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Pintalysis: The Ultimate Marketing Blueprint for Pinterest Marketing

Pintalysis, The Ultimate Marketing Blueprint for Marketing After browsing through a few different brands on Pinterest I’ve noticed that many of them are making some basic mistakes on Pinterest.

This is why I came up with the Pintalysis Marketing Blueprint, a framework that helps guide marketers on what to consider and how to use Pinterest to maximize their brand exposure, and monetization.

The Pintalysis Marketing Blueprint consists of five different pillars for a comprehensive Pinterest marketing and business strategy. This blog article offers an introduction to Pintalysis.

All five pillars work together in harmony to provide an integrated approach to marketing. The first four pillars are listed in priority order, with the fifth pillar focusing on website development.

The First Pillar of Pintalysis: Business and Marketing Goals

Before jumping into Pinterest, a business needs to be clear about the types of business and marketing objectives they would like to achieve. This will depend on the nature of the business. For an e-commerce site it will be about driving traffic to the site and converting them into being online customers.

For a service business, a great business and marketing objective is to drive more web visitors to the website, and generate leads from Pinterest.

For business to business, the marketing goal may be to increase the brand’s awareness among the target demographic. General Electric does an amazing job of using their Pinterest board to bring awareness to their company with hilarious content, like the “Hey Girl” board featuring Thomas Edison.

These different types of goals will require metrics. If you are a large enterprise, analytic tools such as Curalate and Piquora are able to help track metrics such as repins, the most popular pins from your website, and so forth. Other tools such as Pinterest’s very own analytics tool can tell you who has been pinning and give you an idea of how many users are pinning from your site. While Google Analytics will offer insight into how long people are staying on the directed site that came from Pinterest.

The Second Pillar of Pintalysis: Visually Optimizing Your Pins

The second pillar of the Pintalysis is to ensure visual optimization of your pins. This means choosing images that are absolutely eye catching that will make people stop and take a look. Remember that your pins are competing with dozens of others every given second.

Ensure your pins are from 300-540 pixels wide, and no longer than 1900 pixels. Recently Pinterest added a “Expand Pin” at the bottom of pins that are longer than that, and that “Expand Pin” happens on both desktops and mobile.

When appropriate consider adding captioning in the picture to draw people in. This is your chance to be a print advertising specialist. Create big fonts that clearly state what the pin is about when clicked on such as, “Top Ten Ways to Protect Leather Shoes.” Sephora recently created a Mother’s Day board in which pins highlight gifts that are excellent to give away. As you can tell they created some text at the bottom of the pin to grab your attention.

Notice in the picture below – on the left Sephora uses an intriguing and customized pin to promote an item on their Mother’s Day board. On the right hand side is a picture of the actual product after the pin has been clicked on. This can be done by uploading your customized image and then selecting the specific url you want the pin to redirect to.

Notice how Sephora optimizes their Pinterest photos, but it redirects to to their site image after. This is a smart Pinterest marketing technique.

The Third Pillar of Pintalysis: Create Virality through Community

Creating virality takes work, especially for brands that are just starting off. But virality begins by increasing the number of followers. After all, you can have a great pin, but if nobody sees it, then nobody is going to share it. Virality can also be increased by participating in community boards on Pinterst.

Virality is about developing relationships with influencers in your industry. When you’re able to create relationships with those in your industry, consider a way of working with each other to cross promote each other’s pins. This is the same concept of guest blogging. If you’ve developed a really great relationship with an influencer consider creating a board together to make the most of each other’s followers.

Social sharing is one of the aspects of going viral. Ensure that you are letting your followers know about your Pinterest account. Share with your followers the most repinned content from Pinterest on Twitter. Have a Facebook tab/app for Pinterest on your Facebook page, Woobox offers one for free. Share your best pins from Pinterest onto Instagram. Ensure that you have a “Follow Us on Pinterest” button on your website.

The Fourth Pillar: Search Optimization

When I discuss about search optimization, I’m not just referring to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which is very important, but I’m also referring how to optimize pins and boards within Pinterest’s search engine.

For example one of the aspects of getting pins to show up in search is through the use of keywords in the descriptions of pins and in boards. This holds true to for SEO of your Pinterst page. But the domain name that a pin originates from also plays a role in search within Pinterest’s search engine, this is why there are some pins that have no keywords in their description in the pin or board, and yet show up high for search terms in Pinterest.

Ensuring that all your pins, boards, and the page itself is search optimized for both engines will help maximize the online exposure of your page and drive more traffic to your website.

The Fifth Pillar: Optimize Your Pinterest Page for Sharing

The Fifth and last pillar is vitally important for e-commerce sites or sites that require visual content. Ensure that your website has been optimized to allow for Pinterest sharing. This means that your blog has a pin it button so that people can share articles on Pinterest (my biggest pet peeve are social media blogs that talk about Pinterest, and yet they don’t have a Pin It button available).

This also means having wonderful photos that are going to be visually optimized for your website. E-commerce sites are often able to show multiple photos of a product., the online jewellery site, does an amazing job of showing their products being worn by people. And it goes through a gallery showing their jewellery from different perspectives. This not only increases purchase intent, it also increase the pinning intent.

Bottica does a great job of adding Pin It buttons to all their photos for social sharing. This is a simple Pinterest tactic that all e-commerce sites should focus on.

Traditionally many blogs added photos in a way that was more of a psychological tactic to stand out, but rarely did the photos have any real visual appeal to the reader. Now it’s all changed, the feature image on a blog or any website needs to be Pinterest worthy so that that pin can get repinned again and again. You have to treat the feature photos on blog posts as if you are creating a magazine ad.

Those are the five pillars of Pintalysis. Look back at your own Pinterest marketing strategy and see if there’s anything that’s missing. Sometimes it can be the most simple things such as not SEOing your Pinterest Board descriptions. Over the next few months, I will be sharing more details of the Pintalysis Marketing Blueprint in an upcoming e-book. Please note that Pintalysis is not officially associated with Pinterest.

Pintalysis, the Ultimate Marketing Blueprint for Pinterest Marketing. This Pinterest marketing framework will offer brands and companies a solid guideline on how to maximize their marketing efforts.

Social Media Plan – How to Create One in 9 Steps

How to create the right social media plan for your business in 9 steps.

How to Create a Social Media Plan

1) Determine Your Goals

In order to create a successful social media plan, you need to know what goals you want to achieve, and how those goals will be measured.

Are you looking to increase the number of people who sign up for your e-mail? Or are you trying to create more leads from Linkedin? Once you’re able to determine your short and long term you will be able to use social media much more effectively.

2) Conduct a Social Media Audit

Most people miss this step, but it’s important to look back and give yourself a social media audit as part of your social media plan. This is because if you don’t know what you’ve been doing in the past, you are likely to repeat the same mistakes. A social media audit will give you insight into creating your new social media marketing strategy

An audit is about taking an honest look at your marketing efforts and asking yourself what’s working, what’s not, and how to make your marketing efforts even more effective.

3) Study Your Competition

To create a successful social media plan you need to know what your competitors are doing. The worst thing that can happen is that you accidentally copy another company’s strategy. This will also help you differentiate your brand from others in order to stand out from the crowds of businesses that are also using social media.

It’s good to find out what types of social media platforms that they are using, how they’re engaging fans, and what types of messages they’re conveying on these platforms.

4) Determine Your Target Market

Social media is so massive, and with more and more baby boomers jumping aboard, you need to determine who your target market is. This will allow you to be more careful with your time and budget when trying to aim at a specific group.

It’s important to understand the demographics that are available on these different social media channels If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to find out, then I would suggest looking at different infographics. They’re always packed with demographic data. If you want easy access to infographics, go to Pinterest and search for them.

Your target market may also include contacting specific social media influencers that you can form a mutual relationship with.

5) What Are Your Key Messages

Part of any goal, is to also convey what the key branding messages are about your business. While Coke may have many goals in mind for specific contests and giveaways, they have one message they like to focus on, and that’s happiness. Other large companies such as Nike focus on finding your inner athlete to be better and to get things done.

When you understand your messages you’ll be able to co-operatively create opinions with your social media followers.

6) Determine Your Social Media Channels

There is more than a hand full of social media channels you can go with, but you need to truly understand which ones will benefit you the most. Often times it may not be the obvious ones such as Twitter and Facebook, you may find out that you’re having much better success on Linkedin if you’re holding professional seminars.

However if you’re designing crafts, you’ll most likely find spending time on Etsy and Pinterest may be the best win for you.

Don’t be afraid to look outside the box. For example if you’re looking to grow your presence within China, then you will need to create a presence on Sina Weibo or We Chat.

7) Create an Editorial Calendar

Creating an editorial calendar will be your life saver. Plan out what you want to share, and plan ahead to see if there are ways to incorporate special days or themes into your postings. Oreo did a fantastic job in planning out their social media content to celebrate 100 years. There’s no doubt it took a lot of time and effort, but it’s paid off big time.

A lack of an editorial content can lead you to wasting a lot of energy planning out what to say day after day. Make it easier on yourself and your team and cut down the amount of decisions that need to be made on content, so that they can focus on engaging customers and influencers on the different channels.

Ensure that you create a timeline for all your goals and milestones. If this is your first social media plan, it’s reasonable to plan out for 90 days.

8) Determine Who is Responsible for What

If you’re doing social media planning all by yourself then that’s an easy one, but if your content focuses a lot on pictures, a lot on sharing articles, and engaging, then it’s important to understand the role that each person plays.

Play on your team members’ strengths. I wrote an article about how extroverts and introverts operate very differently on social media and how their role in the execution of social media strategy will differ.

9) Measure the Results

It’s important to understand how successful you were in achieving your goals. And so you need to measure the results. Ensure that you’re measuring results that truly matter to your organization. I’m still not big fan of Likes or Followers on Twitter, these are soft metrics.

The most important thing I was taught about measuring results was why is that measurement so important to the overall plan. How is the number of likes important to the strategy?

Those are 9 steps to take to creating a social media plan. Is there anything you would like to add? Feel free to let us know in the comments section.

Like to listen about marketing stories, check out MCNG’s Marketing’s podcast, Revolutionary Marketing.

Photo courtesy of Kalexanderson.

Introduction to Social Media – Where to Start

Introduction to Social Media -The Hows, Whats, and Whys

Big Headache
It can be extremely overwhelming to jump on board social media, especially since it seems that everybody else is ahead of you by about a decade. It also doesn’t help that the social media landscape changes as often as the temperature in Seattle. It seems every year there is a social network star that is born, and hundreds of more that try to rise to that success but ultimately fail.

If you’re wondering how and where you should start off with social media, this blog post will offer you guidelines.

How to Approach Social Media:

1) Be Patient and Keep at It

Social media is a new language. For those that may be in the baby boomers or older, it can be odd to have so much information bombarded to you at once, or that it may seem so strange that people are offering personal information so freely. It’s important that any person new to social media keep an open mind and just watch as a spectator to learn from others.

Treat social media as a spectator sport. When I first watched football, I didn’t really understand what the rules were, and with the exception of the quarterback, I didn’t understand the roles of other players. But over a few months I learned a few rules here and there, and was able to figure out the rules with the help of the Internet. But i did it in chunks.

Once I did, I found watching football more entertaining, though I’m a hockey fan first and foremost. But I kept an open mind and stuck with it. You need to stick with social media, don’t abandon it. It won’t go away.

2) Choose a Network that You Would Enjoy Being On


Take your time and choose one network that you feel would allow you to stimulate conversations with people and will allow you to have fun doing it. For most of us, Facebook (or a similar platform like Friendster) was our first social network platform. This is the most common one because it allows us to keep in touch with friends.

If you genuinely care about what your friends are posting, or care about what they are doing, then this is a good platform to start. Start off being intimate, and if that means staying in touch with only 30 friends, then that’s all you need. Honestly keeping up with 400 isn’t all that fun. Take time to comment on people’s status if it’s of genuine interest to you.


Pinterest is a great social networking site if you love beautiful fashion, pictures of the most beautiful places in the world and you love seeing food. It’s also a great place if you happen to be into arts and crafts and need to sell goods. It’s expected that Pinterest will drive more traffic to websites than Twitter within a month or two of this blog posting.

The one advantage that Pinterest has over other networking sites is that content tends to have a long shelf life. If it’s an interesting picture or pin, as they call in Pinterest, then it can keep getting repinned again and again for months on end. And provide spikes in traffic in the most unexpected times.


Twitter is a great place to go and just chat and follow some of the people you most admire, and to start having conversations with people that you normally wouldn’t be able to reach. This is more of a conversational social network, and sharing knowledge that’s relevant to the people you want to attract is important.

But it can be a bit overwhelming, make sure you take it slow at first.

For this particular network, treat it casually to start and spend a few minutes a day to get a feel for the etiquette and if you feel there’s a conversation worth jumping into, then by all means, jump in.

If your find yourself a social media introvert, then this may not be the best social media platform to start with.


Linkedin, the ultimate social networking site for business professionals. This is a great place to connect with others that you may want to stay in contact with but don’t want to add to Facebook. This particular medium is good for making industry contacts and when targeted right can generate high quality leads. The mindset that people come with on LinkedIn is one of professional business, and less of cocktail chatter like Facebook and Twitter.

A great way to connect with others is to write recommendations for them on the site. Only do so if you are making a genuine recommendation. It’s such a great marketing tool, for our own website we find that the amount of time spent based on traffic coming in from LinkedIn was 8-9 minutes. While those that came in from other sources were 1-1.5 minutes.

Google Plus:

Google Plus is starting to gain some momentum back, but has been described as a place more for techies and is quite male dominated. This is a great social network to reach out to influencers and have conversations with them because this is often the LEAST congested network for them.

Unlike the search function for Facebook, the search function on Google Plus will allow you to find communities, pages, and posts with ease and accuracy.

What’s also popular is Google Hangouts a tool where people can broadcast live talks, demonstrations or lectures, and you’re able to see people’s reaction and adjust accordingly. A great feature is also that Hangouts can be recorded as YouTube sessions automatically.

Generally social media falls under 3 categories, microblogging, these are sites like Twitter, Social Networking Sites like LinkedIn and Facebook that rely on status updates and longer profile creations , and visual networking sites like Pinterest, Flickr and Instagram.

The world of social media is huge, and isn’t limited to only those networks. Other popular networks include Tumblr which is a blogging platform that has gained great momentum among a younger generation who don’t find Facebook appealing. In China Sina Weibo is a social networking site that’s huge, but under the careful eye of the Chinese government. In Japan, Mixi is common to use.

The number of social media sites are in the hundreds are are listed here. I even just read that teens and tweens are now flocking to Pheed, which has received over 1 million users over a short period of time. What’s interesting to note is that digital natives and those that are in their teens are using social media on their mobile phones, since they don’t have a day job they aren’t likely to use a desktop to access their social networks.

3) What to do Next:


You have to treat your social networks the way you would when you move into a new town. It’s kind of scary, you may not know anybody and you have to build up a network of new friends. If you approach social media with the same mindset, and are very patient with it, you’ll find that you’ll make some excellent friends and networking acquaintances.

It does take time, and a lot of patience. And often, like real conversation in life, you most likely will need to be the initiator of those conversations. Learn to ask questions that peak people’s interest. Or comment on other people’s conversation. Most importantly don’t be passive for more than a week. Passive networkers don’t get known. Active networkers do.

4) Watch out for Social Media Fatigue:

Social media fatigue is quite serious, and it’s becoming part of the trend of people sitting and watching T.V. If you find that you’re getting overwhelmed from social media, then I would suggest you do and one thing.

1) Meet People. Nothing will replace social media like face to face conversation. It builds more trust than anything else.

2) Also go exercise. It will keep the blood in your brain going and help you stay alert.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of things, here are a few blogs I would recommend you read to get more in depth knowledge.

If you have any questions about social media or would like to know more of how we can help your brand be more engaged feel free to contact us at vince @

Photo courtesy of: Vernhart

Twitter Marketing Tips for Beginners

hootsuite university

How to Get Started on Twitter for Marketing

I wouldn’t say that I was an early adopter of Twitter (I am the 21,547,942nd user to join) but I was on the social media network early enough when it was still a wild wild west, and having motivational quotes was considered the rage back then and people followed you back because you followed them. Now, Twitter has over 500 million registered users, and has changed a lot since I’ve joined.

Twitter can be overwhelming to those that are starting to use the social media tool. There’s so many conversations going on, and so many different people to follow. To top it off, you’re limited to writing 140 characters per tweet.

Where does a business or person start with Twitter? Here are 6 Twitter marketing tips for beginners.

1) Start Small and Slowly Build

I once had a lunch meeting with someone at Sun Life Financial who was overwhelmed on where to start with Twitter. I suggested that he approach Twitter like any other type of medium and start off with dedicating about 15 minutes of his day using the social network.

Choose a dedicated time during the day, such as lunch time, and spend 15 minutes each day so that Twitter becomes part of your daily habits over time.

This way it doesn’t consume your whole day, and your brain can slowly rewire itself to get used to the multiple conversations that are going on at any given moment. It’s like meditating, you can start off meditating for an hour a day, but it’s quite hard to do that. Approach Twitter in small time chunks to get started.

2) Follow People who You’re Interested In

When marketers are starting off, they often measure the success of their Twitter account by the number of people that are following them, and sometimes buy followers.

Unless your account is being purposely followed by users who are interested in your content, the number of followers really doesn’t mean much. It’s better to have 100 dedicated followers, than 10,000 followers who won’t pay attention to a single thing you’re saying.

In order to build this Twitter tribe, you should follow people that you would like to engage with or learn from. This could be other locals. You can get an idea of some Tweeters who are prominent in specific areas of an industry or a geographical area. Visit wefollow since it’s a great tool to start off with.

3) Start Engaging in Conversation with Strangers

Once you’ve started following people, start having mini conversations with people on Twitter. Your tweets can be about comments about a blog post that was shared or photo that a tweeter poster, or it can be responding to their question. It’s important not to discriminate from the start, but to have fun and meet people like you would at any cocktail party.

I tweeted @MissDestructo on Twitter regarding a comment about playing political bingo on Facebook with words that were popping up people’s Facebook status, such as 9/11 and Illuminati.

We started to have a small chat, but it was her friendliness and openness are what really impressed me. She wrote an article on the difference between left and right brained social media marketers, which is worth a read. And she added me on Linkedin after, if that’s not a great example of social media networking then I don’t know what is.

Just because your start a conversation with someone, doesn’t mean that he’s going to respond back right away, or respond back in general. Twitter users with a lot of active followers generally don’t have time to respond to everything. This doesn’t mean that they don’t read their tweets though.

If you continue to tweet certain people with engaging conversation or share articles of interest, they will eventually tweet back to you. Over time, you’ll find out who the tweeters are that are open to discussion and those that aren’t. Focus your energy on building relationships when starting Twitter, not selling. Your integrity and character will sell more than any tweet can.

Also if you feel there is a tweet that may be valuable to your followers, then feel free to RT it. The authour of the tweet will know and this is also a great way to start relationships with others on Twitter.

4) Share Interesting Content, and do Only a Little Bit of Selling

While Twitter is a great tool for marketing, it’s important to remember that it’s not a place to hock your wares. You don’t want to be known as the stereotypical second hand car salesman of Twitter.

In order to be able to promote your services and products, you must be able to provide your Twitter tribe with valuable information such as great blog articles, or informing your followers of relevant events first and foremost.

The general rule is engage and share great content 80% of the time, and spend 20% of your time promoting your services and business.

5) Create Lists

As time goes by, you may find yourself following a lot of people. This is when Twitter’s option of creating lists can be helpful in segmenting your followers. This should be done from the very start since it can be hard to locate old followers when the number of your followers start to grow.

The great thing about lists is that you have the option of customizing different lists depending on your business goals. Lists that I have created in the past include media contacts, locals, previous customers, and marketing agencies.

For a restaurant client, I created a list of all the previous customers who had eaten at our restaurant who mentioned the restaurant on Twitter. When business was slow, I would use that list to start talking to customers to try to lure them back into the restaurant. It’s always easier to get an existing customer to come back, then to get attract a new one.

If I didn’t create that list it would have been a nightmare for me to engage with previous customers that had not attended the restaurant for a month or more.

6) Use HootSuite to Manage Your Accounts

HootSuite is a social media dashboard that allows you to manage your Twitter account (as well as other other social media networks like Facebook), and to be able to customize columns of information into one place. This means that you can create a live feed of your Twitter account, and have next to it your lists, and even have a column that has tweets that mention your city in it.

HootSuite will also allow you to shorten links so that you’re able to use analytics to find out what type of content is being clicked on the most to help guide you in what type of material to post in the future.

The dashboard also allows you to schedule tweets so that you can share articles around the clock with your followers, but remember not to spam.

Using HootSuite from the very start can be overwhelming. I highly recommend that you follow principles 1-5 to start off. Once you’ve gotten a hang of Twitter as a tool on it’s own, then move onto the next level and study the different capabilities of HootSuite.

To help you get started with your social media campaigns, feel free to contact us at MCNG Marketing.

Risk Analysis for Social Media Marketing

Most Social Media Blunders can be Avoided

With the recent events that have taken place across the East Coast with Hurricane Sandy, a few large companies such as American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, Gap and even President’s Choice had used some insensitive online marketing strategies online to help promote sales. You can read more about the details of what was written from the Financial Post.

I have to admit I’m pretty amazed at how these large companies can make light of such a situation where people are dying and struggling without power. Would these companies have done the same type of promotion with 9/11? “Stuck at home because of 9/11? Then shop with us. Type in coupon Terror 9/11.”

I would imagine that a person and company would have to be pretty damn stupid to try to even go down that road with 9/11, and yet they did it for Hurricane Sandy. It’s moments like these that make me want to bang my head against the wall because it’s a few bad apples like these that make the industry sour.

There is actually a simple formula for businesses doing marketing that will prevent you and your company ending up with such a PR nightmare. And this isn’t just for social media. It should be for every type of marketing campaign that you hold for your business.

1) What’s the Worst that Can Happen?

This is an important question to ask. If you post this on social media, or in any marketing strategy, what is the worst that can possibly happen? While marketing encourages you to be on the edge, no marketing should be on the edge for the sake of it. Being on the edge needs to incorporate strategy. Calvin Klein did an ad that featured Brooke Shields at 15 that was extremely risque.

The marketers knew very well that the worst that was going to happen was that they were going to get an uproar from parents and those concerned with the exploitation of teenagers. They knew they were going to get bad press. But they anticipated it, and went with it anyway, because they weren’t aiming at those angry parents. They were aiming for their children who wanted to be “cool” and different from the parents.

However, when you start a sale that revolves around Hurricane Sandy, and you decide to send an insensitive tweet referring to it, what is the worst that can happen with that tweet? Hmmm….hundreds of thousands of people reading up on it over the internet and on newspapers not mention the tweeps that will jump on the opportunity to publicly yell at you.

Now the companies have to spend time and money to get the PR people to fix and analyze the situation. And with all the negative publicity they got, was it worth getting the extra sales (if any)? I would imagine not even close. I’m sure there are customers that are in the East Coast area that probably won’t be shopping with those retailers for a while.

Social Media Marketers Need To think In Terms of Risks and Expected Value

Analyzing risks is vital in social media marketing. Too many social media marketers don’t think in terms of risks and expected value. If a tweet such as the PC one above is seen by the public, what risks does it pose to my company? How does this affect potential sales, and what would the costs be to recover from this type of fiasco?

From a straight numbers point of view, you must ask, will taking this action actually help increase sales to the point that it outweighs the costs to offset the risk that are taken? If not, then you have a losing strategy. Period.

If the action you take has the potential to increase sales, and the risks associated with this marketing strategy are low, then this strategy should be taken. There are many creative concepts that are low risk and high reward. These include the Old Spice campaigns and the original Axe commercials. (in the case of Axe, their risks were quite interesting, they actually ended up selling their product too well to the right target audience that it soon was associated as a geek brand, and they later had to make some slight changes to their marketing tactics.)

Here’s the Basic Matrix:

High Risk, Low Reward – Don’t even think about it about executing that tweet, or marketing strategy.

High Risk, High Reward – Better fit your brand strategy, and it better not offend the target market you’re aiming for. But be prepared offend other groups. Remember that the sales and profits should outweigh the costs of risk involved.

Low Risk, Low Reward- These are called boring, boring marketing messages. Often require a lot of repetition to stick out and remain top of mind to customers and clients.

Low Risk , High Reward- This is where true creative marketing comes in, and this is why marketing agencies get paid the big bucks, it’s also where it’s most time consuming.

Look at the Matrix:

If your company plans on scheduling e-mails or social media messages that have the potential for conflict, just look at the matrix and ask where this message fits. And is the company prepared to deal with the consquences.

Social Media Experiences are the New Form of Advertising

Traditional Advertising Makes It Hard to Create Emotionally Engaging Experiences

Traditional Advertising isn’t dead, and probably never will. Just because TV was invented, doesn’t mean that people still don’t listen to the radio. With these forms of advertising you were able to reach a large audience and most it was about pushing messages onto the public.

Then the birth of social media came along, and it was now possible to reach large audiences in a more economical and consistent manner, especially to reach a local audience. Yes, you could advertise about your small business in the newspaper or put up large posters around town at bus stops, but this still makes it had to create an emotionally engaging experience with customers.

It’s About Engaging Experiences

In a day and age where millennials and Gen Y’s are expecting more engagement advertising and engagement marketing, it’s only a matter of time before traditional advertising will move to the geriatric ward. As young consumers become adults, we’ve become desensitized to push advertising that’s not entertaining, engaging or helpful to us.

We’re now looking to have experiences and entertainment mixed in with our advertisements. Seriously, we don’t mind, that’s why we enjoy watching the Old Spice commercials on You Tube . Then there’s the next step, creating actual experiences with your social media community.

Yelp Creates Experiences for Thousands of Users Every Month

Yelp is the master of such promoting for their website. Almost every month Yelp holds a Yelp Elite party in their major markets to encourage their users to continue to write reviews and to revisit the website again and again. This is no easy feat to do with so many different social media network sites out there. They understood very early on that by creating experiences for their most loyal social media users, that they would earn their loyalty. But the fact is that they brought the community together through the feeling of the experiences being earned.

Create a Twitter Scavenger Hunt

Another great way for small businesses to create memorable experiences is to start a Twitter treasure hunt that gives away your product. Place your product (or an item that is uniquely yours) all over the city for people to find. Reveal the locations of these items at different times of the day through Twitter and Facebook. For example, if you run a retail shoe store, you may offer a free pair of shoes to the person who finds the item located on a specific street corner, and whomever is the first to find it gets to keep it. The famous skateboarder, Tony Hawk has executed this strategy very well.

There’s a Whole New Level of Scavenger Hunts with Mobile Apps

Catch the Flash campaign is one of my favourite campaigns, because it was able to combine social media, digital and traditional media (they used radio promotion) to get people to try to catch the runners all over the city to help promote Nike’s Vapour Flash Jacket. There were 50 runners in total wearing the jackets numbered 1-50, and Nike provided an app that would allow participants to know where the runners were because the runners had a GPS tracker attached to them. The event took place at night, where people had to use flash photography and catch the number on the back of the runners. The person with that had the most photos of the different flash runners won a 10,000 Euro platinum bar.

Some of the best social media engagement we’ve gotten for a restaurant was through creating a unique experience for one of their loyal customers. She tweeted a few days before she was landing at YVR airport that she would enjoy having a breakfast pizza at 8 am in the morning. It started off as a bit of a joke. But as the marketing agency representing the pizzeria, we took the initiative and delivered a great pizza to her, and she and her best friend loved it! Here’s the post detailing it all.

Good marketing and advertising is about spending your marketing budget wisely. While a newspaper or printed advertisement MAY get the attention of your target market, social media campaigns with proper experiences can cost as little as a giveaway. If you feel that you don’t have the social media following to conduct such experiences yourself, pair up with a local online celebrity to help promote your particular social media experience.

Put back the social in social media and get people involved with your brand. One of the newest trends to get people to have experiences with your brand is through gamification. Something you’ll definitely see much more of in the next 20 years.

Why You Should Absolutely Buy Twitter Followers

The One Reason You Should Buy Twitter Followers

I recently had a meeting with a client in which I mentioned that it was very easy to buy Twitter followers, and it can be done very cheaply. I know a few well established marketing agencies in Vancouver that actually follow this practice. If they’re doing it for their large business clients, then you, as a small business should do it as well right?

What harm can you be doing by getting thousands of followers with odd names like @Helen0975 repeated 2000 times?

If you truly believe that the number of followers is the most important factor in having people believe you are a credible business then you should absolutely buy Twitter followers. It’s like buying dozens of singles to go on a date with you. Yes, they may get you some legitimate dates, but those people are going to find out your a fraud later on. I know I have on several occasions, and I just unfollow them because they’ve lost my trust.

However, if you believe building quality relationships with people are important, and finding a way to help those on Twitter achieve their goals, or increase their visibility then I highly suggest that you don’t buy followers. Like a real network of people, it takes time to build a community and market on Twitter.

Focus on Engaging with People who You Admire and Share Interests With

Instead, focus on engaging with people that you admire, or people who have similar interests as you. Type in search box in Twitter for words like “small business” or “SEO” to find out who on the Twittersphere is engaging in these topics. One way is to actually reach out to some of the followers you admire, and ask them who they recommend following and not just to do it through #FF (Follow Friday).

Start Small, and Organically Grow

Start small and initiate conversations with some people, don’t try to interact with all of your followers. You’ll find that some people are responsive, while others aren’t so much. Those that don’t engage- forgettaboutdem -and move on to those that are willing to engage. Build your relationships on Twitter as you would in real life at networking events. Take your time to be visible, start conversations, consistently have conversations with some of the same people, and add value to your followers.

How Do You Add Value to Your Twitter Followers

1) Share great intellectual content to the audience you want to target.

As a marketer I’ll post interesting marketing and business articles that I believe my followers would like to read. This could be articles about how mothers are influencing purchase decisions or about how Yelp ratings affect the amount of money a business makes.

2) Share great entertainment content to your relevant audience.

Let’s face it, we can all use some laughs once in a while and if we can get our followers to associate good, happy feelings with your business, then why not? A tea shop is one of our clients, and one day as I was surfing the net I saw a tea pot that said “Mr.Tea” and it had a picture of Mr. T from the classic show A-team. I then put in the tweet, “I pity the fool that doesn’t like this tea pot” and attached the link to a picture of the tea pot. It got positive reaction from the tea lovers.

3)Share about events that are happening around town.

There are so many events that may be happening at once. Helping others on Twitter know about them, and are relevant to them to you and yourself, will add you to your personal Twitter brand. It’s also a great way to meet other people in real life who are on Twitter who may be attending these events as well.

Yes you can go and buy followers, and yes you may fool some of the people into believing that you’re important, but at the end of the day, if you don’t create trust with your real followers and provide value to them, then you shouldn’t even be on Twitter.

Do Small Businesses Need Social Media?

Should My Business use Social Media Marketing?

Social Media Cartoon Hubspot

With all the talk about social media in the last few years, and now that it has become part of our every day language, the question to ask is, “Does my small business need to be on social media?”

The answer – depends. The question should be more of, “How does this particular social media tool help my business reach the marketing goals?”

Not All Social Media is Created Equal

The nature of marketing isn’t about using what’s the latest tools or what’s cool, it’s about being able to use the tools in measurable and creative ways to ensure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck (or the most out of your time invested). The trouble begins by lumping all social media together as one group, but like the way that radio stations work, each social media tool has a specific demographic it reaches.

Being able to know which social media tool fits the type of customer or client that you’re looking for will help you a lot in determining which social media tool is right for you to use.

Not Every Business Has to be on Facebook

I don’t advocate every business be on Facebook, unless they are truly prepared to be active on Facebook on a weekly basis. With the proper Facebook engagement, content, and advertising, your business can gain Facebook Likes much more easily than just leaving it alone.

Facebook isn’t a static website, it always needs to be under construction. And while there are reports that people have done B2B, it’s not always going to be the most effective.

What often happens is that small businesses neglect their Facebook Business Page for months, while customers are trying to reach them through that particular social media channel. What kind of experience do you feel a customer has if they don’t get an answer to their inquiry?

It might not be a big deal, but how do you like being e-mailed back 2 weeks later for an inquiry you had about your phone bill?

Twitter is the same. It’s a social media tool designed for engagement. Learning where to start with Twitter and not be overwhelmed by it is important.

For restaurants, retail, hospitality, and businesses that have customer service, being on Twitter is a smart move. It allows you to engage with potential customers and ensure ties with existing customers to continue to build relationship loyalty.

Or if you’re in the business of real estate, then you may actually want to target people who are on Linked In and create online relationships there. Or you may want to develop relationships with people on Yelp, surprisingly, almost 1/3 rd of users earn more than $150,000.

Social Media Marketing is Strongly Suggested

I don’t think small businesses NEED to have a social media presence, just like most business owners don’t need to go out and network. However, those small business owners that make it a priority to go network also know that by networking, they can grow their business. As long as they don’t suffer from networking overload and forget the other aspects of their business.

Social media operates in the same manner, once you’re able to find a network where your ideal customers and clients are digitally hanging out, it allows you access to a whole different community of people and referrals that you would have never been able to reach before. The most important part is not to put too much time so that it takes you away from the core of your business.

There are times that it’s better for your business to be a part of old school discussion forums. For example if you run an automotive shop, search for local car forums, and offer advice on how to fix cars. Develop credibility by offering your opinion and recommendations.

Social media marketing should always be part of a larger integrated marketing plan for your small business. Rarely does it succeed purely on it’s own, with the exception of a few industries such as food trucks. But before jumping into any social media tool, or any marketing tool for that matter, always ask yourself, “How does this help my marketing goals?”

If you don’t have clear answer to that question, then you’re using social media because everybody else told you to. Not because your business needed to.

How to Use Twitter for your Restaurant Marketing

Best Practices when Using Twitter for Restaurant Marketing

Twitter has done a lot to change the world. It has played a key role in the Arab Spring, and it has helped millions of strangers connect with each other. Twitter is not a social media tool, Twitter is social. When you’re able to keep such things in mind, you realize that Twitter is just a facilitator of information and a place where people gather to share thoughts. Even though those shared thoughts may seem chaotic, this article will help you make sense of it all.

With Twitter now being around for a few years, what are some of the time tested best practices when using Twitter to market your restaurant?

Get it? Twitter is about engagement. (I know it’s cheesy.)
Photo Courtesy of Girl’s Guide to Social Media Blog.

1) Use Twitter To Engage Customers

Twitter is a great way of reaching potential customers that your restaurant wouldn’t have been able to before. Being able to engage with many potential customers at once was a difficult activity to do in the past. And usually required face to face meetings.

With Twitter you’re able to read other people’s tweets and to jump into appropriate Twitter conversations. Often one of the problems that we hear from restaurant owners is that people are not aware of their restaurant. Engaging with people on Twitter will help raise the awareness of your restaurant, while at the same time get customers to develop an emotional connection with your restaurant.

Emotionally connecting with people means reaching out and starting conversations with them. This is true engagement. Too many restaurants sit back hoping that people come to talk to them. But the true restaurant marketer knows that you have to go out and initiate conversation. Just talk to people the way you would at your restaurant.

2)Don’t Feel Overwhelmed, Take it One Step at a Time

Back in 2008, people on Twitter used to follow each other regardless of what type of background or how relevant the person was. But now people are becoming more particular about who they follow as they only want to start to engage with people that they see as a good fit.

This means, like most real life relationships, it requires time and dedication. Yes, many restaurants would love to have 5,000 followers within their first month of being active. If that’s your ultimate goal then you’re truly missing out on the point of Twitter.

The best thing you can do is to start small, and take one conversation at a time. Just like you would at any cocktail party. You wouldn’t have one conversation and try to keep track of the 2 dozen others going on around you. So why would you do that with Twitter?

Engage with one tweeter at a time, and if you find that you don’t have a lot of time to spend, just schedule 15 minutes a day to start. Or to use those quiet times in your restaurant such as between 2pm -3pm to spend some time on the social media network.

3) Think Big

Once you feel that you’ve gotten the hang of things, the next thing to do is think big.

What can you do with your Twitter account to increase engagement with your followers? What can you do make the people on Twitter that follow you keep paying attention to what you have to say with all the loud noise that is out there.

What is your restaurant’s brand that will allow you to stand out from others that are on Twitter?

Engaging is important, and it’s the first step, but what kind of meaningful discussions can your restaurant start? What kind of things do you want to know about your customers out there? What kind of Twitter contests can you hold to get people’s attention?

Engaging is just the tip of the iceberg. Thinking big is about being able to create a community of supporters around your restaurant that you can engage regularly.

4) Offer Twitter Followers Exclusives.

At the end of the day, most people on Twitter follow restaurants because they’re hoping to find out about specials that would apply to them.

There’s always a divided feeling among those that are tweeters and non tweeters. People want to feel special for following a restaurant, they don’t want to feel like every other customer.

5)Customers Want to be Thanked on Twitter

One of the biggest pet peeves, and I’ve experienced this myself, of customers is not being thanked on Twitter for coming in after they’ve tweeted about coming.

Customers want to feel appreciated for taking their time to get their Iphone out, and sending a message out to their friends. It’s rude to RT a tweeter’s thank you note without thanking them firs.

Please thank your customers within 24 hours of attending your restaurant. This is not about social media, this is about being socially graceful.

6) Spamming is best Left as an Edible Meat.

It’s okay to promote your product and menu once in a while, but please don’t do it all day and night and not participate in Twitter conversations.

Honestly it annoys people when they keep getting spammed. And what’s worse is when a customer responds to a spammed tweet and nobody responds to their inquiry.

Tweet spamming is like watching really bad commercials all day. Most restaurants come up with the MOST BORING tweets, or tweets that don’t fit well with their brand. Yes the information may be relevant, but your restaurant is not the only restaurant on Twitter offering $5 beer specials that day.

Put some creativity in your tweets, trust me your readers are going to get bored easily after reading the same stuff after months.

8) Be Patient for Results

Be patient with your efforts. Results will slowly start to show.

It’s important to realize that Twitter has a lot of power, but the power must come from you wanting to deliver the best customer service you can. Twitter is not the solution to all your marketing problems, and it never will be, contrary to many stories. Twitter takes time, and Twitter acts as word of mouth marketing.

You’ll find that as one person from Twitter starts coming to you restaurant, you’ll slowly get more buzz.

9) Be consistent.

Don’t just use Twitter for two months and then just drop it. That annoys customers, if you’re are planning to use Twitter, then make sure you USE it. Even if it’s just for a little bit of time each day, you have to consistently be on there to be see results. Or else the first two months are really just a complete waste of time.

If you’re curious on how you can use Twitter to get more customers or increase your brand’s awareness, feel free to contact us.