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 .

Social Media and Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy Relief – “Overcome” – Live (Cover by Jason Aron)


INTRODUCTION
Social media plays pivotal roles in our lives. It resulted in the ‘Arab Spring’ bloodless revolution. In fact, social media has such power and potential influence that China has banned it. There is another venue called ‘renren’. But facebook, itself, is banned for fear of the uncensored information and communication it could offer the Chinese. Occupy Wall Street also kept the public aware of its activities through social media.

Arab Spring

Arab Spring takes to the streets © Kate Taylor

 SOCIAL MEDIA VERSUS THE NEWS
Social media can provide unlimited awareness to a situation or issue. On the other hand, televised news is limited. It cannot cover in detail what social media can. TV news has to move on to the next latest news. Social media can cover a topic in great detail as long as there is input and interest.

HURRICANE  SANDY
Social media has been invaluable in the case of Hurricane Sandy, the worst storm to ever hit parts of Long Island, NY. Facebook has become an invaluable tool resulting in a means of communication, spreading information and fundraising.

facebook page for a Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund

A facebook page, Long Beach Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund

 ACCESS
Ironically, the people with the least access to the Internet as a result of the storm are the ones who may benefit the most from social media. Those who have ventured into the devastated areas have been able to get information out so that help can come in from informing those outside of the devastated areas.

facebook page for Hurricane Sandy Relief for NJ

A facebook page, Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund

 FUNDRAISING
In doing so, these social media news reporters tell the stories and take the photos that document the destruction and the aftermath of the storm. There are now a myriad of facebook groups and pages that have sprung up from Hurricane Sandy. They inform the public about what has occurred. Facebook groups have become experience sharing and information reporting venues. Pages also function as information and donation ‘sites’.

Hurricane Sandy - Pictures from the Crowd

A facebook page, Hurricane Sandy – Pictures from the Crowd

 24/7
These facebook groups and pages are accessible 24/7. They are alive long after televised bytes pass on as yesterday’s news. Social media continues to be a source of support and assistance particularly to the residents of New York and New Jersey.

Scott and Ali_boarwalkTwo Long Beach veterans visit the remains of the
Long Beach NY boardwalk © Phil Jacobs

CONCLUSION

Social media is playing a crucial role in the recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Once again, social media is taking its place as a toolkit to record and access history.

SOURCES AND PAGE LINKS
Social Media’s Bloodless Revolution

Occupy Wall Street’s facebook page

Arab Spring really was social media revolution

China ban facebook, twitter, google and youtube

Renren, The Leading Real Name SNS in China

HelpMeDonate.org

Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, Long Beach NY

Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort Likely To Be Largest In U.S. Since Katrina

facebook event fundraiser

 

 

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.

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.

Devon Edwards and Phil Sharp on Digital Business Hour

 

Devon Edwards

Served more than 15 years in the Armed Forces and upon retiring from Military went to Film school. Attended and graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Film. Worked as an Assistant Editor on 2 Independent Feature films: “Blessed and Cursed” ( DVD at Wal-Mart, Red Box, On Demand, and Netflix), “Dreams” (currently in market with Major Production Companies). Worked on several Chicagoland Chevy Commercials, Concerts, DVD recordings of artists such as Phil Tarver, Chris Searcy, Vicky Yohe, Mali Music, etc. Currently pursuing MFA at DePaul University in Cinema Productions. Lastly, but certainly not least is that I am launching own Film Company “Inspire-Films” Coming Soon.

Phil Sharp

A recent study from researchers at Wharton, Yale and Harvard suggests that when you’re pressed for time, a great way to be more productive is to help others. Yet, when you’re busy, lending a helping hand is often low on your priority list.
That’s why Good Deed Time was created.
Every week our members are emailed one specific good deed to accomplish. With all of us focused on accomplishing the same good deed, we’re bound to make people smile, make a difference in the world, and make ourselves more productive.

Quick facts:

-We have spent absolutely no money promoting the site. All sign ups have come through social media channels, community powered sites, and word of mouth.

-So far we’ve send letters and packages to a young girl with leukemia, sent supplies to the Atlanta Humane Society, and wrote letters of thanks to military families.

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.

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.

Marc Ensign on Digital Business Hour


Marc EnsignMarc is an Internet Marketing geek specializing in search engine optimization, social media and digital design. His approach to success in search engine optimization and social media is based on embracing the rules as opposed to finding the temporary holes. While everyone else is looking for the easy way out, his methodology is based on putting in the work up front and building sustainable success. Matt Cutts from Google publicly called his strategy “solid” while those that he has worked with have actually benefited from the recent Google algorhythm updates. Marc has a blog where he writes a lot of nifty stuff around Internet Marketing, although he has been known to sneak something in there about his previous time spent as a professional musician. He used to be a fairly successful musician a few years ago…He performed on Broadway, recorded an album with R. Kelly and wrote a bunch of books. In everything Marc does, he tries to keep the language pretty geek-free to make sure that everyone can benefit from what he is speaking about.

Why Social Media Is Worth It For Most Doctors

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably been told many times over that you need to be on social networking and content sharing sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Quora, and Pinterest.  With nearly a billion users on Facebook, hundreds of millions on Twitter, and over 8 years worth of video being uploaded to Youtube every single day, there’s no question that the world is connecting through these channels.

But as a professional, is blogging, tweeting, uploading videos to youtube, answering questions on Quora, or posting pictures on Pinterest a good use of your time?  Can social media be used to grow your brand and your practice, or is it just a way to socialize, procrastinate, and enjoy a few laughs?

While there are certainly those who view social media as a novelty or passing fad, the reality is that social media is no longer just about connecting with friends or uploading pictures of your recent trip to Italy.  Social media is becoming a place where people go to get real information.  It can allow you to build a relationship with existing patients, connect with other professionals, and build your brand.  A strong social media presence can make you a go-to source of information, which can translate into new patients and more revenue.

While Not Immediately Measurable, Social Media Can Offer A Significant ROI

Some critics have criticized social media marketing for not having a return on investment.  While the ROI of social media may not always be immediately measurable, physicians who dedicate themselves to providing interesting, useful, and timely information through social media will almost certainly see a tangible benefit down the line.

While it’s certainly possible for doctors to make tweets or blog posts that have no immediate impact on their bottom line, it’s been proven over and over again that offering interesting, valuable, and helpful insight through social media and building an audience will result in new patients.  While this ROI may not be measurable over a day, a week, or even months, it can certainly result in significant growth and revenue over time.

While some short-sighted pundits may ask “why should I get involved in social media if I can’t measure the ROI?” – to quote Gary Vaynerchuck – “what’s the ROI of your mother”?   Gary Vaynerchuck is one of the leading experts on social media and deservedly so – he grew his family’s $3 million dollar discount liquor business into a $60 million dollar juggernaut largely through social media involvement.

The point Gary Vaynerchuck makes through this famous quote is that – just as a mother’s love and attention may not have an immediate impact on a child’s success over a day, a week, or even months, sending out a few tweets or throwing up a Facebook page won’t have an immediate benefit to your bottom line.  Yet, there’s no question that unconditional attention, dedication, and care will have a massive impact down the road.  Even if the ROI of social media can’t be measured directly, plenty of doctors have experienced significant growth in their practices by slowly but consistently building their audience through consistent involvement in social media.

Even if the effects of Social Media outreach may not always offer a direct, measurable ROI, the long term results of engaging people with thoughtful, helpful dialogue is immeasurable towards the long term growth of your practice and your reputation in the community.

ROI Is Not The Only Benefit Of Social Media For Physicians

While social media marketing can be a great way to grow a practice, for physicians, being involved in social media goes beyond ROI and marketing.  It’s a way to get news quicker than any news outlet, it’s a way to get new perspectives and opinions, it’s a place to open up new dialogue, and it’s a place to share your own knowledge.

For physicians especially, social media goes beyond marketing and attracting new patients.  What is the value of being accessible to your patients?  What’s the value in connecting with colleagues, experts, and sharing your knowledge with the community?

If the reasons above aren’t sufficient to convince you that it’s worth your time as a doctor to get involved in at least one social media channel, here is a quick summary of some of the ways social media can benefit physicians:

  • More visibility on search engines
  • Visibility through social networks
  • Communicate with and build up relationships with existing patients and potential patients
  • Doctors can address common questions online and save actual clinic time for more specific concerns.
  • Build an audience and authority which you can leverage to grow your practice and personal brand
  • Keep up to date in your field by following leading experts and exchanging knowledge through social channels

Social Media Is Not A Fad

As with any new technology, there will always be those who dismiss social media as a passing fad or a bubble.  Critics made the same assertions about the internet, e-mail, e-commerce, and blogging.  While you certainly don’t have to be active on every new social media or content sharing website that comes around, at the end of the day, social media is here to stay.  Ignore it at your own peril.

By author Richard Orban. Richard is mostly interested in writing about medical related topics, home improvement and various topics relating to these niches involving business. In this article he’s writing on behalf of Lenses Online, the number one source for lenses online in New Zealand. Follow his occasional rants on twitter @richardorban.

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.

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.

Digital Media Monthly

Text - DIGITALETHOS to 22828 to sign up!