5 Ways To Use Traditional Marketing To Promote Your Social Media

traditional-vs-social-media-marketing

Does your company run a number of traditional marketing activities, as well as social media marketing? Do they both work seamlessly together? It is common for companies to run both in silos. However, by forming an integrated social media strategy, you can achieve much better results!

I recently wrote an article for Muddywall Social Media, which takes a look into how traditional marketing can actually help to promote your social media channels.

Take a look at the FULL article here!

NEW: Pinterest Has Added Place Pins!

Pinterest Location Pins

As many of you will know, I love Pinterest! It’s the perfect tool to use to organise your ideas, whether its delicious recipes you’d like to try at a later point, or to create private boards where you can pin gift ideas throughout the year.

Well now, Pinterest have added an even more exciting feature, ‘Place Pins’! This allows users to add the location of their pin, perfect for those planning a trip.

To see some examples, click here. To set this up for yourself, its simple. You can create as a new board, or edit an existing one. To create a new board with the location functionality, make sure you change ‘map’ to ‘yes’:

Setting up Pinterest Locations

You will then be able to search for locations and ‘Pin’ images that appear:

New Pinterest Location Board

If you already have a travel board, which you’d like to change into this new style, simply ‘edit’ the board, and change ‘add map?’ to ‘yes’. When you then return to your board, you will need to go into each of your pins and add a location.

Unfortunately, if you ‘re-pin’ someone’s item which hasn’t been already been set as a location, you have to pin it, then return to your board and add its location for it to display correctly on your map. However, this is only because it is a new feature, and once more and more people add locations, this will become easier and quicker to use.

So what do you think of this new feature? Is it something that you’ll try out? Leave your feedback in the comments box below.

Image Source: Screenshots taken from Pinterest Website.

Why Good Customer Service is CRITICAL in a Digital Age


Customer service is the act of providing service before, during and after a purchase, to enhance a customers level of satisfaction.

Although social media is used by customers as portal to voice their opinions, it is also a platform which companies can use to give customers good service. It should not be used as a way to interact just when there is an issue. Social media allows companies to get closer to their customers and should be seen as an opportunity to create customer satisfaction, which in turn can improve customer retention and potentially generate referrals and new business.

I’ve recently had some great examples of companies providing excellent customer service through social media channels. Here are a few:

Even when something negative happens, good customer service on social media will really help turn the situation around – Like in this example:

So why is all of this important?

As a customer, are you still waiting for a reply to your email, but get an instant answer to a message you posted via social media? For this reason, many customers are changing the way they communicate with businesses. As a business, this is something that should be taken into account. It’s important that there is enough resource to manage this shift effectively, with sufficient knowledge on how to respond. However, as mentioned before, it’s not all about the negative, but taking this opportunity to interact with customers, to make their experience a memorable one.

What companies have you seen that have great customer service via social media? Have any stood out? Let me know in the comments box below!

Is Social Media just a Haven for Bullies?


It’s sad to read so many articles about people being bullied on social networks. With the openness of sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it seems that they are prone places for people to throw about their insults…

Fearne Cotton was recently publicly bullied via the site, for her choice of Baby name. Adele has also had a number of hurtful comments, but not only that, she received death threats via these sites! The saddest report though is of 15-year-old Amanda, who killed herself after continued bullying via social media.

Once something that took place in the playground, is now a much larger issue. NSPCC say smartphones are to blame, with apps increasing bullying and abuse and in France, the country’s Minister of Women’s Rights say that micro-blogs must start censoring hate speech. Even people using the sites can see there are issues, with 68% of teens agreeing that cyberbullying is a serious problem.

Should there be better rules in place to stop online bullying? Twitter does have their own ‘Abusive Behaviour’ Rules, however is this good enough? What about a death threat, surely this is beyond Twitter itself and should be dealt with at a higher level?

How do you think online bullying should be approached? Let me know in the comments box below!

Facebook Guidelines – Does anyone listen?


f_logoWhen first using Facebook for business, one of the first things I did, was check Facebook’s Page Guidelines, especially around promotions and adding images. As I was running Facebook for a brand, I didn’t want to jeopardise their online reputation. Recently though, it seems that more and more brands don’t know these rules exist, or are simply just ignoring them…

How Brands Break The Rules
In my news feed, I increasingly see Facebook’s guidelines being broken, through companies adding prices and promotional information to cover images and through running competitions such as:

  • ‘Like’ our page and our 1,000th follower will win a prize.
  • ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ this post to be in with the chance of winning.

Running a brands Facebook presence myself, it’s extremely frustrating to see other companies ignoring the rules and getting away with it, especially when they are getting good results in return! I’m also surprised to see that it’s not just SME’s, but also some very large organisations!

What Do Facebook Do?
Over time, Facebook have removed competitions and closed Facebook Pages down for going against their guidelines. However, it’s not really in Facebook’s interest to close down pages. Facebook want to encourage companies to use all their features, not annoy them.

However, with this in mind, what should Facebook be doing to stop people from ignoring their guidelines? If companies see others breaking the rules, what is stopping them from trying it too, eventually making the guidelines obsolete?

What Are Your Thoughts?
Facebook should make the consequences much clearer, as this would deter companies from intentionally ignoring the rules. I don’t think they should delete people’s Pages, because as well as being time-consuming, warning companies that there will be consequences may be enough to help. In the defense of some brands, the guidelines are not clear, unless you go and intentionally look for them. Facebook could easily make these much clearer, such as by being visible to a person when they set up a new Facebook Page, or are added as a Page admin. Each time the guidelines are updated, they could also be added as a notification!

What do you think? Are companies trying their luck by ignoring the rules? How do you think Facebook can deal with this problem, without making enemies… Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Image Source: Facebook

Animated Twitter


DisneyAnimatedGIFonTwitterI know in September 2012, Twitter banned all new animated images to their site. However, you do still have to admit, that for accounts that use them, whether you like them or not, they are very eye-catching!

With social media becoming increasingly competitive, you want to stand out from the crowd and when doing a search on Twitter, if your profile picture is moving, you catch my attention!

Very few accounts would have an animated image now, after Twitter’s changes, but I recently came across @DisneyMoviesUK which instantly made me click on it to see what it was promoting!

I know that last year, @Burberry got a lot of press as well, when they debuted their catwalk collection via animated GIFs on Twitter, with great results too!

So although Twitter has now stopped this feature, I’m sure these forward thinking companies will come up with clever new ways to stand out from all the other chatter on social media! But, it also shows that you have to be able to quickly adapt to situations, be one step ahead and always be thinking about the next thing to try, as otherwise, you might get left behind, or like in this case, the rules change before you even get there!

What do you think of animated GIFs on Twitter? Or have you seen any companies stand out via social media recently? Let me know in the comments box below!

Image Source: Screenshot from Disney Movies UK Twitter Account

Pinterest Feature UPDATE!


I’m excited that after my last blog called “Pinterest – What is it and should your business be using it?“, Pinterest have made an exciting change. Now, if you log-in and scroll to the bottom of the page, you have the ability to create private Pinterest boards! This was one of my points that I made from my initial blog, saying that this is a key feature that is missing, but now, only a few months later, it’s available!

Pinterest - Private Boards

This is a great new feature and is perfect for pinning items that you don’t want other people to see. You might want to pin gift ideas, or wedding inspiration for example, which you want to keep a secret! For businesses, this is a great feature to use. You can set up all your pins on a private board and then switch to ‘public’, so your boards never get seen only half complete. Also, if you’re adding a number of pins all at once, you won’t annoy your followers!

Pinterest - Adding a private board

It’s a shame that you can only have a maximum of 3 private boards at any time, but, what ever you use it for, it’s still a great new development! Give it a go! You can find out more about private boards here.

Have you tried these private boards out yet? What do you think? Leave a comment below!


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Image Source: Screenshots from Pinterest

Why Social Media has raised the bar for Customer Service!


Social media has permanently changed the way we all communicate. A key focus of this for businesses has been finding the best ways of utilising these tools, to make sure messages reach their targeted customer base effectively. However, is it just sales and marketing that businesses should be focusing on? What about the customer service implications that social media is having on brands?

How has social media changed customer service?
Previously, if a customer had a complaint, they may have written a letter. This would only have been seen by 1 or 2 people and a response may have taken a couple of weeks. With emails, customers expect a quicker response, but complaints are kept internal and probably seen by only a handful of people. With social media, a response is expected to be almost instant and both complaint and response will be seen by thousands or even millions of potential customers. Furthermore, customers are starting to understand the power of this medium and can put pressure on businesses to respond in a prompt but effective way.

Why is it so important that companies get it right?
Reports show that 62% of consumers have turned to social media to voice customer service issues. This will only grow in time and has always been the risk with these platforms. Instead of worrying though, businesses should embrace this statistic as an opportunity to showcase their customer service skills, whilst generating a positive outlook on their business. This should also help in retention and creation of the businesses customer base too!

Current Statistics
Worryingly, a study in 2011 looking at the top 50 brands, found that:

  • 56% did not respond to a single customer comment on their Facebook Page.
  • 71% of customer complaints were ignored on Twitter.
  • 55% of consumers expect a response the same day to their online complaint, whilst only 29% received one.

What should businesses do?
In order to be able to deal with the changes that social media has brought about, businesses need to create a structured customer service strategy with the right personnel and culture in place, to be able to rectify issues as soon as they arise, without damaging the brand and risking complaints escalating out of control.

Final thoughts…
I think that customer service should be a major focal point for companies over the next year or so, with it becoming critical to their brand and overall success. But what do you think? Do you think social media has changed the way companies deal with complaints, for the better? Plus, do you have any great examples of good/bad customer service via social media? Please leave your comments below!

Pinterest – What is it and should your business be using it?


Ranking as the 26th most popular website in the UK, Pinterest has suddenly risen in popularity and is catching many people’s attention. Plus, in March 2012, according to a report by Experian Hitwise, Pinterest became the 3rd largest social network in the US, just under Facebook and Twitter, making it more popular than LinkedIn!

For those of you who have not tried using it, Pinterest is a great way to save things you like online, such as recipes, holiday destinations, quotes, fashion ideas and much more! A good way to describe it is an Amazon wish list, but for everything you could ever imagine. On 10th August 2012, Pinterest opened up their site to everyone, so you can now try it out for yourself: www.pinterest.com

However, it is not only a tool to enjoy during your personal time, but also an exciting tool for business use too, with many companies already giving it a go.

Here are a few of my favourite Pinterest profiles:

So how do you build a good Pinterest profile for your company?

After creating a Pinterest account for work, here are my top 10 tips that may help you:

  1. Add your company logo as your profile image, to make your account look more official.
  2. Don’t just pin photos, but also videos too, which help to mix up your content. Infographics also work well on Pinterest.
  3. Always make sure you include a relevant description on your pin, to help with SEO.
  4. ‘Edit’ the pin, so that when a user clicks on it, it links back to your website, helping to increase traffic to your pages.
  5. You can add the price of your product into its description and a price overlay will automatically be added to your image. Your pin will also be included within Pinterests ‘gift’ section.
  6. Pinterest do not currently restrict the height of your pins, so try using some taller images, to see if these get more attention.
  7. I have already stopped following some companies who add many pins all at once, filling my entire Pinterest feed. Followers find this frustrating and so make sure you spread your pinning out throughout the day.
  8. Search for your website on Pinterest, to see if it has been ‘pinned’ by other people. You can then re-pin or ‘like’ these pins. Use the following link, replacing the last section with your companies URL: http://pinterest.com/source/elizabeth.harmon.co.uk/
  9. Monitor the success of your profile by using Pinterest analytic tools.
  10. Add ‘Pin it’ buttons to your website or blog, so that people can easily share your content.

Pinterest is a relatively new tool and so like other sites, I’m sure it will develop over time. It currently has a very sleek design and is easy to use, however, there are many things that could help to make it even more fun to use. One thing to improve the site’s functionality from a business perspective, would be to introduce private boards, allowing companies to hide boards until they are fully set up, otherwise you risk displaying something which is only half completed, which looks unprofessional. I’m therefore looking forward to seeing how the site develops and whether, like Facebook they create more functionality for business users.

What do you use Pinterest for and are there any developments you would like to see over the next few months? Have you tried it out for your business? Leave me your comments below!

 

Image Source: Logo and screenshot from Pinterest.

A Day Without Technology


mobile-ararm-failThe recurring issues with iPhone alarms got me thinking about our heavy reliance on technology. But our alarms are just a tiny proportion of the technology we use each day. So imagine all of this, just stopped working. Could you manage without it?

How many times do we all use technology, each day? It is becoming difficult to count! From waking up and switching your alarm off, to checking your phone. You might be listening to music on an iPod/mp3 player, or be checking your emails on a laptop. You may even be playing on your PlayStation or Wii!

I remember getting my first computer. There were very few reasons for me to use it, other than for Solitaire! But jump ahead 11 years and I now use it most of my day, for finding out information, talking to people and for creating reports, which once used to be done using pen and paper.

Then there is my mobile. Originally, it was for emergencies, texting and playing on snake… But 9 years on, it is my alarm, calculator, camera, diary, address book and a whole host of other things now it can access the internet anywhere at any time.

So what happens if it all stops working? With the Apple Alarm problems, 1000′s of people were outraged by it. To me, this shows just how reliant we are on technology and I wonder if this is a good thing?

In our increasingly busy lives, I do enjoy being able to switch everything off, sit down and read a book. On holiday, I love that I can not check my emails or Facebook messages because my laptop is 1000′s of miles away. However, I worry that our dependence will become worse, with the need to be connected at all times increasing, with the moments for us to just ‘switch off’ becoming few and far between.

So for now, I am going to shut my computer down and try to switch off more often. Maybe we should all try giving up technology, for a day, the weekend and at least our holiday! Maybe it will make us all happier, more relaxed and appreciate of these technologies when we do need to use them?