Thursday, 30 May 2013

3 Creative Ways Brands Are Using Pinterest

Are you looking for some creative ways to use Pinterest?

Would you like to make stronger connections with your customers?

Although many brands run creative contests on Pinterest, here are some new ways to engage audiences and build your presence.

Take a look at what these 3 brands are doing to get inspiration for using Pinterest creatively for your business.

#1: Run a Campaign to Give Back

One of the most interesting things I’ve seen on Pinterest was Sony Electronics’ Pin It to Give It campaign.

sony pin it to win
In the spirit of holiday giving, Sony gave $1 to charity for every repin on this board.

Sony Electronics used their Pinterest brand page to curate an array of Sony Electronics products that were pinned to the Pin It to Give It board. Every time someone repinned from the board, Sony Electronics donated a dollar to The Michael Phelps Foundation. The campaign ran from November 27 through December 31, 2012 and raised more than $12,500.

This campaign had a unique spin when compared to other competitions with the overused Pin It to Win It campaign title. Sony’s label clearly communicated that the campaign was about helping others.

This not only helped Sony Electronics build their brand image by showing that they give back to their community, it also helped them engage their audience and create product awareness. Visit the board today and you will see pins that have been repeatedly liked and repinned—many more than 200 times.

How can you get creative with Pinterest contests?

Think like Sony Electronics and create something that is not only unique, but that engages your audience in a way that makes your campaign stand out.

#2: Get Strategic With Guest Pinners

Etsy has made incredible use of Pinterest’s group boards feature, also known as contributor boards.

In addition to the Etsy-curated boards on their brand page, they have several guest pinner boards, on which a contributor who is an expert on a subject contributes pins. Both individuals like Guest Pinner: Automatism and companies like Random House, Whole Foods Market and Martha Stewart Living contribute to boards for them.

A guest pinner board on Etsy.

This association benefits the creator of the board and the contributor and forms a strong relationship between the two.

When Guest Pinner: Automatism’s Lori Langille pins to the group board Etsy created for her, not only does Etsy’s board gather more pins from an expert source, they also attract followers from her because the board is displayed on her personal Lori Langille (Automatism) profile.

In turn, illustrator Lori Langille (Automatism) receives increased exposure through the pins on her Guest Pinner: Automatism board, as well as followers who find her through the guest board on Etsy.

eclectic inspirations
Lori’s guest pinner board has a constellation of eclectic inspirations.

Associating one contributor with one group board, as opposed to associating many contributors with one group board, can help avoid complications with content. Group boards with too many contributors and no moderators often suffer from issues such as oversharing of spam pins that aren’t relevant to the board’s topic.

How can your business best use guest contributors to your Pinterest boards? Which experts are in your network who could share value with your audience on Pinterest? Follow Etsy’s example and create a valuable community on Pinterest with the help of others.

#3: Help People Get to Know You Better

When you think of Ben & Jerry’s on Pinterest, the first thing that pops into your mind is probably a brand page full of ice cream recipes, frozen desserts and other sweet stuff.

True to their roots, Ben & Jerry’s has done something completely different. They have used Pinterest to help their audience learn more about the company.

On their brand page, you find boards that teach you everything about who they are, what they do and how they treat their fans.

The Fan Photo’s board is full of photos from fans who are enjoying Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
fan photos

A great way to stay connected with your fans!

These images will help engage their fans and double as testimonials. When people look at others enjoying ice cream, they want some, too. And they might buy some Ben & Jerry’s to get involved like everybody else.

This board shows that Ben & Jerry’s cares about their fans, that they want their fans to be a part of the company. This is an attitude that goes a long way toward attracting more loyal fans.

The Our People board shows you pictures of Ben & Jerry’s employees.
behind the scenes

A behind-the-scenes look helps customers know the employees.

The Our Factory board is a collection of images that show what happens inside Ben & Jerry’s factory.
ben and jerrys factory

Seeing what happens inside is another great way to connect with the community.

These boards, along with others like On a Mission, History, Vermont and Flavor Graveyard, help Ben & Jerry’s to form a special bond with their followers. As boards are pinned, followers get to know the product, the company and the people who work for them better. People prefer dealing with people they know, rather than companies of strangers about whom they know nothing. Visitors will likely be keen on having more Ben and Jerry’s.

How does your audience want to engage with you on Pinterest? Is your conversation there one-sided? Or are you making it easy for people to get to know you?

To build a committed following on Pinterest, follow Ben & Jerry’s lead. Instead of simply pinning content and products to your boards, make an effort to help your followers learn more about your company and get them involved.

Make the Most of Your Pinterest Community

Pinterest offers unique opportunities to engage with your audience, thanks to the visual interactions.

These are just three examples of brands using Pinterest in creative ways to engage their followers, create partnerships and build community.

What do you think? Have you noticed any other brands with intriguing strategies? Are you inspired to use Pinterest in a more exciting way? Please leave your comments below.

Author: Mitt Ray

Thursday, 23 May 2013

3 Simple Ways to Measure Your Social Media Results

Are you looking for better ways to measure your social media activities?

Do you know if your social media efforts are worthwhile?

Social media measurement is one of the most frustrating challenges business face.

In this article I’ll show you three simple measurement strategies that can fit into one of your future campaigns.

Why Measure?

In order to measure the effectiveness of your social campaigns, it’s critical that you know your objective.

Ask yourself why you are considering including social media in your overall marketing campaign in the first place. How will your efforts impact your revenue and grow your business?

You’ll want to put a measurable outcome in place along with a timeframe in which to achieve the goal.

Always setup goals so that you can measure social media. Image: iStockPhoto

Now you can determine which social media platform aligns with your objectives.

For example, if you’re trying to reach a female audience and your business lends well to pictures and images, you might want to consider Pinterest.

If you’re a business-to-business brand marketing an upcoming conference, you’ll want to consider LinkedIn.

#1: Quantify Your Social Media Listening

“What you’re doing [on social media] needs to have impact. It needs to actually have revenue. And often times we try to make it fuzzy about that.” – Frank Eliason, Citi’s Director, Global Social Media (@FrankEliason)

Listening is one of the most often overlooked uses of social media, yet it’s probably the most important. If you’re not listening to your customers, you’re missing the point of social media.

But how do you measure listening and how does it impact your revenue?

In this example, we’re going to look at using Twitter to answer that question.

  • In Twitter’s search field, enter your business name.

Twitter Search Field
Twitter’s search field.

  • You can then select whether you want to view Twitter’s “top” tweets about your business, “all” tweets containing your business name or tweets that contain your business name from only those people you follow.

Twitter top tweets
Twitter search.

  • As you filter the tweets, look through them and decide whom you’d like to follow. These are likely either potential customers or your current customers.
  • Monitor their tweets on a daily basis. Engage with them, answering their questions, adding value and helping them whenever possible.

Twitter’s Advanced Search is powerful too, especially if you’re a local business. You can use it to search specific terms related to your business that people who are near your location are talking about.

Twitter is an amazing tool for providing real-time customer service. You can learn things like:

  • Exactly how many people you’re helping
  • If you’re growing that number of people
  • The issues customers are experiencing with your business
  • What’s broken in your business

At the end of the measurement period, prioritize the problems you identify and use that intelligence to implement fixes and improvements within your business. You can measure the direct impact on your business by looking at the additional revenue or cost savings that these new fixes give you.

#2: Create a Rating System for Your Social Engagement

“Put a [tiered point system] in place rather than looking at how many likes you have.” – Scott Monty, Ford’s global head of social media (@scottmonty)

This is a simple yet effective strategy to use when you’re trying to generate awareness and buzz. It’s a smart way to measure the response to your efforts on Facebook, Twitter or any other social channel you’re using.

Here’s how it works.

Say you’re launching a product or service and want to build buzz about it on Facebook. You post an update to your Page about your launch and you get a bunch of likes on it. The next day, you post a different type of update. You get some likes on it, but you also see that people are engaging more with the second update by sharing the post and commenting on it.

Likes show support and comments indicate a deeper interest but shares are most valuable because they move the update beyond your page.

At the beginning of the campaign, translate your objective to a numeric goal. Then, use a tiered point system to weight different types of engagement according to which is most valuable to you.

Here’s an example of a tiered point system for Facebook:

Likes: 1 point each
Comments: 5 points each
Shares: 10 points each
During the campaign, a quick sum of values will help you determine if your efforts on Facebook are moving you closer towards your goal or not.
Oreo Facebook post
Assign a point system to likes, shares and comments.

You can create similar point systems on any of the social channels you use. For example, on Twitter, 5 points for a reply and 10 points for a retweet.

#3: Add Tons of Value, Then Sell and Measure

“Jab, jab, jab, right hook.” – Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee)

This strategy is the concept behind Gary V.’s upcoming book and it’s based on providing great content that adds tons of value for your customers before asking for the sale.
Corcoran Group tweet

The Corcoran Group, a NYC real estate firm, adds value via their social media outlets.

For example, say your restaurant is rolling out a new healthy menu. Your goal is to get 300 customers into your restaurant to try the new menu over an upcoming weekend.

Since your food is visually appealing, you develop a Facebook or Instagram strategy. You post pictures of your food, create content around the importance of healthy eating and curate information on your Facebook Page about farmers’ markets in your area.

Offer this valuable content to build trust with people.

Then offer a coupon for your restaurant on your Facebook Page. The number of people who claim and redeem your coupon is a result you can quantify.

Here’s how to measure your efforts when using this strategy:

  • Use the tiered point system described in strategy #2 to determine if your content is moving you closer to your goal.
  • Use coupons that are specific to your social media campaign, thus making the return on your investment easy to track and measure.
  • Create unique landing pages for each of your campaigns where your customers can download or purchase what you are promoting. Since the landing page is used for one specific campaign, this will allow you to clearly see how successful your campaign is.

I hope this article gives you some ideas for how you can simply measure your social campaigns and shows you that you don’t need expensive measurement tools.

What do you think? Can you improve the effectiveness of your social media campaigns with some of the above strategies? What simple strategies are you using to measure your campaigns? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

author:Rick Mulready

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Why Affiliate Marketing Is the Perfect Online Starter Job

Affiliate marketing is one of the first things that I really got into when I started.
Why? Because I had heard so many great things about it. Most people that I would follow online were making money with affiliate marketing and I knew that I could too. Now, the only thing that I wish I knew when I first started was that it would take more time than just a few hours to setup.

Affiliate marketing is something that you should only get into for a long term gain; it is not much of a short term payout because it does take a while to get going.

One thing that you need to know right now before you jump into affiliate marketing is that you need to have an online presence. I say this because many affiliate marketers don’t have a name built online and because of that it makes it that much harder to make any serious money.

Do yourself a favor, create a website, build your social media presence and always stay connected with the people you meet.

Why Affiliate Marketing Makes the Perfect Online Starter Job

Easy To get Into
– The nice thing about affiliate marketing is that it is really easy to get into. All you need to do is go to certain product pages or software pages and click on their affiliate link. Most of them will ask that you sign up through email but others will just give you a number to promote. Something that you need to understand is the better affiliate programs/products will ask that you have a website and these are the ones that will eventually make you more money.

No Upfront Costs Involved 
– Did you know that with affiliate marketing you don’t have any costs upfront? I wanted to bring this to your attention because most people assume that they have to pay something in order to get started. Just know that affiliate marketing has more of a time investment than anything else and that is why some people fail so quickly. As long as you put in the time you will be just fine.

Easy To Get Help From Others
When a friend of mine first started affiliate marketing he found somebody to help him online. My friend was introduced to marketing manager for some company in the Philippines, who taught him everything that he needed to know and even how to outsource parts of his work. It is because of all the people out there that want to help that he was able to get further along than I did when I first started, and he didn’t have to struggle with all the roadblocks that I had to deal with. This is the reason why I always suggest you find somebody that can help lead you along the way.

Luck Plays A Big Part In Your Success
– With everything I do I always ask myself whether I will make it because of hard work or luck and this is one thing that I do that has just as much luck as hard work. Yes, you still have to work hard but in the end luck will make a difference.

If you are looking to make more money than you currently are, then affiliate marketing is a great place to start. Something that most people don’t realize is that there are millions of products/services out there in which you can be affiliated with and all of them will pay you a commission for your referrals. You may be a little hesitant to start this right now, but there is really no better time to start than right now. Trust me, give it a try for 2 months and see how well you actually do.

Author: Warren Wooden

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Friday, 10 May 2013

5 Ways Marketers Can Keep Updated on Facebook Changes

Are you struggling to keep up to date with the latest Facebook changes?

Are you conducting activities that are against Facebook’s policies?

It isn’t easy to keep up with all of Facebook’s updates.

Here are 5 ways marketers can stay up to date on Facebook updates and policy changes.

#1: Follow Facebook’s Business Pages for regular updates

Just like businesses keep their Facebook Pages updated with the latest announcements from their company, Facebook also keeps their Pages updated to inform their users about the latest changes and announcements.

In particular, Facebook for Business, Facebook for Privacy and the Facebook blog often post updates when there is a change to their guidelines.

Facebook for Business takes you step by step to create a business Page that is effective but also follows their guidelines.
facebook for business page
Facebook for Business Page to learn how to reach the right audience.

The Facebook and Privacy Page post an update every time they revise a guideline or policy.

In addition, they post tips every week to make sure people are informed about some of the changes that they made previously. Following this Page will allow you to stay up to date when there is a new announcement and also stay informed about older policies.
facebook and privacy page

example of update
Here's an example of a Facebook and Privacy update.

Finally, you can find updates on the Facebook blog.

You can add the Facebook blog to your RSS feed so you receive a notification every time there is a new post. This can help you gather real-time information to make sure your presence online is always relevant.

facebook blog
Facebook blog where you can find out what's happening behind the scenes at Facebook.

#2: Follow the Facebook Tag on TechCrunch

Technology journalists jump at the news of a Facebook update. One of the best ways that we as marketers can stay updated on this topic is to follow technology journalists or even the Facebook tag on websites like TechCrunch or Mashable.

To find the tag, scroll to the bottom of an article and you will see at least one tag on the article.

To find all Facebook articles on TechCrunch, you can go here.  This will allow you to quickly and easily find all of the latest updates to Facebook in one place

facebook tag on techcrunch
The Facebook tag on TechCrunch.

#3: Set a Google Alert for Facebook Updates

A hack to get Facebook updates as soon as they happen is to set up a Google Alert with the term “Facebook Privacy.” That will send an email right to your inbox with any articles that are written about updates to Facebook guidelines or new privacy rules. And you can be sure that there will be a ton of articles written whenever Facebook updates anything.

Once you create your Google Alert, type in “Facebook Privacy” as your search query.

You can choose what type of results you want, whether its news, blog articles, videos, discussions, books or everything. You can choose the frequency you wish to receive these updates and the number of updates you would like. Finally, you can insert your email address to let them know where you want the results delivered.

google alert
Facebook Privacy Google Alert setup.

After that is set up, you will receive emails that look like the image below. They will separate your information by the type of result, allowing you to be instantly notified when there is something important to know about Facebook.

google alert preview
Facebook Privacy Google Alert Preview

#4: Follow New Posts on AllFacebook

AllFacebook is the unofficial Facebook blog that can be a great resource for anything new that is posted about Facebook. They consistently update their website with new information on Facebook, whether it be news about their guidelines and privacy issues or just general updates that marketers should know about.

In addition, they host an annual conference called the AllFacebook Marketing Conference in San Francisco where attendees can learn even more about marketing with Facebook.
allfacebook blog
The AllFacebook blog.

AllFacebook Marketing Conference coming in June 2013.

#5: Follow Social Media and Tech Experts

In addition to the blog articles you can read and conferences you can attend to learn more about Facebook updates, there are many thought leaders who can be great resources to learn everything you need to know to market on Facebook.

People like Mari Smith, Andrea Vahl and Pete Cashmore are great resources to follow on Twitter and stay updated on Facebook news.

When there is something that marketers need to know, you can be sure they will be discussing it and sharing their knowledge on the subject.

You can also read Social Media Examiner’s This Week in Social Media articles published every Saturday to stay current on the latest Facebook updates and other social media news.

Review Facebook Updates and Policy Changes Regularly

By staying up to date on any announcements and blog posts that are written on Facebook marketing, you will be able to create relevant and effective campaigns on Facebook and take advantage of all that Facebook has to offer.

With the constant changes to Facebook policies, it can be a scary task to market on Facebook. However, don’t hesitate as Facebook is a great way to generate leads for your business and show off your company or brand.

What do you think? What other ways have you stayed up to date with new Facebook policies?

author:Rachel Sprung

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

26 Social Media Marketing Tips from the Pros

Are you looking for actionable tips to improve your social media marketing?

Are you wondering what the common themes of social media experts are these days?

This April, 1,100 passionate marketers from every corner of the world traveled to San Diego for Social Media Marketing World (#SMMW13), to find out.

The number of conference takeaways and buzz was immense.

For this article, I’ve focused on 26 takeaways from SMMW13, including notable quotes by presenters and their session titles.

CATEGORY: Calls to Action

#1: Get More Leads With Calls to Action

Throughout the conference, the topic of calls to action (CTAs) came up in numerous sessions. What is a CTA?

A social media call to action is an integral and often overlooked element of an effective social media strategy. Social media gets prospects, customers and the public primed to want to find out more about your offering or to engage with you further, but you must lead them to the next step in your sales or other conversion process.

Regardless of the platform—blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.—posts will receive better success rates if they contain calls to action, compared to ones without them. So, all the more reason to use them!
call to action

From the post, "Theft: 9 Ways to Protect Yourself From Losing Your Data" by Michael Stelzner.

#2: Optimize Your Facebook Posts With Calls to Action

“On Facebook, posts that include the call to action “share” receive more shares, comments and likes.”
—Mari Smith, 10 Ways to Improve Your Facebook Reach

Sometimes just the act of inviting someone to share your post will be the encouragement a fan needs to take your suggestion. Once they share the post, it will travel on further to their colleagues, friends and family, thus expanding your reach. Truly one of greatest benefits of social media!

This post was shared by 42 people, in addition to 59 likes.

#3: Grab Readers’ Attention With CTAs

Examples of calls to action include: click here, sign up today, get your ticket, join us at, RSVP here, buy now, enroll here, check this out, click, and comment.
—Rich Brooks, Beyond Likes: How to Turn Fans Into Customers; Amy Porterfield, Facebook Strategies to Launch a New Product; Pat Flynn, Podcasting for More Exposure, More Leads and More Money

When a reader is on your page and you have the privilege of having their attention for even the shortest span of time, make your CTAs an integral part of your marketing plan. Something you had front of mind—not an afterthought. Then you’ll have some influence on where readers navigate next and what steps you want to encourage them to take.
grab attention
Calls to action grab attention.

#4: Get the Most Bang for Your CTA Buck

Make your CTAs crystal-clear and stick to one CTA per post. Avoid excessive calls to action.

—Cliff Ravenscraft, 15 Tips for Creating a Podcast People Can’t Live Without

When you present clear and direct CTAs, you reduce the risk of overwhelming readers with too many choices. They came to your post to learn something and the last thing you want to do is to make them feel they have to give you everything if they decide to become a follower of your content.

cliff ravenscraft
Decide what action you want users to take.

#5: Experiment With Different CTA Touch Points

On Twitter, if you want to target people who aren’t following you, try using a call to action to engage.

—Kyle Lacy, 5 Social and Digital Trends Impacting Consumer Behaviors

Twitter is a fast-moving stream of content. Updates can quickly flow by readers. While they’re deciding on whether to read your full update, a call to action can help seize the moment. If they like what they see, they’ll be more inclined to follow you, retweet your message and visit your website.
touch points
Reach out and touch someone!

#6: Take the Guesswork Out of CTAs

Effective calls to action can result in completed lead generation forms, phone calls and email signups.

—Rich Brooks, Beyond Likes: How to Turn Fans Into Customers

When you put a call to action out there, you’ll know which ones have been effective. For example, if no one is signing up for your free website consultation, ask yourself if the call to action is buried too far down on the page, could the wording be more enticing, are readers worried that once they do that they’ll be hounded by salespeople?

What can your call to action do better to be more effective? Knowing the answer will enhance your marketing efforts.
gather information
Gather information with forms.

CATEGORY: Content Strategy

#7: Give Content the Priority It Deserves

It may not be much of a surprise that the topic of content received “royal” treatment at SMMW13. Whether the focus of a workshop was on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, etc., many focused on the importance of fresh, frequent, quality content.

“Content is King but engagement is Queen, and she rules the house.”

—Mari Smith, 10 Ways to Improve Your Facebook Reach

Content is kind of a catch-22. The best content in the world won’t receive traffic unless people engage with it—sharing, commenting, liking, etc. Give your content the royal treatment—dot the i’s, cross the t’s, and most importantly, make it engagement-friendly. Then you’ll be able to see great results!
tweets and pics
15,000+ tweets and pics sure sounds like good engagement!

#8: Be Generous With Your Content

Useful content that people continue to remember long after the post was read becomes “sticky.” The content keeps you in the person’s mind. They may be willing to check out your products and services. By giving generously and gaining a reader’s trust, you earn a reputation of being a reliable resource. With all the competition out there, useful content will help differentiate you in the marketplace.

Content is fire, social media is gasoline. Content should be so useful that it’s seen as a “YOUtility”; in other words, content marketing that is so useful, people will want to keep you close and even be willing to pay for it.

—Jay Baer, How to Create Customers for Life by Informing More and Promoting Less

Switch from a "me" to a "you" mentality

#9: Keep the Content Flowing

We’ve all been there. Landed on a blog that hasn’t been updated in months. Or on a Twitter account that has an egghead avatar and was abandoned in 2010 after the user wrote: “Hello world.” What’s wrong with these pictures? Lack of content.

[Only] 36% of people surveyed believe their content marketing is effective. Biggest challenges they’ve faced are producing enough content and the kind that engages.

—Joe Pulizzi, 10 Content Marketing Secrets That Will Propel You Beyond the Competition

Content requires a strategy, a production schedule with designated authors and engaging topics that encourage readers to return. Find ways to cover your content bases with an effective content plan.

Verbal and visual content that delivers on a frequent and regular basis will increase your chances to catch up to your competitors and join the ranks of those with effective content marketing strategies.
cmi content
How will you create more content?

#10: Offer Subscriptions to Your Content

Content can easily be missed on Facebook, Twitter and RSS feeds. One way to help ensure that your content is seen is through subscriptions.

Focus on subscriptions to your content; for example, “Join over 40,000 of your peers. Get daily articles and news delivered to your email inbox and get CMI’s exclusive ebook…free.”

—Joe Pulizzi, 10 Content Marketing Secrets That Will Propel You Beyond the Competition

Delivering daily articles and news to a subscriber’s email inbox is highly effective for busy businesspeople. Even if their inbox is overflowing, when they chip away at reading their emails, they’ll find your content pointing and linking to your articles.
Users may miss your tweets but will be more likely to receive your email.

#11: Give Credence to Analytics and Post Data

Social media data is the keeper of all kinds of useful information such as location of readers, topics and keywords that attract and time and day an update is more likely to be seen by your audience.

Amazing content yields great leads. Don’t get attached just to shares—find out which posts are getting leads.

—Brian Carter, Turning Social Advertising Into Leads and Sales

Set aside time each week to review your analytics and what you can learn from them. Content may not magically convert a lead to a customer, but you’ll be more likely to increase your funnel of leads when you provide great content.

Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut around the sales cycle. Print placement ads, radio and TV commercials never promised that either. With social media marketing, you still have to work a lead!

batman and robin
Could it be any clearer?

#12: Give Your Posts More Pizazz

Some posts read like they’re just giving the facts, something that you’d find in an old-time Yellow Pages ad.  Nowadays, we have to go the extra couple of miles.

Posts that are shareable give advice, warn, amuse, inspire and amaze… don’t be boring.

—Cliff Ravenscraft, 15 Tips for Creating a Podcast People Can’t Live Without

“Don’t be boring” might be one of the harshest tough-love pieces of advice that you’ll receive. But it’s true. How many times are you more willing to read an article with catchy titles and cool images or watch a video with great camerawork and music or listen to a podcast that presents a dynamic interview or industry report? If you build amazing content, they will come!

dont be boring
What? We need to be interesting, too?!

#13: Meet Social Media Followers Where They Are

How many times have you felt that a company isn’t letting you in? That they’re not telling you more about the business culture or values that are important to them? One of the true assets of social marketing is the ease with which we can converse with our followers.

One kind of content that has been effective for TaylorMade is real-time, ‘inside-the-ropes’ information to consumers.

—Liz Phillips of TaylorMade, Twitter Marketing: Success Tips From Brands

Real time is the real thing. Inside-the-ropes information makes followers feel a part of an online community—and connected.
Consumers like to be in-the-know.

#14: Tune Into What’s Being Talked About

Time passes quickly and topics do, too. It’s become increasingly important for social media marketers to know what readers are most interested in today, this week, this month—and as projected into next year.

Content is the greatest sales and trust-building tool in the world.  Find the most common phrases and their keyword rank in monthly searches.

—Marcus Sheridan, How to Build a Business Blog That Grows Your Brand, Generates Leads and Makes Sales

With free and paid keyword tools at our disposal (e.g., Google Keyword Tool, Long Tail Pro), you have a tremendous opportunity to tap into the content that is resonating the most with your audience. This will cut down on useless projects and make each and every post an important spoke in your marketing hub.
higher ranked keywords
Using higher-ranked keywords will make a difference.

#15: Look for the Best Ways to Promote Your Content

Content promotion is an important part of content marketing strategy. With the ease of ebook creation, many businesses have found that putting together new or repurposed content into an ebook format may be one of the most advantageous ways to get their content out there.

Ebooks are best used to promote content. Businesses should focus on the value that users will receive from your content.

—Rebecca Corliss, How to Generate Leads With Social Media

Ebooks offer the ability to create cost-effective, well-designed pieces that don’t require the expense of printing.
hubspot ebooks
HubSpot displays their ebooks on a Pinterest board.

#16: Know Thy Customer

By keeping your customer in mind during your content strategizing, you’ll be more likely to engage the people you’re looking to attract.

Use the social data you have about your customer to improve content strategy.

—Kyle Lacy, 5 Social and Digital Trends Impacting Consumer Behaviors

Buyer personas and knowing how topics rank among their interests will be helpful ways to improve content strategy.
know who you're talking to
Knowing who you're talking to is a big part of the content equation.

#17: Write Great Blog Posts

In an earlier 26 Tips piece, we discussed Tips for Writing Great Blog Posts. Writing great content involves many aspects beyond the ideas you set down on the page. It includes factors such as layout and design, formatting, whether the content is original or curated and more. Producing quality content requires proactivity.

Take an active approach to content development. Create content all the time.

—Amy Porterfield, Facebook Strategies to Launch a New Product or Program

Even when you’re not in the middle of a new post, jot down ideas as they come to you and see whether you can work them into a post.
keep content rolling
Keep the content rolling.

#18: Think Beyond the Written Word

Content assets include images, videos, printed word and audio. When you have an idea for what you want to communicate, you may find that one format will serve your audience better than another. At SMMW13, there was a lot of buzz about podcasts and the impact that mobile phones and working on-the-go have on our ability to reach people, even when they don’t have time to sit down and read an article.

Podcasts cannot live without content.

—Cliff Ravenscraft, 15 Tips for Creating a Podcast People Can’t Live Without

What information could be communicated to your audience via a podcast?
list of topics
Offer a variety of topics.

#19: Deliver Targeted Content

If the demographics of your target customer are diverse, then targeted topics or specific platforms may suit one audience better than another.

Slice and dice content to make it highly targeted… be consistent, authentic and relevant.

—Michael Bepko of Whole Foods, Twitter Marketing: Success Tips From Brands

Maybe you have one blog that speaks to a younger audience and another that addresses issues of more concern to middle-aged people. Messaging isn’t one-stop shopping.

whole foods
Whole Foods takes "slicing and dicing" very seriously (and literally).

#20: Motivate Customers
Don’t just communicate. Motivate. Find the niche area that makes readers stop, listen and watch.

Who are your customers, what do they want to hear about, what do they talk about to friends and family, what are their obstacles, what are their worries, how can you inspire them, how can you coach, mentor and motivate?

—Brian Carter, Turning Social Advertising Into Leads and Sales
Make your content motivating and inspiring.

#21: Use Keywords Strategically

Keywords should stay front and center. Don’t think of them on a piece-by-piece basis. Instead, what are the topics that will cover the range of topics of most interest to your audience?

Develop 5 key topic areas and at least 20 unique pieces of content for each of 100+ keywords per year.

—Joe Pulizzi, 10 Content Marketing Secrets That Will Propel You Beyond the Competition

Being prepared with topics and keywords will make it easier to create unique content.
use keywords
Knowing keywords and topics you will be writing about will help keep you focused. Readers will learn what they can expect.

#22: Alter Your Ways of Looking at Content Development and Delivery

Your content strategy will make a lot more sense to your authors and your audience if you think about people and where they are in the sales cycle. The information will be helpful in making a decision about whether to write a blog post, conduct a webinar or engage in a LinkedIn group forum.

Map content to customers’ journeys through the sales cycle—awareness, interest, consideration, purchase, retention and advocacy.

—Lee Odden, How to Integrate Blogging With Content Marketing That Inspires

target content
Targeting content to the sales cycle can be highly effective.

CATEGORY: Email and Social Integration

#23: Integrate Email and Social Media Marketing

Consider this: “Email has had a long history, beginning in 1971 when U.S. programmer Raymond Tomlinson allegedly sent “QWERTYUIOP” as the first network email, and he was the first to connect his computer to his mailbox by using an ‘@’ symbol… Email has become a major part of our lives, consuming 28% of our workday.”

With the maturity of media, preceding ones will become displaced. Email, which has been a key player for 20 years, hurt postal delivery. Today, many are using Facebook messages instead of email.

—Mike Stelzner, Social Media Marketing in 2013: New Research and Its Implications
facebook message
Facebook messages improve the odds of having direct contact.

#24: Interact With Your Audience Via Opt-In Emails

With the subscriber opts into your emails, your business can get in front of your audience’s eyes on a daily and weekly basis.

The inbox is the best social network in the world.

—Chris Brogan, Are We Getting Better or Just Busier?
email update
Social Media Examiner not only sends email updates, but also tells you the number of subscribers.

#25: Vary Your Email and Social Integration Strategies

Below are a number of great suggestions from presenters at SMMW13:

  • Advertise on Facebook to your email list.—Brian Carter, Turning Social Advertising Into Leads and Sales
  • Subscribers who follow brands on Twitter are three times more likely to open an email than a subscriber who’s not on Twitter.—Kyle Lacy, 5 Social and Digital Trends Impacting Consumer Behaviors
  • During the promote phase of a Facebook campaign, build your launch email list with a signature promotional giveaway. When launching, your email list can be your most powerful profit-generating resource. Use an autoresponder as part of your email campaign.—Amy Porterfield, Facebook Strategies to Launch a New Product (autoresponder)
  • The third time you email someone, just pick up the damn phone.—Jay Baer, How to Create Customers for Life by Informing More and Promoting Less
Set up any number of email messages to be sent either immediately after a new user subscribes to your mailing list, or after any period of time has passed.

#26: Set Personal and Business Goals for Social Media

  • Personal: Self-expression, exercise writing, be a useful resource, connect with bloggers, contribute to the community
  • Business: Brand awareness, elevate publicity, support customers, recruit, attract new business referrals, create an editorial calendar
—Lee Odden, How to Integrate Blogging With Content Marketing that Inspire

Google Analytics to create and track goals via a goal funnel, a series of pages leading up to the goal destination—for example, a contact page.
—Rich Brooks, Beyond Likes: How to Turn Fans Into Customers
Be sure to create and track your business goals.

Concluding Thoughts

Perhaps the most telling number about the significance of social media marketing was reported in the April 8, 2013 PeekAnalytics report for the hashtag #SMMW13 that states:

The content [at SMMW13] was shared by consumers who have a combined total of 4.8 million social connections across their social graphs.

The speed-of-light communication that social media provides with its far-reaching capabilities is unprecedented and undoubtedly will continue to change the way businesses engage with customers, prospects and leads. What will we be talking about at SMMW14? Stay tuned!

What do you think? How do calls to action, content strategy, email/social integration and goals play a part in your social media efforts? What is working well? What goals will help you make improvements? Leave your comments in the space below.

author:Debbie Hemley

Thursday, 2 May 2013

5 Ways To Get More Traffic From Pinterest

pinterest marketing

After all her blogger friends kept telling her how cool it was, Melissa Taylor finally decided to get on Pinterest and managed to obtain 1 million+ followers (now nearly 1.5m) in only 9 months.

How did she do it?

Her advice to brands is simple: Focus on being awesome, not getting followers.

Shortly after she hit the million-plus mark, Melissa published a book called Pinterest Savvy: How I Got 1 Million+ Followers so she definitely has a thing or two to say on the subject.

The most influential people on Pinterest are bloggers and social media influencers – also known as tastemakers. Brands can learn a lot from how they grow and maintain their followers, who’s numbers continue to swell as the platform steadily increases its user-base.

Learning from people like Melissa Taylor, Brittany Cozzens, and Joy Cho (still reining supreme at 14.5m followers) are useful case studies for brands looking to generate sustainable returns from their Pinterest marketing. Here are 5 useful tips from successful bloggers, and brands, on Pinterest:

1. Pin During Peak Times

Studies show most people are on Pinterest in the afternoons (14:00 – 16:00 EST) and evenings (20:00 – 01:00 EST). Aim to schedule content during those peak times, which is easier with publishing tools, like Pinster.

You shouldn’t overwhelm your audience with pins, but at the same time don’t publishv too little. A recommended scheduled number is between 5 and 10 pins at a time. Other times when there are visitor spikes are during breakfast, lunch (increasingly from mobile devices) and dinner.

2. Size Matters
Taller gets more repins. Melissa Taylor, other Pinterest power-users, and social media marketing professionals, have all tested this theory, and it works. Other tricks for increasing repins, likes, followers, and ultimately traffic to your website include using text in the images.

You can manipulate the images to ensure the photo beneath so shows through a text box, or use your branding like a watermark, potentially with a web link. This is good for brand awareness, SEO, and turning Pinterest into a major web traffic pipeline.

3. Make Your Products Pin-Ready

Melissa Taylor has singled out Bergdorf Goodman as a brand that is really on the ball. Their products – from Jimmy Choo shoes to Dolce & Gabbana handbags – benefit massively from Pinterest’s core demographic (85% women, aged between 25 – 44), and they have leveraged this to their advantage.

Melissa is particularly impressed by the Bergforf Goodman approach: “Every single product on their website has a “Pin It” button. The product description plus the company name, Bergdorf Goodman, automatically loads when the “Pin It” button is clicked. It’s perfect.”

4. Think Small, Pin Big
Zina Harrington from Lasso the Moon recommends going off the beaten track for content, if you are re-pinning tastemakers: “Follow everyday people with good taste” Zina recommends this course of action because everyone has already seen their content.

There are so many lists of influential Pinterest users that anyone who wants to try and accelerate their own followers will be busy mining and repinning their content. Don’t bother.

“There are many fish in this creative ocean. Look for smaller friends and your repins will feel fresh,” Zina is quoted in Pinterest Savvy.

5. The Warren Buffett Approach

What does noted investor and billionaire Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway have to do with Pinterest, you might be wondering? Nothing, really…he isn’t an investor.

He is, however, a great example of a man who has built his career not going after the quick buck, but instead one who’s been consistently focused on sustainable long-term growth.

Apply the Buffett investment rules to social media: aim to be sustainable, consistent, and awesome, as Melissa Taylor advises, which is how she now has over 1.5 million followers.

Key Takeaways:

  • Pin at the right times
  • Size matters
  • Make your website “Pin ready”
  • Find hidden gems and repin them
  • Ensure your content is consistently awesome

Stand on the shoulders of the giants that came before you and put the right tactics in place early on and like Bergdorf Goodman. Like everything in social media, when done right, you will notice a steady and snowballing volume of traffic with Pinterest marketing to your website.

Author:Dominic Tarn