10 Takeaways from Social Media Day Pittsburgh 2015

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For the second year in a row, The Motherhood has been excited to participate in Social Media Day Pittsburgh hosted by Smith Brothers Agency. Across the globe, June 30 is a designated as a day to celebrate social media, and this year, 150+ of Pittsburgh’s most influential social media professionals gathered to discuss “Using Social Media for Social Good.”

After open networking, the speaker line-up began with Holly Byers, manager of brand partnerships at Pinterest. During her keynote address, she shared a preview of the exciting developments that have just launched or will be introduced soon, including buyable pins and cinematic pins. She also shared some tips and best practices. We were fascinated to learn that there is truly no “ideal” time of day to pin and that the average pin is re-pinned 11 times!

Then, the audience heard rapid-fire case studies from a panel of presenters (including our very own Cooper Munroe!) on how they’ve used social media to effect change for social good.

The Motherhood team took to Twitter to share key learnings in real time using the hashtag #SMDayPGH. Additionally, here are some of our favorite tweetable trends and news from each of the 10 speakers, courtesy of our fellow professionals who attended Social Media Day Pittsburgh.

Holly Byers, Manager, Brand Partnerships at Pinterest via @GatesmanDave

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Dee Stathis, P3R & Dick’s Sporting Goods Marathon, via @KaitorTot

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Virginia Montanez, Pitt Girl, via @AppleBoxStudios

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Leah Lizarondo, 412 Food Rescue, via @SmithBrosAgency

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Cooper Munroe, The Motherhood, via @sugaraunts

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Kelsey Halling, Thread, via @c_leveled

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Bill Fuller, Big Burrito, via @TheBrandternExp

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Brian Conway, NEXT Pittsburgh, via @PghMomtourage

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Jacob Minton, Pittsburgh 311, via @SptLghtPGH

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Heather Hopson, Allies for Children, via @TheMotherhood

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Social Media Day Pittsburgh was an inspiring and energizing way to celebrate all of the good that can come out of social media and to get a peek at what’s to come in our region and on the larger social landscape. Our warmest thanks to Smith Brothers Agency for hosting and to our fellow social media friends for connecting with us and sharing your thoughts!

Blogger Spotlight Series: Jackie, Free is My Life

Second Chances Girl

“Worrying is a waste of time!”

Jackie of Free is My Life said this was the best advice she’s ever received! Read on to find out what her advice is for new bloggers, as well as how she kicked off her summer and how many times a day she checks her email. Give her a shout out at @FreeIsMyLife!

Blogger Spotlight: Jackie, Free is My Life graphic

Click this link to read the most recent blogger spotlights from The Motherhood.

Wearable technology industry expands for women’s health

wearable technology

As we predicted earlier this year, wearable technology continues to be a hot item in 2015. As smart wearables continue to become more stylish, the creators are making other changes to their devices, specifically with women in mind.

In the past year, many voices have addressed the issue that wearable technology, especially health trackers, seemed to ignore the needs of women. They claimed that not only were the size and style of wearables not female-friendly, but also that the functionality of the devices excluded features useful to women. Take Apple’s HealthKit app, released in fall 2014, which included capabilities for tracking diet, activity, sleep and more. According to many of its users, it left one very important thing out: a female reproductive tracker.

This year, we can’t help but notice how wearable technology is responding and adjusting for women.

One example that has gained significant media attention is Bellabeat’s LEAF. Bellabeat is known for the SHELL, a device allowing pregnant moms to hear, record and share her baby’s heartbeat. The company introduced the LEAF earlier this month, and it sold out the first batch — 10,000 wearables within the first 48 hours! This stylish, smart jewelry can be worn as a necklace, bracelet or clip and tracks women’s stress, activity, sleep and reproductive health, and provides real-time feedback through its app. 

Smart wearables for women are showing up in the form of clothing as well. Just take a look at the new Sensilk’s Fight Tech smart bra that measures women’s heart rate, respiratory rate and calories burned during a workout.

And finally, Apple will be adding women health features to the HealthKit App in the Fall 2015 iOS 9 update. We expect to see more changes like these this year! 

Do you use wearable tech or smart jewelry? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Keepsake Gift Idea: T-shirt Blanket from Project Repat

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For the past six months, I’ve been eyeing my drawer full of old college t-shirts and considering whether it might be time to part with them. They’ve served me for years, mostly as pajamas or workout gear, and age has taken its toll.

But recently, Project Repat, a service that upcycles old t-shirts (or jerseys, sweatshirts and more) into keepsake blankets, approached The Motherhood about collaborating on a blog campaign – and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give my shirts new life.

I collected all the t-shirts I’ve had lying around my house for years, and I asked my parents to send me the shirts from high school that I’d never been able to part with. The oldest dates to 1999, and the newest joined my t-shirt collection just last year. My search yielded 19 total t-shirts.

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At Project Repat, a lap blanket consists of 16 total panels for your t-shirt graphics (at a price of just $74.99), and a twin size blanket is 24 panels for $109.99, with increasing numbers of panels in additional full, queen and king sizes. My 19 t-shirts included 14 with graphics just on the front and five with graphics on both the front and back, which allowed for 24 total panels – so I opted for the twin size. For a nominal additional fee, I also decided to request 14×14 inch squares instead of the standard 12×12 inches, since several of my shirts featured large graphics. 

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Before sending in my shirts, I read the instructions provided by Project Repat on how to prepare them, cutting the ones with graphics on both sides apart along the seams. I also laid out a pattern for the blanket, took a picture and added the photo to the box of t-shirts I mailed in. (This step is optional – if you don’t provide a photo, Project Repat will create a pattern for you.)

Here is the blanket that was returned to me just a few weeks later, 24 t-shirt panels (with the bottom left corner folded up to show the black fleece backing). For size reference, this is a twin blanket with 14×14 inch panels laid out on a king bed:

Project Repat

This blanket represents many phases of my life, from my high school tennis team to college events, career initiatives and beyond – and I will treasure it forever. Creating a t-shirt blanket is a beautiful way to preserve memories, and it makes a great gift for a high school or college graduate in particular as they move into the next phase of their lives.

Project Repat offers the most affordable prices in the business for creating t-shirt keepsake blankets. Many of these services cost several hundred dollars, while Project Repat blankets begin at just $74.99. It is a great value and well worth it!

Top photo and “How It Works” graphic credit: ProjectRepat.com

A Day in the Life of The Motherhood

day in the life

As many in the PR and marketing fields will tell you, there’s no “typical day” in our industry. Despite the variation, there are some themes that punctuate a day in the life of The Motherhood: collaboration, communication and innovation. Here’s a look at what we do, as documented by Brittney Coburn.

6:30 a.m.: My work day begins when my iPhone alarm sounds. After taking a quick glance through email and sending responses to anything urgent, I turn on my morning show of choice to get a peek at the day’s headlines. Staying up-to-date on the news is important, particularly to assess any impact on our clients’ campaigns.

day in the life10 a.m.: Shortly after I arrive at the office, our team gathers for a weekly meeting so our Pittsburgh headquarters can regroup with our New York, Seattle and St. Louis branches.

Cooper shares the amazing news that the Pittsburgh Business Times has named The Motherhood to the 2015 Pittsburgh 100, a list of the fastest-growing, privately held firms in our region, so Sarah volunteers to write a post for our blog.

We open up our shared Google Doc and the account leads review the current status of each active and prospective program, noting important dates and any outstanding issues we need to address as a team. We identify a few campaigns for which we need to confirm a hashtag so our monitoring team can add it to our tracking tool, and I make a note to follow up with those clients.

Nicole gives an overview of our editorial calendar for the week. We’ve just published our June blogger spotlight and are working on a round-up of social media trends we’ve seen recently.

Before we wrap up the meeting, our team spends some time brainstorming creative executions and unique ways to analyze and apply social data for a proposal due the next day.

11 a.m.: After a quick coffee refill, I review my incoming emails and flag a few of the most time-sensitive ones. Over the next hour, I answer a client’s question about moving blog coverage up a week to coincide with their media day, send a few reminders to bloggers whose posts due the next day and field a new business inquiry. Erin, Serena and I instant message to bounce ideas off each other.

I shared a new business proposal for a program last week and just receive word that it’s come through! The turnaround time is quick, so I finalize a timeline, add the new project to Basecamp (our project management software) and populate it with some assignments so we can get started right away. After a quick call with my client to confirm the specific criteria for the bloggers they’d like to work with, I talk with Kayla so she can begin compiling some recommendations for the brand to review. Kayla’s knowledge of our blogger network is nearly as reliable as the information in our proprietary database, so she spouts off the names of a dozen influencers she thinks would fit our client’s criteria perfectly.

day in the lifeNoon: It’s easy to get lost in email, but I spend a few minutes over lunch catching up on some industry news and taking a scroll through Twitter and Facebook. I spot a few interesting trends, which I route to the team. I also swing by Cooper’s office to talk through the results of a recent program in advance of a meeting the following week. So much of our work is easily done over email and phone, but we love the chance to meet with our partners in person!

1 p.m.: It’s party time! On Twitter, that is. Our team produces Twitter parties like a well-oiled machine, having executed several hundred over the past few years. I pull up the hashtag feed on TweetDeck, check in with our blogger co-hosts, monitor the trending topics list, chime in on the online conversation and send an email to my client to let them know the party is off to an amazing start. Nicole handles The Motherhood’s social media accounts and she and I chat between our offices, noting that the hashtag feed is moving particularly quickly, and the hour is up before we know it. Nicole pulls some preliminary results from our tracking software and I shoot it off to our client, along with the trivia winners’ info so they can mail their prizes.

day in the life

2:15 p.m.: More email! I respond to client and blogger questions about product images, disclosures, what constitutes an “impression,” guidelines for featuring a blogger’s content on a brand’s social media channels and if we can identify a very specific kind of blogger who lives in a particular geographic area (answer: yes!). A client is assembling a deck to help sell in a 2016 social media program, so we share some stats we have on hand about the power of moms who blog. Coverage is rolling in for the second phase of a multi-month ambassador campaign, so I review the blog post links and send them off to our client.

3 p.m.: With my iPhone in hand, I retreat to our conference room and switch gears for a meeting with our art director. We’re launching a new Twitter party series and we brainstorm a branding concept unique to the program, followed by discussions about some important internal projects. There are lots of exciting things in the works for The Motherhood and I leave the meeting energized for what’s to come.

4:30 p.m.: The final few brand assets I was waiting on have just come through, so I put together an email to a blog team that provides all of the background information they need to create a sponsored post. I take a look at Basecamp to see what I have coming up tomorrow and add a few additional to-dos that popped up today.

5 p.m.(ish): I do some time entry, get my desk organized and the official work day comes to a close.

 

The Motherhood Named to the 2015 Pittsburgh 100 List of Fastest-Growing Companies!

fastest-growing companies

The Motherhood is so proud to announce that we have been named to the 2015 Pittsburgh 100 List of Fastest-Growing Companies by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The list ranks the fastest-growing private companies in the region, with a rapid growth rate of 30 percent or more between 2012 and 2014.

In August, The Motherhood will be recognized at a ceremony to celebrate this success, along with other Pittsburgh-area honorees. The recognition comes on the heels of another achievement by The Motherhood team: In March, Co-Founder Cooper Munroe was named a 2015 BusinessWomen First Winner by the Pittsburgh Business Times, which honors the top female executives who are leading the way for other professional women while making a difference in the western Pennsylvania business community.

We’ll blog about the ceremony in August, so stay tuned for more exciting news from one of Pittsburgh’s fastest-growing companies!

Image courtesy of the Pittsburgh Business Times. 

LISTERINE Client Spotlight: 5 Tips for a Great Summer

listerine

Enjoying summertime while wrangling the kids and ensuring the whole family is totally taken care of can be a real balancing act.

For an ongoing campaign with LISTERINE®, we invited a talented group of mom bloggers to share their advice on keeping their families totally taken care of, from teeth to toes, all summer long. We compiled five top tips for a great summer to help you enjoy the season:

1) Be Prepared. Mellisa of Mom Luck advises, “Pack a small bag with all your summer essentials, such as sunscreen, snacks, bottled water, BAND-AIDs for boo-boos and a bottle of LISTERINE® TOTAL CARE to help keep your mouth clean and refreshed.”

listerine

Photo credit: Mellisa, Mom Luck

2) Remember Good Oral Hygiene. Notes Sara of Saving for Someday, “Don’t forget that good oral hygiene is especially important in the summer when the kids are snacking and maybe heading off to bed with a different routine. Walgreens has you totally taken care of on this with a range of wellness products.”

3) Protect Your Skin. As Felicita of Casa Moncada points out, “It’s fun to be outside in the pool, going to the beach, or doing any other outdoor activity but we must take care of our skin. Using sunscreen is essential when going outside even if it’s just for a little while… Be sure to re-apply every few hours and more if you are in the water.”

Casa Moncada

Photo credit: Felicita, Casa Moncada

4) Maintain a Routine. With no school and many hours of daylight, “it can often be easy to let kids slide into later and later bedtimes,” Xenia of Thanks, Mail Carrier, says. Often, the result is “the following day ends up being stressful and exhausting for everyone. Instead, sticking to a consistent schedule (at least for the majority of the summer) and a regular daily and weekly routine can lead to a smoother, happier time for the entire family.”

5) Have Fun! The most important thing to remember this summer is to “enjoy yourself and really embrace life, and while you do it, make sure you are not letting your well-being slip,” advises Ellen of That Chic Mom.

To learn more about keeping your family totally taken care of all summer long, and to share your own tips, tricks and wellness ideas, join a #LISTERINEMom Twitter party – we’ll be sharing the date, time and details soon. Hope to see you there!

 

Father’s Day Gift Guide: TM Selects Special Edition

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This Sunday is Father’s Day, and the team at The Motherhood will be celebrating all of the special guys in our lives – dads, grandpas and husbands. In the spirit of TM Selects, a few members of our team have recommended an item or service they’re giving this year (or have given in the past). Read on for inspiration from our complete Father’s Day Gift Guide.

The gift of giving

When their daughter was born last year, Brittney C. and her husband made the decision to donate to charitable organizations in each other’s names for Mother’s and Father’s Days. Months ago, Brittney decided to make her Father’s Day donation to the March of Dimes, a wonderful organization dedicated to maternal and baby health that has since become a client of The Motherhood.

Some partners of the March of Dimes are offering special discounts on Father’s Day gifts, too:

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The gift the whole family can enjoy

Kahlianne reports that her dad is obsessed with his Big Green Egg grill, which her family gave him several years ago. It’s provided a good source of follow-up gifts, since he loves any kind of accessory for the grill, but his favorite has been the Italian Calzone Press. Kahlianne says, “He makes some really great calzones on his grill now, and we all get to continue enjoying it!”

grill

The gift personalized just for him

For Father’s Day this year, Emily ordered a handmade, customized keychain from Etsy for both her husband (“Dad”) and father (“Grandpa”). She gave a shout-out to Cool Mom Picks, where she originally spotted it, for the idea.

keychain

The gift that keeps on giving

Last year, Brittnee H. gifted her dad a monthly beef jerky subscription from Mouth.com, a subscription service that offers an assortment of themed packages that include edible items from all over the country. They call their offerings “indie food,” because like your favorite small bands or films, they offer an alternative experience to mainstream mass production. They also make every effort to include products that are made in the U.S.

Aside from those DIY gifts she made him as a child years ago, Brittnee said this gift was one of her dad’s all-time favorites. She loved that he received something every month, so instead of a one-time gift on Father’s Day, it kept giving all year.

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The gift to highlight a bond you share

Erin and her dad both love to read, but finding a book he’ll enjoy – and hasn’t already read – can be a tricky proposition. This year, she found a solution in Brilliant Books, “Your Long Distance Local Bookstore.” Based on feedback to a short questionnaire, the service chooses and sends a new book each month to the recipient (which he or she can then read and keep). You can send hardcover or paperback books for four months, six months or one year, depending on your budget, and the price includes book selection, packaging and postage.

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The practical gift

While Serena has given her dad a variety of gifts, from a hot sauce of the month subscription service to a Kindle, her go-to as a child was her dad’s favorite: a Soap-On-A-Rope. Sometimes useful gifts are the most appreciated. Consider asking the father in your life which practical items he might be able to use on a daily basis.

Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads out there. We hope you all enjoy celebrating the day together with your families.

Four Exciting Twitter Parties Happening in June!

Twitter parties

Summer is finally here! We can’t wait to kick off this wonderful season with four exciting Twitter parties from The Motherhood and some wonderful brands and organizations! Find out all the details on how to join us in this month’s Twitter Party Round-Up!

#imbornto

Wednesday, June 10 @ 1 p.m. ET

Father’s Day is almost here! In honor of dad’s special day, we’ll join the March of Dimes in celebrating all the amazing things babies were born to do, and the dads and moms who help them achieve those dreams. Join us for a great conversation about the March of Dimes’ important work, and learn about ways you can say ‘thank you’ to dad with special gifts from the imbornto program partners.

Prizes! We will be giving away two gift baskets (featuring beautiful prizes from the March of Dimes’ partners Alex & Ani, Bon-Ton and Mud Pie) and three $25 Visa gift cards during the chat to randomly selected participants who answer trivia questions correctly. Prizes limited to U.S. participants only.

#GreatAssist

Thursday, June 11 @ 1 p.m. ET

Do you have a favorite person, product or tip that gives you a #GreatAssist in your everyday life? Like soccer, parenting is all about teamwork you give and get from your kids, family and friends!

The Clorox Company knows that sometimes you need assistance to get past the goal line. During the #GreatAssist Twitter party, we want to hear from you about the people and tips that give you a #GreatAssist in life. We’ll also be sharing ways that The Clorox Company’s brands can make your life better on game day and everyday!

Prizes! We’ll be giving away five $100 American Express gift cards to randomly selected U.S. participants who share their #GreatAssist tips with @TMChatHost during the party.

#ComfortsofHome

Wednesday, June 17 @ 8 p.m. ET

Did you know that more than one hundred million people around the world are homeless and 1.6 million more live in substandard housing? The Motherhood is honored to partner with P&G and Habit for Humanity to celebrate 10 years of bringing #ComfortsofHome to families around the world.

Join us for this special Twitter party as we host a discussion and share with you how P&G employees and brands continue to make small changes with meaningful impact for families in need. During the chat, DIY Network and HBTV star Amy Matthews (@DIYMatthews) will be joining us to share tips and tools you can use to help make your own house a home!

Prizes! We will be giving away five gift baskets from P&G during the chat to randomly selected participants who answer trivia questions correctly. Each basket full of goodies is valued at approximately $200! Prizes limited to U.S. participants only.

#TheStorkOTC

Thursday, June 18 @ 2-2:30 p.m. ET

In May, we announced a new Twitter party series to discuss specific issues related to fertility, sponsored by The Stork OTC. Join us as we host our second installment of the series where we’ll be focusing on male fertility. During the 30-minute mini chat, we’ll be discussing the different options available in the journey to starting a family. For more information on The Stork OTC, please visit their website.

Prizes! We’ll be giving away three $25 gift cards to participants who correctly answer trivia questions.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician.

Starting a Family

New in Social Media: Buyable Pins and Targeting Features

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Pinterest and Instagram had a big week in the social media world. Read what they have in store in The Motherhood’s social media round-up!

Pinterest to Enter E-commerce Sector with Buyable Pins

Pinterest’s long-awaited ‘buyable pins’ feature was announced earlier this week, providing an option for users to browse and purchase items directly on the social media site.

Pretty soon, iOS products will begin to show blue ‘buy it’ buttons on pins from retailers like Macy’s and Neiman Marcus, and consumers will be able to purchase products with a credit card or Apple Pay. Users will even be able to search for products by price.

Pinterest founder and CEO Ben Silbermann said, “Pinterest is already designed to work like a catalogue, so we wanted to find a way to weave buyable pins into the pages people already know. Buyable pins are a simple and secure way to buy the products you love right from inside Pinterest.”

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Photo Credit: Pinterest

Pinterest will not receive a profit from items sold through the new feature, nor will merchants be charged a fee to use the platform. Pinterest hopes this model will generate revenue by selling promoted buyable pins and ads.

Instagram Announces Direct-Response Ads, New Targeting Features

Instagram continues to build momentum with its ad platforms and is looking to offer more business-driven results for advertisers. The photo-sharing site plans to roll out ads that will allow its users to take action directly on a single-photo ad by signing up on a website, purchasing a product or downloading an app.

Like its parent company Facebook, Instagram will begin targeting consumers based on demographics and interests, allowing advertisers to reach niche audiences on the app.

Similarly, Instagram will follow in Facebook’s footsteps and use their infrastructure for buying, managing and measuring of ads’ success on the app. Instagram plans to make their advertising features available through an Instagram Ads API and Facebook ad buying interfaces.

Tell us your thoughts on these developments in the comments!

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