Mary Lower, Founder and CEO of Sterling Cross Communications was recently asked to write an article for RSVP MN Magazine for the Meeting and Event Planner Industry on the best practices to use when live-tweeting an event. Here’s her article from the Summer 2013 Issue.
Posts Tagged ‘social media platforms’
Posted in Marketing, Online Marketing, public relations, social media | Tagged @PRMoxie, event marketing, meeting and event planners, RSVP MN Magazine, social media, social media events, social media platforms, social media tools, Sterling Cross Communications, Sterling Cross Group, Twitter, www.sterlingcrossgroup.com | Leave a Comment »
In recognizing how incredibly fast Pinterest is growing, and the quick migration to Pinterest by many businesses (including ourselves and several of our clients). I was recently asked at a conference, which businesses would really benefit by being on this platform and why they would do so. Here’s the list and reasons that I came up with for the group:
- Hair, Nail, & Spa Salons – Obviously this platform is incredibly suited to the primary demographic of users (Pinterest is the number one platform of choice for female social media users). Pinterest Boards can be used to highlight and focus on photos of current hairstyles, fashions, nail color trends, hair colors, beauty and facial trends and the lists go on.
- Travel Agencies – Think of Pinterest as your home for virtual travel brochures and videos. Because of the “wish list” feature of Pinterest, where people are pinning and repining great travel images and destinations they would like to plan on visiting.
- Home Remodelers – Use Pinterest as an online gallery to show off before and after photos of your projects to demonstrate your expertise and examples of great work you have performed.
- Interior Designers – The same basic idea as remodelers would work here. Pinterest can be leveraged as an online gallery to show before and after photos, show off trends, fabrics, patterns, signature pieces, and so on.
- Landscapers – Here you can benefit from sharing how-to information, as well as showing off examples of work you have performed. Just like rooms in our homes, we tend to pin photos or repin photos of things we’d like in our yards someday.
- Event & Wedding Planners – Here you can showcase venues, ideas, your portfolio of work done, decorations, themes, and settings. The list here is endless.
- Jewelry & Clothing – Combining product photos and the Pinterest “Gift” option can help to drive online and in store sales of items you sell.
- Tattoo Shops – Where better to place an online gallery of your artwork and designs! You can also show off specific signature pieces, as well as provide examples of tattoos designed for specific body areas.
- Auto Detail/Paint/Customizing – The number one things that Males on Pinterest pin after food pins, are pins of vehicles, especially dream cars, customized cars, and video as well. If you can provide these images of your work online they are sure to be repinned (believe me, I found a showroom photo of a 1979 Chevy Chevette, my first car, and even that car is my pin with the highest number of repins).
- Resorts & Campgrounds – Similar to travel, you can virtually create an online travel brochure for your property to drive awareness and interest. You can even open up certain Pinboards to allow your guests to pin photos from their trips or vacations. Allowing your customers to help share the fondness and memories of their trip.
At Sterling Cross Communications, we have a vast experience in creating and executing exciting and outside the box campaigns across several social media platforms. If you need help or more ideas on placing your business on Pinterest or need a strategy and action plan on what to do on these channels please contact us at http://sterlingcrossgroup.com.
Posted in Marketing, Pinterest, public relations, social media | Tagged 1979 Chevy Chevette, @MrChristopherL, brand reputation, branding, campground marketing, Christopher Lower, fashion, Marketing, marketing your business on pinterest, online marketing, pinboards, pinning, Pinterest, PR, repins, resort marketing, restaurant marketing, retail marketing, shopping, small business marketing, social media platforms, Sterling Cross Communications, Sterling Cross Group, style, www.sterlingcrossgroup.com | Leave a Comment »
Proof that we are still a visual-based culture Pinterest has become the social media network to watch after growing more than 4,000 percent in the last six months (according to compete.com). At an average of 88.3 minutes per visitor, Pinterest currently ranks third on engagement behind Facebook and Tumblr and it ranks well ahead of LinkedIn (16 minutes) and Google Plus (5.1 minutes). Further proving that image based social networks and applications (like Foodspotting and Instagram) are rapidly gaining market share due to their high engagement levels with their audience.
From the Pinterest website:
Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard.
Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.
Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.
Pinterest is a social network that also has a promotional value as well: Users share photos that they find online by “pinning” them, the equivalent of “liking” a status on Facebook or giving a +1 on Google +. That act in turn has the ability to create beneficial SEO and linking opportunities for individuals and brands alike.
Users have to download a toolbar that can be used to pin items from any website. The photo and information then appears on your Pinterest board, and users who follow you can see your collection of photos and even “re-pin” them (like retweeting on Twitter or other forms of sharing).
This platform, while not specifically designed for marketing strategies may be a very effective social media platform for your restaurant or business when you take the following steps to market your restaurant.
1. Share your Menu, Photos, and Amenities
The most obvious way to use Pinterest for your restaurant is to pin photos of your own brand, logos, menus, staff, specials, venue, and amenities. Since you can create several boards, it is best to group your pins into different categories such as: Specials, Events, Food & Drink, Our Staff, Our location, and so on. By doing this, you are creating a rich story in images highlighting your food, brand, and service.
2. Add pins to the “gifts” section of Pinterest
When you create an entry for your pins, you can add a price tag. By selecting this option, you can then add a link, pointing back to your website. Items added in this way are automatically included in the “gifts” section on Pinterest, which is a virtual catalog of gift ideas. Be sure to select your best photos for pinning, and include a description. This gives you an opportunity to get your prices out there, and call attention to events like Wine Dinners or Gift Packages for certain holidays.
3. Show off your Event Spaces
By pinning photos of great events that are held in your event spaces, it allows people to get ideas and envision their own party in those spaces. This works great to promote seasonal spaces like patios, decks, and rooftop spaces as well. Make sure you include any great photos of beautiful views from your venue as well.
4. Maximize the SEO benefits
When you pin your products, you have an opportunity to maximize your SEO strategy and drive traffic back to your website. You create high quality backlinks when you or other users link to your photos and pins. Using keywords when you write compelling descriptions will attract visitors and potentially compel them to visit your website. You can integrate your Pinterest account with your Twitter Account and Facebook Page and share your pins on these social networks. All of these efforts will help to drive more traffic to your site and to increase your organic search engine rankings.
5. Create and Pin content that people would want to view
Most of us can easily spot a corporate profile that is designed only to blast out marketing pitch after marketing pitch are likely not only to steer clear of your account, but to avoid and in extreme cases to bash your attempts. You can avoid many of those cases by creating interesting relevant content that provides an added value or is exclusive content to that audience (like posting recipes for some dishes for a fan to try at home or pinning specials only available to your Pinterest Audience).
Finally, just like any other social media platform, it has to be a two-way conversation. Engage with your audience and listen and watch what they find most or least interesting in your brand. Pinterest is perfect for your brand if your brand can be displayed in images, and with the ease of digital photography these days, photos can be quickly taken, edited, posted and shared, creating great content for you to use to promote your Restaurant.
Posted in Brand differentiation, Marketing, social media | Tagged @MrChristopherL, branding, Christopher Lower, Compete.com, event marketing, Facebook, Flickr, food photos, Foodspotting, Google plus, Instagram, Liking, Marketing, menu, pinboard, pinning, pins, Pinterest, promoting a restaurant with social media, promoting restaurants, restaurant marketing, retweeting, SEO, social media, social media platforms, social media tools, Sterling Cross Communications, Sterling Cross Group, Tumblr, Twitter, www.sterlingcrossgroup.com, YouTube | 7 Comments »
I’m grateful to be included along with some of the best social media innovators in the Twin Cities in the July 2010 issue on Minnesota Business Magazine! This was a unique article as all of the interviewees were interviewed by Editor Drew Wood (@MnBizMag) via Twitter. Here is a brief bit of the article and a link to read the rest of it on the Minnesota Business Magazine website. Enjoy!
Social media is a valuable, oft-misunderstood business tool that will demand your attention sooner or later. So whether you’re a novice looking to learn, an “expert” seeking more, or a bonafide skeptic, here’s a comprehensive look at the brand-changing medium and how it can redefine your company.
A Case Study in Colossal Failure and Moderate Redemption
According to Greenpeace, Nestle has been less than ethical lately. It turns out that the company known for its wholesome cookies has allegedly been using unsustainably harvested palm oil, which has been documented to lead to deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions and endangered species loss. Not a good thing to do, especially when Greenpeace is watching–and they always seem to be watching.
And in true Greenpeace form, they launched into a full-on, make-a-public-example-out-of-you assailment of Nestle in the most grassroots form possible: the Internet.
But before I go any further into the story, and the true failure and subsequent redemption of Nestle–no, I am not here to pass judgment on their supposed use of illicit palm oil–I should probably tell you how I know all of this. Because it’s not so much a first-hand, I’m following Nestle in the news sort of knowledge–I’m not–but the knowledge I’ve gleaned from looking at the repercussions via social media, specifically Twitter.
Now, although I did talk to a good amount of local social media thought leaders from all walks of business and communications for this story–whom you will hear from shortly–and have thus become somewhat elevated in the ways of social media by osmosis, I’m no social media expert. But that doesn’t mean I can’t tell you how Nestle’s story makes it to me, with nary a published piece to do with it.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged @MnBizMag, @MrChristopherL, Christopher Lower, Drew Wood, Minnesota Business Magazine, social media, social media platforms, social media tools, Sterling Cross Communications, Sterling Cross Group, Twitter, www.sterlingcrossgroup.com | Leave a Comment »
The M&M Mars colorful fruit candy chews have gotten a social media makeover to their website. It is drawing many oohs and aahs from the crowds that click over to this site to find a very slick transparent overlay with a navigation widget that is laid on top of their social media sites, including a www.summize.com page keyword searching “skittles” (Seen in the photo).
You can also click over to the other platforms where they have accounts as well – Flickr, YouTube, and Facebook. There is also a quick insert your age here survey (where they are apparently gathering demographic info). It has gotten many of the so-called social media gurus all up in a tizzy though, as it is a very slick implementation of technology, without an apparent “social media strategy” attached to it.
So, what’s the deal? Who’s right? Well, to be honest, it’s a lot of both.
Let’s talk about what they did right:
1. The advertising & PR garnered from the word of mouth from incorporating their social media platform accounts is off the charts as far as ROI is concerned. The cost of such a website as this, by rough estimates, could be pulled together for 5 to 30K (incredibly cheaper than the cost for the media buys they would have had to have done, and not gotten the benefit of so much traffic).
2. The SEO benefit is again off the charts successful for the ROI and benefit. The amount of mentions online they are receiving as well as the back-linking happening from those of us that are posting on blogs, writing stories, tweeting, etc. about their new site.
3. Ability to track – not having access to their analytics, so not knowing for sure, but there is the potential for incredible results from tracking clicks. Even more potent than the collecting of age information (which I’ll get into later).
4. Word of mouth and instigation of online conversations – the level of buzz generated, and word of mouth have quickly spread this virally to an internet sensation. The opportunities to allow for their audience to discuss, socialize, and talk about their brand (glowingly or otherwise) is also incredibly done.
5. Trusted in their brand enough to release control of it to the world. It took guts, and I’m guessing some people are still sweating it to allow people to wreak havoc by saying whatever they want and attaching the word “skittles” to it (my personal favorite was one that said Skittles are actually unicorn poop!). Watch for a potential removal of the overlay to the www.summize.com page with the live stream soon (my prediction).
Now here’s where they failed, or missed the mark:
1. Failure to participate in the conversation. Yes Skittles fostered conversation about their product and brand, but as many others have already pointed out, neither Skittles, nor M & M Mars is participating in the conversations on Twitter. They do not own or manage the @skittles or @skittlescandy accounts. When you are not participating in the conversation, you have zero chance to impact it. What if the conversation is skewing negatively or there are legitimate complaints being made (and not just the graffiti-like profanity tweeted out just so they could see it on Summize)? You as the business have no control, say, or opportunity to provide customer service on these platforms. Comcast with their @comcastcares account on Twitter, is an example of how to do this right.
2. Capturing the wrong data. It might be interesting to see what the age group of the people coming to the Skittles site is. The problem is, that the visitor to the site does not necessarily equate to a consumer of the candy. The data they have collected seems to be fairly diluted, especially with the amount of marketers and online gurus that have been checking it out, without ever intending to purchase the candy.
3. As a professional at a PR/Marketing agency that has worked with several candy clients, it has become crystal clear (to me), that candy is typically an impulse buy and not something that is purchased online, as there is a lag time for shipping, etc. Skittles would have been better served to offer a downloadable coupon for a free package of the candy redeemable from their local store, where the opportunity to purchase an additional bag or two, could occur. Personally, (and this is my big idea) I would have partnered with the braintrust that runs Twitter and came out with a collector’s edition package of Twittles! (I want credit for this, and a free case or two) there would be a run on the stores by the Twitterati.
4. Trusting an Ad Agency/Web Design firm without actual experience in conducting social media campaigns with a social media campaign. It is clear by the misses, that their firm (agency.com) came at this with the old-school traditional advertising mentality where this was a cool broadcast out to the world. The fact they failed to get the company to engage with their audience. While it is always good to want to engage in social media, make sure you are dealing with someone that has already built and executed campaigns. There are too many “social media experts” shilling themselves today, that are foisting about the buzzwords without any experience to back it up.
5. Failure to monitor the conversations about their brand online. I don’t know this for sure, but I will deduce that if they aren’t interested in participating in the conversations, that they really aren’t interested in monitoring what is being said as well. This also goes to managing your online reputation, where if you aren’t watching what people are saying, you have no true measure of your brand’s performance. The conversations are happening, will you be a part of it?
So now I open it up to you. What are your thoughts on Skittles new website? Is it social media – or NOT? Comment away…
Posted in Brand differentiation, Marketing, public relations, social media | Tagged @MrChristopherL, Advertising, Christopher Lower, Facebook, Flickr, m & m mars, ROI, Skittles, Skittles new webstie is not social media, Skittles Social Media Campaign, social media, social media experts, social media guru, social media platforms, Sterling Cross Communications, Sterling Cross Group, summize, Traditional Media, Twitter, YouTube | 3 Comments »