In 2012, the virtual bulletin board Pinterest secured over 10 million active users establishing the site as the latest social media giant right after Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Pinterest is therefore a remarkable marketing tool, a perpetually growing online community that is benefitting businesses using it in a number of ways:
1. More referred traffic
2. More quality leads
3. More sharing on the social sites like Facebook and Twitter
4. More sales
As a business owner, you are probably already on Pinterest. The real challenge is to successfully market on Pinterest. The real question is how do you become a real “pinner”. To help you get started pinning like the big kahunas on Pinterest, here are a few tips and pointers.
1. Organize Your Content
On Pinterest, it is not enough to share things. The whole point of the social site is for people to discover things in a fun and very visual way. Organize your boards and pins in a way that makes sense. Each board should tell its own unique story. Each board should convey a unique message. Don’t dump all your content onto a single board. Sort it out for your audience. Note that using different boards also helps you expand the impact and reach of your brand because you can then reach out to the different segments of your audience in a personal way.
Pinterest is all about sharing, collecting and organizing images. Therefore it follows that image quality matters a great deal. On Pinterest, blurry, small and images that have a watermark are simply not acceptable. It is true that each and every image you share does not have to be museum-grade but the images should at least look professional. The more effort you invest in your pins, the more you can expect in return.
3. Give Back to the Community
Social media marketing is not about self-promotion and spam. Your success will rest upon how much you give back to the community. On Pinterest, things are no different. Although it might be very tempting to just push content out in a self-promoting way, the challenge is to find the time to be an active member of the community. At least once a week, find half an hour for doing nothing but being a good citizen of Pinterest. Re-pin things you like, follow boards whose pins are good, connect with people who have the same interests as you.
4. It’s Okay to Report Time-Wasters
This is really just an extrapolation of being a good member of the community. As a responsible citizen of Pinterest, it’s more than okay, actually it’s recommended that you report spam, broken links and offensive images. This helps keep the community clean and devoid of time-wasters.
Ah. Social media. It’s an unavoidable topic nowadays. Actually, I will go as far as saying that it’s probably time for you to dump your favorite Internet marketing blog and/or forum if there is no section dedicated to social media on there!
While social media is not THE future of marketing, it certainly forms a big (huge?) part of it. It is not a coincidence that big corporations who do not appear to need any more attention at all are jumping on social media. Think Coca-Cola. Who doesn’t know it? Who doesn’t drink it? And yet, the expensive suits working there decided that it’s important for them to generate over 60 million Likes on their page. Same with Red Bull; they sent a guy (Felix Baumgartner) to space and had him literally jump back to Earth. And yet, they are still very active on their social pages.
In this article, I will dissect the strategies of 5 brands that got their social media marketing right. They have distinctly different strategies, which is why I picked them for this post.
If you have “Liked” them on Facebook, you know how big of a hit their ‘Daily Twist’ campaign was. For those who don’t know, Oreo turned 100 years old last year. To celebrate, they posted pictures and statuses on a daily basis for 100 days.
Their posts were highly relevant to big events that happened in the past, only that they were “Oreo-based”. It would be unreasonable for me to expect you to visualize that sentence, so let me illustrate it below with 4 of their genius images:
The amount of work involved, the commitment, the consistency, all of it paid off in the form of thousands of Likes and comments. This led to more people liking the brand and in the end I suppose buying more Oreos. I know for a fact these pictured are super appetizing.
When the company does not send people to space, it interacts with its fans and followers.
While some of us were busy complaining about the new Facebook Timeline, Red Bull decided to celebrate it by creating a game around it! It was called the “Red Bull Scavenger hunt”.
Basically, the aim was to answer questions that the admin asked, based on clues within the Facebook page. This led to an avalanche of comments and likes. Not only that, but it also allowed Red Bull to re-use (and revive) their old content.
You may be asking yourself how in the world can a mustard brand have an active social media presence. Well, Grey Poupon found a way.
We can deny it all we want, but we all have a sense of “self-worth” attached to our social profiles. This self-worth is what Grey Poupon is leveraging on.
It created “The Society of Good Taste” which very basically evaluates you. It even fetches information from your profile and shares to give you a rise in score!
The reason posts about social media are flooding the blog-o-sphere is that it really is a really useful medium of advertising and marketing.
Businesses now have the ability to target prospects based on their demographics and even their interests! While this sounds exciting, many people haven’t had much success with this type of marketing. This is because something, somewhere, went wrong.
This post will hopefully save you the frustration and losses, and will provide you with a “shortcut to social media marketing success”.
But before that, let’s have a look at a few benefits of social marketing (in the hope of getting you to hop on the wagon, in case you are still on the fence).
- Increased social signals that result in better SEO rankings
- Increased brand recognition
- Lead generation
- Increased loyalty
- Getting new customers
- Increase traffic
- Lower marketing costs
Convinced? Cool! Let’s get into the actual strategies!
Strategy #1: Piggybacking
Before you start piggybacking on others, make sure that you leverage the use of your own assets and resources first.
Do you have an email list? Then email all your subscribers and tell them to “Like” your new Facebook page. Maybe you can throw in a small bribe to encourage them (a free download of one of your low-cost products for a limited time?).
Do you have a blog? Have a link above and below every post asking your readers to “Follow” you on Twitter for updates.
Once you have that covered, you can move to forming partnerships with other people, or, finding people who will promote your products and brand to their followers or fans. How? By giving them something of value in exchange. It could be an offer that only their followers can take advantage of (a major discount or a give away of your products).
Strategy #2: Advertising
Contrary to popular belief, social media marketing is not meant to be an “Advertising Terminator”
In fact, advertising can be done within social media, and if you have some funds to invest, it is a great way to get more “Likes” and “Followers”. It only costs a few pennies for a targeted click (social ads are still relatively new), so get on that wagon before this aspect of social changes!
However, ads on social media are not famous for being the best converting ones. So, it might be a good idea to (again) bribe the ad viewers to get them on your page. Provide them with an incentive (free stuff), and increase your CTR.
Advertising doesn’t need to be limited to the online world. You may very well expand your reach by having “Like Us at Facebook.com/YourBusiness” ads in offline prints or at local places (restaurant, bars, etc.).
In 2013, sending strong social signals comes with so many benefits, that it is almost stupid to ignore social media as part of your marketing strategy. Not many things will bring you
- Improved rankings in the search engine results page
- New customers
- More loyalty in existing customers
- People who will start talking about your business in real life
…all at once!
However, if you are here because of the title of this post, you are probably already aware of all of that, and you probably just want to know “How do I get more of these social signals?”
Before we get to that, we need to go deeper in the issue. What issue? The issue that we are just seeing these as “numbers”. How many likes, tweets or shares…
These social signals… We need to remember that they are from people. It’s a real person who “Likes” a page, a lot like it’s a real person who is reading this post. If I were writing for numbers (instead of for people), this article would be of the same level of quality as the junk that comes out of those “Article Generators”. This article is good (hopefully we share the same opinion!), because I have you (the audience) in mind.
Similarly, in our quest to get more social reputation, we need to have our audience and its best interest in mind.
With that out of the way, let’s see what you, as a business can do for more social results.
Know Your Audience
With all the talk I made about having your audience in mind above, I had to make this my first point.
If you don’t know your audience, you won’t be able to get their interest. No Interest = No Like, No Share, No Tweet, No Follower.
Let’s use the “muscle building” niche as an example. A lot of the guys interested in muscle building also like MMA, boxing, self-defense, football and hockey. Knowing this increases your chances of making valuable posts and posting cool pictures on your Facebook page (and hence creating more engagement on it).
Take the time to find, curate and create good content. Do your brand or business a favor, and do not use software for this. If you cannot do it yourself, assign the task to another human being, preferably one who is familiar with the niche you are in.
There is a reason why big companies are using Instagram to spread the word about their business; it’s working for them! You can make it work for you too, if you do it the right way.
Today we will talk about a few steps you can take to give Instagram your best shot, by creating a win-win-win situation for you, your potential customers and Instagram itself. You wouldn’t want to miss out on 80 million potential customers, would you?
Remember that Instagram is much more than a place where you can upload pictures. It’s a social platform. It’s meant for you to interact with other people – a photo that someone uploaded made you giggle? Leave a comment and say it (and Like it!).
Also, make sure to reply to the comments that people leave on your pictures, especially if they are reporting an issue that they are having with a service or product you provide. It’s very easy for people to start complaining about your product on any of their social accounts, and it can go viral if they mention that you’ve seen their complaint on your page, but have ignored it.
Social networks are the perfect place to show that you care about your customers and that you can make everyone happy (or at least try to!) and build trust amongst your followers.
I don’t know about you, but I always wonder what’s behind that “Staff Only” door EVERYTIME I see it – it doesn’t matter which company I go to. I know other people who do too. Chances are, it’s not just them and me. People are curious.
Snap a picture of the “Only Staff Members Allowed” room and share it with everyone. Selling a product? How about uploading a pic of the making of it? Show people your business from a completely different perspective. Some of them will love you just for that!
Create your own hashtag…& promote its use!
Give the users incentive to use your hashtag when sharing your pictures (or pictures of them using your product!). How? Maybe by offering a discount or free gift to each person who does. Some businesses have done it, and it works great!
This also allows you to monitor how much your brand is being shared and talked about (you can’t really do that if you use something generic).
Like uploading your photos right before bed after a long day at work? Don’t. Other people are going to bed too. Find some time to share your pictures at 5 or 6 p.m. (your local time).
These are not just numbers thrown out there like that; studies have actually been made! It makes sense though; many people check their social accounts right after work. By catching them at this time, you will increase your chances of generating more likes, comments and shares.
Promoting your brand on social media is different than promoting it on television, radio or through just about any other medium. Most other mediums have a one way broadcast kind of relationship. You send out what you want to send out and the audience receives it. Social media on the other hand is a two-way conversation. Promoting a brand on social media requires a different kind of marketing strategy.
So how do you promote a brand on social media?
Get in the Habit of Launching Viral Campaigns
Viral campaigns are hit or miss. Sometimes you’ll launch a viral campaign and it’ll instantly spread through your niche like wildfire. On the other hand, sometimes you’ll launch a viral campaign and not much will happen at all.
Instead of placing all your hopes and dreams on one campaign, get in the habit of launching viral campaigns often. Launch one once a month, or once every couple months. Some will hit big and others will fail. By doing them often, you maximize your chances of hitting the winners.
Respond to Audience Questions and Comments
Brands have a bad reputation when it comes to responding to customers. All too often brands treat their social media feeds as a TV channel where all they do is share, instead of listen.
On social media, people expect to have a dialogue. You don’t have to respond to every single comment, but you should respond to every trend, every concern and every question that gets more than a few people asking.
If there’s a thread on your Facebook page with 30 comments all around something your company is doing, you should probably respond to it.
Build Relationships With Real People
Social Media can help build relationships with people. Look for key players in your industry and look to build a one on one relationship with them. Don’t think that brands have to act like distant personalities. Brands can make friends, brands can do favors, brands can reach out.
By building real relationships with people, you increase your reach on the social sphere. If you’re launching a new viral campaign, you can reach out to your contacts and ask for shares and retweets. If you have questions about how your product is being received, you can reach out to real customers. If you need advice about a website redesign, you can ask for feedback.
Having real relationships with real people goes a long way.
Twitter is one of the most powerful yet least understood internet business tools. By now, most businesses who’re serious about the internet have a Twitter account and are regularly posting on Twitter. However, many of them find that Twitter isn’t quite generating the results that they expected.
Many expected hordes of customers to come flocking in from their social media efforts. Needless to say, for most companies this simply hasn’t happened. Is it because Twitter doesn’t work? No – Most businesses just aren’t running Twitter the way it needs to be run in order to deliver results.
Using Twitter for business is different than using Twitter for personal communications. Here’s how to use Twitter for business.
Start By Understanding Your Audience
What exactly is your audience looking for? Why are they on your Twitter page? What kinds of problems and solutions do they have? What kinds of products do they want to buy?
Many business owners simply assume that they know the answers to these problems. Yet in reality, when you ask your audience these questions, you’ll very often find that their actual answers are quite different than what you might have assumed.
Never run a business Twitter account on a foundation of assumptions. Start by asking your audience questions. Listen closely and tailor your strategy accordingly. Create share worthy content for your audience.
Create a Strategy to Get Followers and Create Loyalty
Followers don’t just fall out of the sky. Too many people assume that if they build a Twitter page, followers will simply appear. This just isn’t true.
Getting a lot of followers takes hard work. You need a multi-pronged strategy for bringing more people to your page. You need to utilize tools like YouTube, social media sites, viral free content and more to get more Twitter followers.
Once you have those followers, you need to make sure that they actually stick around. In order to do that, you need to have a solid content strategy. Map out the kinds of tweets that you intend to post. Make sure there’s a good mix of original content, multimedia, interactivity, questions and branding tweets.
It’s okay to have promotional messages. Just make sure that they don’t overpower your content messages.
Pinterest is a seemingly new social network that has actually already surpassed LinkedIn in raw traffic. It’s young, but it’s got a lot of traffic. What’s more, a lot of the traffic on Pinterest actually buys. Data shows that visitors from Pinterest who visit a commercial site are twice as likely to buy than visitors who clicked a link from Facebook.
So how do you use Pinterest for marketing?
The Basics: What is Pinterest
The idea of Pinterest is simple. You create a board that revolves around a certain topic. You then “pin” various images to that board. The pin can be from different websites, or it can be an image you upload. You can also add pins using a mobile app. You can take pictures on your iPhone then quickly pin them on a board.
The board and the pins can then be shared with your social network.
Who Uses Pinterest?
As with most things in the marketing world, understanding your demographics is the key. On Pinterest, 83% of the users in the United States are women. (Source – Wikipedia). That means if you’re using Pinterest, you want to be gearing your marketing towards women, not the general population.
Users of Pinterest tend to be slightly older, between 25 to 44. They could be family oriented women, women who have kids or women who manage a household. Because Pinterest is an inherently social tool, the women who use Pinterest tend to have strong social ties.
It’s important to note that 75% of purchase decisions are made by women. Pinterest allows you to get to the real decision makers very quickly.
Note that although historically Pinterest has been primarily female driven, this may not always be the case. Men and male interests have taken an interest in Pinterest. For example, a few sports teams have begun to use Pinterest to share their photos.
Pinterest’s traffic is enormous. It’s already sending more traffic to other websites than Twitter did. As far as a traffic generation tool goes, Pinterest is quickly climbing the ranks. What makes Pinterest especially appealing to keen marketers is that it has still mostly slipped into the minds of most marketers. People who can figure out how to really utilize Pinterest’s traffic are going to get a very large slice of the pie, because few people are actively competing for it.
Many websites are already showing Pinterest as their top traffic referrer. For example, Martha Stewart’s websites get more traffic from Pinterest than anywhere else. Similar brands that focus on women-centric topics like fashion, cooking, design and so on also show similar trend.
If you’ve been working on your social media for some time but haven’t gotten the results you’re looking for, don’t fret. Chances are you’re making one of these seven common mistakes.
Social media isn’t a lever you pull that instantly generates leads. Instead, it’s more of a gradual dial that you need to turn up slowly, over time. Any mistake in the process could lead to your leads drying up.
These are seven of the most common mistakes people make in social media. Fix them and your leads will start flowing in.
1. You’re in the Wrong Social Media
No matter how well you’re executing your social media plan, if you’re in the wrong type of media, your message isn’t going to be heard.
If you’re regularly publishing on Facebook and Twitter but you’re primarily targeting CEOs who only spend time on LinkedIn, then your strategy really isn’t going to work.
Figure out where your market spends their time. Then create a strong presence in those social media networks.
2. Not Putting Likes and Shares on Your Website
Inspite all that social media has going for it, one thing it’s not great at is getting initial traffic. It’s great for following up with readers and it’s great for putting out viral content. But the best way to get people into your social media funnel is still your own website.
Make sure that you have the like buttons, share buttons, tweet buttons and follow buttons embedded on your website to generate healthy social media leads.
3. Not Making the Most of Captured Attention
When someone on social media comes to your page, you have something that’s extremely rare: Your customer’s attention.
Don’t waste it. Make sure that every inch of your social media real estate is filled with value adding, brand building material.
For example, if you have a Facebook page, make sure that you have everything filled out: make sure you have company information, website details, photos, etc all uploaded to your page.
4. Not Adding Value Through Content
Marketers who treat social media as just a platform to push advertising are missing the boat. Not only won’t they get buyers, but they’ll alienate their platform.
However, even marketers who don’t make that mistake still often don’t provide enough value. Giving updates about your company for example doesn’t count as adding value to your customers’ lives.
In order for your social media lead generation initiatives to really take off, it has to really make your customers’ lives better. You need to solve problems for your customers. You need to provide valuable content that your customers will be glad you shared.
Even if you run a top notch business, negative customer reviews are going to happen. Though you can and should do everything you can to prevent negative customer reviews, it’s still important to have a plan in place for how to deal with negative reviews if and when they come up.
Here are five tips to help you deal with this kind of negative customer-sourced publicity.
1. Never Ignore It
Perhaps the worst thing you could do when it comes to negative publicity is ignore it and hope that it disappears on its own. It simply doesn’t. In fact, if anything, it will get worse and worse until you handle the situation.
Assume that any piece of negative review online is an urgent action that needs attention.
2. Respond Quickly
If you respond fast, you’ll be able to keep the fire to a minimum. You’ll also send the message to your consumers that you care and that you’re paying enough attention to catch problems before they become too big.
To illustrate the point with a counter-example, take a look at United Airline’s “United Breaks Guitars” colossal blunder. When a customer who was a musician witnessed seeing his guitar thrown by United Airlines employees and found this guitar broken afterwards, he complained. United refused to pay for the damages.
He wrote a song about it and posted it on YouTube. United Airlines didn’t respond until hundreds of thousands of people already saw the video. Today, the video has over 11 million views. Watch the video here.
If United Airlines had addressed the issue either on the spot or when it became clear that the customer was going to make an issue out of it, they would have saved the company millions of dollars in bad publicity.