Marketing Mondays: Pinterest Updates

If your business is employing Pinterest as a marketing tool, you may already be savvy to the newest updates.

If not, here are several links which will bring you up to speed.

I like the new look they’ve introduced. A couple of the highlights include:

• Pins from the same board: You can explore the entire board without leaving the page you’re on.

• Pins from the same source: Here you’ll find other things pinned from the same website. This is a great option for quick searches.

• “People who pinned this also pinned” feature.

• Easier share options.

• The Rearrange Boards button has been moved, but you can now easily do this by drag and drop.

There’s also a few aesthetic changes such as bigger pins (was 600 pixels wide, now 735 wide), removal of the Comments button, and useful changes such as a back button. My saunters through Pinterest have, until now, been a bit of a free fall journey, landing me wherever in the Pinterest universe the click may take me. Now, when you scroll and click through pins, the back button lands you right back where you were no matter how far you’ve gone.

Read more about the new look and features here.

Deploying it to your Pinterest page is simple. You’ll need to have a business account or list a website on your profile. Then, hover over the profile menu and click Switch to the New Look.

Importantly for businesses, Pinterest also introduced Web Analytics. Now you can see what pinners are repinning most from your site and also track their activity. Learn more about it at this link, and find installation instructions and tips to optimize your Pinterest business page here.

Finally, a few more useful insights and tips at this post. 

Marketing Mondays – Pinterest 101

I’ve maintained a personal Pinterest page for about six months now, which I use to collect ideas – for renovation projects, farm shots, event ideas, favorite photographers, books, films, art, travel, barns, kitchens, gardens, decks, it’s an endless list. It’s like a great big picture book of favorite things, and a source book of ideas when I need it for a specific project, such as the barn we’re planning to build in the spring, for instance.

We launched Western Horse Review’s Pinterest a few weeks ago and it’s slowing gaining momentum.

We’ve developed the idea of three goals for our WHR Pinterest page. Primarily, we wish to invite viewers back to our site, and convert passer-bys into fans and regular viewers. Secondly, we use it to profile the work of our partners, such as advertisers, photographers, artists, contributors and so forth. Thirdly in our Pinterest mandate is simply an imagery of the western way of life – from horsemanship to culture to style – both in our modern times and history. With both a Canadian viewpoint and a global outlook. You’ll find all from Brazilian cowboy artwork to pins with links to local western heroes.

If you’re a real neophyte, and are wondering what this Pinterest is all about, it really is just another social media sharing site. It allows you to visually share, curate, and discover new interests by “pinning” Users can either upload images from their computer or pin things they find on the web using the pinterest bookmarklet, pin it button, or just a url.

I haven’t gotten to all of the business and marketing possibilities with Pinterest. But, I will in future Marketing Mondays posts. In the meantime, good luck with your own Pinterest ventures. Here’s an infograph you might enjoy, a bit dated, but still does a great quick job of explaining Pinterest, how it works, and from a marketing perspective, why it matters.

 

Marketing Mondays: Facebook Changes

Lately, the news feed on my personal Facebook page has been all about the changes Facebook has instigated, most of which came into full effect last week. I thought I’d share a few of the articles I’ve received in my inbox over the past few weeks which might be helpful in understanding these changes, and, frankly, dealing with them.

Naturally, the big question is why. Facebook was working for millions of users. Why change it up? Don’t they care about us, their customers? Long time blogger, Jon Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing, explains while Facebook users are a necessity of the success of the social media venue, users aren’t Facebook’s customers – advertisers are. Advertisers want users to share more. The Facebook changes – from the new timeline to the custom verbs are all about getting us to tell more about ourselves, thereby revealing the market data Facebook advertisers live by.

Read the entire piece at What the Heck is Facebook Thinking?

The Facebook changes have also presented a new set of challenges for owners of business Facebook pages.

Jodi at MCP Actions explains that clearly in this post and details the fix for it at Fix Broken Facebook: Guide to Help Photography Businesses.

Here are links to a few other links I found useful over the weekend:

– The new Facebook Timeline was scheduled for release sometime last week, and I have viewed it on a few of my friend’s pages. If you’re eager to design yours, you can enable it by following these steps.

– Searching for a unique and outstanding cover photo. Check out these 5 sites for customizing your cover photo.

– And finally, here’s 10 simple tips and tricks to get your timeline groove on.

We’ll see what’s changed between today and next Monday in the ever evolving world of Facebook.

Thanks for tuning in!

Marketing Mondays: Facebook Content

We’ve returned from another impressive edition of the Canadian Supreme, in time for the full onslaught of the changing of the seasons and another edition of Marketing Mondays. If you missed it here’s a link to last week’s discussion on Twitter. From there you can follow links back from to all of my Marketing Mondays posts, or simply choose Marketing Mondays in the tag cloud at the right.

This week, a discussion on the social media venue we all love, and simultaneously love to malign.

Many equine businesses are harnessing the power of Facebook in an effort to tap into the portion of it’s 600+ billion users, particularly of course, those who own horses. A vibrant Facebook community of western riders North American-wide exists within which many engage for a constant source of entertainment, inspiration, and often, for myself, interesting leads to stories I might not be privy to in my regular circles.

For the purposes of this piece, we’re going to assume you already know how to set up your own Facebook page, and have done so. If you haven’t and need a primer, this article will get you up and running seamlessly.

It might appear to be putting the cart in front of the horse with this discussion of content in advance of a strategies for procuring fans or friends, but for the Western Horse Review brand, it was important to figure out content prior to large scale plans of securing a following.

Western Horse Review kicked off it’s Facebook page back in November, 2009. Initially, we refrained from posting  a great amount of content, but gradually we’ve found our way to managing a Facebook page which we hope keeps our readers empowered with the latest information in western riding, offers entertainment and asks for engagement along the way.

Here’s some suggestions for content on your own brand’s Facebook page.

1. Step out from your logo.

If you’re only all about this week’s 20% off sale at the store, you might find it a tough track to the top. You simply won’t be human enough, and Facebook is all about sociability. Step out from behind your logo once in a while and show us your personal side. Share experiences of your life in the horse world, not just your brand.

2. Embrace giveaways and contests.

Facebook is an perfect venue for contests and giveaways. I do this often, particularly at the last minute and as a way to remind people about an upcoming event or show we’re going to be attending.

3. Give someone a chuckle.

It’s a beautiful thing when you can gift someone in the world with a chuckle.

4. Go for the “aawwww” moment.

We love these sorts of posts, and judging by the feedback, so do our viewers.

5. Throw the controversial out there.

On Facebook, each user is held accountable for his or her comments with the posting of a name beside the comment. It keeps it real and invites serious dialogue.

6. Remember our deep ties to pop culture.

Secretariat, John Wayne, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Roy Rogers, these are all a part of our deep history and love affair with all things western.

7. Be interesting and real.

I snapped this photo late one afternoon, and paired it with an old cowboy saying to share the feeling of peace it left me with. There is everything right about sharing a moment like this. It has nothing to do with our brand, but then, it does. . .

8. Invite discussion.

Our audience always seems up for an early morning debate.

9. Ask questions.

We’d like to know what products you’re using in your barn, and daily horse life. So we ask. . .

10. Don’t be anal about it all.

You need common sense, inquisitiveness, a bit of humor, and self-editing skills, not a structured business plan to be successful at Facebook posting. Naturally we examine our analytics a great deal, it’s amazing what we can discover about our audience through the feedback we receive. Still, we try not to graph it too much, and instead, let it flow.

I hope these 10 ideas for posting have been helpful. See you next week.

Marketing Mondays – Twitter Part 2

Welcome to Part Two of our Twitter talk on Marketing Mondays. You can catch last week’s session here.

Today we’re going to delve into what all those little symbols, hashtags etc., mean in a 140 character tweet, as well as look at some cool tools for you. Without knowledge of the meaning behind the characters commonly used in a tweet, a stream of tweets can be as confusing as wall of bits you have no previous experience with. What to use and when?

1. # (hash tags)

What it is: In the language of Twitter, the # symbol is referred to as a hash tag. Including a hash tag at the beginning of a key word categorizes your tweet. For instance, if you have a tweet about the Calgary Stampede, you can precede it with a #Stampede. It might look something like this real tweet from the Calgary Stampede twitter feed:

For all the deets with the #Stampede Indian Princess Centennial pageant, follow@StampedeIP & @regtiangha for the latest! and your tweet will be listed with all of the other other tagged Calgary Stampede tweets.

When to use it: Following the #Stampede example above, your #Stampede tweet will be listed with all of the other #Stampede tweets for anyone who happens to be searching for Calgary Stampede tweets. It’s a sure way to be listed with like tweets on a certain subject.

2. @ (replies)

What it is: Adding a @westernhorserev at the beginning of your tweet simply says you are replying to Western Horse Review.

When to use it: You can employ a tweet much like an e-mail message by adding the @(name of user) to the beginning of your tweet. Just remember, it’s not a private message, but rather one viewed by all followers. Replies come up in your normal Twitter stream, but they’re also easy to find by clicking on the @{Mentions} navigational item from your home page.

3. DM (direct message)

What it is: If you prefer to send a direct message, rather than an @, compose it like this:

dusername your message

When to use it: Obviously, when you prefer the message to be between you and the user, not the entire twitter stream of followers. If a follower asks you to DM, he or she is asking you to respond privately.

4. RT (retweet)

What it is: Another favorite way for you to share a tweet you’ve enjoyed, found useful, or want simply want to pass on is to retweet it. In your tweet the composition for this will appear like this:

RT@username the post

When to use it: I will retweet a tweet through the Western Horse Review feed when I have reason to think it might be useful, entertaining or provoke conversation.

That’s the most common four twitter symbols you should know and begin to use as you continue your Twitter journey.

What are all the bitly links about?

P.S. – these are not my shoes. Just trying to keep you interested in the post with a visual enhancement. It is Monday after all.

One last common symbol you’ll see in a tweet is a url preceded by tinyurl or bitly.

Both of these tools are free and designed to help you shorten a long url. For instance, I recently tweeted about a Facebook post I wanted to share on Twitter. The original Facebook link was:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Western-Horse-Review/178276713247?ref=ts

Bitley.com converted it to http://on.fb.me/b1gqTW for me, granting me another 50 or so characters to use in the actual message.

What I really like about Bitly is that I can track my tweets and measure their success.

To do so simply add a + symbol to any bitly url, copy and paste it into your url. Bitly will post a chart for you detailing, how many clicks the tweet received, what countries the tweet was viewed in and what Twitter conversations arose from the tweet.

This is a great tool, for instance, to help you determine what times of day are best for releasing tweets – try, for instance releasing a tweet in the morning and the identical tweet in the afternoon, then track each to determine most views and retweets.

That’s what I have for you this morning. I hope you found it useful. And, please share, in the Comment section below your favorite Twitter tools and how Twitter assists you with the marketing – or otherwise – of your equine-related business.

Happy Monday, everyone.

Marketing Mondays: to tweet or not to tweet

Photo by Cowgirl Creations

Photo by www.cowgirlcreations.ca

I’m writing this from my couch in the living room unreasonably early – even by my account – for a Monday morning. But shortly after I tuck Wee into the school bus, my dining room table/boardroom will fill with our team as work on the next issue begins and with that there will little opportunity for blogging for the rest of the day.

And, I didn’t want to miss this edition of Marketing Mondays. By the way, to catch up on all of my Monday posts, just click on the Marketing Monday tag in the column to the right.

I’ve been watching the slow change of the seasons, the yard is scattered with leaves this morning, and Canada geese are streaming through the skies above.

It’s time to think about another bird. A little bird. Yes, I speak of the bluebird, Twitter, a tool I employ limitedly throughout my work week.

With over 200 million users generating roughly the same amount of “tweets” (individual text based posts of up to 140 characters) over the course of a day, Twitter is a heavy hitter in the world of social media. I don’t quite yet have a handle on how prevalent it’s marketing capacity is in the western horse world of business, but I do know how useful it has been at the Western Horse Review office, and to myself, as an editor. I’m going to try and articulate that over the next few Marketing Mondays, so if you’ve been pondering procuring a Twitter account for your equine business (or yourself), or you’re still at the stage of wondering what all the fuss about Twitter is about, tune in over the next few Mondays. We’ll figure it out.

First of all, let’s get you signed up. Here’s the basics:

1. Begin your account at  http://twitter.com. It’s straightforward and simple. Take some to think about your account name. Keep it simple, easy to remember and tie it into your business. Note there is a 15 character limit.

2. Click on Settings and complete your profile information. Don’t forget to include the URL to your website in the appropriate field. Add, a photo, a background and you’re off to the races. Later, you can create a more personalized background for yourself by choosing one at http://www.twitterbackgrounds.com. There are also a number of really cool customizations others have done, but let’s save that for a future post.

You’re now ready to begin tweeting. That is composing a message of no more than 140 characters (yes, there is a counter), any time of day.

I don’t have a personal Twitter account, but I do manage the the Western Horse Review Twitter account. You can find it here. While I haven’t perfected our tweeting timing or content, I do know these two elements are crucial for effective tweeting.

Let’s address timing first. Imagine the flow of tweets on anyone’s computer screen as a stream or river your horses visit. Chances are they arrive at a certain time of day, perhaps mid-afternoon when the sun is high and thirst is prevalent. The make-up of a twitter audience is surprisingly similar. They likely check the “river” at approximately the same time of the day, most days. Not everyday, not always, but there’s most certainly a pattern and ballpark window of time your followers will be at the “river” glancing over the stream of tweets passing through. Pin down that time and your tweets will be noticed, and re-tweeted more consistently, and you’ll gain more followers. That doesn’t mean you need to lose yourself in a large market research project trying to figure it out. Just begin tweeting, and be observant. Take notice of the times of day equine-related activity is at a high in your twitter stream. Be aware and tweet away. Learn as you go.

Next, there’s content. Once you get over the fact that sadly no-one but you is likely interested in the fact that you just finished mucking out the last stall, or experienced an epiphany in your training program, you can move on to more relevant tweets. I try not to waste anyone’s time with the Western Horse Review tweets, while maintaining as much of a human feel as possible. I think about making every tweet worth reading. My goal is to be unique. My desire – to make our tweets add value to any follower’s day. Ask yourself of your own tweets: is this something I’d like to know? Is my tweet sharing valuable knowledge?

But let’s not forget following, because you’re ready at this point to follow as well. Here’s an excellent video tutorial on how to follow. Who you follow is cause for another round table session, but we’ll get into that in a later post.

Twitter is amazingly simple, and incredibly complex, but the beauty of it is you can learn as you go.

Tune in next Monday when I’ll explain what’s behind all those funny little symbols you see used in your Twitter stream and also share some great tools to make your tweeting life easier and simpler. In the meantime, here’s some interesting links on the subject of Twitter.

The Real History of Twitter

Great Tips for Tweeting

How to Add a Photo Gallery to Your Profile

Twitter Tutorial – Getting Started

and just for fun:

10 Must Follow Fictional Twitter Accounts