Social media as part of your online marketing strategy

Social media has become a major part of many people’s lives and for the B2C business, this is an opportunity not to miss. It is a way of connecting with customers, informing them of special offers or new lines or just giving them interesting information. The beauty of social media, is that it can be used in a variety of ways to get your message across and allows your customers to engage with you. We are all aware of the power of the social media for business but with so many different platforms, how do you know which one will be best for your company?

There’s no doubt about it – a strong social media presence can lift your brand. But while you may be tempted to put your product in front of as many eyeballs as possible – there are over 550 social networking sites, according to KnowEm.com – not every business needs a presence on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook… (the list goes on). So here’s what to consider before signing up on your next social media platform.

 

Don’t chase the shiny object

Before registering for any social networking channel – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ are the most trafficked and most prominent – find out where your customers are and “fish where the fish are,” says Randall Craig, president of Toronto’s 108 ideaspace, a web and social media strategy firm.

 

It’s easy to be seduced by the latest offering, but sometimes a brand simply doesn’t align with a channel’s user base, and the result can be fruitless appeals to a disinterested audience.

 

“For example, it makes no sense for a management consulting firm to do a video contest on YouTube, but it might be perfectly appropriate for a consumer products company,” says Craig.

 

Businesses also need to clearly understand what they want to achieve from joining each channel – whether it’s to develop customer relationships, improve customer service, increase loyalty and cross-selling opportunities, reduce costs, or generate sales – and how they’re going to do this.

And don’t think of your social media efforts as just a tack-on to your marketing strategy.

 

“Your social marketing should impact everything from new leads, sales, customer service, new candidate recruitment, internal collaborations and your company’s overall results,” he says.

 

Pull out the calculator

 

While social marketing tools are typically free, there can be significant costs associated with creating a comprehensive social media strategy. According to a recent Forbes article, it takes a mid-size company at least 32 hours a month to successfully manage just one social media channel. Additional expenses can include legal fees, plus expenses related to promotion, search engine marketing and staff training.

– See more at: http://www.starbusinessclub.ca/technology/4075/

Further information

How to choose the right social media tools for your business

How your business can benefit from social media

Are you making the most of Pinterest for your business?

Pinterest has become a very popular medium for sharing pictures of goods and products but is your business making the most of this opportunity? It can be particularly useful for promoting new lines as well as special offers and you can engage your followers as well. Driving traffic to your site is the goal but it needs to be good quality traffic, traffic that will lead to sales so attracting the right audience is key to success.

As a small business owner, you can sometime feel like you’re being pulled in every direction while trying to drive traffic to your ecommerce shop. When it comes to social media, you’ve got to post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, your blog,  and somewhere in there, maintain your online store. While it may seem daunting to take on yet another social network, Pinterest is well worth the effort, especially if you sell a product – which most of you do!

Here are 10 ways you can use Pinterest to drive traffic to your ecommerce online store:

10 Ways to Increase Ecommerce Sales Using Pinterest

1. Pull Back the Curtain

People want to see how things are made, from Kickstarter backers watching a product evolve from prototype to product, to behind the scenes clips from your favorite TV show.
Whether it’s just you working away at your home based business or your employees working together to get your latest shipments out, show your Pinterest followers what’s happening inside your business and the people who make it tick.

2. Reuse Content

Save time by pinning photos and videos you already have. The images you’ve used on your blog, or that you took at your latest craft fair, are sitting on your hard drive waiting to be shared.
Create a brand history board that showcases your business as it grew from hobby to shop and share photos of your past products to illustrate just how much you’ve grown.

3. Get Your Fans Involved

Use your mailing list, customer lists, and social networks to drum up activity on your Pinterest board. If you’re new to social media, remember that you have a personal network of friends and family who would love to support you.
Ask your fans to share photos of your product in action to provide a wider variety of engaging images for your pinboards. Let non-Pinterest using fans know you’d love to highlight their support and if they’ll send you their pictures, you’ll pin them.

Further information

Optimizing Pinterest for ecommerce

Using Pinterest for Ecommerce

Pinterest, a very useful tool for business

Pinterest has become a very useful tool for businesses who wish to showcase their goods or products whether these are aimed at the public or other businesses. There are over 48 million users of Pinterest with more being added every day. It is a place of creativity, inspiration and sharing. It can be used in many ways to promote brand awareness and the use of competitions has revolutionized this type of marketing.

Everyone is looking for guest post opportunities these days, but one avenue that doesn’t get discussed about often is leveraging Pinterest for guest post opportunities.

Before we dive in, here’s a quick overview of who’s on Pinterest.

Since it launched in March 2010, Pinterest has risen to 48.7 million users and they all spend ridiculous amounts of time on site! It has become a prominent hub for creativity.

Let’s set aside the stereotypes for a second and give Pinterest some credit. It’s filled with popular bloggers, crafters and industry opinion leaders showcasing inspirations of all kinds, and they create tons of buzz! Sure, a fair amount of pins are centered around hairdos, home decor and high heels, but that’s not all you’ll find. Pinterest is a digital billboard for a variety of industries, which makes it somewhat of a marketer’s playground.

Ok let’s dive in.

1) Find Relevant Pins Using Pinterest Search

Pinterest relies on pin descriptions to deliver relevant results. So, start by searching for industry-related pins by performing searches based on keywords just like you would do on any other search engine.

Keep your eyes peeled for images that have garnered loads of re-pins. More re-pins = more leads for alike images. Although more shares and re-pins are better from a data standpoint (more details later), any pin will do really. There’s no way of knowing where a pin will take you until you actually click on the image to view the original page.

Alternatively, you can find popular pinners from Google. Surprised? I was toying with this and while it’s not an end all solution, it’s a start. Click here to continue

Further reading

Why business should use Pinterest for B2B

Why retailers are pinning their hopes on Pinterest

Pinterest: a new social media site for the creative mind

Pinterest Software – New Information

Pinterest Marketing: New Search Functions, Bulk Image Uploads, Following, Board Scraping & More

pinpioneer.com – A more in depth overview of the latest version of PinPioneer, the best Pinterest marketing software. I talk about the enhanced search features, including board searching following and more. Along with some other Pinterest marketing things you may have missed. Tags: Pinterest Marketing Make Money With Pinterest Pinterest software Pinterest bot "Pinranker Pinpalbot PinPioneer Pinfriender Pinterest marketing

Using Pinterest to improve brand awareness

Using Pinterest is one way of creating or increasing a brand image and many small businesses are making use of this method of raising awareness. Without awareness, businesses will struggle and being able to show off your goods enables potential shoppers to view your range from the comfort of their own home or from their smartphones whilst on the move. Pinterest has created quite a niche for those who are able to show their goods in photographs. Good photography will go a long way to improving brand awareness and is worth doing.

In today’s digital world, communications and consumers move quicker than ever before. Once something is said or done, it’s hard to put that genie back in the lamp, so to speak. As king of the imagery hill, Pinterest naturally faces a lot of challengers – but by voicing certain shortcomings of the site they may soon face a major challenge.

Pinterest holiday boards

To wit: Pinterest recently began curtailing the number of spammers and fake accounts on their system in an effort to clear its platform of unwanted elements.  There were major adjustments – and then they chose to start testing secret boards a midst very high-profile attention. Pinterest said “the holidays were a perfect time to test one of our most frequently-requested features: secret boards!”

Is Pinterest saying it’s ok to hide your gift requests, or likes and dislikes, only for the holidays? In trying to be all things to all people and please consumers during the holidays, Pinterest is inviting a lot of criticism – which could escalate into a larger issue. By only allowing users to create up to three of these Secret Boards (which won’t show up anywhere else in Pinterest), you’ll need to delete one or make one public before you can create another. You also can’t transfer any of your existing pins – far from ideal. Click to continue

 

Further information

Updating previous Pinterest boards

The 10 commandments of Pinterest blog promotion

6 ways to create buzz for your brand on Pinterest

Pinterest is business friendly

Many businesses are now using Pinterest to showcase their products. It is an excellent way of showing prospective customers your choice of goods, a bit like a virtual shop window. You can also use it to publicize events that your business is hosting or is involved with. Pinterest is also available on mobile devices, it is now possible to reach even more potential customers without having to do anything else yourself. Finding new customers is the goal of most businesses and if you can gain a bit more interest then this can only be good. Pinterest has really gained momentum this year and has become a very popular social media site. Make sure that your business is not missing out on this opportunity.

 

Pinterest Just Got A Lot More Business-Friendly

Pinterest has launched new tools (as well as some new terms of service) for businesses.

“Organizations can now sign up on the Pinterest for Business site to specify their business name (instead of first and last name) and to secure access to new and upcoming business-specific features,” a spokesperson for Pinterest tells WebProNews. “Brands with an existing account on Pinterest can easily convert their account.”

“The site will also host case studies, best practices and guides to help provide businesses with inspiration,” she adds. “Thousands of businesses are already part of the Pinterest community, and we’re excited to take this step towards working closer with the great organizations that leverage Pinterest every day.”

There are two sets of terms – one for people and one for businesses. “The business terms help guide businesses on how to use Pinterest,” says product manager Cat Lee in a blog post. “They also enable us to separate the provisions meant for businesses from those meant for regular people. As a result, we updated our user terms to be half as long. We also took the opportunity to simplify the language as much as possible. Unfortunately, terms of use are one of those documents that requires a certain amount of legalese, so we’ve offered “translations” of these sections, too.” Click here to continue

Further information

Pinterest just got more business friendly

Want to increase your sales with Pinterest?

Pinterest as a tool for planner-client collaboration

Pinterest has captured the imagination

Pinterest has really captured the imagination where social media is concerned and there are many businesses that use it as a shop window. It has become particularly popular with small home based businesses. There are many ways to  use social media to market your business and Pinterest is one that you should not neglect.

 

PINTEREST is a social network centred around sharing images and the odd video. Users sign up to share their favourite images by creating (pin) boards to match their interests.

To each board they can “pin” relevant images and leave a small explanation or definition. Any image can be pinned, either by uploading a picture from a computer or by “pinning” it from the website you saw it on. Pinning the image from a website is the same as liking something on Facebook. The Pin appears on your relevant board to your audience.

The growth of Pinterest has been phenomenal. In November 2011 Pinterest had around 4.9 million users. By July 2012 the social network had 21.2 million. In context, this is nothing compared to the Facebook audience nearing one billion, but still an impressive number.

With a largely female audience, Pinterest has become an important social channel for any business wanting to put their product in front of this fast growing audience.

But why are people pinning? What is the point? A Pinterest user is most likely pinning for inspiration, aspiration or recognition.

Creating a board allows the user to pin images that are relevant to a theme. It could be “home decor”, “new kitchen” or “my honeymoon”. These boards become a collection of relevant images that act like a virtual scrapbook of ideas.

These boards can be used as inspiration, an easy way to collect inspirational ideas around a theme, from a wedding outfit to decorating a new home. The social nature of sharing these boards means the user can be seeking other opinions on the choices, or allowing others to add suggestions to the board.

Further reading

Pinterest CEO says marketing was key to success

How to generate leads with Pinterest

Does Pinterest really drive more sales than Facebook?

How to make Pinterest work for you

Pinterest is gaining momentum

Pinterest is gaining momentum with business owners as a medium for connecting with people. It can be a great way of getting your brand out there, particularly if you can promote your company or your goods visually. It can be a great way to show potential customers your stock, people like to see photographs before they buy anything so being able to show what your goods look like can make all the difference to your sales. We found this very interesting article for you to peruse.

 

A new study finds that Pinterest is proving to be quite valuable for online retailers. While it trails Facebook in a variety of metrics, it’s gaining ground in those, and is leading in one very important metric. Plus, Facebook’s dominance only stands to increase Pinterest’s value within the other metrics.

Is Pinterest helping your business? Let us know in the comments.

Earlier this week, we looked at the following infographic from RichRelevance comparing Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, in terms of the shopping traffic they drive to retail sites:

Who's driving traffic to shopping sites

The infographic is based on a study from the firm, which looked at 689 million shopping sessions on “leading U.S. retail sites” between January 1 and August 31.

“Every social network promises a new way of connecting consumers with retailers and brands,” said Diane Kegley, CMO of RichRelevance. “However, the big take-away from our research is that not all channels in the social space are created equal. As retailers and brands continue to sort out how to take advantage of social networks, this infographic provides great insight into better understanding the nuances of each channel, how they resonate with consumers and how marketers can take advantage of each in their own unique way.”

Click here to continue reading the article

 

Pinterest – Useful for SEO, Yes or No?

As this interesting blog/article states, there is a lot of talk about how important Pinterest is in the area of Online Marketing. It also usefully points out that Pinterest may not be for all, and that it some cases it could just be a waste of time.

I can see their point, in that as far as getting traffic goes, the site will only really work  well in a small number of cases, in others the user base of Pinterest will simply not be interested.

However, with Google (and no doubt the other Engines) taking note of the number of times images on a site are ‘pinned’ the site may still well be useful in getting better SERPS rankings, simply because the site get’s some more points because of the higher ‘Social Media Signal’ that these pins result in.

I reckon the jury is out myself, but am taking no chances for my customer base and intend to try to use the medium for them to the best possible effect.

See the full interesting article on Pinterest and SEO

So, I’d like to take a moment to point out some scenarios where using Pinterest might not be the best choice for your brand.

 

  1. Your products and services aren’t visually compelling—Pinterest is all about interesting photos, graphics, and videos. Take a look at the stuff people are pinning. It’s typically pictures of pretty food, pretty clothes, pretty people, and pretty crafts. Do your products and services fit well within this visual wonderland? If they don’t lend themselves to being eye candy, maybe Pinterest isn’t right for your business.
  2. Your target audience isn’t young women—The average Pinterest user is a young adult female with a college education. Is this your ideal customer? Is this the person you want to spend your time and energy targeting? If not, why would you be on Pinterest?
  3. You’re not in the right industry—Companies who are in the fashion, food, beauty, home and garden, and arts and crafts industries tend to be the most successful on Pinterest. Again, this goes back to these companies having products that are visually appealing. If your company isn’t in one of these industries, you might want to think twice before getting on Pinterest.
  4. You don’t have time for building a Pinterest presence—If you want to build your brand with the help of Pinterest, you better be prepared for an ongoing commitment. Just slapping up a Pinterest page isn’t going to cut it. You have to spend time each day pinning interesting content and interacting with your audience. You won’t see results overnight. Heck, you might not see results for a long time, if at all. So don’t jump into this without being truly committed.

As to our Pinterest account, I intend to pin lots of images from my customers sites, all carefully tagged (see my blog on Pinterest tagging) and also intend to add some of my own photo’s to my SEO site, as this may too help in gaining traffic and SEO points.

Pinterest and Ancient SEO Methods

Anyone not living under a rock will have noticed the rise of Pinterest, a site that in reality allows you to find images you like and collect them (re pin them) to your own collection. It also allows you to sub divide your pictures into different groups (boards), which makes things all much easier use.

Of course the Online Marketers have spotted this as a means to get traffic, and the word is out that Google etc take the number of times images from a site are ‘pinned’ when deciding who to rank for what, this being in essence another ‘Social Signal’.

Traffic for sites is generated as if anyone clicks on an image, whether it be in its original location or a repinned one, it takes the user to the site it was originally copied from. This means that if you sell courses on digital photography and use a good photograph to ‘catch’ users then you have a very high chance of getting a click through to your site, this perhaps resulting in a sale.

The Pinterest site of course relies on the ‘tagging’ of images by people, when they are pinned (or re-pinned) to a board. These tags are used in two ways, the first being to inform the viewer what the image is about, where it was taken etc.

There is however another way that these tags could be used, this being all to do with capturing the searches that are made by users on the system, in much the same way as try to do in Google. Thus in the above example of digital photography courses, using such words like ‘basic photo editing tips’ :-

This photo was used in
http://pinterest.com/CatarinaRegina/blogging/
the image itself linking to:-

http://lisaedoff.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/photoshop-tutorial-learn-basic-photo.html

Where the full story is laid out and where sales can be made.

It goes to say then, that using the right descriptions could make all the difference to a image being found and re-pinned or not. This is important, as it is this ‘finding and re-pinning’ that generate the click throughs’ (and those ‘social signal points’) that will result in traffic and sales.

Ancient Methods?

In the distant past of SEO on the web, it was a common trick to use strings of words like ‘sex, sex, sex’ to get traffic (although I cannot see this being very relevant for most sites) so I was wondering, purely for research of course, what would happen if you searched for the term ‘nudes’, this being a image site an all.

It was therefore quite a surprise to me to find a whole host of images come up for this ‘tag’, many of them nothing to do with this term at all, there being pictures of nail varnish and shoes.

Ok most of the images were in skin tones but in my view they should have used the tags like ‘skin toned shoes’ or ‘nude toned nail varnish’ and not just ‘nudes’ as this in my view is just trying to capture the sort of searches that were being sought all those years ago.

I’m sure it won’t last and that the tagging of images will improve as time goes by, at least I hope so for all concerned.