Articles by: SamChan | Visit Website

Pinterest Marketing for Businesses

Pinterest, a social networking site that allows users to organize and share things they find on the web in the form of images, is growing fast. It has nearly 20 million unique users, and over 80% of them are females. But it’s not just the females who are using Pinterest – businesses and brands are starting to use it too.

The reason is because many of the pins, or images, on Pinterest link to websites outside of Pinterest. For example, a pin of a piece of furniture might link to Ikea’s site. And whenever a Pinterest user “repins,” or shares, that pin, the repin will also link to Ikea’s site. As you might have already guessed, a pin has the potential to drive a lot of traffic to your website.

Here are a few ways to use Pinterest for marketing your business or brand:

Add pins and create boards

As a business owner, you want to share images that are interesting and still related to your business or industry. To add a pin, you simply select an image to upload from your computer. You’ll then be given the option to add a 500 character description and make that image link to a specific website.

An alternative to uploading an image is to type in an URL – Pinterest will automatically show you the images on that page and you can then pick one to create a pin with.

These pins are then organized into “boards,” which are categories of pictures. Boards look something like this:

Pinterest Boards

Pinterest Boards

You can either use simple and popular board titles such as “Photography,” “Pets” or “Hair and Beauty.” Or you can use something else as the name of your boards.

There are a few specific characteristics you’ll need in these images, which we’ll discuss later.

Make it easy for people to share what’s on your site

To increase the likelihood of a visitor to your website sharing what’s on your site, add a social sharing bar or button similar to this one to your site:

Social Sharing Bar

A social sharing bar

The easier you make it, the more likely someone will share what is on your site. With a social sharing bar, someone can pin what’s on your site onto one of their Pinterest boards with two clicks and all of their followers will be able to see it. If you don’t know which social sharing bar to use, try AddThis.

Good content

A website with a social sharing bar alone is not enough. In order to effectively use Pinterest for business, you need good content, especially good images. Take a look at this screenshot of Pinterest:

A screenshot of Pinterest

A screenshot of Pinterest

All of the images in the screenshot share a few characteristics:

  • Simple – there is one object that is the focal point of every pin.
  • Beautiful – the images are artistic and tasteful.
  • Inspirational -the pins create a sense of desire.
  • High Quality – the images are clear and not pixelated.

Be sure that the images on your website share these qualities as well.

Integrate with your other social media accounts

You can link your Pinterest account to your Facebook and Twitter account. Once you do that, whenever you pin something to a board, it’ll be shared with your Facebook and Twitter followers. So even if they’re not on Pinterest, they will be able to see what you pinned to your board.

The purpose of this is, again, is not only to share an image, but to drive traffic to your website.

Hope you find these tips useful you as you start using Pinterest for marketing your business!

 The latest issue of  Webdify Magazine is finally out! This website magazine is your monthly source for WEB, SOCIAL, and MOBILE news. Grab your copy now!

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Best Social Media Monitoring Tools

How are you supposed to keep track of everything said about you or your business when there are so many websites out there? In the social-media world alone, we have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and more recently, Pinterest, to name a few. On top of that, there are millions of blogs and news websites.

But first, what is social media monitoring or listening? Maria Ogneva, the Director of Social Media at Attensity, defines it as “the process of continuous and immediate discovery of conversations with the purpose of learning, engaging, helping and collaborating.” Social media listening is important for your business; we want to share the best social media monitoring tools to help you:

Google Blog Search
– type in a keyword and Google will search through blogs for that keyword.

Google Alerts – after setting up an alert, you will be sent e-mails with updates of the latest Google results, including news, blogs and videos, related to the search query you set up.

Social Mention – search for keywords across multiple websites and platforms. This site also provides metrics such as strength, passion, sentiment and reach. They describe themselves as Google Alerts, but for social media.

Monitter – this site allows you monitor Twitter in real-time for any keyword or phrase you specify.

Twitter Advanced Search – this search tool from Twitter lets you search for tweets by keywords and narrow results by accounts and/or location.

Ice Rocket – type in a keyword to search for the latest posts on blogs, Twitter and Facebook.

Addict-o-matic – enter in a keyword or topic and the site will display some of the latest tweets, blogs, videos and news articles about that topic.

Paid options:

Trackur – start with a free plan or sign up for a paid plan which includes data such as how influential are the people who talk about you.

Radian6 – gives you to the ability to monitor real-time conversations happening around your brand, industry and competitors. It is one of the top tools available.

You can also visit this page for a master list of social media monitoring tools.

There are many social media monitoring tools available – use the one that best suits your needs. If you want to focus on Twitter, Monitter is probably a better option than Google Alerts. But if you want an overview of what people are saying across platforms, try Addict-o-matic or Social Mention instead. Of course, you can use a combination of these tools to monitor what people are saying.

What social media monitoring tools do you use?

 The latest issue of  Webdify Magazine is finally out! This website magazine is your monthly source for WEB, SOCIAL, and MOBILE news. Get your copy now!

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Internship Benefits for Employers

We’ve all heard of the cliche about interns grabbing coffee and making photocopies. But an internship program can be so much more than just that. In fact, there are many internship benefits for employers. Here are a few:

Find future employees
An internship program is a great way to “test drive” potential employees. Instead of learning about a job candidate through his or her resume, a reference, or even an interview, you get to see them in action first-hand. As an employer, you get to see how the interns operate. You learn their strengths and weaknesses. You will find out if they can follow directions, work in a team, and do their jobs well. And you will know whether they fit into your company’s culture or not. Many large corporations hire full-time employees from their internship program for these reasons.

Low-cost
Interns don’t cost much in terms of money. You can offer unpaid internships in exchange for college credit (there are six legal criteria that must be satisfied in order for an internship to be unpaid). Even paid interns typically receive a lower wage than full-time employees. And you don’t have to offer medical coverage or retirement benefits to your interns.

Increased productivity
You can reduce your own workload and focus on the most important work by delegating certain tasks and projects to interns. And since interns are low-cost compared to employees, you have the ability to hire multiple interns at the same time. This means higher productivity, the ability to work on more projects, and ultimately, better results.

Interns are teachable
Many interns participate in an internship program for the experience and are eager to learn. Since many interns have little prior experience, they are willing learn your company’s system and way of doing things. Less experience can mean fewer bad habits for interns to “unlearn.”

Fresh perspectives
Interns grew up in a world far different from the one many of today’s employers grew up in. They see and understand the world differently. Even within a group of interns, each has his or her own unique set of experiences.This allows them share perspectives and ideas you may not have considered.

Understanding of technology and web 2.0
Although they might not have much professional experience, interns do have an understanding of technology and web 2.0. Today’s college students grew up using Google, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and MySpace (back when it was more popular). They connect with others through the web on a daily basis. Many also have technical skills in photo or video editing, web design, or programming.

You can create an internship program that will leverage the technological skills your interns already have. For example, an internship focused on social-media can greatly benefit your business.

Conclusion
Regardless of the size of your business or company, having an internship program can be advantageous to your success. It might take a little bit of time to train interns, but ultimately, the benefits far outweigh the cost.

If you would like to learn more, please read AD Publishing’s white paper on how to create a win-win internship program [pdf].

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New Years Social Media Resolutions

2012 is right around the corner and you are probably busy thinking of new years resolutions to make. But have you thought of setting new years resolutions for social media?

Bestselling author Robin Sharma once said, “Vague goals for your future promise vague results in your future.” So let’s set some clear and concrete goals for this new year:

X number of pageviews, followers, or likes. For example, you can set a goal for 1,000 more followers on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever other platform you use in 2012. This number is only a base objective – it should never be the ultimate or primary goal of your social media efforts.

If you have a 1 million followers, but only 0.01% take action (e.g. buy from you), then having 1 million followers isn’t very meaningful. You do need an audience, but the number is not a be-all, end-all.

Don’t fall into the trap of measuring the success of your social media efforts by this number.

Opt-ins, sign-ups and sales. These are much better metrics to set goals for. How many people signed up for your newsletter updates, bought your products and services, or became a new customer because of your social media efforts?

If you don’t know, then start creating custom landing pages and use tools like Google Analytics, which can tell you exactly where visitors to your website come from. If you already know the number of sign-ups that resulted from your social media use, increase that number in this new year. Challenge yourself and go beyond what you think is possible – don’t just settle for a safe number.

Become an expert in one area. Focus on one social media site, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or another site and know it inside out. Read and subscribe to blogs (like ours!), watch videos and pick up a few book relating to that site. If you’d like, you can even sign up for a social media marketing course. We have a free Internet Marketing Training course available. You can also follow other business pages and see what they do well and where they can improve.

Becoming knowledgeable about a certain social media site is fairly cheap in terms of price. But you will have to be intentional and spend a little time on it.  It will certainly be worth it for yourself and your business. And if it takes you less than a year to accomplish this goal, move on and learn more about another site!

Listen more. Social media is about conversations, which means you can’t just keep talking. Listen to what your clients and customers have to say. What are their comments (good or bad) and concerns? Act on them and fix any problems they mention. You can even explicitly ask people, “How can I (we) help you?” Software like Trackur and Social Mention allow you to keep track of what people are saying about you.

Listen first, only then will others listen to what you have to say.

Now that I have shared a few social media goals for the new year, what are some you have set for 2012?

Next Generation Fans Tweet, Check-in, Take Photos and Post to Facebook

Social media and Web 2.0 forever changed the way we consume products and services. Instead of simply buying and consuming, the next generation of fans buy, consume and then share their experiences on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare. The proliferation of smart phones and mobile apps has only increased the speed of this phenomenon, making social media for business a critical area to manage in 2012.

With the tap of a few buttons, people can “check-in” to places and let others know where they are. Some share photos of what they are doing. Others might Tweet or post a Facebook status about their experience.

In 2010 alone, popular check-in service Foursquare had over 380,000,000 check-ins. People even checked-in from locations such as Whole Foods Market – a place that might seem too insignificant or mundane to share.

What does that tell you?

People want to share.

As a business owner, you can take advantage of this…

Be on these popular social networks, especially Facebook.

One study showed that 51% of consumers said they are more likely to buy from a brand they are a fan of or “like” on Facebook. Radio Shack reported that Foursquare users spend 3.5 times more than its average customer. There is serious value to being on these social networks.

But if you must pick one social network to use, pick Facebook. Consumers interact with brands more on Facebook than they do on any other network.

Leverage these social networks for your marketing

You can reward customers for checking in. Foursquare allows merchants to “create a special.” For example, one local gym gives you and a friend a free one-day pass for checking in. And you get $25 off a phone for checking-in three times at the Verizon store.

But what’s the big deal about check-ins? Think of it as a form of social proof – seeing that your friend is at a certain restaurant has much more credibility than seeing an ad from that same restaurant. And every time someone check-in, hundreds of their friends could potentially see it.

Create a marketing campaign based on the fact that the new generation of fans often Tweet, check-in, post statuses and take pictures of the places they are at.

[How To: Start Marketing on Foursquare]

Social media as a listening and sharing tool

People are sharing, which means you should listen.

What are people saying about your business? Is there something people want that your business can provide?

Using social media for customer service is one part of listening. You can respond to complaints and answer questions. JetBlue and Wingstop are two great examples of this. Not only do they provide quick responses but they also show off a human side of their business.

You can also start conversations on social networks. Ask customers for their input. Take a look at this screenshot my friend shared:

When you demonstrate that you value your customers, they feel valued and love you more. And that leads to even more sharing about you. It’s a snowball effect.

What it means for you, the business owner

Social Media has revolutionized communications and the relationships consumers have with businesses. It also allows customers to share their experience with others like never before.

So be where your next-generation customers are: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and wherever else they may be.

 

Black Friday Marketing Ideas for Small Business

Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving that’s become the busiest (and craziest) day of the year for retailers and businesses. Yet when most people think of Black Friday, giant retailers like Target, Walmart and Best Buy come to mind. So what can you do as a small business owner to get into the heads of Black Friday shoppers? Here are some Black Friday marketing ideas:

  1. Let people know about the promotions you have on Black Friday (or Cyber Monday). It might sound obvious, but if your business is out of sight, it’s also out of shoppers’ minds. Besides advertising, you can let people know via your website/blog, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and any other social media tools you might use.
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  3. Have good offers. You have to give customers what they want. Offering a discount on an item customers rarely purchase won’t do you any good. Why else are TVs, console games and computers so popular on Black Friday?
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  5. Make it easy for people to share your promotions with friends and family. Add a “share this” or “tell a friend” button at the end of your e-mail and on your website. Ask people to refer a friend or share your promotions; and surprise them with something as simple as a discount or coupon for doing so. And find your top customers who are true fans of your business and have them promote your business for you.
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  7. Be remarkable. Black Friday is synonymous with long lines and “limited supplies.” What if your brick-and-mortar business didn’t have lines that ran all the way to the back of the store? What if your business had more than just one of the “door buster” in stock? Treat your customers as special even on the busiest day of the year. Customers will remember you and come back again after Black Friday if you provide them with a surprisingly pleasant shopping experience.
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  9. Have a good return policy – and let people know about that too. Any time someone spends money on your product or service, they are taking a risk with their money. Assuming you have a good product or service, having a good return policy will provide some peace of mind to shoppers, which in turn makes it easier for shoppers to decide to buy from you.
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  11. Hold contests and giveaways. Not only do they get people to visit your store, they get people talking too.
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  13. Be mobile and online. Many people don’t visit a brick-and-mortar store during Black Friday because they either don’t want to wait in long lines or prefer to sleep in. Having an online and mobile version of your store allows for you to reach a group of people you wouldn’t have otherwise.
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  15. Start early, but not too early. You can run a few promotions during the days (or week) leading up to Black Friday. Amazon does a good job at this – not only do shoppers get good deals before Black Friday even hits but you can create hype and excitement for the big day.

Preparation for Black Friday really starts weeks and months before Thanksgiving even arrives. These eight tips are a few things you, as a small business owner, can implement for Black Friday.

Happy Thanksgiving!