A Look at Pinterest [INTERNSHIP]

Pinterest calls themselves a “virtual pin board”. This website is known for connecting people from all over the world through common tastes and interests. There are many uses for Pinterest including finding new recipes and do it yourself projects. The content that you post is called “pins” and your pins get organized in boards. Pinterest is interesting because it lets you browse other people’s boards and “repin” the content you like onto your own boards. This website offers content like pictures, videos, recipes, tutorials, and much more.

The Pinterest logo in banner form

The Pinterest Logo © Pinterest, in banner form from the site www.lawyerist.com

In order to effectively use Pinterest, you need to make sure your content speaks louder than words. Since Pinterest is solely based on pictures, you need to make sure your pictures are high quality; let your pictures do all the talking. You also want to credit all your content from where it came from so it won’t tarnish your rep. Your boards on your homepage is what keeps your content organized. Using your boards correctly will benefit you when you’re trying look back at your posts. You can have as little or as many boards as you’d like. Pinterest lets you rename them and change the cover picture of your boards. For example, if you found a picture of gourmet food that looks good to you; post this under your board that relates to “Food”.

There are so many things you can do with Pinterest. You can plan your wedding on it, find new recipes, see what the latest style is, and so much more.  Pinterest lets you use keywords to find specific or general things you are looking for. You don’t even have to repin content, you can simply like or comment it. Your likes show up on your homepage under a different category than boards. Just like Twitter, you can follow other people and they can follow you. The people you follows content will show up on your “following” home page. This is different than your actual homepage because your homepage is filled with just your content.

When you repin something, Pinterest gives you the option to follow that person’s board that you repined from. This is a quick easy way to follow more people and make your following homepage more diverse. It’s said that when people go on Pinterest, they go on to just browse around. Pinterest is a great website for just browsing around because they have so many different categories to choose from. Aside from the popular page, categories range from health and fitness, science and nature, cars and motorcycles, travel, sports, and many more. It’s not a mystery that Pinterest can be used by anyone.

Pinterest can be used by small businesses, large corporations and anywhere in between. The first step to market your business on the site is to add the Pinterest button on your website. This will increase the awareness of your customers showing them that you have a Pinterest page. Just like in any other case, key words are the key! If you are an up and coming gym and you want to attract more customers, you would want to post pictures of your gym and services, pictures of your equipment, and even videos of small work outs to show them what you have to offer. The cool thing about Pinterest is the hyper linking. If you post a picture of your equipment on the site, a customer can click the picture and be brought to your website.

You want to target your audience on Pinterest by using key words that appeal to what they’re looking for. Once you’ve got their attention you want to keep it by pinning as much relevant content as you can. A recently new feature on Pinterest allows you to create a “secret board”. This can be helpful in so many ways. For businesses, if you are in the mix of making a new board and don’t want to post it right away, a secret board is right for you. This gives extra time in preparing the board and making sure it is just right for your audience when it’s ready to be posted.

Pinterest is a great source of referral traffic for websites and blogs. It drives in more traffic than Google+, Youtube, and LinkedIn combined! At the moment, Pinterest has 11 million users and is getting more every day. This site is a great because the content brings traffic directly to your website with one click. If you use this site correctly, there’s no other way to build up your brand name on the web.

Sources:

http://pinterest.com/

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/26-tips-for-using-pinterest-for-business/

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/pinterest-marketing-what-marketers-need-to-know-to-succeed/

http://www.examiner.com/article/how-to-create-a-secret-board-on-pinterest-for-the-holidays

 

The content in this article is part of Digital Ethos’s Digital Media Education in the Higher Education Internship Program, the content was created by @KaylaMarzo, a Student at Suffolk County Community college, intern at Digital Ethos.

About Digital Media Education Internship

Digital Media Education Internship Program is an outreach initiative for Digital Ethos.

The Very Basic Twitter Guide

Twitter allows you to post up to 140 Characters (this includes spaces,  for best results and to allow retweets keep under 120 characters)

Each Post is called a Tweet! (This is referred to  as a micro publication)

Mentions – When You want to mention someone we use the “@” and then their name i.e. @dbmei this notifies them that you have tweeted about them. The “@” is telling others that this person or business is significant to you or the subject. It is the primary tool to get action and growth on twitter.

Search – When you want to add a subject or search topic we use a hash tag “#” sign. This would be followed by the subject, place or thing without spaces separating the words. i.e. #sagharbor #iloveyou #realestate (We try to add at least one to each tweet, but never more then 3)

Example of an ideal tweets:

  1. I had a great meeting and #lunch with @basilpuglisi today. @BSmiths still has the best lobster in #sagharbor.
  2. Check out this wonderful 8 acre estate in #Bridgehampton that I just listed on http://myhamptonhomes.com #realestate
  3. Looking forward to seeing @kellybensimon @Jillzarin and my friends @hamptons for the #hamptonsclassic this weekend

Retweet – The action of repeating what someone else said because you agree or support them.

Retweets are second to mentions for quality of networking, however repeating someone else to your network is considered important should you want someone else to do the same. You want to have celebrities or influencers retweet for you if you have a call to action tweet.

Messages – aka Direct Messages are private tweets sent directly to and only to the person you have chosen. It is not searchable and private so there is no need for @ or # but links are still great.

Follow – You can follow anyone you can find, you will see their tweets in your stream, only you see their tweets. Others only see your tweets if they follow you, search you or a subject you have used # or a keyword. You public tweets may also popup in search engines.

Pictures – Add pictures to twitter by selecting the picture icon on the web version or attach on mobile versions (phones and tablets). These pictures now show up as recent in your profile view on the right.

Links Any link in twitter may be shortened by twitter and show up as a t.co/whatever, you can avoid this by using a third party app or tweet deck.

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

Pay With a Tweet – Buying with Influence

Pay with a tweetHappy Thanksgiving and Black Friday.  What if we could pay for our Black Friday purchases with a simple tweet (or a like)?

Although we can’t pay for our fancy new DVD player simply by tweeting, a new company aptly called “Pay with a Tweet” has started a new service where anyone who is trying to grow their reach can offer their products for the simple price of a tweet.  They call themselves the “first social payment system” where “people pay with the value of their social network.”

Their premise is very simple.  Simply create a “Pay Button” on their site, where you enter the name of the file to be downloaded, the location (they don’t host files), the tweet you want, and the shortened link to include with the tweet.  They provide the code for your new download button.  That’s it.  Then when someone tries to download your item, they first need to send the tweet you have prepared.  Nothing more.

And big brands are getting on board.  Kellogg’s used this service in a “Tweet Shop” Kellogg's Tweet Shop Menuto launch its latest Special K range of cracker crisps in Soho, London.  All you had to do is visit the store for your “free” package of chips, and tweet out that you were doing so.  They even displayed the tweets on their “tweet wall”.  Kellogg’s gets your influence, and you get products.  It seems like a “win-win” for everyone.

But, is it ethical?  This isn’t a question I could answer, but in my opinion, it is.  All you are asking people to do is tell their network that you received the item.  Although many people may feel that this is an implicit endorsement, it is no different than people following brands on Twitter or liking them on Facebook.  After all, by liking a brand on Facebook, we are telling our network (we have an average of 229 friends, according to Pew Research Center) that we trust that brand.  Is paying with a tweet any different?  And this may just be the perfect way for local musicians to get their new music to the ears of more people, or a great way for a new author to get his books into the hands of people he may never have been able to reach.

In the end, all we are doing is asking people to leverage their network to help.  And isn’t that what social media is all about?

What do you think of this new marketing tactic?  Will you give it a try?

 

Resources:

Pay with a Tweet

Brilliant. Kellogg’s Opens Pay-with-a-Tweet Pop-up Shop in Soho

Pay With a Tweet – Inc. Magazine

Is “Pay With a Tweet” an Ethical Marketing Practice?

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

A Look at Reddit [INTERNSHIP]

Reddit.com is a different kind of social network. It is a social news website that allows their users to submit content in the form of either a link or text and share it with the Reddit community. The site has their own kind of search optimization that allows users to rise to the top of the page. Users vote on the content “up” or “down”. Up meaning their content rises to the top of the page giving them more visibility, and down meaning you get pushed to the bottom of the page.

Reddit runs a bulletin board type of system. This makes it easy to scroll through content. On the home page, there are many different categories you can browse through. Categories include politics, world news, gaming, technology, music, science, and much more. Fortunately Reddit allows you to edit and add categories you want visible on your home page. This gives the users personalization.

The users can scroll through different kinds of content. The content can be informational, funny, newsworthy, etc. Users post things you can find in a history textbook or even a fashion magazine. There are many different ways you can learn from Reddit. The site keeps up with everything going on in the world by posting breaking news. For example the shootings in Aurora, Colorado were posted almost instantly after it happened. They kept the information updated even days after.  Find out what kind of dinosaurs existed millions of years ago, or find out what’s going on in space. Reddit follows free speech, so they don’t discriminate on any kinds of content.

Even though Reddit is considered a news website, it can still help businesses. The best way to market on their site is to find content that pertains to your audience and target market. You want to be able to understand and listen to the content carefully so you will be able to contribute something of value. If you want to find specific content, Reddit allows you to search by keywords. Sharing content is also simple on Reddit. You can share the information to your followers on twitter, Facebook friends, your Google+ page, or you can even pin it on Pinterest by pressing their individual button on the top of the page.

In recent months Reddit’s popularity has grown tremendously. The social news site obtains over three million page views a month and has over 43 million monthly active users. It’s easy to see why Reddit’s slogan is “The front page of the internet”. Individuals, small businesses, and large corporations can all benefit from having an account on Reddit.

Sources:

The content in this article is part of Digital Ethos’s Digital Media Education in the Higher Education Internship Program, the content was created by @KaylaMarzo, a Student at Suffolk County Community college, intern at Digital Ethos.

About Digital Media Education Internship

Digital Media Education Internship Program is an outreach initiative for Digital Ethos.

Pinterest Makes the Business Leap

Pinterest PinboardThree years after their humble beginnings, Pinterest has made the leap to the big time.  That’s right, on November 14, nearly 3 years since launching the site as a closed beta Pinterest has opened themselves up to the business world.  No longer do we have to “pretend” to be a person within the photo sharing site.

For those of you unfamiliar with Pinterest, it is a pinboard photo-sharing website that allows users to create individual “pin boards” based upon their interests, and share specific photos from around the internet to their followers.  And for the past year, businesses have begun to use Pinterest to increase their global reach through this visual medium.  Brands like Macy’s have been using Pinterest to showcase products found within their stores organized by category and holiday.  But, they have been doing it without direct sanctioning from Pinterest themselves.  Brands had no more abilities within Pinterest than individuals.

Now, things are different.  These new business pages now allow users to specify their company names, as opposed to using a “First Name Last Name” system.  In addition, companies can now verify their accounts and add new widgets to their websites (these widgets will offer the opportunity to display Pinterest content directly on your website), to help increase engagement among their followers.

Pinterest has made it fairly simple to convert your personal page to a business profile, simply by visiting www.business.pinterest.com and clicking the “Convert your existing account” button, and then answering a few questions about your business.  Nothing could be simpler.

In addition, Pinterest has created a “Best Practices” section of their website to help users best use this site to promote their business goals.  This section covers:

  • telling your brand story,
  • building a community on Pinterest,
  • how to send traffic to your site, and
  • how to analyze your Pinterest presence to improve.

Pinterest also offers businesses a full set of case studies about how different organizations are effectively using this platform.

It is my belief that Pinterest will slowly move towards a monetization scheme which would allow users to create advertising within the site.  In addition, I anticipate Pinterest will begin to offer an analytics platform similar to Facebook Insights, so that users can gauge the interactions within their accounts.

Are you looking forward to an easy way to use Pinterest for your business?  Will you be converting your personal page to a business page?  Where do you see Pinterest going in the future?  Feel free to join the discussion below!

 

Resources:

Pinterest Introduces Business Accounts and Tools

Pinterest Finally Rolls Out Business Accounts:  How to Set Yours Up Today

New Tools for Businesses in the Pinterest Community

Pinterest Makes a Brand Play with New Business Toolkit

Wikipedia — Pinterest

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

Marketing Lessons from the 2012 Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates

Nationwide the “conversation” in October centered on the three presidential debates and the vice presidential debate.  From the perspective of a business person involved with public relations, media relations and social media, the debates were extraordinary spectacles.  When taking the time to analyze them from a marketing standpoint, each provided perfect examples of effective marketing, communication and branding techniques.  It is worthwhile revisiting the debates and look at the techniques that were validated by each of the candidates.

It was clear the candidates were, for the most part, well prepared for each debate with clear, concise and consistent messages created for the sole purpose of winning over voters.  For example, Gov. Romney’s five point plan was repeated in all the debates to reach his base and the pool of undecided voters.  This was an effective approach for the candidates and it can be effective for you too.  A business marketing plan with a well formulated message about your products and/or services when repeated by you enough will resonate with customers and prospects.

President Obama, as the incumbent, went into the first debate with the advantage of having been in office for nearly four years, but despite this, his performance in the debate allowed viewers to see how vulnerable he could be.  In the following debate he was prepared to deliver his message with conviction.  By his own admission, he was “awake,” enough to get credited with winning the 2nd debate.  In the business world, a CEO who appears to be a leader unwilling to face business challenges and competition could be branded as weak.  Many today consider the brand of a CEO a mirror of the business’s brand.  So if the CEO doesn’t recognize his/her shortcomings and is lackadaisical about taking action to improve it, his career and/or the business can suffer, perhaps even fail.

It was interesting that FOX News introduced the “Twitter Box” for its social media minded audience watching or listening to the debates and election results.  Seeing tweet numbers fluctuate with highs and lows indicating favorable and unfavorable answers to questions or reactions to candidate gestures during the debates was telling. The idea of following tweets was novel but reasonable considering the impact of social media on the presidential campaign and the outcomes as to who won or lost each debate.  In our everyday lives and in the business marketplace Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook and YouTube have earned their keep by proving they make an impact on our daily lives and businesses.  If you are in business and you’re ignoring or unwilling to adopt appropriate social media vehicles, your business growth and vitality can be stymied.

According to dailycaller.com, the first debate, on Oct. 3, 2012, set a Twitter record. 10.2 million Tweets were sent during the event, the most sent during a U.S. political event in Twitter’s short history.  7.2 million tweets were sent during the the second presidential debate on Oct. 16, according to Twitter’s official count.  The third and final presidential debate appeared to spark less interest among Twitter users than either of the previous two debates.

People who listened to the debates and did not see the candidates drew different opinions as to debate winners, on style and content.  As mentioned, messaging is extremely important.  Radio listeners didn’t see Vice President Biden’s smiles that were interpreted as rude and  inappropriate or Paul Ryan’s “nervousness” attributed to his “gulping water” from a glass ever so often.  Viewers interpreted their gestures and actions. Listeners did not have to deal with the gestures.  Their opinions of who won or lost was based on the substance of what they heard – the messages.

Following the vice presidential debate columnist Charles Krauthammer on FOX News gave his perspective on the candidates’ performances. Krauthammer said, “If you heard it on radio, Biden won. If you watched it on television, he lost.”

What does this tell us about marketing?  Presentations you make related to your business, professional practice or services and products or areas of expertise, must be well prepared.  The way you present yourself at all times must not be off-putting.  When conducting a seminar, making a speech or networking at a business event, it is essential to convey a sense of openness to others.  You want to be a “likeable” and “approachable” person.  Looking stern, hammering the podium, pointing at someone to make your point, interrupting or talking over someone will not come across very well in a business circle.  How to overcome these and other pitfalls to public speaking and interaction with business peers? Practice and practice again and again.  That’s precisely what the candidates did, but under pressure even they had moments when they fell short of their “likability” goals.

According to www.business2community.com “Your professional image can be greatly impacted by the way you interact with others. Portraying your best self is critical for preserving your reputation and establishing likability. Pay attention to the way you interact with others, no matter who they are—or how much you may disagree with them. Whether you’re a politician or an office worker, your personal brand matters if you want to maintain credibility. The presidential debates show that even the smallest elements, like articulation and body language, matter when it comes to promoting your best image.”

There is no question that business people can learn effective marketing, communications and branding techniques from the success and shortfalls from these debates.

Sources:

About Bill Corbett Jr.

This article is provided by Bill Corbett, Jr., President of Corbett Public Relations, Inc., a leading media relations, social media and personal branding consulting firm. For more information, go to corbettpr.com or to his blog corbettprblog.com. He can be reached at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com or @wjcorbett.

A look at StumbleUpon [INTERNSHIP]

StumbleUpon is an interesting social media website that provides you with all different kinds of content. You can personalize your own Stumbleupon page to your own interests. This will give your own home page that is personalized to content and stories that you might be interested in. StumbleUpon recommends to you stories and content that interests you. Not only do they offer graphics, but they offer recipes, inspirational stories, videos, the latest fashion, and more. When you are browsing articles and other content, you are given the choice to like or dislike the content. By doing this, this allows your content to be even more narrowed down to the things you like. It’s like exploring the internet that’s specifically made for you.

To browse, simply press the “stumble” button in the top left corner of the screen. Every click is like a new adventure to come across. One click you can see the majestic beaches of Italy, and the next click could be teaching you how to make a rainbow cheesecake. Stumbleupon offers many fascinating features.  Besides liking content that interests you, there is content that can educate you. The settings in Stumble Upon are so definitive that you can change your interests at any time. If one day you’re interested in baking and the next you’re not, you can delete it and add your newest fad.

StumbleUpon gives you the option of sharing the content with your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and your LinkedIn connections. This will benefit any individual, small business or large corporation. Sharing engaging information with colleagues will lead into a conversation and allow you to exchange your ideas. Make sure the content that you are sharing is relevant. This will benefit you in the long run because it will be much simpler to communicate on a common ground. For example, if you are a toy manufacturer and you want to reach out to toy stores; you will want to share content on why the toys you generate are the best.

StumbleUpon is a great social site for those that are trying to break into the digital space, especially when you consider that social media success is often measured in terms of influence or those that can talk about more than themselves. StumbleUpon can help those new to digital content find stories and share things that complete their personal or professional interests. StumbleUpon helps provide great content that’s relevant to your individual persona and lets you share it.

With 25 million users, StumbleUpon seems to be on the right track towards popularity. They are working hard and fast to become a household name. It is a fun way to see the internet specialized just for you. It’s also a good way to open up conversations and share common interests with your peers.

Sources

The content in this article is part of Digital Ethos’s Digital Media Education in the Higher Education Internship Program, the content was created by @KaylaMarzo, a Student at Suffolk County Community college, intern at Digital Ethos.

About Digital Media Education Internship

Digital Media Education Internship Program is an outreach initiative for Digital Ethos.

Twitter [INTERNSHIP]

It is clear to see how Twitter can be part of our daily lives. Some people feel the need to keep their followers updated on their lives, and some people use it to educate people. The good thing about twitter is that there is a personal use, and a business use. Twitter allows people to engage on all different kinds of levels, from fun random facts to hard breaking news.  This social site makes it easy to connect and stay connected with everyone around the world.

At times, Twitter can be like one big chat room. Twitter chats can be initiated by a common hash tag. Chats are not private, so everyone can say what people are talking about. This can be a good thing because it can be used as a business tool. A great advantage to non private chat rooms can be onlookers checking out what you’re talking about. For example if you are talking about a specific or topic, you might be able to segway into your new retail business by explaining  what you offer how it solves that need and perhaps some cool deals. Onlookers will see this and be informed about your business and you may gain a new group of followers. Use the twitter chat to your advantage. However, treat Twitter like a social event not a sales floor, talk about the things around your product or service before you even mention something that’s for sale.

In order to chat with people on a certain topic, hash tags (#) are the way to go. For personal use, when someone wants to talk about the recent political debate on twitter all that person has to do is hash tag a keyword. For example, you might want to use “#politicaldebate” or even “#presidentialdebate”. This will allow users to engage with people besides their followers.

For a business use, one might want to get their company’s name out there. A good idea for the business is to tweet something about their business that will appeal to people and hash tag their company’s name. To even go a step further, you can hash tag keywords that describe your company and their products or services. For example, if a new car dealership opens locally, a good idea is to hash tag the town they are located in and hash tag keywords like the type of cars and offers.  If a business owner believes they have a great idea, twitter is one of the ways to put it out there and test it. Just like anything else, make sure your topics are about issues, stories of solutions, tweets that just talk at the public tend to do poorly compared to ones that are there to start or participate in a conversation.

Twitter has great marketing potential. Your twitter page is a spinning image of you. You want to come off as professional as you can. Your twitter background and avatar are canvases that allow you to be personal and reflect yourself on the page.  For personal use you want to use this space to describe yourself. It is a proven fact that people make judgments within a second. The same goes for a company trying to brand themselves on twitter. Making their page unique and constantly updating will stick out in people’s minds. The twitter bio allows users to describe who they are and what they do. For personal and business use, overlooking the twitter bio would be a huge disadvantage. This is the time where you should be personable and make someone want to be your follower.

An easy way to gain and keep followers is to produce content. Not just any content however, but content that is interesting, educational, and appealing to a wide variety of people. You want to reach a wide range audience, so make sure that your content isn’t directed to just one group of people. Producing constant content will keep your twitter “alive” and gain followers daily. When there is content, there is feedback. With a single hash tag you can grab a worldwide audience. Feedback is important for any business because it tells you to either continue what you’re doing, or improve on a certain aspect. Good feedback can be an advantage for your twitter because other people can see that people like your content. However, there is always bad feedback. It all depends on how you handle the bad feedback that will allow you to come out once again stronger on top.

Twitter has become part of our daily lives. It would be a company’s huge disadvantage if they didn’t use twitter to brand themselves. Twitter is a great marketing social media site. It is easy to use and interact with people from all over the world. Once you figure out a keyword to represent yourself or your company, you’re sure to succeed on Twitter.

Sources:

The content in this article is part of Digital Ethos’s Digital Media Education in the Higher Education Internship Program, the content was created by @KaylaMarzo, a Student at Suffolk County Community college, intern at Digital Ethos.

About Digital Media Education Internship

Digital Media Education Internship Program is an outreach initiative for Digital Ethos.

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING & GRAPHIC DESIGN [OPINION]

INTRODUCTION

It is difficult to pin point the exact date or event that signaled the death of graphic design. It took place sometime around the turn of this century.

THE CAUSE

What was the cause? In two words, it was social media. There was little need for visual input in this new technology. Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn, the three most popular, relied on verbal communication.

In fact, a short hand of sorts evolved with twitter since the maximum was

140 characters. Texting was the biggest culprit. It qualifies as a foreign language to anyone over 50.

It seemed like things were pretty well covered by the newly developing 21st Century social media. But then, was it? Something started to happen.

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT

A new app came on the scene. Its name was Pinterest and it was all visual. It took the social media scene by storm. No one could figure out why or how but it skyrocketed to extraordinary popularity surpassing many of the ‘veteran’ social media apps.

In addition, Google bought YouTube, Facebook bought Instagram and Yahoo absorbed Flickr. Although these were image and video venues, their acquisitions certainly signaled a return or a move forward to reconciliation.

Social Media Marketing Graphic Design came about as the fusion of the best of both twentieth century design and twenty first century technology. The fusion creates a synergy that provides the best possible opportunity for businesses to promote themselves.

CONCLUSION

As a result, many Facebook and Google + pages are now outstanding. They provide invaluable information both visually and verbally. They use each tool to maximize their impact and reach. Here is one of my favorite pages. I think you will see how well visual and verbal elements work together in a way that neither could do alone.

 

About Alison Gilbert

Through decades as an entrepreneur, I developed ventures in over a half a dozen industries including HEALTH FOOD | GRAPHIC DESIGN | BUSINESS PROMOTION | HOLISTIC HEALTH | DECORATIVE PAINTING | SOCIAL MEDIA | PUBLIC SPEAKING | WRITING. Eventually under the umbrella of ALISON*S ART, INC, they evolved into the dba MARKETING BYTES, a hybrid company specializing marketing small business using social media marketing and traditional graphic design services. Currently retired, I am focusing on teaching social media marketing graphic design and visual journalism. I can be messaged through www.facebook.com/alisondgilbert and tweeted @MktngBytesMaven and @AlisonsArt.

Stop Using Social Media Now….Without a Plan (Part 2)

I wrote “Stop Using Social Media Now…Without a Plan”  blog in February of 2012.   Since then it became very clear to me that many businesspeople do not have a marketing plan for themselves or their businesses.  They “wing it” in terms of social media marketing and they continue to market without a method to track effectiveness or cost (time and money).

In today’s competitive marketplace people need to use their time, energy and resources effectively.  The business and marketing paradigm has changed.  Without a plan you are at a competitive disadvantage right from the start.

It is not only the time to rethink your marketing efforts but the time to make sure you have a viable program in place. If you do have a marketing plan, it’s time to revisit it.  What’s been working? What has not been working? Social media marketing and the overall digital media marketing activities need to be examined and new strategies implemented.

If you have never had a marketing plan, it would be wise to create one.  In addition to Digital Ethos there are many free resources online that talk about marketing plans for businesses.  Check out the National Federation of Independent Business http://www.nifb.com and the United States Small Business Administration www.sba.gov for ideas and information.

Your time is precious. Don’t waste it. Whether your business has one employee, 50 employees or 500, you need a marketing plan to establish goals for business growth.  The plan should outline the strategies you want to implement and the vehicles you need to use to reach your target audiences.  Include social media, but don’t focus 100 percent on it.  A plan that includes traditional marketing methods that has a mix of direct mail, SEO, networking, website, public speaking, advertising, networking and/or trade shows along with select social media vehicles will be most effective.

A marketing plan should be based on specific short- term and long-  term goals for your business.  For example, a short- term goal to improve branding might be to update your logo or create a tagline for your website and other social media vehicles as well as print materials.  This refreshed look will attract the attention of prospects as well as current customers.

When analyzing your marketing efforts, determine if social media efforts are delivering an ROI.  If not, look to other digital media possibilities, such as email blasts, direct mail with QR codes or personalized URLs.  Know the mind-set of your target audiences and your clients when exploring these options and consider how they will react to your marketing methods.  Do you want to use a soft marketing or passive approach? Do you want to use a direct approach, one in which you seek a response to an offer of some type.  Regardless, you must have a plan in place to make the effort worthwhile.

Let’s look at three traditional forms of marketing, each still viable in today’s marketplace, that if combined with social media tools, can improve the effectiveness of your marketing effort.

1. Trade Shows

Trade shows offer an excellent forum for meeting face to face with contacts and prospects.  Within your marketing plan include a trade show program with these three basic sections recommended by Trade Show Advisor www.trade-show-advisor.com

  1. Pre-Show Marketing,
  2. During Show Marketing,
  3. Post-Show Marketing and follow up.

You’ve must aggressively market to prospects before they arrive, fully engage them during the show, and promptly follow-up with them after the show to generate additional sales.

It is important to note: 80% of exhibitors do not follow up on sales leads they collect at trade shows. Many do not have a self-working system in place to consistently and automatically follow up with prospects and stay in touch with customers on a regular basis. http://www.growingmybiz.com/images/Trade_Show_Follow_Up_Article.pdf

2. Direct Mail.  Everyone and every business still have mail boxes and people do look at their mail.  There are many new ways to generate sales leads today, but direct mail remains one of the most powerful lead-generation tools.

Even successful online businesses are discovering that direct mail is essential for growth, since newer marketing tactics, such as SEO, social media, and email marketing, often have limitations because of the rapidly changing rules and technical issues involved.

http://www.marketingprofs.com/8/cheap-direct-mail-tools-generate-sales-leads-fast-rieck.asp

Direct mail allows you to reach individuals, firms and the target audiences you identify.  If you place one of the ugly black QR Code boxes (quick response) on your marketing materials you may be able to get more mileage out of this tried and true effort.  Use QR Codes to drive people to videos, social media sites and websites – they can even dial your phone number.  Consider using QRs to make your print documents come alive and connect with mobile device users.  While QR codes have not been super popular, they are catching on with more and more smartphone users. Data shows that almost 50 percent of all American adults own a smartphone.  Study show that over 100 million Smartphone users are projected by 2013. This will no doubt increase the use of QR codes significantly http://www.foliomag.com/2012/study-over-100-million-smartphone-users-projected-2013

3. Networking – Face to face relationship building still works.  People prefer to do business with people they know, like and trust and they get to know you through networking.

According to the website Businessballs.com business networking is an effective low-cost marketing method for developing sales opportunities and contacts, based on referrals and introductions – either face-to-face at meetings and gatherings, or by other contact methods such as phone, email, and increasingly social and business networking websites. http://www.businessballs.com/business-networking.htm

Whether a CEO of a large company or a sole practitioner accountant, you are already networking to some degree. Networking events are meant to facilitate business and professional relationships.  In order to get the most out of these events it is best to have a networking plan within a marketing plan. You do need to devise how you are going to meet and interact with new business contacts and grow these relationships.

LinkedIn is an excellent digital means for business-minded people to network effectively and to foster relationships.  Small businesses or individuals can use LinkedIn to tell their story, gain exposure, and create or enhance their business or personal brand, and be connected with hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals.  Card Munch, a business card scanner app on smart phones produced by LinkedIn, is another way to immediately capture contact information and connect with people and begin business relationships.  

To develop an effective marketing plan the elements which are appropriate for you to include will largely depend on your particular industry and circumstances.  However, you must be eager to explore ideas and be willing to implement new approaches to create a marketing plan that will not end up wasting your time and energy but instead will generate the ROI that you expect.  Don’t procrastinate; begin to develop your business marketing plan today. Remember, many of your competitors have marketing plans and they are using them to go after your clients and business prospects.

Sources:

About Bill Corbett Jr.

This article is provided by Bill Corbett, Jr., President of Corbett Public Relations, Inc., a leading media relations, social media and personal branding consulting firm. For more information, go to corbettpr.com or to his blog corbettprblog.com. He can be reached at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com or @wjcorbett.

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