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 tools’
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 »
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 »
By popular demand, we have been asked to conduct small group training sessions on Twitter for Business. We’re glad to announce our first class will take place Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 here in Minneapolis. Read on for more details:
Have you checked out Twitter and just can’t figure it out?
Are you looking to use Twitter, one of the fastest growing online communications platforms in recent history, to engage with your audience for tasks like: Sales, Promotion, Customer Service, Market Research, Customer Loyalty, Online Reputation Management, and establishing thought leadership?
Are you frustrated by Social Media Boot Camps that don’t actually show you how to get started?
Then this class is for you.
Join us in a small group setting to learn the basics of Twitter for business and getting started on Twitter. You can bring your laptop and you will be taught the basics.
- Setting up an account
- Building an optimized profile
- Discuss background graphics and profile pictures
- The initiation of building followers
- Rules of interaction
- Including links
- Tracking and monitoring conversations
- Additional tools and time saving tricks
After covering the basics we’ll cover basic business strategies that Twitter can help to optimize in your business.
The cost to attend this class is $100.00. This class is on a first come, first serve basis, and more classes will be opened up after each one fills. If you’d like to reserve an entire class for six for your company, the cost is reduced to $75.00 per person.
We’ll meet in the Training Center at the offices of The Bailey Consulting Group, 4800 Olson Memorial Hwy., Suite 225, Minneapolis, MN 55422
Please click or visit here: www.twitter4business.eventbrite.com to register as seat are very limited!
Please bring a laptop that is wifi capable. If you don’t have a laptop, and would still like to attend, please let us know and we can supply (1) one laptop per class to someone that doesn’t have one.
We’ll be getting together over the lunch hour for some power training. You can bring your laptop and implement these tactics immediately. We’ll supply a few munchies!
About your Trainer:
Christopher Lower has over 17 years of marketing, PR, and strategic consulting. He has 10 years of focus on emerging web technologies and their use in marketing – Blogs, Podcasts, Viral Campaigns, Social Media (Linkedin, Twitter, etc.), Wikis, Webinars, RSS, and Mobile Technology Solutions.
Sterling Cross is behind the social media campaigns for such companies as moto-i, Augeo Insurance Benefits, Baja Sol Restaurants, The Minnesota Restaurant Association, THe MN Lodging Association, The MN Resort & Campground Association, The Bailey Group, & The Dominium Group. Their work on moto-i was included in the book “Twitter Means Business” by Julio Ojeda Zapata.
Chris is also a speaker and has frequently published articles on Social Media Topics.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged @MrChristopherL, Christopher Lower, how to use twitter, MN social media events, seminars, social media bootcamp, social media events, social media events in MN, social media strategy, social media tools, Twitter, twitter for business, Twitter in MN, twitter4business, workshops, www.sterlingcrossgroup.com, www.twitter4business.eventbrite.com | Leave a Comment »
Today’s marketing for Resorts & Campgrounds – Building Community, Memories, and Lifetime Visitors with Social Media ToolsMay 26, 2009
This is an article I wrote for Resorts & Campgrounds Magazine and appears in their summer 2009 Issue. Due to popular demand, it was reprinted here for those who do not have access to the Magazine. Enjoy!
I grew up lucky enough to have had an annual family trip to some resort or campground every year. If you are the same, you probably have some great old photos. Some might be in albums, some might be framed, but most are probably in a box or bin somewhere, but wherever they are, they capture and represent great memories. There are great tools online these days that allow you to post and share these photos and memories online. 80% of all internet users are posting photos to share online, and 54% of them are posting vacation photos, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project data. 30% of those vacationers are posting to sites and communities connected to the place they went on vacation, if there is a space to post. Disney is great at this for their Camp Wilderness property.
You too can create a space where your visitors can share photos. You can brand your own photo sharing page on many social media photo sharing sites like Flickr, ShutterFly, and Photobucket. These sites can be linked back in to your own website, where potential new visitors can share in the memories and see great pictures of people enjoying your services and amenities. Of the 140 million Americans online, 63% of them are booking their travel destinations online. 53% of them state that their decision to book is based on photos or videos of visitors enjoying the property and amenities. Social media tools allow your guests to share their great times and memories and empower them to build community by connecting to other resort and campground visitors. Other tools like blogs, YouTube, and pages on sites like Facebook allow people to connect and share as well. The common backdrop across all of these sites is your location.
Like any vacation destination in today’s times and economy you must adapt to keep up. In 2008 it was reported that up to 60% of campgrounds and 84% of RV Parks have added WIFI internet access to their list of amenities, whether in the common areas, or available throughout the property. If you offer internet access on location, you can encourage guests to post up photos while still there and even offer prizes for photo contests, to build your online content. All photos posted should be tagged (identified) to include your property name and location to aid in the online search benefits you will receive from posted photos.
More often than not, these social media tools are low to no cost to implement, and can be managed by staff onsite. For best results, you’ll want to invest a bit to ensure that your brand is represented across each of these social media sites which can be handled typically by your web developers or marketing team. Here is a list of tools that any resort or campground owner or manager can use to connect with their customer to convert them to brand evangelists and lifelong customers:
Social Media Tools for Resorts & Campgrounds:
- Make sure your property can be searched and reviewed through local business guides such as Yelp.com, Hotels.com and TripAdvisor.com. Suggest that positive feedback from patrons is shared on these social business guide sites.
- Twitter – sign up for a Twitter account. Use it also as a tool to listen and converse with your customers.
- E-Newsletter – Email a monthly newsletter with the latest happenings, new renovations, additions, or upgrades etc.
- Blog – Customers want to be part of something more than just a onetime trip; they want to feel like they belong. You can set up a blog to allow guests to post their memories and stories.
- Facebook – Set up a Facebook fan page to connect with your customers on Facebook.
- MySpace – If your clientele is the MySpace generation, create a profile page and consistently update it with fresh content.
- YouTube – Incorporate video into your social media strategy.
- The Business Card – Provide a business card or note-card to each customer that visits your property with their receipt that maps out where they can continue their vacation experience online by connecting to you via social media to share memories.
Christopher Lower is the Co-owner of Sterling Cross Communications, a Social Media, Public Relations, & Web Design Firm, that focuses on the Restaurant, Hospitality, Hotel, and Lodging industries. In addition to over 20 years of PR & Marketing experience, Chris worked over eight years in the Hospitality Industry. He can be reached at www.sterlingcrossgroup.com or can be found on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mrchristopherl.
Posted in Brand differentiation, Marketing, public relations, social media | Tagged @MrChristopherL, campgrounds, Christopher Lower, Facebook, Flickr, Hospitality, Marketing, public relations, resorts, Resorts & Campgrounds Magazine, Restaurants, social media, Social media for resorts & campgrounds, social media marketing, social media tools, Sterling Cross Communications, Sterling Cross Group, travel, Twitter, www.sterlingcrossgroup.com, YouTube | 2 Comments »