, their engagement with new audiences and their brand image.


More Observations: A KSU Panhellenic Social Media Audit

I briefly mentioned in my audit that KSU Panhellenic could learn from AOII’s Instagram Story style. To expand on that point, I’ll share more about the trend I’ve seen lately. I’ve seen, not only on chapter Instagram, but on individual sorority women’s Instagrams, an increase in a certain type of promotional Instagram story. This type of promotional Instagram story normally appears when new social media graphics come out about a particular sorority’s upcoming event. To use my own sorority as an example again, we’ll look at our annual Halloween social, “Boo Bash.” When we were sent the new graphics for this year’s Boo Bash, we were told to post them on social media to promote the event and start building the guest list. Here is an example of what was posted on a story:


These images were part of the sequence of four images that were used to promote the event. Since Instagram stories don’t have any animation to them (like some powerpoint presentations have), you can click through someone’s story and see a pretty seamless transition. Because of this, clicking through these four images make it appear to where the words were simply added to the page upon click.

I see more of this on individual sorority girls’ accounts, because each girl will add her own flare to the images (whether through using different colors, different sized text, writing the text, drawing arrows and other symbols, underlining different parts, emphasizing different parts, adding different colors behind the text, etc.) and post whatever she sees best fitting for her Instagram audience. I do see this on the chapter Instagrams, but I don’t see this technique often on the KSU Panhellenic page. It would be useful on that page, though, as Panhellenic does host its own events and promote it’s own events, one of them being Recruitment.


Starbucks Introduces the Unicorn Drink


In mid-April 2017, you introduced the new Unicorn Frappuccino—the pink and blue, mango and sour drink that seemed to take over social media in a matter of minutes. Facebook, Tumblr, Snapchat and mostly Instagram blew up with pictures, reviews, videos and even whole blog posts about the Unicorn Frappuccino. While it might be wildly unhealthy and full of questionable ingredients, the bright pink, purple and blue drink spread like wildfire.

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I decided to monitor Instagram in relation to this event because I personally saw the most reaction to the new product on Instagram (though Facebook was a close second). I checked the #UnicornFrappuccino hashtag, which was tagged on 156,213 public Instagram posts. I looked for certain keywords—barista, sweet, magical, social media, love, basic, colorful and sugar—in fifty Instagram posts from closer to the product’s release date. I also monitored which posts were positive, which were negative, which were neutral and which were strictly promotional.

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These findings demonstrate a very even mix of reactions to the Unicorn Frappuccino, with 26% of the posts containing positive reactions, 24% negative, 26% neutral and 24% strictly promotional (as seen in the graph above). Most of the negative reactions were from the Baristas, as were the promotional posts. Six of the promotional posts were various social media workers, bloggers and baristas. Of that, the social media workers and bloggers commended Starbucks on their use of social media marketing for the Unicorn Frappe and their design of the frappe itself to be easily marketable on social media. Of the positive reactions, only about half of the reactions mentioned the drink tasting good, while most of them mentioned the drink looking good. Thus, something could be said for designing a product just for its social media presence/success.

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As seen by the findings shown in the graph above, most of the keywords surrounding the Unicorn Frappuccino phenomenon were simply adjectives used to describe the drink. Fifty-five keywords were used in the fifty posts, all but three being adjectives—6% “sweet,” 26% “colorful,” 10% “sugary,” 17% “magical” and 1% “basic.” The other three keywords identified were 20% “Barista,” 10% “love” and 10% “social media.” All of the keywords can be perceived as positive, though most of the comments including “sugary” and “Barista” were geared towards the negative opinions and comments about the drink. Basically, from all of these results, its clear that the appeal and popularity of this drink is primarily based on the appearance and name of the drink. You’re a very credible company in the coffee and specialty drink industry, so all you really had to do was come up with a limited time drink that would hook your social-media-using audience, and that’s exactly what you did. Even just the name of the frappe has a certain appeal to it since it’s a mythical creature, and the brightness of the color and interesting flavors only made the drink more appealing to that audience. It was “picture perfect,” and that contributed heavily to its success.

Though there was really only a one-time push from your marketing team to promote the new Unicorn Frappuccino, I would consider your social media marketing efforts to be successful. To expand upon the success of the efforts behind promoting the sugary, “magical” drink, I would suggest two activities that would’ve helped with marketing the Unicorn Frappuccino, and therefore can help in future social media marketing endeavors.

  1. Be more personable about the product. The Unicorn Frappe release and ten seconds of social media fame seemed very one-sided. It was a huge missed opportunity for you as a company to not take advantage of the instant conversation by joining in. Even just reposting either the celebrities’ pictures/posts or the highest-quality pictures taken of the product in the Starbucks Instagram story, or even simply commenting on those pictures with something like, “We are so glad you liked the new product! Check your DMs for a coupon code for one free Unicorn Frappe next time you come into one of our stores!”
  2. Avoid complaining Baristas. This makes your company look ignorant of its employees. If the majority of the negative online content surrounding the Unicorn Frappuccino comes from the Baristas that make the product, that shows poor employer loyalty and therefore hurts the company’s image. All of the negative articles, as seen on YouTube, Business Insider and Buzzfeed (among many others), set a company tone of “we Baristas hate making this drink but corporate doesn’t care.” Because of this, Starbucks should do a couple things. First, take Baristas into consideration when creating new products. Second, have guidelines for employee behavior in place that will combat this same problem from happening again. Employees should not be taking to the Internet to whine about their jobs and having those complaints go viral. It looks very bad on Starbucks’ behalf.

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I look forward to hearing your thoughts about all of this!


Spring Cleaning

By this point in the year, things have gotten pretty messy––our progress in our new years resolutions, our quiet times, our diets, our houses (shoutout to pollen), everything. It’s that time of year when we all need summer and we all need some refreshments. We all need a break. We all need some spring cleaning.

Windex does well with glass surfaces and mops do well with the kitchen floor, but no amount of household cleaner can take on what we need cleaned. Our lives can’t be swept into the dustpan. Our mistakes can’t be erased with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Our clutter can’t be bagged up and sent to Goodwill. No, our lives are much dirtier and much more complex.

But behold, He makes all things new.

Because of one major sacrifice, we don’t have to clean up our lives all by ourselves.

Because of a wooden cross that changed [and still changes] everything.

His death gave us life + His resurrection gave us hope.

I’ll never understand how some people only celebrate this one day every year. This day that changed the entire course of history + the futures of every single person to ever exist in the past, present or future––the day that death was arrested + our lives began.

Most people treat Easter as Spring Cleaning. Play nice with the family, dress up in bright colors, go to the church you haven’t been to since Christmas Eve + post the right thing on social media (don’t forget to add that Easter is more about Jesus than the baskets of candy). Make sure you complete the cycle so you’ll be in good shape for the next year. Right?

Wrong. This time of “Spring Cleaning” should serve as a reminder of the reason why we have the opportunity to live each + every day of our lives + why we should celebrate each + every day of our lives. God made the ultimate sacrifice to give us the ultimate blessing. Without His selflessness, we would be nothing, we would be worth nothing, we would have nothing, we would amount to nothing. But because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have everything.

On that day when He arose, darkness ran for cover + out of the light came the promise of our future. Carry that knowledge with you throughout Easter weekend into the other 362 days of the year.

[music recommendations for praising the power of the cross and what it represents: “Death Was Arrested,” “Worthy of Your Name,” “Glorious Day,” “In Christ Alone” and a thousand others, of course]


Be Still and Know

Ah, finals season. Step foot on any college campus right now + you’ll see people sleeping on benches, crying to their moms on the phone, filling every surface in the library with books, computers + however many meals they’ll need to get through the night, something + overall, just somber chaos. People who pushed off semester-long assignments until now hate themselves; people who don’t have confidence in their grades have given up + decided to live each day for the next night they get to party (or they’ve started skipping classes to lay by the pool); even people who stay responsible + hard-working all semester long have lost their momentum. The end is near + every college student knows it.

That’s where I’m at right now––Ive worked hard for so long that now I’m honestly just exhausted. I’ve powered through this semester + its six demanding + time-consuming classes. I’ve spent more hours on my couch doing homework than sleeping. I’ve made lists after list of assignments to finish and tasks to complete. I’ve worked my butt off. And you know what? I’m pretty dang ready for a break.

But, I can’t have a break yet + neither can any other college student. We have to push through these [extremely tough] few weeks so we can have our reward. We have to trust in ourselves + our capabilities to finish out the semester, but we also have to trust in something else to help us along the way.

God is right there, trying to help us along the way––regardless of if we want help or not.

Isn’t that such a reflection of our lives, though? We’re always going through something more rigorous + demanding than we think we’re capable of facing head-on. That’s what life is: an uphill battle. Things start to get muddy + we let our feet get stuck. We get so intent on keeping our attention downward, dwelling on how we’re stuck in the mud, that we forget to look up + see the rope God placed right in front of our faces.

So, on your path through life, when you feel like you’re getting stuck, be still + know that you have a way out and a way forward. When stress becomes so all-consuming that life is pulling you in too many directions for you to be present in your own life, be still + know that you have a hand to hold while you walk through it all.

Be still, and know that I am God:

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the Earth.”

Psalm 46:10 ASV

When you need peace + perseverance, know that He is standing right next to you.

Be still, and know.


Let Your Light Shine


I’ve come to find the phrase “Let Your Light Shine” has meant a whirlwind of different things to me throughout several different stages of my life. It’s one of those phrases that has so much meaning that you actually can pull different messages from it depending on what situation or era of life you’re in.

At one point, “light” meant joy.

At one point, “light” meant togetherness; community.

At one point, “light” meant love.

At one point, “light” meant Jesus.

At different points, “light” meant a lot of different things; but at any point, it encompasses all of those things at once. It’s one of those phrases I just keep coming back to. How can a whole passage of scripture be so versatile yet so direct? How can a whole passage of scripture satisfy so many different meanings yet satisfy only one?

“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp + puts it under a basket, but rather on a lamp-stand, + it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works + give glory to your Father in Heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16 HCSB

God constantly pours so much of Himself + His love into us that we should literally be bursting at the seams. His love + His spirit should be radiating out of us. God entrusted us with being the light of this world that He created––He chose US! God is the electricity that provides us with luminosity. As His followers, we are to illuminate this world + be a light that guides other people to the power source.

Let your light shine.

Let your faith make you a leader among others. Let your love speak louder than your mouth. Let your joy make others curious of where they can find it. Let your Savior’s spirit radiate through every crack in your body so that He can reach the most people possible through you. Let your heart shine for who created it.

There’s contagious love in all of us––what’s stopping you from spreading it?

There’s a spirit from our Savior in all of us––what’s stopping you from showing it?

There’s a light in all of us––what is stopping you from shining it?



And if not, He is Still Good

I’m a pretty laid back, flexible person––I’ll eat wherever everyone else wants to eat, I’ll watch whatever is already on TV. Going with the flow lets me go through day-to-day life peacefully, but it stops with my day-to-day life. I have a bad habit of approaching the future with a strict, inflexible mindset. I have charts + charts + charts of potential internships, future class schedules, pros + cons of different towns to live in, etc. I have futuristic ideas pinned to over ten secret Pinterest boards, some of which include “Wedding Venue Ideas,” “Future Resume Designs,” “Real Dream Home” + even “Road Trip May 2017” for the cross-country road trip that my boyfriend + I are taking in a couple months. I micromanage everything that hasn’t happened yet. Everything that’s up in the air. I try so desperately to lock the future in the place so that I can be excited for what I expect rather than fearing what is unexpected.

What’s funny, though, is that no matter how much I plan, how much I research or how much I prepare, the future rarely happens the way I expect it to.

If I’ve learned anything about this life, it’s this:

Things will go wrong.

But you’re going to be okay.

I can’t seem to find words to explain this as perfectly as Rebecca Faires, author of the She Reads Truth blog, so here are her words instead:

God doesn’t promise to save us from the flames. But He has promised to be with us as we walk through the fire— and either to rescue us in this life, or through death for our eternal salvation (Isaiah 43).

“But If Not, He Is Still Good” by Rebecca Faires

Chills, right?

Never once did God promise us that His path for our lives would be easy. Never once did He say there wouldn’t be fires along the way. What He does promise, though, is that He will deliver us along that path. We need only trust in Him. We need only trust in His promise of Heaven. We need only trust in His promise of His goodness. As Rebecca Faires wrote, God will be right by our sides through the fires of this life. He’s there when things go right + He’s there when things go wrong. He will never leave our sides. That is where our hope comes from. In times of uncertainty, in times of fear, in times of chaos + in times when things don’t go as planned, we can rest easy in the hope + the faith that God is with us. He will carry us through the flames.