Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Do you remember going through those gigantic mail-order catalogs from Sears and Robuck? When I was a kid, we lived on a farm outside of a small, fairly remote town in Colorado. Taking four children shopping was not something my mother my mother enjoyed. Instead, especially at Christmas time, we would all sit in front of the furnace vent and look through this massive book -- dog-earing the pages that held some item we wanted. Pintrest is the new and very cool social media product catalog that process replicates shopping in my youth.


What do i LOVE about Pintrest? Let me count the ways:

1) A bride to be, like my niece, is massing a scrapbook of all the things she might want for her wedding. She can put every dress she loves and the shoes, hair styles, venues for the wedding and the reception, even honeymoon ideas on her own personal board. A girl could start this project at a young age, and change it as many times as she likes. But when the times comes, Pintrest is better than any scrap book because Pintrest's board will link her back to the site where she originally pulled the photo so she can buy it! This could even be a great way tell your guests what gifts you'd appreciate most.

2) A homeowner decides it's time to redecorate the house. Everything for paint and fabric swatches to furniture and accessories can be put on a Pintrest board. It's the folder that nothing falls out of!

3)A traveler is planning his next trip. Time is limited, but Pintrest keeps all the ideas organized.

But wait, there's more! Your friends can "like" your posts or "pins" as they are called. So that brides friends can provide her with feedback about her choices, even at 4 am.

And one more thing! Pintrest is online social media. Its the most gigantic of all Sears' catalogs, because others people can repost the same things that you liked! How cool is that? Well for a business, that is HUGE! For a store, its better than a friend asking you where you got an outfit or a stranger doing a double take on the street corner. Its better because that Pintrest link back to the source is going to drive traffic back to the original site. Don't hate me, but the potential for small businesses here is incredible.

So, start pinning!
Here is my board, changing daily.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tweeting for New Customers

I often get asked about the differences between various social media platforms. When an buddy who paints pet portraits asked me how to find more customers, this is what I advised him.

Twitter is one of the best tools for broadcasting your message to people that you don’t already know, because unlike Facebook, Twitter does not maximize the number of followers you can have, nor does it require permission from the poster to watch their posts, so you can quickly build a large index of incoming tweets.

Ok, so how does that bring you new business? Tweeters are likely to check out your profile when you follow them, and likely to graciously reciprocate by following your Tweets. Once they follow you, their friends also are exposed to your brand, and perhaps they will want to follow you too!

Building a Twitter fan base starts with selecting the posts that you want to follow. You could just randomly choose things that interest you, OR you could focus the accounts you follow on those that like the same thing you are going to tweet about. In this case, people who love their pets and might want to have a portrait of them painted.

A good place to start looking for people that like pets is Twitter’s search bar. Enter something like “pets” or “pet photos” into the search bar in the upper right section, and like magic, some important high profile Twitter accounts are displayed for your choosing. There are corporate accounts like PetSmart and PetMD®, pages set up by pet photographers, and pages with that focus on the pets a particular tweeter loves. Plus you’ll see photos and videos related to pets.

Your first job in building a Twitter following is to follow these pages. Follow LOTS of them. Twitter is a numbers game. The more “pet” accounts you follow, the more likely it is that someone else interested in pets, and specifically in getting a custom painting of their pet will be to find you. You’ll want to regularly cull for new pages to follow, and don’t forget to follow those Tweeters that follow you – they might be your next customers.

Next, start posting your work. In this case it’s pictures of portraits of pets, so post one or two a day until you’ve got a portfolio of your work displayed on you Twitter account. If you have another expertise consider posting links to your blog, where you establish yourself as an expert in your field, or links to stories that you find interesting about your business or career.

Google+ accounts can work very similarly to Twitter, since like Twitter, Google+ does not require the author to give permission to follow.

I recommend that you consider your Twitter account part of your branding. Don’t muddy the waters by posting things to it that do not relate to your brand and your goal for your Twitter Account.

The awesome graphic below, provided by Social Reflection, helps demonstrate the exponential impact of Social Media Marketing.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Who Needs Google+

"Who needs ANOTHER social network? I mean isn't Facebook enough? Or Twitter? Or LinkedIn? Why would anyone want to spend so much time just to replicate a network they already have?"

I hear you! It takes a lot of time to develop a network that serves any purpose, and if you are 100% satisfied (or even 90%!), then it's really not worth your time to set up a Google+ account.

BUT . . . if the social network you've got does not fulfill ALL of your needs, maybe you should try again. AND if you do, maybe you can take a different strategy in developing it than you took last time.

Developing a Google+ network makes sense IF:

1) You need an intra-network for you club, organization, or job. If you'd like a place to post content for a finite group of "friends," Google+ is a good fit, and starting over for that group makes sense, because Goolge+'s "Circles" are a clean and easy way to organize the people in your network. You could even create a separate circle for the Executive Board. Later on you could add more cirles, but if you start out with a goal, you'll be happier and more organized in your approach.

Facebook recently made some changes in their "Friends" setup, but it's really messy! Facebook reminds me of clunky old Windows DOS, where Google+ is clean and simple, drag and drop, MUCH BETTER!

2) You like following columnists and/or industry or political leaders, or experts in just about anything.

Like Twitter, Google+ allows you to follow people without them reciprocating, BUT Google+ does not limit messages to 140 characters and force you to guess about the content or to click a link to get more information. Twitter is awesome for getting lots of followers, or communicating short messages, but I don't want to have to make in inquiry because my network buddy makes a cute, incomplete statement. Let's get back to writing clear and meaningful comments, but lets still keep them concise!

3) You just want to start over! Face it, we've learned a lot in the past few years about what social media is, and how we want to participate.

4) Perhaps you'd like to get feed on a particular topic of interest. Google+'s "Sparks" allow you to add Google key word searches. I added one for my hometown, so know I can keep track of what's happening with my nieces on the volleyball court! Google+ provides a special section for it, just like the one of those old fashioned paper things that used to get ink all over my hands when I fumbled with the giant pages.

Google+ is FAR FROM PERFECT. It's a damn lonely place! Only my most serious social media friends post anything! (Then again, Google+ is not cluttered with all that stuff that I don't care about, and the games seem more advanced than those on Facebook.) Google elected to roll-out slowly, and requires an special invitation from an existing member to join. (How cool, an exclusive club! NOT!!) But hey, if you are reading this, you've got a friend that would be happy to send you an invite to join Google+. Just ask me.