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, 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.

SEO2012: A Visual Look at Search Engine Optimization

First, note that the article starts with “opinion” and the truth is that all content related to SEO is exactly that, opinion. Any representative or person that claims to have “facts” to back up their SEO strategies has discredited themselves. This is not to say that professionals can’t produce data that shows results, but simply put no one outside of Google really knows what drives Search Results in a manner that can be supported by fact. If you then take into account the fact that SEO has changed so many times in the last two years, one could argue that the industry has removed itself from the categories that allow for the titles guru and expert.

Search Engine Optimization

The chart is meant to be a tool, one that business owners should find useful as a roadmap for talking points with a SEO Professional or Agency. While there are finer points and details to contend with, you’d be hard pressed to find a real professional in the industry that could argue about the basic premise here and how important quality SEO is derived almost equally between each of the three sections. As such you should expect and anticipate that your SEO strategy should touch on all three, or spend your time and money somewhere else.

Onsite, represents the structural design and make up of your website. The structural design is a crucial component to how the site is crawled and MORE importantly will allow your users to interact with it. Engagement which is the perceived value to the user or visitor, is believed to have direct value correlations to onsite structure. Things “onsite” like Meta descriptions will affect things like CTR (Click through rates) which is one of the values we believe Google uses to determine if the placement is justified. Followed closely by bounce rates and time on site, which again we believe are all indicators to your sites value in relation to a topic or keyword. The Offsite refers to things like Social Signals, which once heavily included Twitter, but now seems most influenced by +1 activity from Google+. Geo references and Google Local are also factors in the search results both as an independent source and as part of traditional organic results. While backlinks are frowned upon in the perspective of buying links, you’d better believe that it’s going to continue and finding strategies that are genuine in nature are crucial to you survival on page 1.

There is no cookie cutter for SEO, anyone that walks up claiming they have the package for you is full of it! Genuine SEO strategies take time and must evolve, you can start with a budget but what you get as a report at the end of each month can be completely different, types of content, links, social outreach/bookmarks will all change over time and the SEO strategy should reflect that approach and not a useless plan that says $800 you’ll get 50 links, 3 articles and # # # #. That’s a big red flag.

In the end, SEO is part of a business. The Search Engines want to put people in touch with the service they are looking for and you should only want to spend time and money on strategies that place genuine search results that you can benefit from. In the end it’s all about connecting people with the content, product or service they want or need.




Did you try? A Look at the data from #SMWsmac [InfoGraphic]

What can you do in 16 days? Try!

With just under a month before Social Media Week 2012, it came to our attention that NYC did not have a daylong event that was tailored to teach the small business owners and professionals how Social Media is and can be used. On Feb 1st, 2012 dbmei authors decided to launch Social Media Action Camp! The event which a few days later became an official part of Social Media Week was set for Feb 16th 2012 at the Roger Smith Hotel in NYC.

Data provided by Synthesio , and a few other sources .

The event tag #smwsmac generated over 1,000 tweets! Which represents about 5% of the social media activity in New York City. The Social Influencers reached over 116,000 followers and generated tweets in 15 countries globally!

In addition to the info from Synthesio, we also know that:

  • 102 people  attended throughout the day
  • 128 viewers at one time on LiveStream
  • 976 views on the Live Stream Channel
  • 1484 tweets to date #smwsmac
  • 71 check-ins on foursquare to the Roger Smith Hotel

The Official Social Media Week event page hosted on generated 177 Facebook “Likes”, 250 “shares” on LinkedIn and 834 tweets that did not feature #smwsmac as a tag. Making the event the most socially shared event for ALL Social Media Week 2012 globally!

The Social@Olgivy Movers & Shakers platform supported by Kred featured organizer @BasilPuglisi as the top influencer for Feb 16th and both @BasilPuglisi and @dbmei as the top 5 influencers for the following day Feb 17th 2012.

The event was a mix of speakers featuring some of the digital names like Google, Klout, Synthesio, StumbleUpon, EmpireAvenue & Constant Contact. The event featured digital media professionals like David Meerman Scott, Amy Vernon, Mardy Sitzer, and Lujure’s Nathan Latka. Lisa A Burns, representing Corning Inc.,  spoke about the wonder of how a Fortune 500 Company used YouTube to capture more than 17 million views. Then the dbmei authors Bill Corbett Jr., Jeff Ogden, Craig Yaris and Basil C. Puglisi contributed their take on using social media to generate action!

The real success resulted from the response that the attendees reported.   The mix of content and style presented,  generated useful information in many areas with actionable advice and solutions.

“The diverse group of presenters offered extremely valuable best practices and actionable advice. It was also nice attending a social media event that didn’t cater to newbie’s or skeptics”  said David Gise

The event exemplified the point that “you don’t know till you try”, and while we have a long list of things we can do to make the next event even better, it’s an important point for dbmei as well as the individuals involved to say not only did we try, but we succeeded. If you take nothing else away from the article, we hope that when a opportunity presents itself, you be so bold as to try and make it happen.


Social Media Resolutions for 2012

Social Media Resolutions DBMEIEveryone makes resolutions.  Whether to lose weight (yes), workout (yes), increase business (yes), or re-connect with old friends (yes), the new year brings with it a new beginning.  A time to start over, to reflect on the past year and what went right, wrong, and nowhere.  A time to do better.

And, social media is no different.  The new year is a time to reflect on where we were, where we are, and where we are going within the social sphere.

And here they are, some Social Media Resolutions for 2012, in no particular order:


  1. Be yourself.  One of the most important social media tenents is to be yourself.  Don’t try to be something you aren’t.  Be honest, be real.  Don’t we all like that?
  2. Share more meaningful content.  Give your fans, followers, connections what they are looking for – information.
  3. Engage.  Be active and responsive on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  Don’t just lurk, but interact.  Show what you know, and who you are.  Don’t be afraid.
  4. Are you using all networks effectively?  Look over your social strategy and spend time where it is most beneficial.  Maybe you are not getting anything out of LinkedIn.  Maybe it’s not for you.  Spend your time where you are most helpful/get the most benefit.
  5. Don’t be afraid to try the latest and greatest.  Are you on GooglePlus?  Maybe you should be.
  6. Don’t always be selling.  In fact, do it very little.  No-one, not even you, likes to be sold to all the time.  That’s not what social is for.
  7. Evaluate your efforts.  Is it worthwhile to be on Twitter 24/7?  (The answer is probably not).  Are you using your Facebook Page effectively?  Learn to use analytics to help you be more effective.
  8. Start a blog.  Write.  Don’t be afraid.  We all have something to say.
  9. Have fun.  If you aren’t having fun, why do it?  It can’t all be about the bottom line, can it?

So, there you have it.  Some of my suggested resolutions for 2012.  Have you made any social media resolutions for 2012?  What are they?  Did these help?  Feel free to sound off in the comments.

And, as the year comes to a close, I just want to thank Basil Puglisi and Digital Brand Marketing Education for allowing me to be here, week after week, helping and learning.  This has been a remarkable journey, and I look forward to 2012 with hope and optimism.  For all of us.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2012 Digital Brand Marketing Education



Social Media Trends & Resolutions for 2012

5 Resolutions for a Successfully Social 2012

Social Media Resolutions:  How Do I Start 2012 Off Right?

5 New Year’s Resolutions for the Social Media Professional 

Image courtesy of Radiance6:

Twitter Tools: twithawk, a lead generation tool

Another arrow in the quiver of the savvy internet marketer is Twithawk, a lead generation tool.

Founded in 2009, Twitterhawk, as it was called back then, had to do a name change because Twitter felt it is too close to their name. It didn’t deter Chris Duell, the Australian founder and developer, to fine tune his product and make it available to the World Wide Web. He just changed it to Twithawk.

Twithawk is a real time marketing tool which enables a marketer to find new people to connect with and increase his base. At the same time he is advertising his product.

Based on keywords and location, Twithawk will pull all the Twitter conversations mentioning the key-words or the location, and deliver them in real time. It enables the marketer to answer those tweets and interject into the conversation. Or he can have an autoresponder answer those selected tweet immediately.

Here are some examples: A radio station wanted to increase its base. They set up Twithawk, and chose as keywords names of rock bands they were playing.

Every time a tweet talking about one of the bands went into the Ethernet, it was pulled by Twithawk and the autorepsonder sent a message: “If you like this kind of music, why not listen to radio xxxx? They play what you like”.

Or, when talking about location, a coffee shop owner in Springfield Illinois can set the keyword to “coffee” and the location to Springfield. When someone tweets about having coffee in this town, he can immediately send a reply saying “Why not give Buck’s coffee a try? We have special deals for tweeters…”

Twithawk is pro-active. Instead of placing an ad on a site and waiting for clicks, the marketer sends a reply to a person who is already talking about what the marketer has to offer. If you can start a relationship, says the going wisdom, you can turn this person into a customer.

To prevent this tool from becoming a spam machine, something that worried most experts, the program sends only one tweet per day to the same person, and the number of tweets is sold in packages of 1000. Twithawk charges $0.05 for each tweet sent, and the marketer can monitor the marketing true CPC with link tracking and integrate it with Google Analytics. The site’s average CPC is $0.02, which is much cheaper than any other marketing method.


What does your LinkedIn account look like?

At a recent networking event, where I was discussing the benefits of social media in a marketing plan, I heard over and over again how these professionals were on LinkedIn, and therefore participating in social media.  As I’ve written before (Saying You are on Facebook Does Not a Social Strategy Make), having a profile is not social media, although it is a small part.  What is most important is how you use that profile or page.

So, you have that LinkedIn profile all set up, right?  Well, if it looks like this, you have a long way to go:

This is a poor LinkedIn Profile

What’s wrong with this profile?  What can you do to optimize it for both LinkedIn search as well as Google search?

Let’s begin with the “Professional Headline” which appears right under your name.  This should be a descriptive sentence about who you are, or what you do.  Good examples would be “Social Media Marketing and Education for Small Business”  or “Marketing for the Digital Generation”.  Just make sure to use keywords that people would use to search for someone within your field.

Next in the profile is your career, education, websites, and other social sites that you are connected with.  This should be filled out as completely as possible, using as many keywords that are appropriate to your career/profession.  Also, while completing this information, make sure to take advantage of the ability to edit your public profile “URL”, or address people will use to find you.  LinkedIn assigns a long string of letters and numbers, which is difficult and confusing.  Change it to something meaningful – (my URL is

Finally, there is the “Summary”, which is where you get to really tell all about who you are.  This is a great place to explain a career path, or why you are in the field you are in.  Just make sure, as you complete this section, to also use some important keywords.

After these main sections are completed, it is time to fill in some of the other available options to increase your profile “completeness”.  This includes your “Honors and Awards”, “Volunteer Experience”, interests, Groups and Associations, and even some personal information.

All of these items will help you increase your visibility within LinkedIn, and will put you on the path to more connections.

Want to continue to grow your network?  You should be searching for groups within LinkedIn to join, and make sure to participate in those groups.  Offer opinions, ask questions, be helpful.  You can also add applications to your profile, such as the Amazon Reading List, and you can even have your blog imported straight to your profile.

Most importantly, avoid the following “buzzwords” within your profile, as they have no real impact, and may even hurt your career prospects:

  1. Dynamic
  2. Communication skills
  3. Problem solving
  4. Innovative
  5. Motivated
  6. Track record
  7. Extensive experience
  8. Effective
  9. Organizational
  10. Creative

By now, your profile should look like this:

Craig E Yaris LInkedIn Profile

Now, go visit LinkedIn, and get your profile in order.  Let the networking begin (and feel free to start with me)!


15 Tips to Optimize Your LinkedIn Initiative

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Search Optimization Tips and Tricks

10 Buzzwords to Take Off Your LinkedIn Profile Now

Saying You are on Facebook Does Not a Social Strategy Make

This past week I visited a local restaurant that was preparing for the holiday season by advertising their holiday parties on a board right when you walk in.  Also on that board, were requests to “Follow us on Twitter” and “Like us on Facebook”.  So I tried to find them on Facebook, and being more knowledgeable than most with Facebook, I thought I would find them right away.  But, there are two pages for this one specific business.  It was also difficult to find them on Twitter, since they add “NY” to their name.

On their lobby sign, they don’t even tell you how to find them.  What’s their twitter name?  How are they listed in Facebook?

This is the position so many businesses find themselves in lately.  They have gone through the trouble and expense of creating a Facebook page (or two)… and then nothing.  People click “like”, they collect fans, people even write on their wall, and then … nothing.

This particular restaurant hadn’t updated their Twitter account since May, and has never actually engaged on their Facebook page(s).

Is this a social strategy?


So, what makes a good social strategy?

A good social strategy has four main components:

  1.  Identify your goals
  2. Find your audience
  3. Decide on performance indicators
  4. Schedule and manage

Identify Your Goals:

Any good marketing plan, whether social or traditional, requires that you start at the beginning.  What do you want this specific marketing to accomplish?  Do you want more customers?  Do you want to establish your brand as an expert in a specific field?  Until you know what you want to accomplish you will have no way to move your plan forward.

Find Your Audience:

You will need to determine where your customers are spending their on-line time.  Are they on Facebook or Twitter?  Is LinkedIn more appropriate for your business?  This will all depend on the type of business you have and the specific client you are trying to reach.

Set Your Performance Indicators:

Social media can be measured.  You can determine how many people visit your blog, website, or Facebook page.  You can analyze what content is getting shared and retweeted and when that content is being posted.  You just need to determine which of these items are important to the campaign you are running.

Schedule and Manage:

Once you know what your goals are, where you will be concentrating your efforts, and what you are looking to monitor, it’s time to set out your schedule.  Who is tweeting on behalf of the company?  When will posts be made to Facebook, and who is responsible for responding to your customers?

These steps will help you begin to envision your social media strategy, in hopes that you can offer your clients an engaging, responsive, and embracing community.



7 Steps for a Successful Social Media Strategy

The Key to Developing a Social Media Strategy

Social Media Strategy in Four Steps


The Importance of Facebook Marketing Engagement Tools

Discussion of social media campaigns would not be complete if the power of Facebook engagement was left out. Brands of all sizes and from many industries create a huge gap in their marketing without some kind of interaction on Facebook. With over 800 million active users worldwide, this leviathan of social media platforms is a source businesses cannot ignore.

Facebook as a Marketing Tool

There are a number of examples of ways businesses have used Facebook to drive traffic to their page and, consequently, to their brand. Some strategies are more effective than others. In fall 2011, Remington, a beauty and hair care company, launched a campaign to gain Facebook fans. The company posted a personality quiz relevant to its followers called, “What Kind of Girl Are You?”

The result? 54% of followers took the quiz, and for every 1 share of the quiz results, 1 unique visitor took Remington’s quiz. This drove traffic to Remington’s page which, undoubtedly, boosted sales. This is just one of many examples of a business using Facebook to reach out and attract current and new customers to their brand.

Maria Peagler (@sm_onlineclass on Twitter) shares over 50 Facebook marketing strategies through her classes that include utilizing contests, regular interactions, and collaboration with others to improve marketing on the site. Twitter user @JeffAbel recently shared a screenshot of the strategies here.

Using regular marketing tools has also been found to be more beneficial than using targeted ads. As the chart below shows, users in general are not fond of ads on Facebook. Over 40% of those surveyed in June 2010 by Inside Facebook did not like ads from sites other than Facebook itself. In a separate question, 62.7% of those surveyed disliked ads from other websites.

For some users, obvious ads through Facebook deterred them from the business. In today’s digital age, creativity is a must when it comes to marketing, which means reaching beyond the usual ads and campaigns.

Using Social Plugin Tools: Rebranding a Business

Facebook’s resources for pages offer many suggestions for creating engaging content, which includes using social plugin tools to let others know on your websites and profiles about your page.

I recently rebranded my freelancing business and took full advantage of the social plugin tools. To start, I worked with a fellow freelancer, Amanda Rinker Editing, Etc., to create a Welcome page for my business.

The Welcome page has received a number of compliments and has others asking themselves, “What do I need to do to improve my Facebook page?” Ms. Rinker also included a “Contact” page so those interested in my writing and editing services can email me directly rather than going to my website to search for contact information. These professional touches are just some of the ways businesses can create engaging content.

Another aspect of my new page was getting others to move from the personal freelance writing page to the new one. This is somewhat problematic since Facebook changed its layout multiple times this year. Along with this, the new layout with highlighted stories makes it easy for posts to become lost in the chaos.

To make the transition smoother, I have left up both pages for a period of time and regularly reminded users when the older page would be unpublished, both through my personal account to friends and family and on the older page. This encouraged users to go to the new page of my rebranded business. Over half of the previous page’s users have “liked” the page so far, and the new look has brought on new followers as well.


It’s one thing to have a presence on Facebook, but quite another to use it as an effective marketing tool. Today, businesses must use a variety of tools to educate, inform and gain revenue from their customer base. Whether this means creating a custom quiz like Remington, avoiding ads that might make customers uneasy, or rebranding to entice new business, it is important to see Facebook not just as a platform, but as an important tool in your marketing arsenal.


Social Media is Work

Conversation Prism Brian SolisIt’s true.  Anything worth doing is worth doing well. And social media is no different.  If you want to be successful in social media, you need to work at it.  You can’t just create a Facebook page, Twitter account, and LinkedIn profile, add very little content, and expect people to show up.

Because, unfortunately, people won’t show up.  It’s the same with any retail business.  You can’t hang up a sign, open our doors, and expect people to show up.  It just won’t work.  You need to put in the effort.

My last cliche’ — You get out of social media what you put into it.

So, what do you need to do to be successful in social?  For me, it is a 2 step process:

1.  Find and post great content

2.  Engage with your customers


How to Find Great Content

In order to really find content that your audience is interested in, you should watch and listen.  See what they are talking about.  Ask questions.  Even use Polls within Facebook or your e-mail newsletters to find out what they want to learn about.

Once you have an idea what they are interested in, check out sites like StumbleUpon, Alltop, Digg, and Diigo for articles that fit into the categories you’ve decided you’re going to share.

And then share.  And don’t forget to ask that your clients comment and share the articles that are of interest to them.  If you don’t ask, they won’t share.  It’s that simple.


Engage With Your Customers

So, you’ve been posting and asking that the articles be shared.  But that is only half the social media battle.  You also need to be engaging with them.

What, exactly, does that mean?  It means replying to their comments, thanking them for sharing, asking questions, and offering help.

Don’t just post articles, pictures, and stories and walk away.  Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn aren’t meant to be stagnant bulletin boards, where you post a flyer and never look at it again.

This all takes time.  There is no question about it.  But with tools such as Hootsuite, and Tweetdeck, you can spend some time each week scheduling posts, so all that is left is engagement.

Always remember, that if you want people to engage with you, you must do the same.

So, how are you engaging your customers?  What have you found to provide the highest level of engagement?  Which network do you engage with the most?  Sound off in the comments!



Is Keeping Up Social Media Hard Work? 

5 Tips:  Making Social Media Seem Less Like a Chore and More Like an Investment

Hard Work in Social Media Marketing Does Pay Off

6 Ways Social Media is Like Ironman

Why is Social Media so Hard? 5 Ways to Relieve the Stress 

Image courtesy of:  Brian Solis, The Conversation Prism

The Top 8 Reasons I’m Thankful for Social Media

Thank you for Sharing and ConnectingIt’s Thanksgiving weekend here in the United States, and this time every year people show appreciation for their friends, family, co-workers, and this year, jobs.  But I wanted to thank one more thing…Social Media.

So, I ask that you indulge me in listing my top 8 reasons that I am thankful for Social Media.  I know it’s a bit self-serving, but today, at the start of the holiday season, I ask you to follow along.

I’m thankful for social media because:

  1. Social media gives us the opportunity to connect with friends and family long lost.  Whether from high school, or just lost over time, we can wish them a “Happy Holiday.”
  2. Social media keeps us connected to the world.
  3. Social media allows us to know exactly how our friends and family are feeling, and to respond immediately.
  4. Social media allows us to share important events with those that can’t or are unable to be there in person.
  5. Social media allows us to connect with people we may never have met before.
  6. Social media helps us realize that no matter what we are going through, we are not alone.
  7. Social media allows us to solicit and receive advice from people we trust, without having to ask.
  8. Social media allows us to brag about our kids, new job, new car, new life, and have people join in the celebration.

So, there you have it.  My reasons for being thankful for social media.  What are yours?  I’d love to know.

And, Happy Thanksgiving.



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