Saturday, May 11, 2013

Using Pinterest to Grow Brand Awareness

Top 10 Pinterest Key Statistics for 2013
Pinterest logo
Free Images

Looking to include Pinterest in your social media marketing strategy? It might be a good time—with the roll out brand pages for businesses and compelling recent findings like these:

1.      2/3 of the top 100 brands now have Pinterest accounts (Simply Measured)
2.      Pinterest ranks 3rd most popular social networking site, behind Facebook and Twitter (Experian)
3.      Traffic to Pinterest increased significantly in the 1st quarter of 2013, compared to marked declining traffic to Facebook. (RichRelevance)
4.      The average consumer spends more on Pinterest than on Facebook  (RichRelevance)
5.      Pinterest is seeing over 4 million unique visitors daily (Brand Dignity)
6.      There were 2.3 billion Pinterest page views in March 2013 (Brand Dignity)
7.      70% of online consumers find purchasing inspiration from Pinterest more than other social media platforms (Bizrate)
8.      Consumers prefer to associate with brands more on Pinterest than other social media platforms (Bizrate)
9.      Pinterest users engage with brands more on Pinterest than on other social media platforms and serve as content creators for the brand through the repin feature (Bizrate)
10.   Mobile: The Pinterest iPhone app is downloaded 200,000 times per/day (Brand Dignity)

Top 10 Tips and Best Practices for Pinterest Marketing in 2013

Starting with the absolute basics then getting down to more advanced tactics, here are tips for amplifying brand awareness and best practices by some of the most widely followed brands:

        1.)    Post Regularly
Your fans are looking for inspiration, don’t disappoint. If you want your fans to keep you top of mind, provide quality images that inspire on a methodical, consistent and regular basis.

2.)    Post Often
Stay top of mind for those browsing throughout the day. Leverage Pinterest’s business analytics to determine the best days to post then create a content editorial calendar that follows suit. The worst thing you can do: post randomly, or, abandon the practice entirely.

3.)    Post in Sets
Pinterest is very much like a digital magazine -- use themes, concepts, and ideas to set a cohesive tone. Think magazine layout when pushing out content on the calendar. Leverage Pinterest real estate to create a visual palette to communicate a theme, an idea or a story instead of using words and text.

4.)    Get 2-Dimensional
Unlike a magazine, however, is Pinterest’s unique social platform that allows for dialogue. Get out there and be social with your fan base. Interact and dialogue with your fans. Pinterest visitors are happy fans-- they are there to get inspired, to see beautiful images, to share what they love, and they’re already in a good mood. Leverage the serendipity by rewarding your fan base with a reply from the brand.

5.)    Leverage Text to Boost SEO
The Pinterest effect on SEO rankings

Maximize the limited area for text that you are allowed in your pin descriptions, including strong keywords and a link back to your website. Use messaging aligned with your brand voice and that resonates with your audience. HubSpot has found that the pins with the most engagement have descriptions that are 200-310 characters in length.

Check out how Google ranks relevant Pinterest pages when I search for “DIY Mother’s Day crafts”. Right after Country Living and Huffington Post, a few other Pinterest pages show up.
6.)    Link Directly
If your user wants to see a recipe for making Shrimp Curry, then, make sure you take them there. Make absolutely sure you have the right landing page when linking your pin—don’t make the mistake of wasting the user’s time-- they may never revisit your profile or boards again. If your user wants to see a recipe for making Shrimp Curry, then, make sure you take them there.

7.)    Cross-Promote
E-commerce businesses can increase traffic to your Pinterest boards where there’s better conversion by cross-promoting from other social media platforms. In the same vein, if your customer service team is better equipped to handle inquiries on Facebook, then use Pinterest to send them there.

8.)    Try Something New
Leverage Pinterest to extend your brand beyond the original concept of the product, like Starbucks does with its #TWISI, The Way I See It board:

You’ll quickly notice that Starbucks gets beyond the boundaries of a coffee shop. Instead, any good memory related to coffee might wind up on this popular board—and sometimes, the pins having nothing to do with coffee at all!

Pinterest is a safe place where happy pinners are open to imaginative play, so you can get a little more creative and try some new direction with branding. It’s a great place for listening, where you can bounce new ideas and get some feedback. Leave an impression, create a mood. Have fun.

9.)    Delight and Surprise
Better Homes and Gardens devotes a whole board to their Pinner of the Month. BHG clearly understands the power of spotlighting their best fans. These brand ambassadors then gladly carry their duties to other social networks, like Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
Creative marketing on Pinterest
BHG's Pinner of the Month

Occasionally surprise your fans with the unexpected: a personal video message, a coupon… a chance to upload a video about something related to your brand.

        10.) Create an Experience
Create a customer experience that wows and soothes the soul, and at the same time, allows your fan base to deeply connect with your brand. You will be rewarded with engaged brand ambassadors that are eager to repin and share with their friends and followers.

If you have already determined that Pinterest is part of your social media marketing strategy, then leverage your brand to connect with your fans on a more intimate level, by doing this you will be maximizing the power of social marketing to its fullest potential.

First published on ICUC Moderation Services.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Customer Service that Rocks: The Secret to Unlocking the Hidden Power of Your Customer

the cost of acquiring a customer
Photo via
It's not everyday a major publisher approaches you to write a book, unless you're Becky Carroll that is. It was Becky's blog, a blog she started writing in 2006, that captured a certain business publisher's attention. What was Becky writing about? Most of what she blogged about was what makes for outstanding customer service-- not rocket science even by Becky's confession but something so key to successful business that book publisher, Wiley took notice.

Social Planet had the privilege of meeting with Becky about her book, The Hidden Power of Your Customers, to uncover Becky's hidden power.

Spend Marketing Dollars on Existing Customers
Observing that her Fortune 100 clients and most businesses spent the majority of their marketing efforts on the acquisition of new customers, it dawned on Becky that little was being done for the old customer and left her wondering why was it that only new customers get the special deals. What about those who have bought your product and continue to buy your product over and over again?

From Becky Carroll's experience, it's a shift in thinking in a core business model, to focusing effort on their existing customer base, that businesses begin to unleash the "hidden power" of their customers and create a backdrop for the kind of sought-after, word of mouth customer experience that gets shared over and over again. Businesses need to invest in the customers they already have. Value them, recognize them, thank them, reward them. Extend your best services to them. That all-too-common tendency to forget a customer once you have gained the sale is exactly what you should not do if you expect substantial and sustained growth in a thriving business, according to Becky.

Use Social Media Throughout the Entire Enterprise
Customer service has never been so paramount for businesses today. With access to a worldwide publishing platform through social media and technology, the venting of bad customer experiences is only a few characters away. There's a renewed urgency for customer service to be amazing, and in fact if it isn't, the whole world will hear about it.

Businesses can utilize social media to accomplish some very important marketing functions across the board: market research, thanking the customer, listening to the customer, resolving complaints and giving businesses the opportunity to make raving fans. According to Becky, social media strategy is really more about a having a relationship strategy in place. Businesses that do, will stand apart from the rest.

Rock Customer Service by Being Proactive
To rock your customers' world, Becky offers 4 key strategies, which make up the acronym ROCK: Relevant marketing, Orchestrated experience, Customer-Focused culture and Killer customer service.

And the only way to achieve a customer service model that rocks, you have to place your existing customers at the center of everything you do as a business. This kind of customer-centric focus is methodical, thought-out, well-intentioned, calculated even for the times when the unexpected arises. In Becky's words, "You can't leave a customer experience to chance." From the first time your customers think of you to the time they recycle your product, the entire customer experience must meet the customer at every touch point in the customer's life cycle.

View more videos at:

Treat Your Customers and Employees as Assets
Companies that value and nurture their current customers get fans to talk and share, buy more, and infectiously influence others. Becky gives the example of Harley Davidson, an iconic company with cult-like status to motorcycle enthusiasts, that has seen its stock value increase over 120% over the last 3 years despite the worst economic recovery since the Depression. Exactly what percentage of Harley Davidson's marketing budget is spent on its existing customer base? A recent figure says 88 percent.

It comes as no surprise that companies with a customer-focused culture, those that provide this kind of talked-about, remarkable customer service, also tend to be the very same companies that value their employees as assets, and it's this deep respect for people and relationships at the core of businesses that unlocks a customer's hidden power as brand advocates and turns them into raving fans.

Becky Carroll is founder of Petra Consulting Group, a keynote speaker and respected panelist at industry conferences. Some of her clients include Hewlett-Packard, Electronic Arts, Ford and Verizon. We happen to be partial to the fact that you can catch her on the local San Diego NBC news affiliate as a contributor and that she teaches Social Media at University of California, San Diego. 

Find her on the web:
Becky Carroll
Her book
On Twitter
On Facebook


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How in the World Do You Use Google Analytics?

Does the sight of a Google Analytics dashboard make you dizzy? Have no fear. Pam Aungst to the rescue!

Dizzying Google Analytics Dashboard


Social Planet and Pam Ann Marketing Webinar 6/25/12 on Google Analytics
Join us and marketing professional Pam Aungst for an introduction on using Google Analytics for business. Learn how to track your social media efforts, where your traffic is coming from, who your audience is, which tactics are working the best, which pages and topics are the most popular, how many new visitors frequent your site and more.

Date: JUNE 25, 2012
Time: 9:30AM PST/12:30PM EST
Cost: Free

Limited seating available. REGISTER NOW!

Pam Aungst is a marketing consultant with a M.B.A. in Marketing and a B.S. in Business Administration. She's also Google AdWords Qualified, trained in e-commerce and has been building websites from code since 1997. She owns her own business Pam Ann Marketing and is also the e-Commerce Manager for ET Plastics.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cool Tool Creates Content for your Email Marketing in a Flash

Sounds like a content marketer's dream come true, create a newsletter in a flash?

Pinch yourself. Now you can.

FlashIssue login page

There's a new, free email newsletter making tool called FlashIssue. FlashIssue allows you to curate stories from anywhere on the web, including your blog, and almost instantaneously create a clean-looking, content-packed communique ready to send to your email contacts. But it gets better.

On login, you're taken to a simple screen where you upload an image, choose a title and begin clicking in the stories you want to curate. Pull in content from your website by adding your RSS feed URL, and a gallery of posts with an image thumbnail will appear on the right side of the web page. Simply drag the stories to the left that you want in your email. Then add some introductory and closing text and then you're done. Done.

FlashIssue storyboard

For sure, bookmarking great content is a whole lot easier than creating it yourself, but if that wasn't enough to save you from having to rack your brain for compelling content, it's FlashIssue's integration with email marketing providers like MailChimp, ConstantContact and Gmail that makes this tool very cool. In Gmail for instance, simply begin typing the names you want the email to be sent to. (Now if they came up with a way to send emails to a whole circle segment that really would be a dream.) For MailChimp, after permissions are granted, you simply choose which list you want to send it to. Hit 'send' and you're done. Done.

If you download the Chrome boomark plug-in for FlashIssue, you will be able to clip content for later use in your next newsletter. Check this video.

Still in beta, there's still hope that social sharing tools and social follow tools will be added to make this an even more dynamic and powerful tool. Also, the ability to format text would be a great feature.* But perhaps the greatest gift FlashIssue offers is the ability to make you a great storyteller, without the effort. Cool.

For the small business owner, FlashIssue makes a good email marketing tool. Announce an upcoming event or promotion, discuss a burning topic, take a poll to unlock customer pain points, sneak in a coupon to reward your most loyal following. But really anyone needing to communicate with a group of others on a particular topic would find FlashIssue useful: plant some ideas for a later brainstorm with the team, get the Girls Scout troupe leaders focused on the same mission, encourage your followers with a daily devotional from your Pastor. This tool makes you look like you've got it together.

FlashIssue is almost too easy to use; the temptation might be to bombard your readers with too much information. Remember though, effective marketing requires a clear strategy. Think through your goals and consider how often your readers can handle an email from you. Choose only the best of what you find, and limit yourself at that. In other words, respect the time of your readers.

FlashIssue login button

Give it a go and see if it might be a good solution for you. What other email marketing tools would you recommend?

* New features, like the social sharing buttons and text formatting have been launched!