Tag Archive: viral_marketing

Why Pinterest Should Be of Interest to Small Businesses

Why Pinterest Should Be of Interest to Small Businesses
By Erin McDermott.

Lynn Carlson may have America’s most famous new bathroom.

Last April, she redid the bath in the Fitzgerald Suite of the 1900 Inn on Montford, the Asheville, N.C., bed and breakfast she’s owned with her husband Ron since 1997. They added dazzling glass tile, a two-person jetted airbath tub filled from the ceiling, fiber-optic lighting from above and on the floor, and a thermostatically-controlled shower that rains water and light.

Guests raved about it. Then BedandBreakfast.com posted a photo of it on its Pinterest.com boards.

Since January, that picture has been “re-pinned” some 60,000 times on the Pinterest’s virtual pinboard that lets users “share all the beautiful things.” The website has seemingly come out of nowhere in recent months to now claim more than 11 million users, 80 percent of which are female. Among the pinners’ comments on the Carlsons’ bathroom: “want want want.”

While the thought of a bathroom “going viral” may have sounded unpleasant a few years ago, these days it means business. Though winter is normally their quiet season, the Carlsons have had about a dozen bookings from guests who said they saw them on Pinterest.

Dismissed by some as a “ladies’ Facebook” for crafters and recipe collectors, Pinterest has caught the attention of the business community as a place to connect with customers. (And check out this fascinating graphic from TechCrunch about Pinterest’s explosive growth, too.) It’s been a godsend for aesthetically oriented companies, such as restaurants, architects, landscapers, real-estate brokers, and fashion and interior designers. The site is highly visual, highly addictive for users, and proving to be an effective way to communicate in a world with ever-shorter attention spans.

“You need to stop asking your customers to get engaged with you—you need to be engaging,” says Lynn Carlson. “Stop emailing them. Everyone’s life is really cluttered, and the frightening thing is that it’s empowering for them to just delete you.”

So how can you best utilize Pinterest? Here is some advice from small-business owners on what’s worked for them:
PQ_Pinterest.jpgMore social media—seriously?

Here’s why it’s smart to get on the Pinterest bandwagon now: Facebook is overrun with status updates and links; Twitter trims that to 140 characters; Pinterest is almost entirely visual. Even if the site is a flash in the pan, what it represents may have staying power. “It’s an evolution,” says Erica Orange, vice president of Weiner, Edrich, Brown Inc., a New York futurist consultancy that looks at long-term global trends. “Whether it’s advertisers, marketers, brands, or small-business owners, more people all around the world are speaking in images. In many ways, we are witnessing a profound shift in communication styles. Instead of getting bogged down in language, images may depict a clearer vision as to what the company stands for.”
Build your brand

Hilary Rushford says Pinterest is a big driver of traffic to her style blog and her personal-styling company, Dean Street Society, in Brooklyn. She says the site gives her a unique ability to give her clients (and potential clients) a 360-degree view of her work and her personality. “Even less-obvious businesses—bakeries, yoga instructors, pet shops—can engage their audience by demonstrating more of themselves, through boards that build out their essence,” Rushford says. “Sharing spots you want to travel to, inspiring quotes or favorite places in your neighborhood can deepen that ‘know, like and trust factor’ that’s so important to standing out in the online world today.”
Share your creativity, but be careful on copyrights

The site’s posting rules are in flux, as Pinterest shifts liability to the user to be sure they’re not in violation. Help visitors to your site by including the “Pin It” widget on the images that you want to circulate and link back to your site. Always include your full URL for your images, which makes it easier for others to properly link to you. (Confused? Many people are. Here’s how one blogger is doing it now.)
Build trust

Pinterest’s social aspect means your customers can get an intimate glance at your design sensibility and where you get your ideas. “People want to know that you’re secretly a Star Wars fan—it helps them connect and relate to you,” Rushford says. But play it cool: Pinning too many shots of your own, say 40 in 15 minutes, can come off as overly commercial and turn off followers.
Think SEO, and timing

Google’s search-engine algorithm shows results based on traffic numbers. Clicks to an interesting image on your site can quickly add up and lift you above your competitors. And be sure to watch the clock: The most-recent pins show up at the top of Pinterest, so aim to post at lunchtime or early evenings—both peak times on the site.
Think local

Patrick Kennedy’s board reflects what drives his work at Superior Woodcraft, in Doylestown, Pa. The custom woodworking company has worked to help other local small businesses, and Kennedy displays not only his personal influences and projects, but other events the company has held to benefit local farmers and green businesses. Vendors and even the county government have repinned images from his board, so users who do a search on their town come across the local businesses organically.
Be a David vs. the Goliaths

For small businesses, Pinterest is a huge resource for viral content sharing, says Clay Goetz, a digital-media strategist in San Francisco. Large brands may appear to have the upper hand, with the funds and staff to explore the platform. “However, social media levels the communications playing field,” Goetz says. “A small business publishing the right kind of content can quickly trump the thousands of dollars in resources and campaigning that a larger business might pour in.”

That’s something the Carlsons quickly learned with their B&B’s popular new bathroom. “There’s something about it that captured people’s imaginations,” Lynn says. “The rules of the people participating online have really changed.”

3 Ways to Use Video Marketing to Promote Your Small Business

SBOC Team on Oct 21, 2011 9:07:25 AM

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Social media, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube, can be a viable platform to reach your targeted audiences. Companies – large and small – that aren’t creating and sharing digital content are missing an opportunity to communicate and build relationships with a mass consumer market.

You may want to consider adding video content to your social media marketing strategy as another way to capitalize on these opportunities. Video marketing does not necessarily require expensive equipment and high-production values. With affordable video cameras and easy-to-use software, video has become accessible for small businesses.

The number people who watch online videos is staggering – most web users watch 186 videos a month, according to digital marketing research firm comScore. Posting your video on YouTube will give you access to the channel’s 20 million monthly visitors.

Once you decide it’s worthwhile to create a marketing video, you must then determine what you will be filming. The following are some examples of how you might use video to promote your small business:

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Product Demonstrations: These are short, demonstrational videos about how to use your product or how it might fit into a viewer’s lifestyle. They can be very effective in capturing customer attention for your company’s website and these types of videos are appealing because they are often easier to follow than a printed manual. Budget permitting, you can hire professional talent, but you don’t have to.

How-To Videos: Showing your customers how to do something new without directly promoting your product or service is a great way to position yourself as an expert in your field. For example, a hair salon can create videos about how to create simple up dos and a kitchen appliance company can give cooking demonstrations. If you post your how-to video on YouTube, be sure to use strategic key words, so your video can be found by customers who might be interested in your product. Also, do not forget to display your web address prominently on the video page in order to drive business back to your site.

Viral Marketing: Equip select, responsible customers with inexpensive video cameras and ask them to submit videos of themselves using your product in amusing ways. This type of word-of-mouth marketing is cost effective and can be more compelling to potential customers than a paid advertisement.

Here are some considerations to bear in mind if you’re considering using online video as part of your marketing mix:

Typically, online videos should be between 30 seconds to three minutes long and should encompass two or three message points.
Using an inexpensive camera with 320 x 400 pixels will work fine, particularly if you plan to post your video on YouTube.
Editing can be done with simple do-it-yourself software such as iMovie, Avid, Adobe Premiere, and Final Cut Pro. Distribution can be handled through services like Ooyala and Wistia.
In addition to YouTube, investigate video hosting services like DailyMotion, MetaCafe, Vidler, and Vimeo or social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
When uploading videos, it’s best to adhere to a regular broadcast schedule – whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly – so your customers know what to expect.
If you want to quantify the impact of your video campaign, invest in analytics tools that allow you to see whether customers view the full video or only watch the first 30 seconds of it.

Online videos are easy and inexpensive tools for small business owners. So, don’t be shy; grab your video camera and show what your company is all about.