Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

The other day I was sharing my Pinterest account with a friend and trying to explain my facination.  The challenge of explaining a purely visual medium with only words didn’t work, so I went online and explained.  She noticed a pin board I have called Garden Tour 2014.  I explained that the board links to photos of a blog I wrote about garden design, and how Pinterest actually works well to drive traffic to that blog.

She asked the next logical question any good business owner would ask “So how can I use Pinterest to grow my nursery?”

If I was selling plants right now, this is what I would do…

1. Set up a blog on my website.  Develop a schedule for updating it, and make it very visual with only brief but keyword rich text.

2. Set up a Pinterest account and create a board called My Nurseryor something like that.  You might consider several other boards for personal interest or other plant pictures so you can develop a broader following (and have some fun too!)

3. With every blog post include a photo or two, then pin that photo to your nursery’s pin board.  When people click on the photo they will be brought to your website.

4. Make sure my blog is integrated into my website so once people get there they are no more two clicks away from the most important info, which might include special offers, ordering information, directions, contact, etc.

5. Set up a Facebook page and add blog posts there as well.  Also your pins will be included in your timeline on Facebook as well.

These are good ways of keeping three platforms current without recreating content.

Father James DiLuzio

I have to write a post about this incredible performance I witnessed recently.  Luke Live! is a one man show performed by Paulist Father James DiLuzio in which he reads and acts out, from memory, the Gospel according to Luke.  In the segment of the show I saw, he read chapters 7 and 8.  It was amazing.  I read the Bible like I do most things, in fits and spurts.  When I do read however, it tends to be the Gospels.  In an hour and a half tonight I had these two chapters opened up to me in ways I hadn’t previously experienced.  I had a chance to talk about it with Father afterwards.  I shared some of the insight I gained, and he further explained his mission.  I love talking about religion and politics, but that side of this post is best saved for another place.

I first heard Luke Live! was coming to our parish though standard communications.  An ad was placed in the church bulletin, an announcement was made before mass.  I knew it was going on, but none of these things stirred me to want to go.  It turned out that the religious formation class I teach was going to be attending, so I eventually found out I had to go, but again, that in no way excited me.  Then came the hook:

Freemium.

Just like a movie trailer or that free demo version of your now favorite paid app, I got a free sample of the performance.  Father DiLuzio delivered the homily and sang a song at mass the Sunday before Luke Live was to start.  I was hooked.  He delivered such a high paced, well thought out, rehearsed and organized set of ideas that I knew I had to hear what he had to say over an hour and a half! I know that Father showed up at mass that day because it is what he does, he evangelizes.  I am sure he just saw that homily as a logical extension of his ministry.  But it was well executed marketing at its finest.

In many businesses that are not tech based, the idea of giving it away for free can be scary.  There are other good examples of this in the food industry:

Rita’s Water Ice: I don’t know about where you live, but here in SO-JO if it is the first day of spring, it is free water ice at Rita’s!  We drove through two obnoxiously crowed parking lots this year just for a free cup of flavored frozen sugar water.  Why?  To ensure you get in the habit early of finding your local Rita’s of course, and the press coverage doesn’t hurt either.

Dunkin Donuts: I am a D and D junkie.  Every once in a while I get frustrated that coffee there costs more than other place (with one notable pretentious exception of course) and try a local deli or something.  It almost seems that Dunkin’ knows this, and just when I start thinking I will stray something ‘Free Coffee Mondays’ come around or an online deal like this one.

Chick-Fil-A:  Seriously, if you are still going to other fast food places, stop, find a Chick-Fil-A, and thank me later.  Not sure about chicken for breakfast?  Keep an eye on your local circular because they will invariably send you a coupon for a free breakfast sandwich at some point, and you will forget all about your McMuffin…

I struggled with this in my landscape design business.  Looking back I would have tried a product giveaway to compliment my services, rather than ‘free service’.  Any tangible product has an implied value that promised service does not.  That is of course one of the biggest challenges with marketing a service based business.

Important to note: while I said earlier that the print marketing didn’t stir me to action, it was important.  Without it, I may have been overwhelmed and unaware and the ‘freemium’ content would have gone passed me.  Marketing needs to be integrated to be effective.

Yes that’s right ladies and gentlemen, that was the most clever title I could come up with for a StumbleUpon article.  I know, I know, I can and should do better, but it is late and that is about what I got left in the tank today.

So why am I writing about StumbleUpon.  Quite simply it is a great tool if you really don’t know what you want to see on the internet, but you know you want something good.  I have never had to stumble more than 3 times in a row (and rarely more than once) to find something of interest to read or view.  In an internet where truly random searches are harder and harder to get, StumbleUpon has lead me down some great paths, like finding this site for example.

It is also potentially a great tool for growing a blog as outlined in the great article from the well respected bloggers at http://www.problogger.com . I have not used it for this yet, but plan to.  We will see how it goes.

My First Poll

Posted: March 25, 2012 in Facebook, Pinterest, Social Media, Twitter

First poll.  It’s simple.  Please answer.  Thanks!

Web Wednesdays

Posted: March 21, 2012 in Design, Marketing, Pinterest, Social Media

Pinterest Logo

One thing is certain, there is SO MUCH CONTENT out on the web one does not even know where to start.  I am constantly following blogs I don’t have time to read and still adding new ones that I find interesting.  So, here is where I am going to help you filter through it all.  Wednesdays I will highlight something I think is the ‘best of the web’, and Thursdays will be the ‘Best of the Rest’, or a link list for some of the great content I find out there.

So this week, this first Wednesday of Web Wednesday’s, I am taking a cop out.  I am going to highlight Pinterest.

I know, I know, you didn’t need to read my blog to hear about Pinterest.  Clearly I am not breaking ground here.  Consider this more of a confession… Hi, my name is Dominick, and I am officially addicted to Pinterest.

I use Facebook and find it a useful tool for both personal and business communication, but I don’t think I ever got hooked.  I came closer with Twitter because it provided for a little more random interaction.  But with Pinterest I find it not only useful, but fun, motivational, and random enough to be exciting.

And for savvy retailers, graphic designers, landscapers, and other visual professionals, an incredible marketing tool.

The other social and search networks work primarily on a text interface that also supports graphics.  Even for all the photos on face book, your status updates are all about your words.  I am blogging, so I appreciate words, but there is something about the overwhelmingly visual nature of Pinterest that can be very influential.  Someones pin board can not just share some info, but tell a story.  It like Facebook + Google images + StumbleUpon all in one.

So how could you use Pinterest for business?  Let’s say you are a tattoo artist.  You could start a Pin Board that includes you favorite ink from around the web, talk about what you do and why you like it, and reference how it compliments your own style.  You could also have a Pin Board for your own work that shares the link to your own web gallery so people who search Pinterest for Tattoos will find your work, and have a path to get back to you if they want it.  The ease that this could happen might be the best feature of Pinterest for businesses.  Much like Twitter, the beauty is in the simplicity.  Pining images, searching the site, liking, and commenting is very easy.

If you are not already signed up, do it.  Now.  Go.  Thank me later.

Thumbs UpIn a last minute change of schedule I find myself presenting on Social Media Success less than a week from now.  The focus this NJNLA meeting, the audience for which is mostly landscape professionals, is a primer for the business owner that keeps getting told he needs to ‘do social media’ but doesn’t have the time or understanding.

Here are the five points I think are important to anyone starting out in social media for their business.

1: It doesn’t matter if you don’t get it

One of the things I hear most is “I don’t get it.”  Facebook and twitter is not just about seeing what your niece had for lunch or how many row crops your sister planted in Farmville.  If you don’t like it or don’t understand it, that’s fine.  But here is the question you should be asking: Do my customers get?  Are they using it?

2: New marketing tools don’t negate old marketing rules

I often get the impression from people that starting in social media marketing is a binary decision: keep doing what I am doing, or start doing social media.  You need to do both.  Social media channels give you new insight into clients and prospects you never had before, but marketing this way is still about gaining trust and building relationships, same as it has always been.  Which brings me to number three…

3: What is the number one point businesses get wrong when starting in socail media?

They forget the most important word: Social.  These new tools are about having conversations, listening, having some fun, and building relationships.  Setting up a Twitter account, only to post “Click Here to see great photos of my last job”, is too much yelling, not enough talking.  Ask questions, read what others have to say, and learn what it is your clients want.

4: Facebook is not for everyone

I include this because Facebook is the point where most beginners begin.  Mostly because there kids or spouse or friends are on it, so that is where the pressure comes from.  Facebook can be great for a small landscape business, but there are lots of social media channels, and it is good to know your options.

5: It’s harder than you think, but don’t worry, there is an app for that…

Like any component of your marketing plan, social media needs a plan, and that plan needs to be executed on.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress and Youtube are all free to join, but the investment comes in the time.  There are tools available that will help you schedule in advance and save you time, like Tweetdeck and Hoot Suite.

Anyone can get started in social media, but knowing some of the in’s and out’s will mean the difference between a fruitful marketing campaign and just getting frustrated and going to play Farmville.