Category Archives: Branding

The Many Faces of Market Research

How Market Research is Beneficial for a Company’s Growth

When we were students who didn’t understand a topic taught in class, we turn to research. We either interview classmates who got a handle on the subject or hit the books for more information. Market research is, in a way, similar to what we used to do when studying in the school library. Back then, we search for explanations from established experts; now, we look for answers on what our target audience wants and needs.

Market research is integral to a company’s growth. Without marketing, entrepreneurs will have difficulties creating a product that will cater to their customers’ needs. Lack of research will result to substandard merchandise, which results to investment losses and waste of resources. It can also drive a company to bankruptcy. Intensive research is needed to gain information to create sought-after products and win over competitors.

Other than product development and edging out the competition, what are other business processes that can benefit from marketing research?

1. Marketing Communications

Communications is important for a company. Thinking of proper words to say to make a product or service attractive is essential in producing marketing copies. The right words can make a marketing piece persuasive, and influence customers to buy the merchandise. This works for all types of businesses, whether in the hospitality and health care industry or construction and technology.

For example, an assisted living center uses inspiring and caring words to address family concerns for their elderly loved ones. A demolition firm, on the other hand, will use ‘tough-sounding’ words that assure clients they can break down old buildings to make way for the construction of new ones.

2. Media Placement

Well-done research helps entrepreneurs determine which medium is best for their marketing campaigns. Marketers weigh whether to choose traditional publications over web content to reach their customers. With market research, target demographics will be studied to see which media they frequently subscribe or listen to. This helps businesses find out what marketing content to concentrate on to expose their products and get the attention of their target audience.

Older people, 50 years old and above, prefer traditional media such as newspapers, television, and radio. The younger generation favors web content, while the middle-aged crowd, roughly the 35-50 years old group, likes a combination of both traditional and modern media.

3. Advertising

If marketing is conceptual, then advertising is visual. Market research helps create advertisements that put across the desired message. These advertisements can take the form of television commercials, newspaper ads, online landing pages or banner displays.

4. Social Media

Marketing and social media has an interdependent relationship with the potential to pay big returns. Many entrepreneurs earn success through successfully marketing their business online. Although a relatively new medium, social media has proven to be an effective way to reach customers. It thrives on ‘personalized’ marketing, or marketing that focuses on customer engagement before merchandise promotion.

5. Brand Awareness

Without extensive research, marketers will have difficulties creating campaigns that will make a person notice a brand, become familiar with it, and immediately remember it at first mention. Market research encourages brand awareness and recall through finding out what makes a brand especially memorable for target customers. It may be a catchy phrase or tune, intriguing images or a well-known, charismatic brand ambassador expressing a persuasive message to your customers.

6. Crisis Management

Market research can help smoothen the thorny side of crisis management. Studying the target audience and performing analytics on your campaign can help you anticipate the problems and provide solutions. This makes it easier for service representatives to provide immediate solutions in a quick and reassuring manner. Studying your customers can also help you find out the best methods to approach and assist them regarding your merchandise. This shows a customer service-oriented image to your clients, which also makes the thorny side of crisis management easier to handle.

7. Service Improvement

Pleasing customers is not the only goal of market research. This also helps companies see where they are lacking to make their business processes smoother and more manageable. With market research you can employ time studies, workflow examinations, and website analytics to learn what you’re doing wrong. This will enable you to perform changes to make customer satisfaction easier to achieve.

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Proper market research helps companies grow to be one of the leading businesses in their own localities. If properly used, market research will help you maintain good business standing, even in economic downturns. Once you’ve established your business, make marketing a priority. This will help keep your business adjust to the dynamics of the times and your customers’ changing needs.

 

Reference:

MarketingProfs.com

Booting Up Your Business

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5 Digital Tools to Advance Your Brand in 2013

Bringing your business online is just the first step in establishing your brand among online audiences. Other than creating a visually pleasing, easily navigable and user-friendly website, you’ll need a blog or podcast, as well as a few social media pages. There are also other tools you need to make your online marketing campaigns a success. Here are some tools recommended by CheapSally.com, which you can use to fully realize the potential of your campaigns and earn more customers:

1. Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking allows users to save bookmarks on a public site and tag them with keywords. These keywords will allow you to easily find bookmarks you have saved. You’ll need to register on a social bookmarking site so you can store bookmarks, which you can designate for public or private use. Visitors on these sites can search for resources using keywords, persons or popularity to see the public bookmarks registered users made.

Popular social bookmarking sites include Twitter, Pinterest, Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and more. Brands can use these sites to save their finds and share them with their followers. This will encourage engagement as followers will be exposed to your products and services, resources, and other marketing content. You can also post interesting pictures and links that will engage your followers’ attention and make them more interested in what you’re posting. One business who gained success in using a social bookmarking site is Whole Foods.

Whole Foods used Pinterest to show boards, which interest their customers. From plants to recipes to kitchen decorations, this business has engaged followers until they grew to have more than 60,000 followers.

2. F-Commerce

Facebook is the largest social media site today with more than 800,000,000 users. With this site, you can create ecommerce opportunities to boost your sales. This especially works for businesses which are popular on Facebook. Show your appreciation for their continued engagement with exclusive product offers. Encourage them to share the limited offer to their friends. According to research, “users are four times as likely to conduct a transaction inside Facebook if it is referred to them by a trusted friend.”

Promote your exclusive offers on weekends when users are likely to be online. As they spend more or less 25% of their web browsing time on Facebook, there’s ample opportunity for your business to garner attention and incur sales.

Giving exclusive offers like what Oscar de la Renta did can bring more likes to your Facebook page and make it easier to reach a wider audience.

3. Digital Deals

Coupons are the way to a savvy shopper’s heart. Catch the attention of bargain-hunting users with discount offers on your page. This has the added benefit of increasing engagement on your page and attracting more people to browse your content. Coupons also have a way of getting new customers inside your store. This gives you a chance to widen your client base, so ensure you make those deals enticing. Strive to perform stellar customer service to make them come back and become regular visitors.

Any business can use deals to make more people come to their shop. Inquire with deal sites to promote your business using coupons.

4. Mobile Photo Sharing

Most of us have a fascination with pictures, as these can serve as records of memorable times. This spurred the development of Instagram and other picture editing and sharing applications. Businesses can use this tool to take pictures of their own products and services in beautiful and creative ways. Milysan Troche used Instagram to post images of her fashionable outfits. She quickly gained popularity with her tasteful style until followers inquired whether she can post and help them sell their slightly used luxury merchandise. Troche’s consignment business grew rapidly until her Instagram cannot handle the demand as fast as it used to. This made Troche launch MyHauteCloset.com where multiple items are sold on the same day they are posted.

Other businesses can also succeed on Instagram. One thing to keep in mind about posting on this application is to ensure you publish only the most beautiful images you have of your merchandise. Poorly taken pictures will not succeed, so make sure to take good pictures or hire a professional to help you out.

5. Gamification

Gamification employs gaming mechanics to encourage users to behave as desired and through the use of a point and reward system. Badges, levels, challenges and the possibility to level up increase the users’ motivation and make them engage more.

One example of this method is Foursquare, an app used to save and share the places you’ve visited. When users record where they have been, they earn points, challenge friends, earn badges, and become ‘Mayors’ of places they visited.

The Bottom Line

These tools can help businesses earn success for their marketing campaigns. Using these tools helps you learn which method will work best for your trade. Consider each one to supplement the traffic coming to your website and social networking pages.

 

References:

PRDaily.com

Net.Educause.edu

BlueGlass.com

Ebizmba.com

Mashable.com Instagram for Business

Mashable.com Gamification

Kissmetrics Blog

Foursquare.com

Photo Credits:

Pinterest.com/Wholefoods

Addicted2Candi.com

4sqi.net

On Promoting a Product

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Who do you believe? Promotion Influencers or Brand Advocates?

Entrepreneurs want word to get out about the fine quality of their products. They rely on ads and reviews to reach their target market, but new customers are not forthcoming. Searching for ways to stimulate interest, entrepreneurs try to persuade bloggers, promoters, and other people who have huge social clout to drive the hype. Special offers and gifts are offered to make these ‘influencers’ post about the businesses. Do you think this will be an effective way to make people notice and go to the shops being promoted?

In a way, yes. Influencers can persuade their followers to check out the brands they sponsor. Many followers would indeed follow suit and retweet or share the promotional post from their idol. This has the potential to become viral, especially if the influencer is very popular among your business’ target audience.

How many people would actually buy the product, though? Only the truly interested ones. The first group involve people who want to try out everything their idol tells them about; the second group would be composed of people who needs that product. This might get returns for your business, but the results of an influencer’s promotion cannot be easily measured. This can only be done if you conduct a survey among your customers and ask them how they found out about your product. You can also ask them why they decided to buy from you, instead of going to other stores.

What does an influencer really do? An influencer drives more awareness instead of actual engagement.  Once an influencer posts about something, followers immediately take notice. As a result, information is spread to everyone who sees the post. How is this different from the persuasive power of a brand advocate? A brand advocate is someone who’s passionate about a certain product or service. This person serves to convince many people of the effectiveness of the merchandise they’ve tried.

The usual influencer is a pundit (or subject expert), a blogger or a celebrity. When authorities on a specific field endorse product claims, people usually believe what they say because these experts are knowledgeable and likely to be right. A dentist, for example, promotes a toothpaste brand to be more efficient in getting rid of bacteria, plaque, and tartar. Patients who believe in everything the dentist says will go to the nearest store and buy the brand the dentist endorsed. They may go back to their original toothpaste brand if they find out the promoted brand is ineffective or expensive.

Highly satisfied customers, on the other hand, are brand advocates who have tried out products or services and became delighted with the results. As a result, they go around saying ‘wonderful’ things about the product. They may go online, post positive reviews and give your store four to five out of five stars. If they’re part of social network, they’ll look for your brand online and visit your page often. They post pictures of themselves using your merchandise, saying how happy they are with the outcome. This influences their own friends to try your product for themselves. If they liked your product as much as the first one did, a series of positive reactions will follow and new customers will line up in front of your store to get your goods.

When customers are satisfied, they give glowing reviews. A happy customer’s recommendation is more heartfelt and genuine than an influencer’s backing. This is because an influencer may be offered incentives to advertise a product. Freebies and other gifts may be provided to urge someone to promote something. Brand advocates do not endorse a product because they get something out of it. They’ll give good reviews as long as they appreciate the merchandise from your store. Their liking for a product lasts, unlike influencers who stop after a few posts.

Let’s look at some posts from happy customers. The first picture shows a post from a girl who loves Fibisco Chocolate Chip Cookies, while the one on the right are chocolate macaroons with the filling made from Mars Chocolate. These two posts show how satisfied customers declare their love for a product. They just want to tell people how pleased they are, which causes other people to take notice and try the product for themselves to find out what’s so great about it.

So, who wins the standoff between influencers and brand advocates?

Brand advocates have far more reach than influencers have, because people trust recommendations that come from those whom they know personally. They hardly believe in someone who may have been paid to endorse a product. As a matter of fact, it is speculated whether influencers really believe in the authenticity of the merchandise they’re promoting. Are they really sure the product they promote is really better than other goods in the market?

 

References:

ConvinceandConvert.com

Brand-Influencers.com

BusinessesGrow.com

Photo Credit:

Tumblr Picture of Fibisco

DailyDelicious.blogspot.com

Images that Interest and Intrigue

Tips to Make Your Target Audience Pinterested with Your Photos

Need Pinteresting pictures? Here are some methods that will catch the attention of your target audience:

1. Pin your own unique images.

When using Pinterest for your own campaigns, make sure you’re advertising your photos from your business. These images should reflect what you are as an entrepreneur and how you want your business to be seen. Make your store or retail outlet clean, neat and pretty. Take flattering pictures of your surroundings, the storefront and the store proper at different angles. Post pictures of customers using your merchandise. This is an effective marketing technique that will show prospective clients how people love your product.

2. Use target keywords in file names and individual pin descriptions.

Optimize your images with well-chosen keywords that will bring your Pinterest account on the first page of the search results. Make sure your pictures are appropriately titled using the alt text feature. This will help the spiders understand that your images are part of a particular category. For example, you want to post a picture of a blueberry cheesecake. You don’t want to make a mistake and name that picture, ‘blueberry cake’ or ‘blueberry pie.’

3. Pay attention to the image size.

As images are the main focus on Pinterest, you should pay attention to the image size. Make sure it’s not too small so it would look well when clicked. The optimal size should be at least 600 pixels with the thumbnail view at 190 pixels. Use these dimensions to size your Pinterest images accordingly. A picture that has not been appropriately sized will look strange and sloppy, so make sure you’re setting the right measurements for your images. You can also use whatever format, .jpg, .png or .bmp. Choose the right format that will effectively show off your subjects in a good light.

4. Pin quality photos with great visual appeal.

Before you snap a picture of your merchandise, make sure it looks good and is artfully displayed without any fixtures that might detract attention from it. A viewer may comment that your scarf looks really good but may get distracted by the floral curtain behind it. Make sure your background will complement your goods in a good way. Messy arrangements, loud colors and decorative furnishings can divert viewers from looking at your goods.

If you post quality pins, users will be more inclined to check out your content. If they like what they see, they’ll connect to you and interact with your content. They’ll click the heart icon or ‘Like’, comment and share your pictures. These images will function like a traditional brochure and generate leads that will increase your sales.

Have fun experimenting with your photos today! One of the pictures you’ll post may grab attention and lead a customer to call you about buying your merchandise.

 

Reference:

Social Media Today

Widen Your Online Presence with a Social Media Boost, Part 2

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Make your business soar and succeed online with the help of five social networks.

Blogs, pictures, and location-sharing services are popular on the Internet these days. Used to capture interest, these features are used by many businesses today to promote different products and services. Blogs are utilized to publish different types of content that grab the attention of the target audience, while images serve to strengthen brand awareness. Interactive maps pointing out the location of a certain business draws more customers to the actual physical site of the store. These social media tools are used to expose brands to different audiences and increase engagement with prospective customers.

Tumblr, Instagram and Foursquare are three of the leading social media tools used by many businesses, especially in North America. These three online giants offered opportunities for entrepreneurs to bridge the gap with savvy consumers well-versed on browsing the net.

1. Tumbling into Tumblr

Tumblr is a microblogging site launched in 2007 that allows users to post a host of multimedia on a blog. Comparatively easier to use than other sites on the same category, Tumblr allows users to interact with other blogs using text posts, images, videos, links, quotes, and more. This site has a simple dashboard and interface where users can see their own posts, including content from blogs they follow. They have the option of liking, replying or sharing others’ content or posting their own. This caused Tumblr to become popular and retain a large number of its existing users. It also has a high number of unique visits that directly competes with other social networks such as Pinterest and Twitter.

How do you use Tumblr for your business?

  • Advertise to followers using Tumblr. With Tumblr, you can post and ‘pin’ something to the top of your followers’ dashboard until they take it down themselves. This paid feature ensures that your followers see your most important ads as soon as you roll them out. There’s also ‘highlighting’ which adds a tag to the right side of the post. This tag serves to grab the attention of your followers as they scroll down their dashboard. Finally, there’s the Tumblr Radar, which shows the most popular posts chosen by the Tumblr box. These are particularly useful for reaching customers who lead busy lives and can’t keep up with your posts as much as before.
  • Post pictures, pictures, and more pictures. According to Tumblr, pictures make up the most number of posts that get ‘reblogged’ (or shared) for a multiple number of times until it goes viral. This is because pictures, especially colorful ones, attract more attention than text posts. What you see is what you get when it comes to pictures, while with text, you have to interpret the words to discern the meaning.
  • Schedule your posts and update your blog automatically. You cannot stay stuck in front of your computers to update the blog content all day. Create posts and schedule them to be posted at the time you want. Use the Queue function to benefit fully from this feature.
  • Rouse your followers’ competitive side. Launch contests and give away prizes that will make followers sit up and take notice. This will increase awareness about your business, turn more attention to your products, and get more visitors to go to your website and other social networking pages.
  • Be interactive. Followers sometimes get curious about a certain video or link you posted. Make it easier for them to reach you. Allow them to post replies by ticking the ‘Let people photo reply’ and ‘Let people answer this’ options. These will enable you to build closer relationships with them.

2. Insta-Perfect Photos with Instagram

Taking pictures is a passion that Instagram taps into. Currently available on iPhone and Android platforms, this mobile application has 80 million users editing images with filters and sharing them to the online community. Businesses use this app to take and share pictures of their products to their target audience in Instagram.

How do you use this for your business?

  • Set the tone for a story about your products and services. Before you snap pictures at random, think about what light you want your business to be seen. Would you like a homey feel or a trendy atmosphere? Decide on this first to ensure that create the right impression you want your followers to make.
  • Be creative. Take photos of your products and services in unusual ways. Experiment with different filters to make your pictures more catchy and interesting to look at. Finely taken shots will make your products have the potential to engross followers and make them curious about your merchandise.
  • Learn how your customers use your products. Know what customers think of your merchandise. Ask them to post how they use your products. This will serve to make other followers (who are not yet your customers) to buy your goods themselves. Another additional benefit is that you’ll see how your products can be further developed to make it more useful for customers.
  • Take your followers behind the scenes. Engage your social community with pictures that show a carefree side to your employees. This will enable them to know your staff more and form close ties to your business. Showing how you prepare for an event or demonstrating the way you manage your inventory makes followers more curious about your enterprise. This encourages more socialization between you and prospective customers.
  • When speechless, say it with pictures. Ask your followers and let them reply with a picture. For example, you’re involved in the clothing retail industry. You can ask queries like, “What’s your fashion statement today?” This will challenge followers to look their best and post pictures of themselves wearing their most stylish outfit. If you are in the food business, ask your followers post images of healthy meals they enjoy. You’re promoting hale and hearty food, while subtly promoting your goods!

Check out the next article for information on how to use Foursquare for your business.

 

References:

Wikipedia.org

ThunderSEO.com

Hubze.com Link 1

Hubze.com Link 2

The Old Spice Effect: Business Videos with a Heart

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Make customers stop and pay attention with a story about your business.

We have loved reading stories ever since we were children. We even make up our own as we strive to make the people around us wonder and imagine. Storytelling never fails to stir us, even in the form of unfounded news or hearsays. Marketing is no stranger to stories, as well. They use storylines to generate interest on the products and services they promote. This ability is evident through the commercials we see whenever we turn on the television.

There are the Mentos commercials, which feature the “Freshmaker,” and show how your breath can be made fresh with just one candy. Look back on an Old Spice ad that presented a half-naked, towel-clad Isaiah Mustafa telling viewers to “Smell like a man, man.”This commercial told a story that fans of the Old Spice Facebook page clicked. They then typedtheir comments, liked the posts, and shared the page.

This aptly demonstrates the power of storytelling in an ad. Old Spice, the company, contracted Mustafa, a former football star player, to help spread the message that the Old Spice scent can make a man smell more masculine. The reactions above showed how effective the campaign is, making it achieve 14,393 likes and 7,864 comments. This commercial was released last 2010, and it still got comments up until three months ago.

How do you create stories that will imitate the Old Spice effect and make customers pay attention to your content? How do you make them interested with your products? Here are a few ways:

1. Create introductory videos.

Make a video that introduces your business well. Show footages of your store and merchandise, along with your office and employees. If you have a production area, show that in the video, too. Let the CEO make an appearance and explain how your business can be of service to the general community’s needs. You can show this video on your website’s home page, which gives visitors a bird’s eye view of your business processes. This video can also be featured on your social networking pages to engage your followers.

Doggytopia, a dog day care center based in Kelowna, Canada, uses this technique well to tell customers how they will take care of your pets while you are at work. Brenda McBurnie, the owner of the establishment, showed the place where dogs can play and be taken care of. This video serves as a good marketing tactic to attract more customers to visit and entrust their pet dogs to Ms. McBurnie.

2. Product Videos

You know how great your product is, and how useful it can be to perform a certain function or purpose. Customers don’t automatically know that, so make a video that will show them how special your merchandise is. They key is not to tell them, but to demonstrate how. General Electric effectively used this type of video to feature a machine that detects the presence of cancer cells in a patient. This video showed GE employees telling viewers how fulfilled they felt when they helped create something profound like their cancer health care equipment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJCiZ7J4Al4&feature=player_embedded

 

Here are some examples of the reactions to the ad

3. ‘Competitive’ Videos

Provide a video detailing the reasons your business is unique. Think of special qualities that sets you apart. It can be about your many years of experience, longevity in the industry or the value of your products. Discuss how you started your business and made it grow. Impart some stories about how your family or friends helped you set up your venture and make it through the lean times. This can help customers know you more and make them feel you have something in common with them.

One video under this category is Kathleen King’s story of how she entered into another venture. This was after being booted out of her first bakery, which she established and managed for twenty years. She illustrated how she maintained her strength and determination to carry on and become successful again. These characteristics made her stand out against other bakeries near her locality.

http://www.inc.com/chris-beier-and-daniel-wolfman/how-tates-bake-shop-founder-kathleen-king-lost-it-all-and-bounced-back.html

4. Statement Videos

Shoot a short video that showcases your business commitment or mission. This allows customers to know your goals and what principles you stand for. This can help them decide that they’ll support you to attain yourobjectives. For example, you manage a hospital and commit yourself to ensuring your health care staff provides the highest quality of care available. Illustrate how you fulfill your commitment statement with a video.

Blackboard, a company that fosters online and mobile learning, declares its commitment to be ‘accessible’ to students with a high-speed Internet connection. This allows them to reach students and impart the education they need. Rajeev Arora, former Vice President of the Marketing Department at Blackboard, reiterates the company’s commitment on the video below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiG67InGZ4Y

5. Corporate Personality Videos

How does your company define your business? What are you passionate about your corporate culture? Illustrate how you love your enterprise with a video. Answering this question makes it necessary to go back to the time when you first decided to set up your business.  Why did you choose to establish a restaurant, for example? Is it because you like to feed and make people happy through food? Or you love to cook and create dishes that make people satisfied with the taste?

Kristy Greenwood, the owner of Victory Love+Cookies, explains her passion for baking cookies as a way to “get them out into the world, spreading love and light, sugar and flavor, by whatever means necessary.”According to Ms. Greenwood, her zeal for life and making other people feel good is represented by her cookies – light, sweet, and delicious.

http://vimeo.com/32883545

Bottom Line

Using videos to tell stories is a great way to engage your visitors. Almost nobody can resist a feel-good story, which inspires them to do better. Use this to connect to your target audience. Maybe you’ll reach them the way Old Spice did. 😉

 

References:

MarketingProfs.com

Forbes.com

Adweek.com

Inc.com

Swipely Works Blog

No2Pen.com Blog

VictoryLoveandCookies.com

Photo Credits:

Old Spice Facebook Page

Pinning to Get Customers Pinterested

How do Entrepreneurs Succeed in Pinterest Marketing

Entrepreneurs who do well in Pinterest make it their goal to show off well-taken pictures from their store. As Pinterest is a visual content sharing network, other businesses take a look at the most successful boards to see what pictures get the most likes, comments and ‘repins.’ The usual posts include photos of merchandise taken in a creative and appealing manner. Followers are encouraged to stay engaged as the page continues to get updates with more pictures that entice them to repin and buy. What other posts attract a lot of clicks? According to Synecore Technologies, here are other ways to engage your customers:

1. Display photos of your office.

People who haven’t gone to your office or store will be enticed to visit if you post beautiful pictures that present your place well. Allow your followers a view behind the scenes of your store, create digital scrapbooks of special events or introduce your staff in unique ways. This will make followers more curious to find out what your place looks like in reality.

The Scholastic Store offers a view of their main branch in New York in its Pinterest page. Here, you’ll see a set of dinosaur toys on display and three pictures from a Hunger Games party earlier this year.Followers of The Scholastic Store will certainly find this amazing, especially the pictures from the Hunger Games event. This may tempt them to look for updates on the latest events that will allow them to join and have fun with other book lovers.

Michaels Stores, an arts and crafts retail shop provides art classes for children and adults. They show pictures from their sessions, student artworks, and an exhibit of paintings from their classes. This type of pins, which shows how the store engages customers, has a three-fold effect:

  • Followers who have joined the art classes and had their pictures posted in this pinboard are sure to have been delighted with their inclusion in the store’s Pinterest page;
  • Customers are encouraged to join the art classes, seeing how much fun the enrolled students have achieved; and,
  • These pictures act as a marketing tool to entice more people to become customers of Michaels’ Stores.

2. Add a ‘Pin It’ and/or a ‘Follow Me on Pinterest’ button.

Engage your customers with your Pinterest page. Add on your website ‘Pin it’ buttons for users to click every time they want to share your content in their own Pinterest accounts. An ‘Add me on Pinterest’ button will also encourage your followers to stay up to date with your latest posts. This presents you more opportunity to connect to your customers and help them share your content more.

Mashable shows the ‘Pin it’ button in all its articles. Here’s a snip from Mashable.com:

Martha Stewart also connects to her fans and customers through Pinterest:

Start connecting to your followers today with a finely created Pinterest page. This will engage their attention and sustain their interest further with your business.

3. Allow users to post to your boards.

Make your page interactive for users and allow them to add their own photos on your page. Let them post pictures of themselves using your products, attending your events and mingling with your staff. This will show people how great it is to interact and perform transactions with you. As a result, this would encourage them to go to your website or store’s physical location to check out your merchandise and find out more about your business.

Birchbox, a company that provides beauty products, allows customers to submit their own videos that demonstrate how to use Birchbox merchandise and bring out women’s natural beauty. This encourages prospective clients to inquire and buy from Birchbox. Try this strategy on your business!

4. Use your pinboards to tell a story.

When creating a pinboard, think of a specific theme that would showcase your products well and interest your followers at the same time. This will engage your followers better and make them interact more with your page. Share pictures that your followers will find useful, exciting, funny or creative. Take a look, for example, at Whole Foods’ How Does Your Garden Grow pinboard (http://pinterest.com/wholefoods/how-does-your-garden-grow/).Unique ideas, like Examples 1 and 3, elicit exclamations of wonder from followers. This type of posts exposes how creative Whole Foods is when thinking of marketing ideas that will make them stand out from their competition. Example 2, on the other hand, shares content followers may find useful about taking care of their own plants.

Post content like the examples given above to engage your followers. This will encourage them to interact with you face-to-face and transact with you to buy your merchandise.

 

Reference:

Social Media Today

Photo Credits:

Whole Foods Pinterest Page

BHG Pinterest Page

Scholastic Pinterest Page

Birchbox Pinterest Page

Michael’s Stores Pinterst Page

Mashable.com

MarthaStewart.com

Open for Business in Pinterest

How to Use the Latest Social Site to Join the Social Networking Race

 

Pinterest is said to be women’s domain. It is estimated that for every 10 users, there are eight females and two males. Although women dominate this newcomer social media site, Pinterest is a leading referral traffic generator for retail brands. In the data gathered by TechCrunch in March 2012, Pinterest brought 3.6% of referrals while Twitter was barely ahead by 0.1%. This is particularly surprising as Pinterest is relatively new to the social networking race, while Twitter is an expert at it since 2006.

Businesses are interested in establishing their online presence through Pinterest because of the level of engagement users invest on this site. An increasing number of visitors go to Pinterest every month, not only because of the novelty it offers, but also the rich content that can be found here. It is also different from other visual sites as Pinterest shows all its content on the home page. All the pinboards are there, allowing you to click and see the pins inside. The interface is easy to customize, which makes it very attractive for users who want to personalize their page.

Excited to use Pinterest for your marketing campaign? Joined Pinterest but don’t know how to fully unlock its potential for your business? Here are some tips from a Synecore Technologies infographic:

It is best to pin on 2 pm to 4 pm on Thursdays and 1 am to 8 pm on Saturdays. Pinning on Thursday afternoons allows you much time in choosing which pins to post just in time for the online traffic rush on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Users are more active during these days because these are common rest days, especially for the working population.

What posts do you pin?

First things to consider are well-taken pictures of your products. If you don’t want to hire a professional photographer, learn how to take good pictures and take some creative shots of your own merchandise. With enough practice, you’ll become adept in presenting your goods in a pretty manner that will attract many sets of eyeballs.

Pinterest users love it when a business is very engaging. Bring your business closer to your followers with pictures of your workplace and staff. Take pictures of how your employees create and prepare your goods. Have old photos of last year’s thrilling team building activity? Show them off to the public. This will be particularly fascinating for followers who are great fans of your business. They naturally want to know more about your business, and this type of posts will further endear them to you.

Infographics are also great ideas. According to Wikipedia, these are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge. This allows people to quickly grasp complex ideas because of the clear way the facts are shown. If you need to inform your customers about something complicated, an infographics will be effective in conveying what you need them to learn.

Want to drive more traffic to your blog? Try posting snippets from your articles. Pick out the most interesting statements to prick their interest. Add a link to your blog or place the web address on the end of each snapshot of the blog post so followers can check out your posts. You can also post your resource pages or references. This will help your readers when they need to check some information they see on your posts.

Post videos on your Pinterest page. Make sure the ones you add to your account are short, well-shot and appealing enough to make the viewers watch up to the last second. Consult a professional if you’re not sure how to create videos that would make customers want to replay. Keep in mind that you have to make your videos ‘short and sweet’ to sustain interest.

Customer testimonials can also be posted. In fact, it would be better if you ask pictures from your customers showing them using your product or enjoying a service you provide. The caption will serve as their endorsement on how fine your merchandise is or how satisfied they are with your services. This will serve as proof for your claims about striving for ‘customer satisfaction,’ ‘excellent craftsmanship,’ and ‘reliable customer service.’

One more thing to post can be your proof of certifications, association memberships and other credentials that prove your qualification. For example, you’re a general contractor who wants to get more building commissions for new homes, cottages and residential domiciles. Create a pinboard where can post pictures of your state license/s, organizations and community guilds which you are a member of. You can also post recommendations from your professional associations, which will add to your credibility.

 

References:

Social Media Today

Wikipedia

TechCrunch.com

 

Photo Credit:

BusinessMarketingPress.com

Instagram + Pinterest: A Visual Formula for Social Media

How Filtered, Pinteresting Pictures can Bring New Life to Your Marketing Campaigns

Instagram gained instant popularity when it was first launched in Apple’s App Store in October 2010. This mobile app lets users take photos and apply digital filters. It quickly gained a wide following from 100,000 in October up to 1 million users in December 2010. 2012 rolled in with 15 million users until on July, Instagram announced that it now has 80 million app users. This boom must have happened because Google acquired rights to distribute the app to Android users in April. There’s a noticeable big jump from the number of users in March (27 million) to May (50 million).

How did Instagram gained such huge popularity? This can be attributed to people wishing that some moments stand still for a time. With pictures, everyone can catch a moment to remember. This conveys a human wish to document events for keepsakes of times they want to go back to. Instagram goes a step beyond that, offering features that allow professional and amateur photographers to play with filters and make their pictures more beautiful and fun to look at. These filters alter images to look sharper, older or more vibrant. Take, for example, the pictures below:See how the last picture was enhanced? With Instagram, you can use filters to create entrancing images that catch attention and stimulate interest among your viewers.

Pinterest, on the other hand, is a visual content site that allows users to pin pictures they find interesting. They can create boards that feature different themes, according to their preferences. With its user-friendly features and attractive interface, this social network quickly gained fame, especially among the female demographic. There has been 11.7 million Pinterest users in May 2012, and that number’s still growing as the site did away with its invite-only membership and opened its doors for all users.There’s a possibility of a campaign that combines Instagram and Pinterest winning over the customers of a business. Entrepreneurs can use Instagram to take pictures of their merchandise and post the images on their Pinterest account. It can work, especially if you have a large number of followers on Instagram. You can drive your customers to go to your respective accounts on both social networks. Apply the best practices in both platforms and you can make your marketing campaign work!

Instagram has a balanced demographic with 50.8% male and 49.2% female users. There’s also enough audience from all age groups. With this mobile app, you can attract almost everyone to your business using the pictures you’ve taken. Pinterest can work as your pinboard where you’ll organize the images you’ve taken in artistic and aesthetic arrangements.

If you’re using Facebook and Twitter, you can post sample pictures of what you’re posting on Pinterest. This can entice your followers to check out your Pinterest page. Once users see your high-quality images, they’ll share your content and inadvertently promote brand awareness.

How do you fully utilize Instagram and Pinterest? Here are some techniques:

Well-taken pictures have a way of making ordinary subjects charming. Browse around Instagram and Pinterest, and look for the most popular photos. What are the common qualities of the most favored images? Other than the exceptionally lovely pictures, there are also everyday fixtures and average-looking goods spruced up to look unique. Here are some examples:

Have a cute office pet or mascot? Charm and engage your customers with pictures!

References:

Social Media Today

Quora.com

Wikipedia

ThunderSEO.com

Instagram for Brands

IgniteSocialMedia.com

Lexicalist.com

 

Photo Credits:

LaptopMag.com Blog

Pixoto.com

9BYTZ.com

YumSugar.com

Widen Your Online Presence with a Social Media Boost

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Make your business soar and succeed online with the help of five social networks.

Using social media to promote your business has the potential to generate big profit for your company. More and more people goonline to shop, look at different products, keep up with the latest news, catch up with friends, and more. This presents the opportunity for businesses to reach customers and build a large online client base.

Choosing which social media site where you can establish your business requires considerations, though. For example, does your target audience frequent this site? How about your competitors? How long have they been on social media? Are they just starting out like you? Other than that, is the social network of your choice fit your company? Is it suitable for your marketing campaigns?

Making a decision about what social media site to choose for your advertising project centers on your customers. Investigate whether they prefer to look at ads on traditional or modern media. Do they like reading newspapers, listening to the radio, and watching television more than browsing the Internet? If so, these are the media you should be focusing on. If your target market is the young adult group, mainly people ages 18-34 years old, then they probably have active online lives. They’re likely to have accounts on the most popular social networks, own a smartphone, and like to spend more than 8 hours surfing the web.

Once you find out where your prospective customers like to hang about, customize your campaigns to include content that appeals to them the most. Your audience might prefer to see pictures and videos more than text updates on your blog and social networking pages. How do you make your brand attractive and encourage them to say good things about your products?

Positive engagement is the key to build relationships with your target audience. Make your online presence active and interactive to better befriend them and make them feel close to you. How do you do that? First, you have to choose a social media site. Here is some information on five of the fastest-growing social networks today:

1. Tweeting on Twitter

Established in 2006, Twitter enjoyed a rapid growth as soon as it was unveiled on the Internet. It quickly garnered more users in 2007 when participants of the South by Southwest Interactive conference used Twitter to keep track of other attendees. They increased the average number of tweets up to 3 times the usual 20,000 tweets per day.

Business Standard, a national India newspaper, appended Twitter with the moniker, “SMS of the Internet.” This is because users can only type 140 characters on the Internet. This makes for straightforward posts, with emphasis on the ‘short and sweet’ type of messages.

How do you use Twitter for your business:

  • Heads-up for the latest company deals and coupon codes. This not only benefits followers but also businesses as well, as special offers and discounts tend to generate interest and increase traffic.
  • Customer service assistance. Customers prefer to reach out to businesses online instead of calling the hotline number. Interact more with customers and answer their inquiries and complaints. React to their suggestions and other feedback, as well. This will make them more satisfied with your business in general.
  • Customer Engagement. Twitter offers different ways to engage with customers using the @mention and Twitpic features. Arrange contests to increase brand awareness and make people come to your website and store’s physical location.
  • Promote the company blog. Encourage followers to keep up to date with the latest posts on your blog. You can share post industry news and company updates to discuss with your followers.

2. Pinning on Pinterest

Imagine Pinterest as a set of online bulletin boards which you can use like scrapbooks. The user-friendliness of this site made Pinterest break into the social media race on 2010. It became popular enough to generate 11 million unique visits, which makes it the fastest to break the 10 million unique visitor count record. Pinterest’s wide reach brought more referral traffic to entrepreneurs than LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+. In March 2012, it surpassed LinkedIn and became the third largest social networking site in the United States.

How do you use Pinterest for your business?

  • Enhance your brand image. What makes your business popular among your loyal customers? Is it the ambiance of your store? The way your products are presented? Adopt those same qualities on your Pinterest boards. If your customers exclaim over the décor of your site, why not post pictures of décor suggestions?
  • Showcase your products in a unique way. Unleash your creative side and think of ways to display your products. Take pictures that show them at their best. If you’re selling wines, show photos of your wine bottles in an unusual position that would display how the light reflects against the wine.
  • Be more social. Make your Pinterest page more social with posts about your customers. Are you providing art classes? Take pictures of the works of your students. Hosting a party with many followers in attendance? Post photos of your best-dressed participants. You can also allow customers to post pictures of how they use your merchandise. This not only increases customer engagement but also promotes your products to your followers.
  • Include other pictures relevant to your products. It can be boring to see the same things posted on one board after another. Be more diverse and post photos of different type of products related to your brand. For example, if you’re a greengrocer, post vegetarian recipes to promote using greens as ingredients. You can also pin images of cooked vegetables in different occasions like Thanksgiving, 4th of July and other holidays.
  • Inject humor on your posts. Humor is a great equalizer. Make people notice your page more with memes, jokes, and comic strips related to your products. If you’re managing a pet shop, create jokes using pictures of your pets. This works well with today’s fad of dog and cat jokes circulating around the net.

Check out the next article for tips on posting on Tumblr, Instagram, and Foursquare.

 

References:

Wikipedia Info on Twitter

Wikipedia Info on Pinterest

Search Engine Journal

TheSocialSkinny.com

Hubze.com