Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

If you’re an experienced online marketer, you know the old saying of; “If you build it, they will come”, is not a reality. You will always need to be making an effort to build your brand online if you want to see significant results. Simply having a great website with lots of good content isn’t enough.

Social media offers an incredible opportunity to increase your online presence, website traffic, and ultimately your sales (without the costs of online marketing methods such as pay-per-click advertising). However, making your social media efforts produce results requires ongoing effort, and you should be prepared to set aside at least an hour a day to actively participate in your chosen social media activities.

Your social media efforts should be focused on encouraging others to share in positive interactions with your brand, such as ‘Liking’ you on Facebook, and other sharing methods such as ‘Repinning’ your products on Pinterest. Keep in mind that the more the search engines see others interacting with your brand via social media, the more favorably they will view your site.

Social media can also provide more results for your brand in search results. For example, when someone searches for your company name, they could find your website and your social media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, your blog, and more. This can be very valuable in gaining new business from people who aren’t familiar with your brand. Searches for your brand name that result in links to your website and your social media profiles can go a long way in instilling trust in your company with potential new customers. This can also result in more ‘Likes’ on Facebook, ‘Follows’ on Twitter, and other valuable social media interactions. All of which further shares your brand with others and tells the search engines that people are talking about you, which will ultimately help your search engine rankings.

The more you participate in social media, the more places there are for people to discover your brand, visit your site, and possibly become new customers. If social media isn’t already a key element in your online marketing mix – it needs to be.

What are you doing on a daily basis to increase your online presence?


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Pinterest is a rapidly growing social media site that is an online pinboard allowing you to organize and share images. Pinterest users primarily include women ages 25-54. The site has an 80% female user base and their male user base is continuing to grow daily.

What makes Pinterest more exciting than most social media sites, is that it is image based. People pin, repin, and ‘Like’ others pins. With each repin and Like a pin receives, the more visibility the pin gains to other users on Pinterest. Also, Pinterest links are showing strong SEO value. The direct traffic from Pinterest can also be very impressive over time in comparison with other social media/networking sites. And best of all, it’s easy. All you have to do to get started is simply visit http://pinterest.com and request an invite. Once you’re accepted, you can quickly learn to set up boards and begin pinning.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get back to the topic of this post, Creating a Product Catalog on Pinterest. You can quickly and easily build a catalog to market your products on Pinterest. Nordstrom has created good example of a catalog on Pinterest, which can be found at http://pinterest.com/nordstrom/. As in the Nordstrom example, all you have to do is create pinboards for your different product categories and start pinning – it’s that easy!

Quick Start Tips for Creating Your Pinterest Catalog:

  1. Plan out the categorization and sequencing of your pinboards. Make sure you place your most popular product categories first. Also, you want your pinboard covers to be best-sellers as well. Make it clear that you have the offerings your audience is actively shopping for.
  2. Use high quality lifestyle images whenever possible of the product being used. This will help other Pinterest users visualize themselves using the product and encourage more purchases.
  3. Add useful and creative product descriptions to keep your audience engaged. Product descriptions should be simple and clear – and in the unique voice of your brand. Also, make sure to use your descriptions for branding. An easy way to brand your pins is to simply apply a hash tag such as #YourCompanyName. Keep in mind that hash tag use on Pinterest results in the hash tag linking to a search result for words that are tagged. Therefore, you should only apply hash tags to your company name. Another method of branding for those that aren’t hash tag fans, is to simply add the URL of the product you’re pinning at the end of your descriptions.

Once you start pinning, you will find that it’s much quicker and easier than most social media activities, and a lot more fun!

Are you ready to pin? If so, you can learn more at about getting started on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/about/help/

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With Black Friday right around the corner, the holiday shopping season is rapidly shifting into full gear. According to Forrester Research, online sales for the 2011 holiday season are expected to hit $59.5 billion which would be a full 13% increase over last year. With this said, the 2011 holiday season offers online retailers significant sales growth opportunities.

The following tips will help you create an online shopping experience that’s conducive to increasing sales for the holiday season. So if you haven’t already applied all of the following recommendations, there is still time to start taking advantage of them.

Dress Up Your Online Store for the Holidays
Adding holiday themed banners and ads to your site can help increase holiday sales since they convey to your shoppers that your site is up-to-date and ready for the holiday season. Dressing your site up for the holidays also naturally encourages your site visitors to think about shopping for friends and family on their shopping list.

Enticing Holiday Promotion Offers
Actively promote your holiday promotions by email and with on-site ads that reinforce your offers. Make sure that the products you promote are popular items that will convert into sales and that they include strong offers such as free shipping or percentage off discounts, since these types of offers convert at higher rates. Also, make sure your holiday promotions have strong calls to action and that they direct shoppers to landing pages where they can immediately take action and make the purchase. Keep in mind that many holiday shoppers turn to the internet for both simplicity and savings. Make sure you’re giving them a great reason to buy from you now and make it as easy as possible!

Promote Suggested Gift Ideas
Develop a department on your site that’s focused on gift suggestions and promote it throughout your site. The reason for this is twofold. First, many of your visitors will come to your site to shop for themselves and by seeing the suggestion of gift ideas they may be further influenced to make gift purchases for their friends and family as well. Second, many visitors will land on your site who are actively gift shopping and the easier you make it for them to find gift ideas quickly, the more likely they will be to buy.

Product Images & Content that Sells
Review your product images to ensure they showcase the perceived value of your products. Consider adding additional product images as applicable that offer alternate views of the product. Lifestyle shots can also help increase your online sales. People naturally relate to products they see other people using and enjoying. Also, make sure your product descriptions are well written and address the questions your site visitors are most likely to be concerned about before making a purchase.

Up Sells & Cross Sells
Suggestive selling is a powerful marketing tool that can increase your online sales immediately. Up selling and cross selling should be applied year-round and further refined for the holidays. For example, if you offer a product and related up sell products are available, make sure to offer the up sell items as suggested items. Also, if you have products that have add-on accessories available, make sure you’re offering the add-on products as cross sells. Don’t leave these valuable sales opportunities on the table.

Work Your Social Networks
Let your social networks, such as your Facebook friends and Twitter followers see that you’re in the holiday spirit. Add holiday related content to your wall posts and tweets. Consider updating your profile pictures and backgrounds (where applicable) to incorporate holiday themes. You may be pleasantly surprised by how many people will end up connecting with your site due to creating this top of mind awareness that you’re there for them for the holidays. Also, don’t be afraid to occasionally promote offers through your social networks such as special coupon codes for your Facebook friends or Twitter followers. You might be surprised at how many of them will appreciate this and share these with others.

Dressing up your website for the holidays and providing enticing holiday promotions will generate more interest in your site during the holiday season and ultimately more sales. Make sure you’re maximizing your selling opportunities by suggesting great gift ideas, refining your product content, applying effective cross sells and up sells, and actively cultivating your social networks. Creating an effective holiday presence requires some extra planning and work, but the potential rewards are well worth it. And if you’re doing it right, it can be a lot of fun for both you and your customers.

Happy Holidays!

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As more businesses turn to social media marketing to grow their brands and increase sales, they’re quickly learning that real results require a significant investment of time. As a rule, those who commit the most time are the most likely to be successful.

According to the Social Media Marketing Industry Report published by Michael Stelzner, data shows that time invested in social media increases with experience. It has been found that new participants of social media spend about 2 hours a week, those that that have been involved for a few months 10 hours a week, and those that have been at it a long time 20 or more hours a week.

The data implies that after gaining experience with social media marketing, it was found to be effective and worth the investment of additional time. It also implies that new entrants into social media underestimated the amount of time required to develop and maintain a successful social media presence when they first started out.

According to the Social Media Marketing Report, experience with social media marketing leads to greater time allocated for development and participation. The report’s findings are as follows:

  • 64% of marketers are using social media for 5 hours or more each week
  • 39% for 10 or more hours weekly
  • 9.6% spend more than 20 hours each week with social media

Couple the above figures with the fact that 72% of Stelzner’s 900 respondents had only been using social media for a few months or less, which reinforces that more experience with the medium leads to greater time allocated.

Hopefully these findings will help businesses to better understand social media as a cost-effective marketing tool, and of the investment of time required to make it a success.

More information on the Social Media Marketing Industry Report
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So why would anyone want to take the time to participate in social bookmarking? If you’re not sure of the answer – reread the title of this blog post. Social bookmarking sites can introduce your online content to others seeking what you have to offer, increase your site traffic, and provide valuable backlinks to help increase your rankings in the search engines.

Social bookmarking sites help search engines to better understand how a site is perceived by others through the use of user generated tags and other classification systems. Also, social bookmarks can help both users and search engines find your online content as soon as it’s published.

Search engines regularly monitor social bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon, Delicious, and Mixx, to help them with their job in numerous ways such as:

  • Faster Indexing of Fresh Content: Users of social bookmarking often bookmark web pages long before a search engine can find it on their own, which helps search engines to find and index fresh content quicker.
  • Deeper Indexing: Many web pages bookmarked via social bookmarks are pages deeper within sites that search engines may not be able to access as easily.
  • External Meta Data: Users who social bookmark web pages usually tag their bookmarks with keywords and descriptions, which help the search engines to better understand and rank content in the same way your own on-site Meta tags work.
  • Categorization: Like user tagging, social bookmarking categorization can better define the subject of a web page to help search engines categorize and rank content in their search results.
  • Measuring Content Quality: Ultimately, the more users that social bookmark a web page, the more quality and relevance the content is perceived to have. A web page that has been social bookmarked across multiple social bookmarking services by multiple users is considered to be more of an authority than a web page that only has a few bookmarks by the same user.
  • Number of Votes: Most social bookmarking sites have a form of voting for users to rate content. The more unique user votes a web page receives on StumbleUpon or Digg for example, the more useful the content is perceived to be by both users and search engines.

Here is a list of social bookmarking services that we recommend using to bookmark your own online content:

Not only should you social bookmark your own content – you should encourage others to do the same. For example, if you think this post is of benefit and worth sharing with others, please use the social bookmarking button below. We would definitely appreciate it.

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Found this Nike commercial on YouTube a while back and it’s a good example of overcoming excuses. Although this video is based on athletics, it can apply to anything including your success online. While watching this video, think about the excuses you may have made for not taking your web site to the next level. Whether you’ve made excuses or not – this video is definitely inspirational.

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Since the New Year is still young, it isn’t too late to add being more social to your list of New Year’s resolutions. Sure, you may not be able to devote endless hours a day to social media like the major players (or even an hour for that matter). However, even a little effort can pay off in the long-term with increased brand recognition and web site traffic.

The following Social Media Marketing checklist covers a minimum of what you should be doing if you’re serious about growing your online fame or web site traffic with social media.

Your  Social Media Marketing plan for 2009 should include:

  • Developing or improving your existing profiles on major social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook.
  • Working at improving the opt-in subscription rates for your RSS feeds, email newsletters, etc. What can you do differently to get people to take action on your valuable info and share it with others?
  • Social bookmark your content until you break your mouse. Take advantage of social bookmaking sites such as stumbleupon.com, delicious and reddit.
  • Add the creation of more user-generated content on your blogs and web sites. Whether people comment on your blog or leave product reviews on your site – it’s more content that can help you rank higher in the search engines.
  • Create video and graphic content. This can include how-to videos for using your products on YouTube or photo galleries of your featured work or products on flickr.
  • Use syndicated RSS feeds, whenever and wherever possible on your blogs, web sites, or other social media applications. Get viral.
  • Ping! Are you using pinging services such as pingomatic.com to notify important sites such as Google Blog Search and Technorati that you have new content for them to index and share with others?
  • Optimize your social media marketing efforts for the search engines. Keep in mind optimizing doesn’t have to be a major event – simply add keyword rich text content your blog posts, YouTube video titles, and tweets on Twitter.

By diligently applying the above checklist to your online marketing efforts, you’re sure to grow your web site traffic – and ultimately your brand over time.

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