TWITTER TAKES ON 2013

INTRODUCTION
It has been known for sometime that images enhance social media the way the talkies transformed the film industry. It was a long time coming but visual design finally caught up to social media. Or did social media finally wake up to visual design? That does not matter. What does matter is that they finally got together and their marriage is one that was made in heaven, for the most part.

@MariSmith twitter page © Mari Smith

@MariSmith twitter page © Mari Smith

@JoyLynskey twitter page © Joy Lynskey

@JoyLynskey twitter page © Joy Lynskey

Social media has embraced the visual and has been benefitting from it ever since. Facebook posts that contain images get a greater percentage of Likes and comments.

Statistic Number 1: “…photos on Facebook Pages received 53% more Likes than the average post.”
Statistic Number 2: “…photo posts attracted 104% more comments than the average post…”

Source: Hubspot Blog

Twitter page of @LamourSupreme

@LamourSupreme  twitter page © Lamour Supreme

@WildmanSteveBrill twitter page © Wildman Steve Brill

@WildmanBrill twitter page © Wildman Steve Brill

THE DUOS
Every major social media tool has a visual component:
• Facebook bought Instagram
• Google owns YouTube
• Yahoo flaunts flickr

Pinterest is social media’s grand dame having risen to fame and fortune faster than any other unit of the social media toolkit to date. So far it seems to have no desire to take a mate. It is doing quite well without one.

@FindandConvert twitter page © Find and Convert

@FindandConvert twitter page © Find and Convert

@CraigEYaris twitter page © Craig Yaris

@CraigEYaris twitter page © Craig Yaris

TWITTER TAKES A MATE
Well, Twitter has joined in. Twitter has the ability to connect Instagram images through tweeted URLs. Even better, it has developed a method for some serious customization of its pages. Twitter now allows its members to say, ‘Hey, this page is mine and no one else’s. I am cool. I am serious. I am funny. I am creative. I am unique.’

@ManOneLA twitter page © Man One

@ManOneLA twitter page © Man One

@AmyPorterfield twitter page © Amy Porterfield

@AmyPorterfield twitter page © Amy Porterfield

EASY AS ONE-TWO-THREE
It does not take very long to figure out how to create a completely customized page or one that is a combo of twitter template and original design. There are three components involved:
• the image
• the header
• the background

@BasilPuglisi twitter page © Basil C. Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi twitter page © Basil C. Puglisi

@MktngBytesMaven twitter page © Alison D Gilbert

@MktngBytesMaven twitter page © Alison D Gilbert

Twitter offers all kinds of templates, choices of color and pattern making for the background. In addition, one can take a custom image and tile or repeat it on the screen. In front of that, appears a vertical band containing one’s tweets and other information.

At the top of the band is the header. Twitter allows a very large image to be imported for this area but reduces it quite a bit when uploaded. In front of the header, appear one’s image, name, twitter name, a URL and mini-bio. A 180×180 facebook icon works fine for the image.

@TheEarthDiet twitter page © Liana Werner-Gray

@The EarthDiet twitter page © Liana Werner-Gray

@AlisonsArt twitter page © Alison Gilbert

@AlisonsArt twitter page © Alison Gilbert

CONCLUSION AND QUESTIONS
The results can be very creative and unique as witnessed by the samples displayed throughout this post. What do you think of them? I am eager to hear your thoughts:
• Do you think these samples are creative and unique?
• Do you think they are too much?
• Which one(s) do you like the most and the least?
• Do you have any other thoughts or comments about this post?

SOURCES
The Power of Images on Facebook
Five Reasons Why Twitter Background Is Really Important
Warning: Your Visual Message Is Just As Important
Visual Marketing Book
Twitter Headers and Covers

 

 

 

 

 

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.

LET ME TELL YOU A STORY

INTRODUCTION
Social media is all about telling stories. Technology continues to make it easier, faster and more appealing to tell, share and even re-share our stories. It has also become about telling our stories in both words and pictures. The bluebird sings the social media theme song, at right, ‘Let Me Tell You a Story’. 

a blue bird sings the social media story

A bluebird singing the social media song, ‘Let Me Tell You A Story’ from an image @ 123rf.com

VERBAL STORIES
Up until about a year ago, the story telling method was primarily verbal. Thanks to the meteoric rise in popularity of Pinterest, Instagram and other visual tools, it is clear that people want the option of using pictures, not just words, to tell and view things.

Look how dramatically facebook’s landscape has changed to include massive visual real estate. See the facebook timelines for business cover page at the end of this story.

VISUAL STORIES
The verbally based social media tools have known this for sometime. Google purchased YouTube. Yahoo purchased flickr. Facebook acquired Instagram and no one has been able to buy Pinterest.

It stands heads above most other social media, has done so in record time and is believed to be the first visual application to accomplish this. In addition, there is ground breaking news that the White House will start using Pinterest on December 17, 2012.

SOCIAL MEDIA APPS
Both verbal and visual apps have unique characteristics and value. Amongst the most popular are: • facebook • twitter • LinkedIn • WordPress • Google • Pinterest • YouTube • Instagram

WordPress sharing bar

Sharing  is  a click away.

STORY TELLING
Users have their preferences and loyalties for story telling and sharing. There are formulas for sharing stories that vary with users. As one becomes more proficient in the use of social media, these formulas develop into personal systems.

There is no one system that is the answer to sharing for everyone. But certain apps and combinations of them work well. In time, we each discover what fits our style. WordPress makes this very easy with their sharing button bar shown at left.

STORY SHARING
For example, let’s say a story is written in Word. It then can become a blog post in WordPress with still images, video and even audio. Once the story is written, it needs to be shared. Certain venues have proven to be most successful at this. In fact, in order to make sharing a breeze, sharing buttons are installed right on blog post pages.

Why is sharing so important? Sharing attracts attention, engages an audience, allows one to stay connected manually and automatically, fosters the development of  trusted relationships and ultimately can increase business or establish a personal, professional presence.

CONCLUSION
One may not be looking to provide a service or even a product in the traditional sense of business. Providing and sharing information is the essence of social media. Just think about how much we know, how easily we can learn and share things compared to a generation ago. It is all due to social media allowing us to tell our stories.

Do you have a story that you would like to share, one that social media has enhanced or caused to go viral? Would you like to share or comment about this blog post? Your comments, suggestions and feed back are all part of the story. Please share with us in the comments area. Thank you from the author.

The Social Media Marketing Graphic Design page

facebook’s new timelines for business has given tremendous opportunities for visual real estate as shown in the example here. ©http://www.MarketingBytes.biz and http://www.facebook.com/PageCoverMastery

 

SOURCES

Amy Porterfield’s FB Influence 2.0 Webinar

Bringing Your Marketing To Life Through Video by Dr. Marc and Charlie

Obama White House joins Pinterest


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.

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 .

How Can Pinterest Help your Retail Store

When brands like JCPenny, The Gap, Honda, McDonalds, and Banana Republic make it to Pinterest, you know that Pinterest means business. And it does, although Pinterest was not intended to be a business venture, but like other social networking sites, it has found a niche. It is rapidly growing and provides a visual delight to its visitors, and now features a platform for businesses and retail stores to display their products.

Pinterest for Retail

Well it’s no secret, Pinterest is pretty. It is a visual delight and provides that ultimate virtual experience of window shopping. Your retail store too can become a part of the ever growing retail community.

According to the 2012 Social and Mobile Commerce Study released by Shop.org, Pinterest users follow an average of 9.3 retail companies whereas Facebook users only follow 6.9. This is reason enough why more and more retail brands are making sure that they keep up with the new trends in e-commerce. And you can do the same, here’s how:

1. Product Marketing

You can put pictures of your products which link back to your websites. Pinterest has a high click through rate, so pinning those pictures will lead to visitors, who may find your product appealing enough to visit your website to make a purchase. Even if a visitor does not intend to buy the product but finds it visually appealing, chances are he or she would re pin it, which will market your product free of cost.

2. Know what’s Trending

By following your followers or even your competition you will know what’s trending. Especially in case your product is related to fashion e.g. clothing or accessories, see what’s making the news and pin pictures which relate to it. For instance if a certain celebrity is trending or a certain color or silhouette then pin or re pin pictures of your products that reflect those trends. By following your followers you will also be able to get a better idea about their tastes and preferences. It will provide that much needed feedback and insight into your customers or potential customers tastes.

3. Picture Perfect Sales

Any sale via the web requires serious selling techniques, with Pinterest it’s the visual tactic. And it has been known to work. So even if you do not sell products but services, then pin pictures that relate to it. For instance if you are an event management company then pinning  pictures of your completed projects or pictures that display themes or ideas will attract potential customers.

4. Links

Don’t forget to link your website with Pinterest with a “Find us on Pinterest” link on your website. Also link your website with other social networking sites, especially Facebook and Twitter, this will let your pins then appear on the newsfeed of those sites. This will mean more traffic and will attract customers from other social networking sites too.

Pinterest is only 2 years old and it already has millions of users and a profitable retail presence. So it’s about time that you jump on the bandwagon and make the most of it.

Pantelis Vladimirou is the Co-Foudner of Webarts, which is using Pinterest and other Social Media as part of its Cyprus Digital Marketing strategy for its clients.

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

Too Much Sharing Going On – A Case Study

I share an office with my wife and as I was heading out for a meeting, I noticed she was tagging something in Diigo, a social bookmarking site which allows you to store articles with descriptions and tags for later retrieval. I inquired why she was still using Diigo, and not Evernote to keep track of all things important.  “I never learned to use Evernote,” she replied.  Simple enough reason.

This got me thinking about why we use certain tools to accomplish our on-line tasks. Be it Diigo instead of Evernote or TweetDeck instead of Hootsuite, what makes a person choose one tool over another?  Why do people not always choose the more highly rated or more efficient tool for the job?

Very often it comes down to time and effort.  My wife uses Diigo and TweetDeck because she doesn’t have time to learn a new tool, and TweetDeck got there first. It’s the tool that, today, requires no extra learning.  After all, social media isn’t her business.  While she’s using it for business, if one tool does the job, why look at another?

One of the things that we social media people have a hard time understanding is that not everybody embraces the available tools for connecting with the zeal that our community does.  When I probed my wife’s social media habits further and inquired whether she shared the articles she saved to Diigo, she said no.  No? “Why,” I asked her and her answer surprised me more than I expected.  Very calmly she replied, “There is too much sharing going on.”

Really???  Too much sharing?

She went on to explain that her business Diigo group only had a few followers, and that her intention was to reach a wider audience.  That is why she shares to Twitter and Facebook, and not to LinkedIn.  There was no real purpose to sharing to her Diigo group. In her mind, it was more efficient to send an email newsletter summarizing her favorites.

So, have we reached a limit to the amount of sharing we are going to tolerate?  After all, for small businesses, they can share to several social networks, including:

(check out the Big List of Social Bookmarking and Networking Sites on Squidoo)

 

So, how much is too much?  As you saw from the conversation with my wife, too much is going beyond Facebook and Twitter.  But, maybe your target audience is also on LinkedIn.  Then you have no choice but to be available there, as well.

The moral to the story is simple – share where you reach your audience.  Because, after all, you can’t share everything everywhere.  It’s just not possible.

Where are you sharing?  Where have you been most effective?

Social Bookmarking Sites explained:  Social bookmarking sites allow users to organize, manage and store any resources that they discover on-line.  It is like an on-line filing cabinet for everything internet.  They do work very similar to Evernote, in that you add websites to your account, and can tag them with keywords and descriptions, which are then searchable.  Evernote has an advantage, in that you can send items from your e-mail, desktop computer, smartphone, or tablet.

Sources:

 

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 .

‘VIRTUAL PAGE SIX’: The Latest Social Scoop

THIS MORNING’S VIRTUAL NEWS

Google+ Ghost Town

Google+ Ghost Town © mediatapper.com

This morning, I was reading a blog post, ‘Why Google + isn’t a ghostown and Pinterest over took it’. Since both Google + and Pinterest are two of my favorite social media platforms, I could not resist commenting on the post after I read it. I started off by saying, ‘Don’t get me going or this comment will turn into a blog post of its own.’ Well that is exactly what’s happened and here it is. I warned them.

SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY

The post went on to compare and contrast Google + to facebook. Well in my mind, that’s like comparing a boutique frequented by a select clientele to a huge shopping mall where everyone goes to look, be seen and shop. They are not to be compared. One is not better than the other. They are just different, very different. And money does enter the picture.

Speaking of pictures, then Pinterest was brought onto the scene. Before I go any further, there is one thing I have to mention. All of these platforms have become about advertising dollars and where a business, from a small one to a major corporation, will get the biggest ‘bang for its buck’. GM just dropped out of facebook paid advertising, unimpressed by their paid results.

SO WHAT MATTERS

the facebook bird

GM has flown the facebook pigeon coop @ silverlight-zone.com

What I say, what I like and what you might think are all irrelevant to the topic unless we are thinking along the lines of monetizing social media. Next, let me say right up front that I don’t care. Monetizing and going public are not the be all and end all in my view. Look at what’s going on with facebook right now and what happened to Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, just to name two for whom going public may have had a substantial downside.

WHAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE

This doesn’t mean that financial intelligence should be thrown out the window. Of course it is important, even essential. But intelligence and gluttony are at opposite ends of the monetizing spectrum that I see.

So do what you have to do but don’t ruin a good thing. I think Google + is a very good thing. I post on it quite often. I also enjoy being very selective about whom I invite into my circles.

On the other hand, facebook is where I hold my raves. I know they don’t have them anymore. But if they did, that is where I would hold them and that is what I would call them, my big bashes. Everyone would be invited.

Right now, Pinterest is the darling of the social scene. She is much too young to bet on how she will mature. For now, she has class, she has charm and despite a bit of flakiness around her legal/copyright edges, she is everyone’s sweetheart, with one exception.

A CHALLENGE FOR GUY KAWASAKI

Pinterest written out with board images and hearts

Pinterest is ‘Almost’ Everyone’s Darling @ etownian

Guy Kawasaki is reported to have said that he is not impressed with her because all she is about is food and fashion. And we know what he likes. Maybe his hockey skates are tied too tight and that is cutting off the circulation to his eyes because that could not be farther from the truth of the matter in many cases.

I invite Guy to visit my boards on ‘The Pinterest Journalist’. There is not one pretty dress and only a few flowers. They do grow in nature, you know. But Guy, just don’t ask me to meet you in the skating rink for a counter challenge. OK?

MY FINAL VOTE

http://www.lizmelville.co.uk/2010/10/foursquare-running-for-election/voting-ballot/

They all have my vote © lizmelville.co.uk

I vote ‘yes’ for all three, Google +, Facebook and Pinterest. Will I spend money on them? Will I participate in a Facebook purchase the week after the IPO? I doubt it. But as time has value, I have spent a fortune in hours, days, weeks, months and in the case of Facebook, years and I have no intention of stopping. There are no social media ghostowns around my blogging territory.

AUTHOR:

Alison Gilbert is a Digital Age Journalist. She is a regular contributing author to DBMEi, writes The Marketing Byte Blog and is The New York Graphic Design Examiner. Alison is the owner of MARKETING BYTES Solutions 4 Local Biz  located on Long Island, New York.
This boutique style – very personal service – hybrid company specializes in helping local/small biz generate sales leads by combining the best of traditional advertising with the latest online marketing technology. Contact Alison Gilbert at info@marketingbytes.biz or call 516-665-9034 EDT/NY/US. MARKETING BYTES serves local/small businesses virtually everywhere.

SOURCES

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.

Want to Excel at Customer Service? Be Better than Most

Social media is all the rage.  Between the changes to Facebook and GooglePlus, the upstart Pinterest, and the stodgy LinkedIn, social media is everywhere.  Businesses that want to excel in marketing and customer service are flocking to social, in order to better engage their clients and patrons.

But, if you step back, and take a long hard look at customer service, you will find that the majority of companies aren’t embracing all the benefits social media has to offer.

As a customer, I don’t expect to be treated like a king.  I expect them not to bend to my questions and demands, to only do what’s in their best interests.  So, when that doesn’t happen, when the business does more than what’s expected, I’m amazed, and will quickly become a raving fan.

Case in point.  I bring my car to the dealership where it was purchased for service, and in fact, have never serviced it elsewhere.  It’s as if I believe their oil is better than the local service station.  The first golden customer service nugget occurred when my service advisor called to let me know that my front rotors needed to be “cut” and that it would be a bit expensive.  Did I need it?  Do I even know what the rotors do, and how they would be better if cut?  No on both accounts, but I told him to perform the service anyway.  After all, he said I should.   About 2 hours later, I received a call to tell me the car was ready, and I inquired about the costs.  He told me what was done, and how much the total was.  Then, without any delay, he said, “I see you get the car serviced here regularly, so I will put the rotors under warranty.”  Completely unexpected so…wow!

Then, when I went to pick up the car I realized I forgot my 10% coupon.   All I did was ask the cashier nicely if there was anything that can be done (I expected nothing, as it was my fault).  She left to speak to the manager, and when she returned told me they would adjust the bill, and gave me the 10%.  I couldn’t believe it.  That’s customer service.  And, I’ve told several people about it, in just a few days.

I read of a similar situation in a blog post by Peter Shankman entitled, “When You Should Bend the Rules (or, How to Blow a 7-Year Business Relationship in a Day), which spoke of this very situation.  Where businesses don’t take their customers into account but live and die by the “rules”.  Where his previous apartment building refused to rent to a person with his recommendation, who had been sub-letting his apartment for months, and who could not get her previous landlord to sign-off that she lived there (she was involved in litigation with him).  The rental office’s attitude was simple – our rules require this paper, and without it, you can’t rent.

If only they had taken the time to consider the situation.  If only they had taken the time to rise to the occasion.  If only.  But they didn’t, and they have created enemies for life.  You can’t get that back.

If only businesses would rise to our expectations, they would create fans.  Fans for life.  Fans that would scream their praises from the highest mountains.

And, that type of marketing is priceless.

Are you mediocre?  What do you expect of the businesses you engage with?  Has a business risen above the normal for you?

Author:

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.

Other Resources:

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 .

Using Social Media for Brand Awareness

Cost-effective and powerful, social media is changing the way companies network. That’s because many businesses today are finding that connections made on sites like Facebook, Twitter and blogs are allowing them to better communicate with customers, more effectively draw in new leads and, over all else according to a July 2010 survey, increase customer awareness of their brand.

How does this work? How can you leverage the power of social networks to expand your brand’s influence and reach? Check out these five practical ideas!

  • Know Your Brand. Before you can promote your brand, you need to have a solid understanding of what it is. Ask yourself what distinguishes you company from others, what you offer that no one else does, what makes you valuable. Then, find a way to promote those benefits across all your marketing materials, from your logo to your website to your Twitter profile, in order to communicate a strong sense of your brand.
  • Establish a Solid, Branded Web Presence. Your website is your single most important online branding tool, the place where all your other marketing tools will direct. With a strong Web presence, your company has a resource that means better search rankings for increased traffic, increased leads and higher conversion rates.
  • Go Where Your Audience Is. A big part of being able to effectively reach your audience is understanding who they are. Is your audience active on Pinterest? Instagram? Facebook? Go where they are and join their conversations in order to expose them to your brand—and to enhance your scope of influence, offer something that meets their needs, whether tips, answers or links to helpful resources.
  • Connect with Online Influencers. Identify the people in your industry who are most influential and work to build relationships with them. Follow them on Twitter, respond to their posts on blogs and Facebook, email them when you have something valuable to say. By connecting with these influencers, you help expand your company’s reach.
  • Keep at It. A strong social media presence isn’t built overnight—in order to develop a loyal following, you have to earn it. Be consistent about posting on your social profiles so that users come to trust and respect your contributions; if you don’t, you run the risk of harming your reputation rather than helping it. If you can’t keep up with a profile, it’s better not to start it.

What do you think—could social media be a game changer for your brand? Take advantage of these tips to watch your presence expand!

Author:

Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, a leader among Chicago marketing firms. She writes for clients in various B2B industries, from merchant processing solutions to Kevlar welding gloves. Check out the Straight North blog! @straightnorth

Sources:

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

Tips to Extend Media Coverage

Media coverage is not easily obtained, but comes at a great cost and effort.  It is highly sought after because of the credibility and significant exposure derived from it.  Today’s media cycle is constantly moving, which gives many stories short-term relevance but a long-term shelf life.  When a company or an organization does get a story in the press, it must do everything it can to leverage its exposure quickly to secure a return on investment.  Below are several strategies for ways of extending the life and brand-building power of hard-earned media coverage.

Social Sharing

c/o www.aismedia.com/

Use your social media infrastructure to promote press coverage.  Post links immediately on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest (photos) and/or others.  Social media is a direct conduit to an organization’s fans, followers and “likers.”  Social media allows you to get the message out quickly and efficiently, but remember, every social media platform is different and each message should be customized to each site.  All coverage must include the link to the story or video.  If the link is too long, use a tool like bit.ly to shorten it.  Post at different times of the day and week to maximize the reach of the post.

Don’t Forget Images

Images are important.  Select the best image to include with the post and make sure to stress key messages in posts describing what the story is about.  Photos and media outlet logos help attract attention, shares, likes and retweets.

Proper Crediting

Post the article or a link on your website and/or blog.  Keep in mind that you may need to get permission to reproduce a published article or video.  Post coverage links in the groups you belong to on Facebook and LinkedIn and in appropriate threads on sites like Digg and Reddit.

Teamwork is Vital

Teamwork is key.  Company employees, friends and contacts can share positive company news in the groups they belong to on social media.  A collaborative effort can help increase the exposure exponentially.

Debra Vilchis, Chief Operating Officer of Fishman Public Relations, proposes creating an e-mail message to send to “customers, coworkers, and friends, pretty much anyone you know.” Share with them the press coverage directly, or include a link to the video or print story.

Communications

Communicate the company’s success and media coverage internally to employees and vendors.  Include the coverage prominently in electronic or print company newsletters.  Every company should have a news area on its website.  Links to stories should be placed here.  Multiple story links demonstrate that the business and its principals are industry leaders and experts.  Positive media coverage can increase company morale and productivity, and enhances the company’s credibility and stability to outside partners and vendors.

PR pro John Lee said, “Depending on where your story lands on the media food chain, use it as a stepping stone to garner more coverage.  Compelling print and online stories can be the best way to generate TV coverage, especially when they include a compelling human interest story.  Use print coverage prominently in a pitch to TV, but emphasize the visual aspects to the story, and if possible, suggest a fresh angle or an interesting person who can be interviewed.”

Publicity trainer and speaker Nancy Juetten suggests “creating a custom signature for your outgoing emails [because it] makes it easy for clients and prospects to read about your good news and remark upon it.”

Media coverage is a vital part of branding, credibility enhancement and promotion.  It is    positive third-party content, which must be pushed out on social media streams.  Good coverage can and should be repurposed periodically to ensure key individuals and target audiences see it and learn important information about you and your business.  Media coverage offers unmatched credibility enhancement and promotion.  The value it provides cannot be easily measured, but it is worth many times more than advertising and other forms of marketing.  When you get the coverage use it.

Author:

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.

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.

The Facebook Page Cover Challenge

FOREWARD
In the short time that most of us have become aware of the need to make changes to our facebook (business) pages, some very interesting page covers have emerged. I would like to show some of them throughout this post and describe what I feel works or might work better in each case. Please let me know what you think, about the examples and about my comments.

https://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=276329115767498

Facebook Help: How should I choose a cover photo for my Page? @ facebook.com

INTRODUCTION

The word went out. Facebook was carrying its new timelines format from personal profiles over to the professional side. All (business) pages were going to not only have timelines but other MAJOR CHANGES would be taking place.

I can just imagine how this all took place. It is apparent even to this amateur detective that there were parties who were privy to this information long before the public became aware of this terrifying transformation to take place this past March.

On the downside, there would be no more default pages that allowed for potential customers to go directly to a landing page, sign up for an offer and begin the slide down the Inbound Marketing funnel. But on the plus side and best of all, in my opinion, would be massive billboard size ‘page covers’ ready for branding one’s business.

The CocaCola cover page

The CocaCola page cover from a Social Media Examiner blog post (credited below). This page was online way before the March 30th deadline. CocaCola knew. They knew what to do and they obviously have an in-house design department or marketing agency on retainer. Clearly,'Life is Still Better with Coke', without saying a word. The small icon has the traditional and world famous original glass bottle image with bubbles that bubble up with dreams of the better life with Coke.


WHO KNEW WHEN

Clearly, companies like Lujure and Constant Contact, not to mention many others less well known to me, had to know what was a foot long before the public announcement that everyone would be required to use the new format by the end of March. The webinars given by the likes of Amy Porterfield, Mari Smith, Nathan Latka and facebook itself indicates to me that many corporations and social media evangelists had considerably more time to prepare than a pedestrian facebook user like myself.

But I suspect that some companies were turned upside down having to scramble in typical Steve Job’s Apple time to accomplish the impossible because it was just a matter of working harder as he would insist to his staff. What clued me in was how early in March some of the major corporate brands were showing off their spectacular new designs.

The Ben & Jerry Ice Cream page cover

The Ben & Jerry facebook page cover @ Ben & Jerry is about as close to perfect as anything I think that facebook had in mind for this project. The only words are in the icon. The rest is the pastoral scene of contented cows that love to have their milk made into Ben & Jerry's ice cream. The style of the scene is folkart-ish, old fashioned. The subliminal message is that their ice cream is made the traditional, old-fashion delicious way. This image was found on a Social Media Examiner blog post.

A GRAPHIC DESIGNER’S DREAM

I was relieved. No more five-frame images that I could never get to stay in place. My company header looked like scrambled eggs rather than the banner it was meant to be. So when I learned that the new page covers would measure 851 pixels wide by 315 high with a postage stamp size area for the company’s logo or other icon, I was in Photoshop heaven.

Can Bloggers be Journalists?

'Can Blogger Be Journalists? Are Journalists Still Journalist When They Blog a Story?' These words appear to be carved in stone and relate to a case in a State Supreme Court where the Judge deemed that bloggers are NOT journalists. Other states realize that the medium is not the determining factor for credentials and qualifications to be a journalist. To emphasize the point, I have used my press pass in the icon square. How successful do you think this page cover is? What do you like or dislike about it? Do you know about this court case? What do you think? Can bloggers be journalists, too?

OK FOR FACEBOOK BUT NOT PINTEREST

Since I have about 20 facebook pages, divided up into a variety of categories, I immediately set about making my new page cover designs distinguishing them by the various categories. I had plenty of old artwork from a half dozen or so previous enterprises that I was proudly displayed as pages.

The page covers  are okay. Some are even not half bad. But once I pinned them to Pinterest, they plopped. There was no discernable diversity. They looked boring pinned next to each other. In addition to that failure, some very kind and helpful Internet colleagues started alerting me to the very clear and concise restrictions facebook was placing on what was and what was NOT allowed to be on these page covers.

What did not look bad as individual page covers looks terrible as neighboring pins on Pinterest.

What did not look bad as individual page covers looks terrible as neighboring pins on Pinterest. @ Pinterest.com/AlisonsArt These are all page covers that I designed for a variety of my page categories for my numerous facebook pages. I followed the facebook guidelines and each looks okay on its own page. But they sure look boring together. Something to think about.

BEWARE OF BILLBOARD-ITIS

There are to be no billboards, no ads, no discounts, no calls to action, no URLs, no, no, no. So what is allowed? What is the Y-E-S? This is where many people shuddered, shouted, even screamed. My guess is that many people, who had created high tech facebook pages with apps for all kinds of tabs, were in a pickle. The programming part was not going to be much of a problem for them. But something else was, and it was a big BUT.

Now there would be a need to come up with something that fit within guidelines that were not typical of social media. This is usually a discipline that is code driven rather than driven by visual creativity, at least before Pinterest.

Bear's Cake Kitchen facebook page cover

Bears cake Kitchen facebook page cover @ Bears cake Kitchen had an adorable, colorful cake picture in its icon square. What is that in the billboard area? Personally, I would have rather seen the colorful cake blown up really big to fit into the billboard. Then their logo could have gone in the icon. I am sure the cupcakes taste delicious but to me, the dark colors and lavender icing are not appetizing. Too bad. This could have been and still can be a great page cover.

WE ALL NEED HELP

Facebook’s changes would provide plenty of chances for programmers and designers to help each other out. Opportunities for exchanges, barters and other compensations would be all around us. So how was one to go about building a billboard size page cover without using this spacious real estate like a billboard? It would indeed require the creativity of a seasoned graphic designer, branding expert and marketing maven.

HyperArts fantastic page cover. I love how the icon fits right into the design.

HyperArts fantastic page cover. I love how the icon fits right into the design. From the facebook page @ HyperArts and found on a Social Media Examiner Blog post. I have one question about the white type on the field of orange. How would their brand hold up to the elimination of the type, the repositioning of it, or perhaps just less of it? I'd love to see HyperArts in the right hand bottom corner with Hyper at a right angle to Arts or HyperArts at a right angle to Web Design. What do you think?

BRANDING HAS ITS DAY

To capture the essence of a company without spelling it out is a real challenge in the design world and even more so for the word bound world of the Internet and trendy, texting generation. Companies with design departments or design firms on retainer that understand the subtleties of what the facebook challenge is about would manage. To me, this is a designer’s dream come true. It is a chance to do some real design work amidst a world of coding, programming and ‘drag and drop’ programs. They are all indispensable but designers have moved very far into the background lately.

The Business Corners facebook page cover

The Business Corners facebook page cover @ The Business Corners. This page cover is a hybrid combining the original 5 panel design at the top into the new larger billboard size. Notice how most of the space is black while the images take up a small amount of room at the top. Do you think this works well? How would this look without the images and have the entire field black except for the slogan 'Space to . . . Connect Create Collaborate. The logo does not have to appear again as it is in the icon. What if the icon were also black with the letters in white like it is in the large black space? This would leave to the imagination what 'space to connect, create, and collaborate' might look like.

BUT NOT FOR ALL

Granted there would be the clip art programs and do-it-yourself apps with temptingly affordable templates that many would and will still need to turn to. But there are also be those who understand the intrinsic value of facebook’s challenge. It requires a design with the whisper, not a shout of explitives, the subtle expression of a company expressing its brand, its mission and passion in a subliminal rather than literal way.

How many have and will continue to rise to this facebook page cover challenge? What are some of your favorite new facebook page covers? How do you feel about the changes facebook has made in this area?

AUTHOR:

Alison Gilbert is the Digital Age Storyteller. She is a regular contributing author to DBME, writes The Marketing Byte Blog and is The New York Graphic Design Examiner. Alison is the owner of MARKETING BYTES Solutions 4 Local Biz. Located on Long Island, New York, MARKETING BYTES serves clients virtually everywhere.

Their boutique style – very personal service – hybrid company specializes in helping local/small biz generate sales leads by transitioning from traditional advertising to online marketing. Contact MARKETING BYTES at info@marketingbytes.biz or call 516-665-9034 ET

VIDEO RESOURCES:

5 Tips To Easily and Quickly Set up Your Facebook Fanpage- Business Page FREE!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GaW8Unl550

New Facebook Fan Page Timeline Changes Your Business Needs To Know

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGPEVcLrCwc

How to create a Facebook cover for the new Timeline profile.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nwb9it9ATqw&hd=1

New *Facebook Fan Page Timeline* Design Coming March 30

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mdPshVbXfs&hd=1

Cover Photo Design & Facebook Timeline Branding

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qg0LoAbguww&hd=1

Facebook Fan Pages Timeline

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HIxQ3NTcKk&hd=1

Facebook New Timeline Design For Pages – Walk Through

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZoz7B-4nXM&hd=1

Introducing the New Facebook Brand Pages With Timeline Design

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wgG9SO3ceY

Cool Facebook Timeline Cover Page designs at www.coverdoodle.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHuWlGTmYwA&hd=1

Facebook business page, Facebook timeline design, generate business

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13vbgfJOZbU&hd=1

Facebook Timeline For Brands Facebook Timeline Business Pages And Fan Page Timelines Rock!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNVPTX9RHhU&hd=1

Introducing the New Facebook Brand Pages With Timeline Design

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wgG9SO3ceY

Facebook Timeline for Brands – Demo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF_yAOHV80I

How To Create Pro Facebook Timeline Cover

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-bhngn3h6A&hd=1

5 Tips for Fantastic Facebook Fan Page Cover Pics

http://prezi.com/dgfa3fwsiroy/5-tips-for-fantastic-facebook-fan-page-cover-pics/


BLOG RESOURCES:

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.

Digital Media Monthly

Text - DIGITALETHOS to 22828 to sign up!