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Benefits of Pinterest for Businesses

Benefits of Pinterest for Businesses

Pinterest is a virtual storyboard-style social sharing website. Users can create and manage theme-based image collages called boards. Users “pin” images to these themed boards by either uploading the image, using the Pinterest browser bookmarklet tool, or Pinterest social sharing buttons on different websites’ pages.

Users can follow other users as well as follow individual boards. Additionally, users can embed, share, “like” and “re-pin” other users’ images. Re-pining an image places it onto the board of the user, and the re-pin is credited to the original source of the pin and attributed to the user who originally pinned the image.

Highly visual in nature, Pinterest says its mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the things they find interesting.” With over 70 million Pinterest users, it is clear that web users prefer to digest information in a visual format. Some of these users are of your target audience and can be reached through this unique social channel.

 

Leveraging Pinterest: Why Use it?

By leveraging and engaging on Pinterest, companies and brands can reach their targeted audience and be present in the stream of activity and reach a wider range of customers. Brands can create relevant themed boards around their product offerings as well as add Pinterest buttons to their product pages, blog posts, and other content properties.

Pinterest users have the ability to pin images directly from a website as well as repin images from other users. The act of pining an image from a website creates a backlink to the website. From an SEO perspective, Pinterest links are “nofollow,” meaning they do not pass value to the target page. However, these links are social signals that impact your “authority” in the online space.

Users engage with Pinterest by searching for interesting images. In finding relevant content, they also click through to the original source. Brands can leverage this opportunity by creating targeted boards and directly pining from their websites. Additionally, companies can optimize their pins by adding URLs to the description field for easier access to the brand website.

Aside from this, there are many other ways brands can utilize Pinterest to its greatest capacity.  I think the greatest value in Pinterest, apart from the obvious benefit for ecommerce sites product exposure, is that Pinterest can help leverage more exposure for local sites.  By targeting localized keywords via the Pinterest search algorithm, brands can utilize Pinterest’s authoritative presence in search and their visual aesthetic to make sales and create awareness for your work.  Take for example a local Pennsylvania heating solutions company.  All the brand needs is a camera and the time to put together a helpful – what is what guide on the different heating products.  That way people may learn how to more accurately use their heaters during the winter.  And when the time comes for that heater to be worked on, or replaced. They’ll likely remember the PA company. And know it for it’s local presence.

 

Optimizing Your Profile

When setting up a profile, brands can optimize various elements including username (URL of your brand page), bio, profile picture, and links to other social media properties (and your website, of course). Connecting social channels is vital because it establishes your brand online and it improves the online real estate you inhabit when users search for your brand on search engines.

Much like a domain name, it’s also beneficial to include keywords or phrases that your target audience may be interested in while creating your brand profile name. There is a 15-character limit, so depending on your target keywords you may need to get creative.

When choosing a profile image, it’s important to use the same image you use on other social media channels as well. It is especially important to use the same image you use for Google+ because it can help improve your chances of attaining Google Authorship, which will make your brand a more recognizable authority in its online space.

 

It’s All About the Boards

Brands need to create various boards relevant to their product offering and target audience. Your profile and boards should define your products and services, or at least relate to them. You can also pin images to boards directly from your website to improve the connection between both properties.

In addition to boards related to your products, businesses should create boards that cover topics conveying their brand personality and fit in with messaging. Your boards should also cater to what your target audience is interested in.

 

Staying Active in the Community

As with all social media, brands need to interact with their followers and stay active within the community. It’s useful to follow key influencers that reflect your brand messaging and to interact with their profile. Re-pinning images from their boards helps to foster community and stay connected.

Brands should also re-pin from within the Pinterest website to engage with others’ profiles; re-pinning is one of the most social activities on Pinterest and it’s how any user really builds his/her network of followers

 

Brands Doing Pinterest Right

There are various brands utilizing the platform to build awareness, reach their audience, and gain traffic.

Whole Foods is a great example. It is clear it understands its target audience and provides various boards that satisfy customers’ interests. The page offers boards with dessert, vegetable and other themed recipes. However, you can also find DIY, gardening and other boards that would appeal to the organic lifestyle held by many of their customers.

Whole Foods’ Pinterest efforts have earned 180,249 followers and helped it become integral with new/potential customers’ daily activities.

Whole Foods Pinterest

While not as renowned or large scale as Whole Foods, Denver real estate agent Michelle Potter is also doing a worthy job at utilizing Pinterest to reach her audience. Her username/URL “denverrealty” uses relevant keywords “Denver” and “realty” to reach more potential customers. Her boards also highlight appealing topics for someone who might be looking to move to Denver, and it also establishes her as an authority in that community.

Potter also creates boards focused on interior design to help excite potential home buyers by showing how them how they can decorate their new home.

denver_realty_pinterest_example

Know your Audience!

Pinterest provides opportunity for brands to reach their audience and convert sales. There is also opportunity to build brand awareness and increase social signals, helping to establish a stronger online presence. Brands will benefit most from Pinterest by engaging with the community, creating relevant and interesting boards, and adding Pinterest buttons to their websites to foster sharing of their content.

Of course, knowing what your current and potential customers need and want is essential to successfully connecting to them.

I do some social work for a local Harrisburg furniture store.  In terms of strategy there is a lot to be gained from Pinterest.  Again – by targeting localized keywords, I simply just need to take some time to photograph our products, sofas and displays, or even use our product photos from our site, to upload to pinterest and tag as “harrisburg pa sofas.” Or variations of our target words.  In addition by knowing the audience of pinterest, I know their interest in interior design ideas, etc.  So by providing some DIY tricks and tips or craft ideas, I can potentially gain large increases in exposure by pairing them with my products.  Doing this will help me stand out compared to my local competition.

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4 Expert Tips on Building a Social Media Contest

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For nearly any kind of business, a well-designed social media contest can help drive interest in a brand or company by directing an audience toward an attractive online or social media activity. Putting together a contest related to an enterprise or business is one way to leverage a free-floating audience of social media users. Some of them may have a very basic or minimal connection to an existing brand that’s active on platforms like Facebook.

Here are some ways to benefit from a social media contest designed to boost visibility for business.

Establish an Audience

Before putting together a social media contest, it’s smart to do some basic research and look at what kinds of users are already attached to the social media profiles for a business. Get out on Twitter and Facebook or other more specific social media platforms and get an idea of the size of an audience and any demographics that may be useful in putting the contest together.

Create a Relevant Contest Idea

Another way to optimize a social media contest for brand visibility is to make sure that a company’s products or services are included in a direct and relevant way. For an automotive campaign, the prize could be car parts or an entire vehicle. For a service business like landscaping, coupons could be part of the contest. No matter what kind of business is being represented, whether it’s a supermarket or a homebuilder who puts up luxury log homes, there should be a direct appeal to what marketers want social media contest participants to focus on.

Pick Highly Targeted Platforms

Different kinds of social media contests also work better over certain platforms. For today’s marketers, there are a lot of different social media venues to take advantage of. Platforms like Pinterest or comparison shopping sites like Mavatar can be useful in a social media contest. By matching up a community of users with an interesting and accessible set of online opportunities, marketers can put together a contest or event that really has meaning to the people who will be engaged in the process.

Reveal Clear Guidelines and Timelines

Readers will also want to know exactly when a contest starts. They’ll want to know the deadline and when results will be announced. They’ll want to note any guidelines or rules of the game that may apply. Make all of these things clear and transparent. That way, anyone who participates knows what he or she needs to comply with in order to be eligible for a prize.

The above steps can help when it comes to creating a good marketing campaign around a social media contest or some other kind of online interactive event that drives interest and web traffic.

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Guest Post: Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan

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Whether it’s a brand new venture or a well-established enterprise, having a business in today’s fast-paced world requires that you have a social media presence. Such a presence requires more than a market. There are popular websites with a lot of members that you can market your product or service with. But before you even sign up for one social networking account, you need to create a clear and effective plan of action.

By creating a social media marketing strategy, you will be better able to attract the members of a social networking site. With a good strategy, you can get them to engage and actively participate with your posts and promotions. With this you will be able to turn them into customers and get them to spread the word to their friends and family members.

Here are a few tips to help you create that social media marketing plan:

1. Have Clear Goals

Don’t think of having social media accounts as just another box to tick off or fill out on your to-do list. These accounts can be the first thing that potential customers encounter when they cross paths with you. That’s why you need to make sure that your social media accounts are consistent with the mission and vision of your enterprise.

At the same time, this strategy needs to connect with what your potential customers are looking for online. This article on Search Engine Land shows that 50% of online marketers that are not integrating social media in their strategy  are not succeeding. So, think about social media carefully and align your strategy with a good social media plan. Then, write down smart, achievable, and measurable goals that you want to achieve with your accounts.

These goals will make sure that your company’s social media can be used fruitfully. You’ll be able to measure achievements and direct the progress of your marketing in line with these goals. You can focus on what to prioritize and what to put in the back burner.

2. Know Your Social Media

You can use your social media accounts to expose your business to new customers. You can also use them to allow your current customers to interact with you as part of customer service or to put a human face to your company. Or, you can use them to promote new products and services and give discounts. Whatever you choose to have as your social media goals, keep in mind that social networking sites have their differences and their similarities.

For instance, Instagram is a social network that allows its users to post pictures and videos to their followers. You can use it to show your potential customers what your products look like. Meanwhile, Twitter is a microblogging platform that limits your message to 140 characters per tweet. While you could create a longer statement with third-party apps, consider using your company’s Twitter account to send out short (or funny) announcements, trivia, or links to valuable information.

Speaking of apps, there are also mobile-based programs that can help you send the same message across multiple social media accounts. So if you want to show off your new storefront, you can take pictures with your phone and post them simultaneously on your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr accounts.

Your social media accounts can also help you track your marketing plan’s success. Apart from the number of followers that you have, many sites and their apps will show you the number of likes that your posts get. You can also check out the free analytics that come with your Facebook, WordPress, and Tumblr pages. These sites track down your progress over a period of time for easier analysis.

3. Have Someone Manage Your Social Media

Whether it’s your tech-savvy intern, your personal assistant, or a group of young employees, having someone to manage your social media ensures that your online marketing won’t be an afterthought. He or she can do all the promotions and the analysis of how well your social media marketing is doing. You just have to make sure that your social media manager is fully aware of your plan.

With these tips on hand, you can start creating a social media account to market your business at the soonest possible time without second thoughts. In no time, your product will get introduced to countless social media users. Inquiries and orders will start flooding your site, and it can only mean one thing for you: you’re in business!

Yvonne Hart is a tech blogger from Australia. Her knowledge about consumer technology is backed up by 8 years working as a marketing professional in an I.T. distribution company. She now works as a consultant for http://www.comparebroadband.com.au.

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Facebook – How much is too much for your business?

facebook for business

Image via TechCrunch.com

In 2013, everyone loves social media, even the local notary has a facebook page. It wasn’t too long ago that only the bigger notary companies that could offer signing services nationwide bothered to invest in facebook.  Millions of people have Facebook accounts, an area with a lot of impressions that can be made for your business.  While having social media accounts for your business are great tools, is there a timeline where enough is enough?  While some may say that you should be updating Facebook constantly, that doesn’t necessarily hold water if your business isn’t utilizing it’s time.

The biggest misconception is that social media is free.  Of course you can make a free Facebook account in a matter of minutes, but at the end of the day Facebook is a commitment that takes blood, sweat, and tears in order to fully utilize.  Whether your business is large or small, you’ll end up paying someone to constantly try and keep up with your competition.  An effect use of Facebook, which includes responding to feedback, answering comments, moderating discussions, or building a community all take time; and time, is money of course.

Facebook is also difficult to measure.  While likes and page views are great for metrics, often times though these statistics don’t mean anything.  If you’re a new business and you get a few thousand likes, that might be great for you.  Building your brand and getting your name out there is huge.  However, an already established brand really isn’t going to benefit from page likes.  Facebook has become a place for business to promote via contests and raffles; many Facebook users end up clicking just to enter without the intent of ever purchasing or going to the main website.

Another common idea is that Facebook is more personal than having in person or over the phone communication.  While it’s nice that you are accessible to your customers, and giving them options on how to reach you.  There is no replacement for actual human interaction.  Whether you choose to create that connection in person or over the phone is up to you.  Answering questions and replying to discussion on Facebook works perfectly to supplement your customer service, do not put all your eggs in one basket.

In the end you have to come up with the best strategy for your business.  Define your goals on social media, whether they are sales, traffic, or building your brand identity.  You must be able to show tangible evidence that your methods are working.  Allocate your time efficiently and stop wasting your employees’ skills on trying to keep up with the Joneses.  While Facebook is great tool to have and use, be careful not to stumble into the pitfalls.  Find what is productive for you and stick with it.  Don’t get trapped into spending countless days on Facebook.  Use it for your main business purpose and move on with your day.

 

 

 

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10 Things That Will Lose You Twitter Followers

The best thing you can do for your company’s social media image is to evaluate your own footprint.  Let’s take a quick look at Twitter.  Being able to identify your problem areas and adjusting will win you more followers and increase your credibility to potential followers.  When self-evaluating your twitter, assume that the user is only viewing your “preview” profile, or the smaller version that opens before viewing your full profile.  This snapshot of your profile include your picture, bio, number of tweets, followers, and following, followers of the user that follow your company, and of course the last few tweets you’ve posted.   Avoiding these simple 10 items will improve your Twitter profile and increase your footprint.twitter egg

1)      First and foremost, don’t be an egg. The egg image is the default profile picture for any newly created Twitter account.  Not having a real image automatically dismisses your company as legitimate.

2)      Within your profile bio, never claim to be a “guru” or “ninja.” Most of the users that use these words and their synonyms in their profile are often trying too hard to get the user to believe they are an expert.  Fact of the matter is, they probably aren’t.

3)      Along the same lines as the last tip, never write your bio in the third person.  It gives off an aura of arrogance and should be avoided at all costs.  Connect with the user one on one, don’t chase them away.

4)      Your ratio of followers to following is out of balance.  If you follow a thousand people but only have four followers, you’ll be perceived as robotic or automated.  No one wants to follow a robot.

5)      You offer a follow back to everyone or beg others to follow you.  This is self-explanatory.  It’s bad practice and is seen as desperate and will demote your brand’s strength.

6)       You tweet too much.  Who would’ve thought that tweeting on Twitter would be bad, right? The general rule of thumb is up to three tweets a day.  More than that and you’ll start scaring away followers.  You might have some days where you tweet more than then three (or less) but overloading someone’s feed will turn them off.

7)      You have an automated tweeting system.  Robots write very spammy looking tweets.  Don’t do it, it’s impersonal.

8)      All your tweets are bragging about you.  This can be in the form of tweets you’ve written or retweets of praise from other users.  It’s ok to retweet the kind words of others but keep it to a minimum.  When you do tweet any form of acclimation trying to keep it away from the top of your page.  Follow it up with a few informational tweets or responses to others.  If the tweets in your “preview” come off as bragging or conceited you’ll potentially lose that user on the spot.

9)      You’re selling something.  Twitter is a place to build relationships and share quick ideas. Don’t try and hardsell your audience with every interaction.  Avoid selling anything in your profile bio or too often in tweets.  Announcing a new product is one thing, trying to sell your products in every tweet in another.

10)   You’re overdoing direct messages.  So you just got a new follower, great! Don’t immediately direct message that user to check out your site even if you are the best accident lawyer in the city.  While your intentions might be good, that user will click unfollow faster than they clicked follow the first time.

There you have it, 10 ways you can lose Twitter followers.  Sometimes looking in the mirror is a necessary part of the equation.  Following these simple guidelines, you’ll have a strong brand image, a more positive experience, and a great social media strategy.

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Learn from Fortune 500 companies – using instagram for your small business

Currently there are 123 Fortune 500 companies with Instagram accounts. Among the top Instagram brands are Nike, Starbucks, Whole Foods, and Ralph Lauren. However, there are a host of other big name brands with accounts like Lowe’s, Disney, Apple, and Ford; just to name a couple more. If these Fortune 500’s are using instagram as part of their marketing tools, so should you. To properly use Instagram, let’s look at some statistics based off of these top brands and their habits.

instagram mayfair filter

Now you can go and create an account for your business but you have to remember to use it. TrackMaven, a competitive analysis firm, shows that of the current 123 Fortune 500’s found only 22% have active membership. An inactive profile isn’t going to get marked as a favorite or gain new followers.

When posting to Instagram, photos are still the way to go as far as popularity. Time of day or day of the week doesn’t seem to make a difference. There is a slight bump to weekend postings but you should take advantage of posting during business hours and at night. When you post videos however, they perform better outside of business hours; the theory is users have more time to view content while not working. Video popularity is rapidly growing and should not be ignored.

As far as filters go, the top Fortune 500’s mostly used no filters but the Mayfair filter performs the best when it comes to interactions. The top 3 filters respectively are: Mayfair, no filter, and Inkwell. You should also be using hashtags to your advantage. Not only do they make your photos and videos easily searchable by other users but are shown to be quite effective up to 5 hashtags; which has the highest average of a little over 21 interactions per 1,000 followers.

So how can you add Instagram to your marketing toolbox? Just remember these easy practices. Always use photos but start using videos to your advantage. Content should be compelling, funny, cute, or sympathetic. For example, discrimination lawyers might post a picture of a young child in order to gain sympathy in order to persuade public opinion. When using a filter, Mayfair and Inkwell give you your highest interaction count; otherwise don’t use a filter at all. Hashtags work; up to 5 hashtags are proven successful and should be used to gather new followers and higher interaction metrics. Don’t be afraid to post. The Fortune 500 companies are successful because they post 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no clear winner when to post so keeping a continual, but not automated, posting schedule will help you grow.

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