Category Archives: Social Media

Social Media

Instagram for your company

SocialMedia_July29_CIt is safe to say that businesses should have a presence on social media. Many choose to be on sites like Facebook, mainly because of the large number of users and higher chance of gaining exposure. There are other networks out there too, like Instagram, that can help further enhance a brand. This is especially the case for companies with physical products who want a better way to visually showcase products or interact with customers.

Instagram is a social network focused around pictures. By downloading it onto your mobile device – Android and Apple iOS – you can take pictures, enhance them by applying various filters and share them on other social media sites, like Facebook, in a short amount of time. With more than 90 million regular users, there is a good chance that some of your customers are using this app.

If your business doesn’t utilize this app, now could be the time to look into it, especially since there have been two recent updates that make the platform more viable for businesses. The first being that you can now take, apply specific filters to, and upload short videos. The second being the ability to embed pictures directly into your website, blog or other online content.

With these new features, Instagram has become an even more valuable tool to businesses looking for another way to expand their social reach and brand. Here are four ways you can utilize it:

1. Run a customer photo competition
If your business sells physical products, why not start a photo competition where you encourage customers to take pictures of themselves using your products, and post them on Instagram. If you create a specific hashtag, they can add it to their photo and make it searchable too.

Doing this gives your products and company essentially free advertising, while enabling you to track how people use your products and where. Plus, it also gives you the opportunity to better connect with your customers.

2. Show off your products
Instagram has a number of great filters that make photos taken on mobile devices look great. If you are looking for a way to show off your products, why not take pictures of them and share these on Facebook or your website?

With the new video feature, you or your staff can even do short product demonstrations, which you then share on social media. This can be a great way to drive customers to buy into your brand, and may start conversations about your products. If you get lucky, the content could even go viral. Again, this is free advertising for you. Plus, there is no need to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for professional photos that are just going to go on Facebook, so why not save yourself a bit of money and use the phone in your pocket?

3. Capture events
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is taken very seriously by many businesses, and can include sponsoring various events. If your company is involved in community action then why not ask participants to take photos using Instagram, and tag your company using a specific hashtag.

You will get free exposure and could get some great pictures that you can share on other social media, or even your website.

4. Easily share pictures on different sites
With the recent addition of the ability to embed Instagram pictures into different websites or blogs, you can not only create good looking content, but content that will spark a conversation. If you log into the browser version of Instagram, and find the picture you would like to embed on your site, click on the Share button and scroll down to the bottom-right. You will see the embed code which you can copy and paste on your site or blog.

If you are looking for a good way to expand your brand online, whether it be through Instagram or any other platform, contact us today to see how we can help you connect with your customers in a whole new way.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

5 LinkedIn tips to find customers

One of the most popular marketing tools is social media. These services give businesses the ability to connect with their customers and even find potential customers. LinkedIn is a social network that is largely aimed at professionals wanting to connect with their colleagues, but it could also be a valuable tool to help you find potential customers.

Here are five tips on how you can better connect with your potential customers on LinkedIn. While many businesses have a profile, the personal profiles of business owners and managers can also say a lot about a company and either boost or weaken your corporate impression. Think of your LinkedIn profile as not only representing you, but also your business.

1. Be easy to find
The problem with many individual profiles is that the owners use keywords that they feel make them look better. For example, many small business owners will use the word ‘Owner’ in their profile. This is a good idea, but it’s likely not what your clients or potential customers are looking for. If your company specializes in say fixie bikes, you can bet that your clients aren’t looking for ‘fixie bike shop owners’, they are probably looking for, ‘fixie bike providers’.

When optimizing your profile, and trying to figure out which keywords are best to use, try thinking like your customer. What keywords would they will use to find you or your business. If your profile currently doesn’t show up near the top in search results for specific keywords, try using different ones that you think potential customers might use. This will make your profile slightly easier to find.

2. Provide a reason to connect
Did you know that you can put headlines in your profile? These appear below your name and are meant to provide a summary of what you do, and why people should connect with you. This is a great space where you can drive interest in you and your business, so create an attention grabbing headline.

The best headlines briefly explain what you do, and also include one or two keywords, along with the local area you work in. For example, if you are a small business consultant in Missoula, in Montana, a attention grabbing headline might reads something like: “I am a certified small business expert who helps businesses in Missoula grow, and achieve greater returns on investment.”

It is beneficial to have a profile picture that is professional too, after all, LinkedIn is all about business. If you have a fun, or goofy picture, you may be turning off prospective clients, so it’s a good idea to keep your image as professional as possible. That doesn’t mean that you can’t inject some individuality in your profile but just be careful not to include any potentially off-putting quirks.

3. Write a good summary
All LinkedIn profiles give you the option to write a summary about yourself. Many professionals use this space to talk about themselves and their achievements. This may seem like a good idea, but the whole point of social networking is to connect with other people, or help them. You should use the summary to explain what sets you apart from the competitors, and how you can help the reader with their needs.

You can still list some of your experience here, as long as it makes you stand out. For example, 15 years of experience in managing a department is nothing to sneeze at, and you can use this to your advantage by saying something like: “With over 15 years of experience in managing the finance department of a growing small business, I have worked with many clients to help them improve…”

At the end of your summary, include a call to action suggesting that those who are interested get in touch.

4. Network
LinkedIn is a social network, and many users seem to forget that. A large, and arguably important, part of the platform is networking. This is how you increase your connections, and it does require a fair amount of work and input.

LinkedIn offers a ton of great groups and channels, many of which will fit your experience and skills. Take the time to join them, and interact with the other members. If people have a question that you can answer, go ahead and do so, be sure to post your own ideas and content as well. Over time, you will come to be seen as reliable, and if you start connecting with members, you will find your network grows.

Another way to develop your network is to add clients who have contacted you, or who you already work with. These contacts can be a great way to spread your network, and if you approach them at the right time, may even provide valuable testimonials.

5. Follow up
As with anything in business, follow up is crucial. When you make a new connection, either on LinkedIn, or in real life, be sure to connect with them in a timely manner. Once you have connected, a follow up message sent within a couple of days might be worthwhile..

The key is to be consistent. If someone asks you a question, and you don’t reply, they will think less of you. Taking a quick minute to reply will go a long way in creating valuable connections.

If you have a LinkedIn profile and would like to learn more about how to leverage it, please contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Google+ gets a facelift

SocialMedia_June04_CWhen browsing the Internet, what type of site do you spend most of your time on? For most people, that would be social media. It’s hard not to find someone using social media these days. One of the less popular, yet still important, services is Google+. While the user base is considerably lower than say Facebook, it is growing. In an effort to increase numbers further, Google has recently introduced a number of interesting changes to Google+.

Here is an overview of the new Google+ features recently introduced.

A new layout
One of the first things you will notice about the updated Google+ is the layout has been drastically changed. On the main (Home) screen you will notice that posts have been changed to individual cards, similar to the Google Now cards, and are arranged in either one, two or three columns. These posts now take up more space horizontally which makes it far easier to view more content at the same time.

The menu bar that took up the left-hand side of the previous layout has been moved and is now collapsible. If you hover over Home on the upper-left of the screen the menu will pop out from the left-side. Circles and related feeds have also been added at the top of the window and clicking on a related circle name will bring up content only from your friends in that circle.

Adding new posts has also been turned into a card layout which is found at the top-left of the content stream. The different options e.g., Text, Photos, Link, Video and Hangout, are now big buttons that you can push to create a related post.

Improved Hangouts
Possibly the most intriguing new feature introduced is actually an update to the existing Hangouts. The numerous Google chat functions have been merged into a single chat and video messaging app available for Google+, iPhone, iPad, Android, Gmail and Chrome.

This means that you can host group chats for up to 10 participants which users can access through various systems. What this means for businesses is that you now have an easier way to communicate across multiple systems without having to worry about compatibility.

Better pictures and albums
A key component of any social media platform is visual content like pictures and videos. Google has introduced some interesting photo based features that could help make your content even more attractive. One feature is Auto Enhance, which will touch-up photos by looking at factors such as blur, contrast, saturation, etc. From what we have seen, the touch-ups are effective in making your pictures look better.

There is also a new feature called Auto Awesome, which looks at the types of photos you upload and can do various impressive things. For example, if you upload a series of similar pictures, say a sequence of images taken one after the other in a short amount of time, Auto Awesome will create an animated GIF which you can share on your wall. This function can also create panorama or HDR images.

Auto Highlight is another recently introduced feature which uses an algorithm to analyze pictures and skip over duplicate, blurry or underexposed pictures while uploading them, supposedly leaving you with only the best pictures.

Hashtags
The hashtag (#) has become popular on many social media platforms and is an easy way to find similar content. Google+ has improved the hashtag system and will now automatically add relevant tags to your posts. You will see these as small blue tabs on the right of the card, and hovering over these will show the relevant hashtag. If you click on it, the card will flip over and show you other posts that have the same tag. This could be a great way to find similar content and could help bring more exposure to your profile.

The new Google+ layout is definitely a big change compared to previous versions and could prove to be useful for your company’s profile and online presence. If you would like to learn more about using Google+ please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

4 non-marketing benefits of social media

SocialMedia_May07_CTo many business owners, social media is one of the most important marketing tools at their disposal. It’s true that a well executed social media strategy can make all the difference, while also giving smaller companies a way to compete with industry giants. What many may not realize is that social media can be much more than just a marketing platform.

Below are four non-marketing oriented uses of social media that businesses could benefit from.

Hiring
LinkedIn is a social network dedicated to helping professionals and organizations connect and find jobs and new talent. Most social savvy companies will have a presence on this network and may even hire exclusively from here.

If you are looking for new employees, it wouldn’t hurt to have a LinkedIn profile. To find the best talent, you need to forge and maintain connections (usually starting with people you know), and be somewhat active in groups and on message boards.

It’s also important to not forget the other major networks when it comes to hiring. Tweeting a job opening on Twitter, or posting ads on Facebook could also help you find your next employee. Facebook can be particularly useful because you can pay to target ads (in this case, job openings) at specific demographics.

Internal communications
Communication is an important part of business, and most people choose to communicate using email. You have probably seen emails with jokes, invitations to after work events, lunch orders, etc. sent to the whole company and also received the many replies that go with it. This can get very annoying, and also confusing.

Why not utilize social media for non-essential (aka. not related to work) communication. Set up a Facebook group where your employees can share content, invitations to lunch or after work gatherings, interesting stories, etc. That way you can limit email to more important, business-related aspects.

Using social media for internal communication is also beneficial for companies with younger workers. Most already see Facebook, Twitter, etc. as their main form of communication, some even feel more comfortable communicating over this medium as opposed to speaking out in meetings. Having a group portal or Facebook page could give less-empowered employees a way to voice their ideas, and maybe even improve on them with feedback from others.

Learning
A common complaint of many business owners is that they have a tough time staying on top of ever-changing trends and what currently interests their customers. Using social media to connect with your customers can be a great way to learn not only hot trends but also about new ideas.

Customer service
When it comes to social media, users will often complain publicly on their wall or through their tweets. This is bad for you, as the reach of this complaint can go a long way and make you look bad. Some companies have decided to confront this head on by having specific customer service accounts. If a customer complains, has an issue, or even compliments you, be active and respond using that account.

If done properly, over time, you will see more and more people reaching out to your customer service account through social media. This also gives you another way to please clients or turn around negative customer experiences.

Social media and the various platforms are not only great for marketing, but can be incredibly useful for other business functions. Do you have any other ways you use social media? Let us know. Or, if you would like to learn more about how it can help your company, then contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Two new awesome Pinterest features

SocialMedia_April09_CThere are numerous ways a business can build a brand and ultimately grow. One of the most popular tools to help with this is social media, of which there are numerous services. The newest social media service is Pinterest which is dedicated to the sharing of images. Pinterest has recently been updated with a new layout and features that businesses with profiles will benefit from.

Here’s a brief overview of the new features introduced with Pinterest’s recent layout changes.

How to get the new layout

Before you can use these features, it would be a good idea to upgrade to the new layout. While, like other social media services, this will be happening automatically over time. Unlike other platforms, the new layout is available for all users to switch to when they feel ready, however when you switch to the new layout, you will not be able to go back to the old one. Here’s how you can switch:

  1. Log in to Pinterest.
  2. Hover your mouse over your profile/business name at the top-right of your profile.
  3. Click Switch to the New Look.
  4. Select Get it Now. Note: If you press this, you likely won’t be able to switch back to the old layout.
  5. Press Okay from the Welcome to your new look! pop-up window.

When the new layout loads, you’ll notice that the pins are bigger, the category button has been moved to the left side of the profile beside the Search bar. You’ll also notice that the comment button has been moved from the pins, you can access it by clicking on the image. On top of cosmetic changes, two useful functions that businesses will find beneficial.

Discovery

Now, when you look at an individual pin (click on the image), you will notice a number of changes.

  • You can see all pins on the same board.
  • You’ll also see pins from the same website. For example if you pin something from a restaurant, you’ll now see similar pins from the same website.
  • Most importantly, you’ll now be able to see what other people have pinned along with the same image.

This will make it easier for users to discover what other people are pinning. For your business this means potentially higher exposure. Think of this as something similar to the way Facebook works: If a person likes you, the chances of this like showing on their friend’s profile, and that friend visiting your Page is higher. It’s kind of like easy brand exposure.

Analytics

Arguably the most useful feature added recently is Pinterest Analytics, which allows you to see if your pins are being clicked on or shared, and the general success of your activities. This will go a long way in helping you determine the overall success of your Pinterest oriented efforts.

The main caveat with this is that your profile/business’s website needs to be verified and connected with your profile. If you have an unofficial Pinterest account, you can change it to a business one by:

  1. Logging into your Pinterest account and going to business.pinterest.com.
  2. Pressing Convert your existing account and choose your type of business.
  3. Entering the relevant account information like the name of your business, address and website.
  4. Agreeing to the new Terms of Service.

If you would like to have a new username or account simply go to http://business.pinterest.com/ and press Join as a Business. You will be asked to set your account information, username, etc. You will need to verify your account which will involve you having to download a file and upload it to the server that hosts your website. We, or your web hoster can help you with that.

After your account is verified, you will notice that if you hover your mouse over your account name a drop-down list should pop up with Analytics being about half way down. Click on that to be taken to the section.

This section will display a bunch of graphs including:

  • The number of daily pins and pinners on your site.
  • The number of re-pins you have done.
  • How many times your content has been repinned.
  • The number of clicks and website visits.
  • The most clicked and repinned pins.
  • The number of times your pins have been seen.

Overall, Analytics is a useful tool that will give you a clear picture of what is working and what isn’t. If you pinned a picture of a dog and noticed that it got zero pins while another got hundreds, it may be a good idea to create/look for more similar content.

If you are looking to integrate Pinterest into your business’s social media strategy or would like or learn more about how to use the service, please contact us today.

 

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Proper use of the hashtag

SocialMedia_March12_CIt’s a sure thing that if you say ‘social media’, the vast majority of people will think of either Facebook or Twitter. These are two of the largest networks that are used, with users often having accounts with both. Because of this, it’s not uncommon to see a trend develop on one network and expand to the others. One of the more common trends is the use of the hashtag (#). Do you know what it’s for though?

The hashtag (#), commonly referred to on telephone systems as the pound key, is a character first used by users of the popular social network Twitter. According to the help forum on Twitter, “It is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.”

Look at nearly any Twitter message and there will usually be hashtags attached. If you were to search for the term e.g., #Cloudbackup on Twitter, you would get a list of all tweets that have mentioned the above example. When Twitter talks about a ‘trending topic’ it means a subject that has become popular.

This way of categorization has become so popular amongst Twitter users that it’s starting to spill over onto the other networks. Instagram for instance has given members the ability to add hashtags to pictures, so that they can be added to groups which can subsequently be searched for. Even Google has gotten in on the act, with Google+ and YouTube both supporting this system.

With Facebook, the hashtag has come to give context to a status. You’ve probably seen some status updates such as: I love Mondays #sarcasm #bored. This should be read with a sarcastic and slightly bored tone.

Because of the usefulness of the hashtag, some users have become overzealous in their use. Reading a Tweet that says ‘#Friday is #awesome, here comes a #fun #weekend.’ just looks unprofessional and could put off followers.

While effective, there are some basic rules you should follow to help get the most out of your hashtags. Here’s four.

  1. No long hashtags. Hashtags are meant to be short and associated with one word. Don’t make the mistake of adding more than about two words together, as the likelihood of users finding the tag will decrease. e.g., #Cloudservicesareawesome should be avoided, use #cloudservices instead.
  2. Minimize their use. It can be tempting to hashtag every keyword in messages, however makes them look weird, while decreasing their readability. It is a good idea to limit use to one or two per message.
  3. The hashtag is special. Don’t use it for everyday words. Instead use it for product names, or a special part of the announcement. Remember that you don’t have to use hashtags in every message. Check out Samsung Mobile’s Twitter feed to see a good example of proper use.
  4. Use a unique hashtag. If you can, try to use a unique hashtag, something that followers will be able to associate and relate to you. The key here is that when it’s used, the user is referred to you, and only you. Do a quick search on Twitter for the hashtag you would like to use, to ensure it’s not taken. Many companies will shorten their tag to initials or a shorter term, which is perfectly acceptable.

Hashtags, when used correctly, can be a great way to build brand identity and increase social media presence. If you are looking for a social media plan, please contact us today to see how we can #expandbrands.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

3 steps to learn more about new hires

SocialMedia_Feb12_CThe Internet has brought many changes to both companies and the people that use it. One of the more popular Internet based services is social media. Almost everyone with an Internet connection has a presence on at least one site, companies included. While most companies use social media for marketing, and connecting with customers, they can also use it to learn more about potential new hires.

Here’s three steps you can employ to learn a bit more about potential hires before they come in for an interview.

1. Google them
Googling yourself can be seen as vain, however putting a potential hires name into Google Search is smart. You can enter their name along with specific queries that can help you narrow information down. One thing you can do is enter their name with double quotes around it and the city they are based in, this will help you find their presence on related social media sites. You can also put their area code, zip or postal code to narrow down the search.

The point of this is to help you find more information about the person without having to search on individual social media sites. This will also return results like photo albums, recent account activity and maybe even some hobbies and interest groups. Searching on Google, or other search engines is a good way to see if the prospective employee is legitimate.

2. Take a look on Facebook
Almost everyone and their dog are on Facebook, so don’t forget to search for them on this popular service. With the recently announced Graph Search, this should make searching a lot easier too. Enter their name, along with some specific interests or information from the resume and the chances of finding this person’s profile go up.

While some would argue the ethics of doing this, you may see information or posts that counter information in the resume, or even paint a better picture of the applicant. For example, you can ask them about their family when they come in for an interview. It could prove to be a great ice breaker.

3. LinkedIn
Most social media sites focus on the social aspect of people’s lives, while LinkedIn focuses on the more career and professional oriented areas. Searching for the candidate on LinkedIn can often shed more light on their history, and may even showcase common links between you and them. If you notice that the candidate worked for a previous employee, you could contact that employee to see if they have any thoughts about the candidate.

Researching your future hires is a good idea because it can help you learn more about them than you might otherwise do from just an interview. It also gives you a bit of a deeper understanding of if they would be a good fit for the company. If you would like to learn more about how you can leverage social media in your company please contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Social media in 2013: 5 trends

When it comes to most technical systems, there is so much change in one year, that it can be a bit tricky to predict what the next year will bring. Social media is no different. While there are a number of trends that will continue on from last year, there are going to be some surprises along the way too. What we can do however is take our best guess based on what’s going on right now.

Social goes mobile
The way people view information is changing thanks to increasing adoption of tablets and mobile devices. The adoption rate is forecasted to rise in 2013, with the number of users who view your content on mobile devices soon overtaking those using a more traditional browser.

Because of this, the use of web technology that resizes text, images and other content to any screen size, will become even more popular. What this means for social media managers is that you will need to keep mobile users in mind when developing content and ensure it can be easily viewed on tablets and smartphones.

Visual marketing
Visual marketing is the use of video, images, infographics, etc. to get your message across to your target audience. The key to this type of marketing is that it enhances brand memory, recall and identity.

Social media sites like Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, are perfect platforms that, with effective use, can create an awareness that resonates with target groups, creating increased engagement.

While this marketing concept isn’t new, you can expect to see more companies focusing on developing more content that’s visual in nature throughout the next year and beyond.

Content marketing (B2B)
When it comes to B2B marketing on social platforms, companies have been using content as the main brand driver. This takes many forms, including: Papers, ebooks, infographics, webinars, etc. For example, infographics have proven to be valuable tools in increasing brand awareness. Most companies are well aware of this and it’s hard to find a business that doesn’t have some kind of content on their website.

In 2013, you can expect to see many enterprises turning to social media platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, etc. to develop and share content. Couple this with an increase in visual content and there will be an increased trend for smart marketers to develop engaging posts that are also visually appealing.

Google+ is a Google must
Google is playing the long game with it’s social media platform, Google+. While it currently isn’t anywhere near as popular as Facebook, Google is making changes to the platform and turning the service into a central hub for managing your online presence – when it comes to Google that is.

Last year, Google rolled out a number of services, such as Local, into Google+. This forced businesses with a Google presence to use this service to manage it. This trend will likely continue over the next few years, with the slow release of valuable services that are exclusively for Google+ users and force users to switch to them.

In other words, for companies using Google’s services: Google+ is a Google must.

Facebook remains king. For now!
Despite a disappointing IPO last year, Facebook is still #1 when it comes to social media. This likely won’t change in the near future. Facebook is well aware of this and will continue to take steps to keep users.

We can expect Facebook to introduce a premium version of Pages, along with increasingly powerful analytics tools. Alongside this, their mobile advertising service will likely mature into a viable business option. What this means for businesses is that they will need to keep on top of these offerings and figure out how to best leverage their content.

These are just five social media trends for the coming year. Have you identified any more? What do you think will be the biggest change to social media in 2013? We’re interested to hear your thoughts.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Report on social media pros and cons

One of the more popular communication debates these days is whether employees should be allowed to access their personal social media accounts while at the office. There are many valid arguments on both sides of the debate, but few present the viewpoint of what many employees actually think. A recent report has done just that and raises some interesting issues.

The report, published this past summer by Kelly Services reported on social media in the workplace, and highlighted findings and opinions from three major regions: The APAC (Asia Pacific), The Americas and the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). Below are some interesting results on the use of social media in the business environment.

Social media at work by region
Social media and it’s use in the organization is a hot-button topic. Many argue that by allowing employees to access it at the office, they will spend all day surfing their personal accounts and not doing any work. The study found that an average of 30% of employees across all regions feel that it’s ok to access their personal accounts while at work. Interestingly enough, the APAC has the highest percentage (48%) of users who think social media access at the office is acceptable, while The Americas had the lowest (16%).

Social media use at work by generation
Going a little deeper into the use of personal social media accounts at the office, the survey breaks down the numbers by generation. Not surprisingly, Gen-Y (36%) are the most inclined to think it’s acceptable to access social media while at the office. What is interesting about this is that 30% of Gen-X also think it’s fine to access these services while at work.

These statistics go to show what most people already know: Younger generations are more embracing of social media. This does run counter however to prevailing thought that all Gen-Y and X want to do, and think it’s okay to do, is access social media in the workplace.

Impact of social media on productivity
Experts are always saying that social media can help improve productivity in the office. While this may be true, the study found that over 40% of respondents find that social media hampers productivity in the office.

You might predict that Gen-Y, with their higher levels of embracing social media, would think drastically different from other generations. However, the findings say otherwise: 49% of Baby Boomers, 44% of Gen-X and 40% of Gen-Y believe social media hinders productivity.

Impact of social media on work/personal relationships
Look a little deeper at the downsides of social media in the report and you find that slightly lower than half of all respondents, regardless of age or location, feel that mixing work and pleasure connections can cause problems in the workplace.

What do the numbers mean?
By themselves, the numbers really confirm what we already know – social media is important but the way it’s used and viewed differs enormously. Put the findings from the survey together and an interesting picture emerges. The acceptance of social media is growing, and will continue to do so younger more social media savvy generations join the workforce. Social media may be a main form of communication outside of the office, but when it comes to personal use in the office, the majority are not as comfortable with it.

While use and acceptance is growing, this report’s findings highlight that many employees still feel that social media is more of a hindrance than an improvement to the working day. This is interesting, because a decent percentage think it’s acceptable to log onto such sites in the office, while arguable knowing it causes a decrease in productivity. This is a conundrum all businesses are facing: Do we allow social media to blur the lines between work and life, or resist it? Look around, it’s plain to see it’s creeping into work and being met with mixed results.

The question this report raises, and doesn’t answer, is whether social media and its use by employees at work for personal reasons is a good idea. The truth of the matter is social media isn’t going away and reports and findings like these emphasize a need to understand how people embrace and use these platforms. From this understanding it’s essential to develop policies that everyone feels comfortable with. Above all, it shows large differences of opinion which indicates a real need for flexibility.

We’d like to know what your thoughts are on social media and how it’s currently used in your office. Do you embrace or resist? Let us know.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Pinterest helps grow ecommerce

Brick and mortar stores are dying a slow death. This is especially true for smaller operations. The reason for this? The Internet. Traditionally, small to medium businesses were limited to the areas where they had offices. Now, thanks to the Internet, you can sell your products to anyone, anywhere. This ‘e-commerce’ has become an integral part of business and with it, marketing your products and services to those online. One way companies do this is through social networks, and one platform that is proving to be fantastic for commerce is Pinterest.

Pinterest is different from the other main social networking services in that you don’t usually share written content, rather you pin photos to an online pinboard that other users can view and share. If a user shares, or ‘pins’ one of your pictures all their friends can then see it and can repin it on their boards, and so on. The potential result of this is that one picture can be seen by hundreds of thousands of users – commonly referred to as ‘going viral’.

What this means for you is that there is potential for your business name/brand to gain massive exposure and an expansion of your existing customer base. Here’s how to get your Pinterest marketing started.

  1. Take pictures. As Pinterest is all about images, you should take pictures of the products you sell, or interesting aspects that define your company.
  2. Create an account with your company’s name. You should do this soon, as Pinterest is the quickest growing social network; many of the more popular usernames are being snapped up.
  3. Create a relevant description. If users have never heard of you but like the content you pin, they will usually check your description for more information. This means your description needs to pop. The most effective descriptions give a brief overview of what you do, specialities, interests and links, so users can find more information. Don’t make the text too long, users won’t read it (that’s what your website is for).
  4. Identify and create boards. Based on the pictures you have taken, and your main business offerings, set up boards based on these images. Many companies take the product categories from their website and create a board for each, then add related pictures.
  5. Invite people to view your boards. Using other social networking services, email, newsletters or day-to-day conversation, invite your friends, employees, colleagues and customers to view your boards.
  6. Promote yourself. To get existing friends, customers or otherwise to view your boards, place a banner on your website and a Pinterest sharing button near content you already have on your boards. If people are browsing your website and find a picture or some content they like, and have a Pinterest account, they will be more inclined to share.
  7. Branch out. As this is a social network, you need to be social. Follow other users, companies and friends. Along with that, create boards that allow you to pin and share other content.

The seven tips above help you understand how to go about starting a Pinterest marketing campaign, but many businesses are still asking the question, “Should we be on Pinterest?” If you run a product based website e.g., restaurant, jewelry store, clothing store, etc. then it’s an amazing site. Take a look at the infographic published last month by FastCompany: 12 of the top 15 categories are associated with commerce. If you run a shop that sells products that cater to a female audience, Pinterest is almost a must as nearly 80% of the users are female.

For other websites, Pinterest can help bring out the human side of marketing. By sharing your interests in products that are somewhat related to yours, or the values of your company, people can get a better glimpse of who you are, what you’re about and what you do. For example, if you run a small restaurant that focuses on locally grown or sourced food, pictures and sharing interests in the local area can help emphasize this.

As with any social network, you do need to be active on a regular basis. Aside from that, don’t use Pinterest to sell, instead look at it as a tool that helps users get a glimpse of what makes your company special. This then encourages them to visit your website, where the selling happens. If you’re new to Pinterest or would like help with your social marketing, please contact us, we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.