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Social Media & Your Business: Pinterest

This month, I am writing a series of blog posts on social media and your business.

Pinterest is one of the newest social media websites. The popularity of Pinterest has grown quickly. Pinterest is very different than any of the other social media sites. Users create pin boards to keep track of everything from inspirations to products that they "pin," or bookmark. Pinterest can be great for advertising services and products, strengthening branding, and driving traffic to your website.

Advantages

  1. Unique Pinterest is different than many other social media websites. With Pinterest, you can reach a different audience of users that may not be on social networks like Twitter and Facebook.
  2. Easy to use Using Pinterest is straight-forward, making it hard for users to get overwhelmed. It's very easy to look for—and find—the content you need.
  3. Attractive interface Pinterest could be confusing, hard to navigate, and cluttered. Its interface clean, sortable, and organized.

Disadvantages

  1. Not for every business Pinterest is a visual site. If you cannot display your products, brand values, or services visually, maybe Pinterest isn't for you.
  2. Another social media channel? If your social media marketing team is having trouble keeping up with your Facebook and other social media accounts, Pinterest may not be worth adding to your workload. Populating your profile with images can help, but it needs to stay up to date as much as the other social media websites.
  3. Privacy concerns With Pinterest, you can log on with Facebook or Twitter. This may cause some privacy concerns in the future. We haven't seen a large issue yet, but there's always that chance passwords and information may be compromised.

Examples

Wilton Cake Decorating uses their Pinterest to show off what their products can do. Posting frosting tips and cookie cutters can be pretty boring, while showing artistic cakes and desserts can be an inspiration for existing and potential customers alike.

Wilton Cake Decorating's Pinterest.

Cost Plus World Market uses Pinterest to display their products in real settings. Seeing a piece of furniture on a plain background doesn't appeal to users and make them want to buy the item. However, adding decorative pillows, matching decor, and a comforting setting can appeal to and inspire potential customers because it allows them to imagine products at use in their homes.

Cost Plus World Market's Pinterest.

Tips to keep in mind when starting an e-mail marketing

An inbox might announce "You've got mail!" but that alert doesn't always mean what's inside is worth opening.

When you're developing your e-mail marketing strategy, make sure your communications are as relevant as possible to your customers. By adding value and strategically focusing marketing, your communications won't be branded as spam.

Here are some ways that to find success with your e-mail marketing and meaningfully connect with customers through newsletters: 

Know your audience
What do your customers want? Knowing your audience will help you determine what content to include in your e-newsletters and what frequency is the best fit. If the content you send is not valuable to them, they'll delete your messages instantly. If unsure what to include, audit your e-newsletter by asking yourself: "What's in it for them?" If the answer is nothing, reshape the item to make it relevant or consider not including it. Careful curation is a key to success! 

Pick an editor
Make sure you have one person who keeps the voice of your e-newsletter consistent and makes sure it goes out on schedule. Consistency will help ensure your messages act as both a lead-generating tactic and a way to reinforce your brand.

Spice up subject lines
It makes no difference if you send an e-newsletter jam-packed with relevant and engaging content if it goes unopened because of an uninteresting subject line. Figure out what works best with your audience by looking at the open rate data from past mailings and determine which subject lines perform best. Use these proven winners to inspire future subject line copy.

Don't forget CTAs
Providing information is great, but make sure the e-mail includes a call-to-action to encourage a next step of engagement with your reader. A CTA might be something as simple as encouraging your customers to visit your website, like your business page on Facebook, or set-up an appointment. Take advantage of this interaction to further strengthen your relationship with your customer.

Simplify
Keep your main message straight-forward. Focus on making a few key messages. You don't want to overwhelm your already busy customers with too much information. Do a scan test to make sure that the key points stand out.

Social Media & Your Business: Google+

This month, I am writing a series of blog posts on social media and your business.

Google+ isn't as widely used as Facebook and Twitter, but it has some noteworthy benefits for small businesses. There is a direct connection between Google+ and Google Search: having a Google Page will directly increase your rankings on Google. Google+ also has professional features and helps to secure your business' identity.

Advantages:

  1. Direct connect with Google search Google+ is directly connected to Google Search, which can help put your business higher in the search ranking.
  2. Secures your brand's identity The sooner you make a Google+ Page, the better. The more social media your business is on, the better. Having a presence where your existing (and potential) customers are gives you more options for online marketing. However, use caution. If you are not going to keep your pages up to date, choose selectively which you will maintain.
  3. Professional features Google+ offers something no other social media does: circles. When you add friends, you can put them into certain circles, such as friends, family, and colleagues. This is useful when you are trying to reach a specific audience via selective advertising.

Disadvantages:

  1. "Google+? What's that?" With Google+, you have a very limited potential audience. Since its release, Google+ is still out numbered by Facebook and Twitter. It may take a few years before it catches on (if it ever does).
  2. Too professional, not enough entertainment Google+ just recently added games, but Facebook has a wider variety. Facebook also makes it easy to play game with a lot of people at once. With the limited population of Google+, people are limited with those they can play games with. With entertainment limitations at Google+, people won't want to "hang out" there.
  3. Not a lot of privacy Google+'s privacy settings are limited. You can hide your updates from certain circles, but most of your information is still public on Google. 

Examples:

Burberry uses Google+ to display new products, fashion inspiration, and more. They have several photo albums and videos. By keeping their profile updated, their audience is engaged and has a reason to keep coming back

Burberry's Google+ Page.


Pepsi also regularly updates their Google+ Page. They have a few photo albums, but do not have any videos. Something simple they could add are a few of their commercials. Some businesses don't feel the need to post videos on their social media pages, and that's okay! Do what you think will be best for your brand.

Pepsi's Google+ Page.

Social Media & Your Business: Twitter

This month, I am writing a series of blog posts on social media and your business.

Twitter is useful for networking with other professionals and businesses as well as customers. Advertising with Twitter may also drive more traffic to your business' website. Twitter makes communicating with customers easy.

Below are lists of advantages and disadvantages for businesses considering using Twitter:

Advantages

  1. Networking Twitter makes it easy to network with other professionals, people with similar interests, and more. By following them, you subscribe to their updates, which will show up on your Twitter homepage.
  2. Keeping up with competitors With Twitter, it is easy to follow competitors and find out what they are doing.
  3. Scheduling updates It's easy to schedule updates to go out on certain days at certain times using free services like HootSuite and TweetDeck. These services make it easy to send tweets at different times of the day so that you can reach a variety of audiences.

Disadvantages

  1. Spammers There are a lot of spammers on other social media sites, and when using Twitter, you'll notice spammers quickly. Though Twitter works to remove spammers, sometimes they may be around longer than you would prefer. As a business user your best bet is to ignore their noise and spend your time focusing on your core audience.
  2. Limited characters When writing a tweet, you're restricted to using only 140 characters. URLs and spaces are included in this count. Sometimes, the limited space makes it difficult to display information. With practice, you will learn how to keep your messaging relevant, short, and to the point

Examples

TBH Creative uses Twitter to display recent client work as well as network with other web professionals. Twitter makes it easy to share inspiration, thoughts, and ideas with a large group of people.

@tbhcreative

Target uses Twitter to advertise sales, talk to customers, and discuss new events. Twitter makes it easy to reply to customer complaints, suggestions, and compliments.

@target


Social Media & Your Business: Facebook

This month, I am writing a series of blog posts on social media and your business.

Facebook is currently the most common social media site businesses use. It offers several different features businesses can use. Facebook Pages allows users to "like" the business and get real time updates. Facebook Groups is nice for collaboration between coworkers, user groups, and more.

Below I have created lists of advantages and disadvantages for businesses considering to use Facebook:

Advantages

  1. Easy way to communicate: Type in the URL, login, type status message, and hit "Post." Distributing content to your audience via Facebook is really that easy. With millions of Facebook users, you have the potential of reaching not only your audience through status messages but also the friends of the people who follow you—for free!
  2. Ability to create custom pages: Facebook allows businesses to create custom pages via Facebook Pages. You can create pages that have information from your website
  3. Check in option: Facebook allows users to check in at certain locations. Some businesses even offer a deal if the user checks in while at the store/restaurant.
  4. Recommendations: Customers can review the business/services on the Facebook Page. This is a great way for potential customers to see what your business has to offer.

Disadvantages

  1. Negative content: Not all Facebook users are friendly and positive. You may encounter some negative content on your page. If handled properly, though, negative messages offer an opportunity to show others your considerate and fast approach to customer service. To appear professional and responsive, it is important to have someone in your business regularly monitor your Facebook Page.
  2. Strange, irrelevant ads: Facebook tracks user preferences. It's not as advanced as Google, so sometimes strange ads come up. This could distract the user from looking at your content. If you think it is necessary for your business, Facebook gives you the opportunity to purchase ads for your business.
  3. Maintenance requires time and attention: If you don't keep your Facebook Page updated, customers might be less interested in "liking" your page. If you are not going to post more than a few times a month, maybe a Facebook Page isn't for you. You could also hire a professional to generate content for your page.


Social Media & Your Business

During the next month, I will be creating a series of blog posts about social media and the positives and negatives for your business. Social media is a great way to advertise and make your business more personable. Growing rapidly throughout the past five years, social media has become an everyday habit for some people (just like drinking their morning coffee). Social media is easy to update and reaches a large amount of people in real time.

Below are five different social media sites I will be discussing:

1. Facebook

Facebook has several different features businesses can use. Facebook Pages allows users to "like" the business and get real time updates. Facebook Groups is nice for collaboration between coworkers, user groups, and more. Facebook is currently the most common social media site businesses use.


2. Twitter

Twitter is useful for networking with other professionals and businesses as well as customers. Advertising with Twitter also brings more traffic to your business' website. Twitter breaks the distanced corporate image and makes communicating with customers easy.


3. Google+

Google+ isn't as widely used as Facebook and Twitter, but it also has some major benefits for small businesses. There is a direct connection between Google+ and Google Search: having a Google Page will directly increase your rankings on Google. Google+ also has professional features and helps to secure your business' identity.

4. Pinterest

Pinterest is the newest social media site. The popularity of Pinterest has been growing at a quick pace. Pinterest is very different than any of the other social media sites. There are pin boards where users can "pin" anything from inspiration to products they like. Pinterest is great for advertising services and products, which in return gets more traffic to your website.

5. Blogger (or any other sort of blog)

Blogs are a great way for businesses to increase search ranking. They also engage your audience and keep you on your toes with what's new in the industry. Customers are always interested in the newest products and keeping up with the latest trends.




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