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August 26 2013

Pinterest – Is it Right for Your Company?

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Although a tad reluctant at first, many businesses have embraced the Social Media world and are pretty active on their channels. Social Media is a brilliant way to engage with clients or customers, offer exclusive incentives and promote new products or services. That being said, many companies have become rather proficient in engaging with their “likes” on Facebook and their “followers” on Twitter, but have little to no idea what Pinterest is, let alone how to utilize it (effectively) for their business. So, what is Pinterest anyway and how can it work for your company? Pinterest is self-described as “a tool for collecting and organizing the things that inspire you”. Wikipedia defines Pinterest as a pinboard-style photo-sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, and hobbies. Users can browse other pinboards for images, “re-pin” images to their own pinboards, or “like” photos.

If you are a business owner, you’re probably wondering (and you ought to be) how or if this booming social networking site could work for you. With its 25 million members and growing, Pinterest could be a wonderful addition to your overall social media marketing plan. One of the many benefits of Pinterest is that when someone “repins” one of your images, another person can then click on it, and he or she is then sent to your actual website and can either make a purchase, sign up for a Webinar, etc.

Here are examples of 3 top brands that are utilizing Pinterest very well:

Nordstrom

Whole Foods

Real Simple

In addition, below is an example of an ecommerce retailer (Polka Dot Peacock) currently running a giveaway contest on Pinterest. Being that I have made online purchases, I now receive their newsletters and this particular one caught my eye.  It is a terrific way to gain Pinterest followers, as well as keep them engaged as they pin on their board(s) and what could be better than winning a free gift card?

I encourage you to take the time to research and understand how your business could effectively use Pinterest. Take a look at your competitors, as well as other websites you frequent to get ideas for how they might be utilizing Pinterest to interact, promote and grow their brand. For example, Infographics are quite popular on Pinterest, (especially for B2B companies) and are much more likely to be read than plain text.

The possibilities for how you can be creative and make Pinterest work for your company are pretty much endless.

August 1 2013

Social Media (if done correctly) is a Full Time Job

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Social Media continues to rapidly evolve. With a multitude of channels available, it can be difficult for businesses to keep up, let alone choose where to dedicate their time, resources and energy. It was not long ago, when companies had to be “convinced” that there were genuine benefits of social media and that a Facebook and /or Twitter company page was a legitimate opportunity to grow their business or brand.

Fast forward to the present; those two channels (or at least one of the two) have essentially become the standard. Today – if a company says they are doing Social Media, it is a safe assumption that they have a Facebook Page and likely Twitter, as well. Sure, there are some savvy businesses that not only see the value (and sheer necessity) of social media, they do it well and are active on multiple channels: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube, Pinterest, etc.  Then there are those who feel as though Facebook and/or Twitter are more than enough to maintain.  Whichever category you fit into, social media requires a considerable amount of time and dedication. Here a few critical components to keep in mind when it comes to ongoing social media maintenance, whether you have just one active channel or many:

  • A well thought out plan/strategy as to how you will present your company via social media is super important. You certainly don’t want to just throw up an unprofessional looking Facebook page and begin posting random things here and there. In addition, you want to make an educated decision on how you will respond to your audience for both positive, as well as negative comments. This is very important.
  • Dedicating the necessary resources to each channel is crucial. There are few things worse than a channel that has remained stale and inactive for months. This is a surefire way of losing the interest and loyalty (“followers” & “likes” in social media terms) of your audience. You want them engaged and paying attention. Your posts should be timely and relevant to your industry.
  • Not every channel is for every company and what makes perfect sense for one may not make much, if any, sense for another. Become knowledgeable and well versed on the channel(s) your company decides to engage in.
  • If your company is new to social media, it is advisable to start off slowly, perhaps with one (to two) channels at a time. This will help to ensure that you are not taking on more than you can chew, so to speak. Additional channels can always be added in the future.

Take a peak at a business to consumer brand that is doing an excellent job with their social media channels. Just a few of their active channels are listed below:

lululemon Twitter
lulelemon Facebook
lululemon Pinterest

In addition, they responded very well during a major PR crisis back in March, which garnered a ton of negative posts, tweets, press, etc.

Social media truly is a full time job and requires ongoing maintenance and monitoring. Seriously.  Go big or go home.

September 26 2011

Social Media – Still Confusing for Many

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This might surprise a lot of you, but not EVERYONE is a social media guru. I know, I know. It’s hard to believe, but it’s the truth. There are actually more people that fit into the untrained social media sector than you’d think. Some may have never logged onto Facebook (don’t fall out of your chair) or even seen what Twitter looks like (don’t spit up your drink), would not know a LinkedIn page from a hole in the wall and don’t even get me started on their knowledge (or lack thereof) on Google+ .

OK, I am exaggerating a bit with these examples, but I have honestly encountered many clients who have shared with me that they know NOTHING about social media and at this point, they feel they’ve missed the boat. Common excuses I hear: I will never be able to catch up now; I’ve waited too long.  I won’t get up to speed so why bother? I have no idea where to even begin.

I am here to tell you this: It’s never too late to engage in social media. Should your organization have already created a social media presence by now? YES, absolutely, but it is still not too late to tackle it now. Social media is not going away. It is only going to grow and evolve faster than we can imagine. Even if you do not use it for personal reasons…and believe it or not, there are many who are very active in social media from a business perspective, but never use it for personal reasons…your business ought to have a presence.

So what do you do first? Where do you start? How do you start? I highly encourage you to dip your toes in the shallow water, rather than diving in the deep end, in an effort to avoid being overwhelmed. There are many options today, so many that it can really seem daunting to do them all at once. Start slow and read as much as you can. Hint: Our social media blog is a great place to gain knowledge. Once you have educated yourself a bit, decide who within your organization will be managing your channels or if you plan to outsource them, how frequently they will be updated, what kind of tone you will use and most importantly what your strategy will be. It’s not too late to give social media a shot. Go ahead – dip your toes in, you won’t be sorry!

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