Social Media News for the Back-to-School Season

Social Media Updates

We can hardly believe that the end of summer is drawing near! As we get acclimated to the fall season and back-to-school routine, it can be easy to miss what’s going on in the social media world. Here are a few important social media news announcements that were made in the last week.

social media news

Before last week, Twitter’s API only gave access to 30 days of historical data. But that changed last Tuesday when the company announced it would now be offering Full-Archive Search API. Users now have instant access to every tweet ever—that’s more than 500 billion tweets! We are particularly excited about this update as it will allow brands to better gain insights to their audiences. Agencies can also use this tool to determine the success and effectiveness of past marketing campaigns and strategies, giving them insight to create even more impactful campaigns in the future.

social media news

Remember the long-lost Facebook Notes feature? You very well may be see it appear in your newsfeed soon, as the social media giant is revamping its Notes feature. The company is still testing the feature, which has a very Medium-like blog appearance. Facebook told Fast Company that it is looking for easier ways for people to create and read longer-form stories on the platform. New abilities to come with the Notes feature could include tagging people, resizing photos and adding links and hashtags. Take a look at the updated format here, written by one of Facebook’s employees.

social media news

social media news

This week, Periscope, a live streaming app, announced that it has more than 10 million accounts! This is incredible news, considering that the platform launched just a little over four months ago. Periscope reported that approximately 40 years’ worth of livestreaming footage is being watched every day with their app! If you’re considering using Periscope for your company, here’s an article listing some ways brands are using the app.

social media news

Are you pinning back-to-school ideas on Pinterest? If so, your pins are among the 172 million back-to-school pins on Pinterest. This blog post from Pinterest revealed that from July to September, there has been a 290 percent increase in pinning related to the back-to-school season. If you’re looking reach pinners this fall, it might be worth taking a look at this list of back-to-school trending topics.

Now that you’re up to speed on social media news, comment to tell us what you think of these developments!

The Motherhood Recognized as One of Pittsburgh’s Fastest-Growing Companies

Pittsburgh's Fastest-Growing Companies

The Motherhood is honored to be recognized as one of Pittsburgh’s fastest-growing companies! Last night, The Motherhood was named to the Pittsburgh 100 Class of 2015, a Pittsburgh Business Times program that recognizes the 100 organizations with the largest rate of growth over a three-year period from 2012 to 2014.

The Motherhood was ranked #41 overall and sixth in the consulting and professional services category. The Motherhood is also the second-fastest-growing marketing company in Pittsburgh, and we were one of just two companies in the top 50 with 10 or fewer employees!

As the 100 organizations represented last night have proven, Pittsburgh has transformed from a steel town to a region that is leading advancements in the technology, robotics, healthcare, biomedical technology, finance and education industries. We couldn’t be prouder to be included in such amazing company.

Pittsburgh's Fastest-Growing Companies

After the awards ceremony, a reception was held to celebrate all the Pittsburgh-area honorees.

In June, The Motherhood received the news that we were named one of Pittsburgh’s fastest-growing companies. 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.

Congratulations to all the companies named to this year’s Pittsburgh 100 List! 2015 has been such an exciting year for our team and we can’t wait to see what comes next!

Social Listening and Insights: What It Means for Brands

consumers want experiences

As social media evolves, and continues to generate vast amounts of data, the question is no longer, “Should I be collecting this material?” but rather, “How can I turn it into valuable insights for my brand, company, or product?” Consumers share opinions, experiences and preferences online on a daily basis. Are you listening to what they have to say?

Social listening can have a variety of useful applications for brands:

  • Customer service
  • Understanding brand health
  • Source of relationship building
  • Inspiration from real customers
  • Competitive benchmarking
  • Evaluating campaigns
  • Understanding when, why and how your customers make purchasing decisions

There are thousands of fantastic social listening tools to choose from to implement any of the above applications. However, most companies still struggle to anticipate what their most valued customers will do next.

It is crucial to understand the context around individuals posting about your product or brand and to always keep in mind who your key demographic is. Companies must put in place effective strategies and clearly defined goals for managing social listening and data analyzation to create valuable insight.

Social Listening

Image Source: Crimson Hexagon

There have been some exciting developments in the world of social media listening and insight recently; here are a few highlights!

In a continued push for privacy, Facebook shut down access to hashtags through their API. Services which plug into the social network are no longer able to access hashtag data and statistics, and third-party tools are no longer able to provide public content from Facebook via hashtags at all through the API. However, Facebook will provide audience data for marketer insights through Topic Data, exclusively working with DataSift to pull in data from posts on the social network anonymously. Third-party tools are beginning to work with DataSift to bring this functionality to their own platforms as well.

DataSift’s method has smoothed the ongoing complications of searching through private posts by the more than 1.5 billion active users on Facebook. While respecting privacy, DataSift pulls in public and private posts from Facebook enabling companies to analyze everything that is being shared. Private posts on Facebook are now accessible by brands, anonymously, but this has opened up a new world of more accurate social listening.

Twitter recently announced the development of a new API that will allow brands to access every tweet ever! Thats more than 500 billion tweets over nine years! This development will exponentially increase the ability to analyze conversations on the platform.

Tumblr’s latest deal with software firm Crimson Hexagon gives the firm real-time data from the site’s more than 24 million blogs and gives brands a live view on standard information such as popular topics, brand mentions and brand sentiment.

Sentiment analysis is also a huge part of social media monitoring. While every platform seems to have a different method of categorizing sentiment, we can agree its important to know more than just the number of conversations about your brand or industry. For effective listening we also need to understand how people are interpreting messaging and in what context they’re talking about various topics.

Do you know how consumers interpret your online messaging? IBM wants you to be able to tell how your tone comes across in written communications. Recently, Big Blue unveiled Watson Tone Analyzer, you can test the demo out here!

Social data from customer conversations online provides brand, product and consumer insights that can be applied to everyday business and marketing decisions. Social media is a source of rich, real-time data, so get your customers and market talking! You might find your customers know more about your brand or product than you think.

The Motherhood is deeply tapped into moms online. For The Motherhood, data is human and data informs all we do. We pay close attention, listen to, aggregate and analyze what moms are saying, what engages them, what they care about, how and when they share, how and what they buy and the actions they take. We can learn so much from moms online by simply listening.

Do you have a strategy in place to analyze the boundless amount of information about your brand and industry available on social media?

Top Three Reasons to Cook with Canned Foods during Back-to-School Time

Canned Food Recipes with Pineapple

During the back-to-school season, the dinner table is often overlooked, as more time is dedicated to homework, carpooling and after-school activities. But when you have a well-stocked pantry – or “Cantry ” – you can make nutritious, homemade, A+ meals a reality every day! Read on for reasons to cook with canned foods.

Cans Get You Cooking is here to help you unlock the goodness of canned foods and get you cooking on even the busiest back-to-school nights! Here are just three reasons why we think canned foods should have a place at your table:

  1. Fresh fruits and vegetables are harvested and canned at their peak of ripeness, sealing in their nutrition, freshness and flavor, making the can one of the best ways to get food from its source to your family table. Studies also show that canned produce is on par nutritionally with fresh and frozen varieties, and in some cases even better!
  2. When you eat canned foods, you’re more likely to consume the food groups highlighted in USDA’s MyPlate healthy eating guidelines. MyPlate recommends comprising each meal with about one-quarter protein, one-quarter grains (preferably whole grains) and half fruits and vegetables. Keeping your “Cantry” full of canned fruits, vegetables and proteins (like chicken and tuna) can help you meet these guidelines at every meal. Have a picky eater at home? Follow these Kid Tested, Mom Approved tips from Cans Get You Cooking to win them over!
  3. Americans throw away approximately 15–20% of the fresh fruits and vegetables they purchase every year. Because most recipes are designed specifically around canned food portion sizes, canned foods help waste less food, saving time and money, and reducing our impact on the environment.

To learn more about the benefits of canned foods and for some easy, homemade recipe ideas, you can join the #CansGetYouCooking Twitter party hosted by @TheMotherhood with special guest @CansGetUCooking and RD @MarieSpano on Tuesday, August 18 at 8 p.m. ET.

We’ll be giving away four Cans Get You Cooking prize packs that includes a Cans Get You Cooking branded apron, tote bag, can strainer and a $25 Visa gift card. One grand prize winner will receive a Cans Get You Cooking prize pack and a $50 Visa gift card.

#TBT Social Media Case Study: 77kids Do Good Day

Do Good Day Activity

Photo credit: Stacy, Stacy Uncorked

Hard to believe it’s been five years since The Motherhood created and led Do Good Day, a nationwide retail launch for the 77kids clothing line, and a new, big idea at the time. Imagine the incredible momentum and magic of 77 of the country’s top online influencers leading their communities to do helpful, kind, neighborly acts in celebration of the 77kids launch. The program makes us proud and we wanted to share it with you as a social media case study for #TBT!

It was the summer of 2010, on a limited budget, and with seven launches planned across the country, the company asked us to build buzz about 77kids nationwide in a fun, memorable way, keeping the importance of local communities front and center. To do that, we hired 77 mom bloggers – seven people in 11 different markets, clustered around the seven launch locations where 77kids would be opening. These moms were challenged to find ways to do good in their community in the name of 77kids.


Each group of influencers received a 77kids Do Good Day kit filled with items including 77kids-branded thank you cards and collateral, Silly Bandz and dollar bills, all meant to be distributed to unsuspecting locals to brighten their day. We also encouraged participants to find a location that would help them and their kids do good and share the 77kids message of helping local communities.

The influencers, and their families and friends, came up with a wide range of ideas for executing Do Good Day and shared on social platforms through the entire process. From creating thank-you cards for soldiers serving overseas as part of Operation Gratitude, to cooking lunch for families staying at the local Ronald McDonald House, to giving flowers to people passing on the sidewalk, these do-gooders in cities across the country helped others feel good about themselves – and the 77kids brand.


The program drew the attention of local media, Do Good Day signs appeared on the Today Show set, and the participating moms blogged and cross-posted their content on their social media platforms. By the time the campaign ended, Do Good Day had garnered more than 110 blog posts, 3,000 tweets and more than 10 million overall impressions for the 77kids brand. In the years since we’ve been surprised at conferences on a few occassions when Do Good Day is highlighted by speakers as a social media marketing innovation case study!

5 Tips for Packing School Lunches

Pile of Apples

For many parents, the back-to-school season means the return of packing school lunches for their children. This mid-day meal offers an opportunity to develop healthy habits and to make sure your children are getting the nutrients they need to fuel them all day long, but knowing how to balance healthy choices with what your kids will actually eat can be a battle. The Motherhood recently sat down with the Giant Eagle Registered Dietitian Team to get the scoop on packing school lunches that are kid-friendly and kid-healthy.

1. Pick 5 to Pack the Perfect Lunch

Are you worried that you’re not packing enough or that you’re packing the wrong items? For a simple visual representation of an ideal lunch, visit the USDA’s The MyPlate illustration shows the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet. A child’s lunch box should include lean protein, fruits, vegetables, grains (preferably whole grains) and dairy. Don’t forget that a serving of low-fat milk counts as serving of dairy as part of a balanced lunch.


Image courtesy of

2. Fall Back on the Familiar

While you may want to introduce your child to a variety of new and different foods, the team of Giant Eagle Registered Dietitians recommends not experimenting during lunch. They suggest packing foods from those five groups that you know your child likes so lunch doesn’t wind up in the garbage can.

Rather, save the exploration for dinnertime. When kids are hungry, they’re more likely to taste a new food, so try serving the unfamiliar dish first. It takes at least 10 tastes to know if you really like a food, so don’t give up if a dish isn’t a hit the first time around.

3. Ask Picky Eaters to Help Pack

Get children involved in the process. Kids of all ages can help you make a shopping list that contains healthy foods they like. You can work together to create a checklist for each of the five food groups and let kids mark the ones they’d like to have in their lunch each week. Most kids will enjoy deciding what to include in their lunch box, and it’s a great opportunity for parents to guide them in planning a balanced meal.

You can also try a different preparation. While your child may not love carrots, sometimes roasting the carrots or pairing them with a dip or seasoning will make kids change their tune. We think these Carrot Meets Ranch Bolthouse Farms Kids Veggie Snackers can liven up any lunchbox and have kids crunching their way to a healthier day.


Packing school lunches the night before is one of moms’ favorite morning time-savers, but the team of Giant Eagle Registered Dietitians urges us to leave an insulated lunch box open in the refrigerator and not zip it closed. Just as these lunch boxes are insulated to keep cold in, they could also keep necessary cold air out, which could leave the contents susceptible to food-borne illness.

Another easy way to pack with food safety in mind is to put an ice pack in a sealed bag in your child’s lunch box. You could even freeze a mini bottle of water or a portable snack like the Bolthouse Farms Kids™ Fruit Tubes to keep everything chilled until lunchtime.

5. Remember that Practice Makes Perfect 

Particularly for younger children, eating lunch at school may be a new and intimidating event. It’s a good idea to do a “dry run” in the week or two leading up to the start of school. Pack your child’s lunch as you plan to do during the year, and let him or her make sure they can open the packaging, help them learn to pace themselves for the time they have allotted and see if the quantities satisfy them. Make sure they know that they don’t have to eat it all—they can save the non-perishable items for after school if they’re full.

These tips on packing school lunches are brought to you in partnership with Bolthouse Farms Kids™. All opinions are our own. 

Featured image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user Michael Stern

HelloFresh Helps Spice Things Up in the Kitchen

HelloFresh Dinner

The Motherhood recently had the opportunity to work with HelloFresh, a meal delivery service that brings chef- and nutritionist-designed recipes and fresh, pre-measured ingredients to your doorstep each week.

We asked five stellar influencers to put the service to the test and create summertime meals that minimize time in the kitchen (each meal takes about 30 minutes to make) and maximize time spent socializing. Read on for highlights from their experiences.

Want to give HelloFresh a try? Enter promo code 40MTH at checkout or click on this link to get 40 percent off of your first delivery (new customers only; promotion ends 9/30/2015). Happy cooking!

Ashley, Surf and Sunshine: “I can’t think of anything better than a juicy pan-seared steak with a Spanish-inspired potato salad. The salad consists of crispy potatoes, briny olives, and crisp green beans. P.S. This was my family’s *favorite* dish. Luckily, HelloFresh sends their recipes on sturdy card stock so I can keep them to make again later.”

Ashley-SNSAshley with Surf and Sunshine recommends pairing the Seared Steak and Crispy Potato Salad with Tomatoes, Green Beans, and Shallot Pan-Sauce meal with a medium red like Merlot or a medium-weight Australian Shiraz.

Kristin, Our Ordinary Life: “The one thing my husband enjoys is spending time in the kitchen. His cooking skills have gotten much better and he’s quite the chef. That’s why we find ourselves spending time making and preparing meals together. We recently had the chance to try out HelloFresh, a unique meal service that sends you everything you need to make three delicious meals right at home. Right away I liked that the HelloFresh meals were packed full of flavor and quite unique. Many of the dishes are ones I wouldn’t try myself so it was nice to get to explore new flavors.”

Kristin-OOLKristin with Our Ordinary Life tried the Garlic Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa Verde and Spiced Honey-Butter Corn, and called the corn the “highlight” of the meal. 

Mariah, The Simple Parent: “As you know, when it comes to the kitchen, I love cooking and entertaining. But, I need it to be easy. So I have to admit that when I first opened up my HelloFresh recipes and got out all of the ingredients, I was a bit overwhelmed. I wasn’t sure I had the kitchen skills to make the amazing food that was promised in the recipe book. But, HelloFresh took me through each step and I’m pretty sure my family thought that I had gotten food from a restaurant! Nope, just Chef Mom! I had to admit that I was pretty proud.”

Mariah-TSPThe Simple Parent’s Mariah whipped up Coconut & Macadamia-Crusted Tilapia with Zucchini, Red Bell Pepper, and Cilantro-Lime Forbidden Rice.

Maureen, Wisconsin Mommy: “One of the things I love best about the HelloFresh meals is that they are all made from whole ingredients. There is no ‘adding the mix’ or anything like that. Any sauces or extras (like the awesome tomatillo and avocado salsa I made) are made from the ingredients in the box. The ingredients are all fresher than what you would even find in your local grocery store – must be because HelloFresh supports local businesses whenever possible.”

Maureen-WM Maureen with Wisconsin Mommy shares her Instagram-worthy Peruvian Shrimp Ceviche Tacos with Pico de Gallo and Avocado (recipe here).

Melissa, Serendipity and Spice: “I love that there’s no searching for ingredients because they have EVERYTHING there [in the box]! If the recipe calls for balsamic vinegar, then there is a tiny bottle of balsamic vinegar in your baggie. If the recipe needs honey, then there’s a tiny jar of honey in the bag. HelloFresh makes sure that you have every ingredient and just the right amount so there’s no waste.”

Melissa-SNS Melissa with Serendipity and Spice recruited her little one to help stir up some delicious meals, including the Warm Spinach & Spicy Chorizo Salad with Blistered Tomatoes and Feta-Crusted Corn on the Cob.

If your appetite is whetted, remember that you can visit HelloFresh and enter promo code 40MTH at checkout or click on this link to get 40 percent off of your first delivery (new customers only; promotion ends 9/30/2015). Enjoy!

Featured image source: HelloFresh 

Blogger Spotlight Series: Lori, A Day in Motherhood

When asked how she would use social media if she could make a difference in just one way, Lori said she would “make every mother feel like she had a friend who supports her, especially on her hardest day.”

And that’s just one of the many reasons we love Lori, who blogs at A Day in Motherhood, and we know you will too! Read on to learn what advice she gives new bloggers, how she likes to spend her summer and her dream dinner party guest. Give Lori a shout out at @LoMargie.



A Day in Motherhood

Check out the most recent blogger spotlights from The Motherhood here.

Blogust 2015 is Here!

Blogust Helping kids get vaccines

The Motherhood is excited to announce that Blogust 2015 kicks off today!

Blogust is a month-long social media relay involving more than 50 of North America’s most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions. Also joining this year are Anne Geddes, one of the world’s most well-known photographers, and actress Jo Frost (SupernannyFamily Matters, Extreme Parental Guidance).

For the month of August, two to three bloggers will post each weekday. For every “like”, comment and social media share their posts receive during the month, Project Perpetual will donate one vaccine to a child around the world (up to 50,000 vaccines).

The Motherhood has had the great privilege of working with the UN Foundation and Shot@Life on Blogust every year since its inception in 2012.

To kick off #Blogust, the Shot@Life team will be hosting a Twitter party on August 3 (today!) from 1-2 p.m. ET. We would love to see you there – every tweet with #Blogust or @ShotAtLife during this hour equals one vaccine for a child around the world.


Please visit Shot@Life every day to find the latest Blogust posts – and be sure to comment on, like and share them. Your actions matter. Together we will help 50,000 kids receive the vaccines they need the most.

Super Cute Crispy Treats: New Cookbook Sneak Peek

We have a guest post on the blog today, authored by Ashley Whipple over at Cute As A Fox. We’re so excited for her recent success in publishing a wonderful cookbook – congratulations and take it away, Ashley!

I am so thrilled to be posting on The Motherhood blog. The Motherhood is the very first blogger network I joined back in 2011. In fact, it was The Motherhood that helped ignite my love for food art, which set me on the path to publishing my first cookbook, Super Cute Crispy Treats. The book releases today, 7/28/15, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by sharing here on The Motherhood blog.

Super Cute Crispy Treats

As a mother and a food, craft, and party blogger, the amount of pressure I put on myself to throw the perfect birthday party can be intense. Frankly, it’s also excessive. I know that when my Type A takes over, I get stressed and sometimes the true purpose of the party is lost. Shouldn’t it be about celebrating and making lasting family memories? I have found the best way to tame the perfectionist mom-beast is to get the kids involved in all aspects of the party. Today I want to share my top 3 tips for planning a party with the kids, and not for the kids.

  1. Theme: Let them pick the theme. Give the kids some ownership right from the get-go. I think you’ll be surprised by how many fun details you can imagine for almost any theme. I once heard of someone throwing a Green Bay Packers My Little Pony party for their little girl. It was what she wanted and they made it work. Whether or not you let them have full control or rein it in a little is up to you. Half the fun is in planning the details.
  2. Decorations: Let the kids make the decorations. It may not end up looking like it came out of a magazine, but your kids are going to be so excited to show off the streamers they hung or the wall decorations they made. It’s also a great way to spend time together and make memories while you are making the decorations. You don’t have to leave all the decorations to the kids, either. Put them in charge of one area and you can take care of the rest.
  3. Food: I’m starting to feel like a broken record, but let the kids help with the food too. The food is my favorite part of a party. I am not a cake decorator, though. That’s one of the many reasons I wrote Super Cute Crispy Treats. It’s full of great treats ideas that would be perfect to make with the kids.

Let me show you what I mean. I’m sharing with you one of the 100 recipes in Super Cute Crispy Treats, Birthday Hat Treats. These are great for the kids to help make and they can definitely decorate them. These treats are so easy to customize to any party theme, just change up the treat colors and the decorations.

Birthday Hat Treats

Excerpted from Super Cute Crispy Treats by Ashley Whipple

Yield: 20 to 24 treats

Time: 1 hour
Difficulty level: Intermediate

3 tbsp margarine
1 10-ounce (280 g) bag mini marshmallows
6 cups (150 g) crisp rice cereal
8 ounces (225 g) white almond bark or candy melts
Sanding sugar, optional
24 Sixlets or gumballs
Jumbo quins

1 Melt margarine over low heat in a 5-quart or larger saucepan. Add marshmallows, and stir. Let marshmallows melt completely, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Pour in crisp rice cereal and stir until completely incorporated.

2 Coat your hands and a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Take some cereal mixture and form a cone shape approximately 2 inches (5 cm) high. Repeat until all of mixture has been used. Let cones cool completely.

3 Using a microwave-safe dish, heat almond bark in microwave in 30-second increments until completely melted, stirring between each heating. (I recommend using High power level for first heating and switching to 50 percent power for subsequent heatings.) Dip the bottom of a birthday hat in almond bark and gently shake off any excess. Immediately dip bottom of hat into sanding sugar (if using) to create a colorful rim. Place on a greased baking sheet until set. Repeat for all hats.

4 Press a candy ball on the top of each hat, using melted almond bark to adhere ball to treat. Add polka dots to hats by affixing jumbo quins with almond bark. Let almond bark harden. Store in an airtight container on countertop and serve within 24 hours.


The Birthday Hat Treats are just one of 100 no-bake crispy treats that can be found in Super Cute Crispy Treats. Today’s the big launch day so you can head over and order your copy now. Thanks so much to The Motherhood for having me on the blog today!

Ashley Fox Whipple is the creator of the blog Cute As a Fox. Her recipe and craft creations have been featured on Parade, Rice Krispies Facebook page,, Food Gawker, Craft Gawker, Tastespotting, Edible Crafts on Craft Gossip, as well as many blogs.

Ashley lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and two children. You can find her standing under the nearest air conditioning vent sipping a Diet Coke.

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