Google+ Is Now On Buffer! Joy, Oh Joy

Connect Google+ to Buffer
Connect Google+ to Buffer

You’re on social media. You’re pushed for time. You need to schedule posts. So, what do you do? You use Buffer, of course. It’s fast and easy.

Buffer works with Twitter and Facebook… But not with Google+. If you’re a Google+ fan, as increasing numbers of folks are, you’re slightly peeved that you can’t Buffer Google+.

Hello, joy and delight. Now you can connect Google+ to Buffer.

Buffer has an excellent how-to:

 Improve the Formatting of your posts through Buffer

Google+ has a very powerful posting editor that let’s you format your text in a variety of ways. Of course, all of these also work through Buffer, here are the most important ones you need to know:

The most important ones are below. Left is the formatting to get the right handside once you hit publish:

  • *Word* = Word

  • _Word_ =  Word

  • -Word- =  Word

When Buffer users were asked for feedback, Google+ sharing has been the most-requested feature for the past two years.

If you’re like me, and you’ve been waiting for this feature — go and connect. See you on Google+. :-)
, and on Twitter: @angee

Pinterest For Business: 5 Ways to Lure Customers Today

Pinterest
Pinterest

No small business owner has enough time for marketing — and we surely don’t have time for bleeding edge marketing, which may or may not work. Therefore few small biz owners are paying as much attention to Pinterest as they could.

Pinterest’s a recent entry into the social media landscape. Essentially, it’s an image sharing site. If you’re thinking, “yeah, as if I have time to play around posting pretty pictures”, consider that:

• Launched March, 2010, Pinterest has grown 4000% in the last six months.
• It has 17 million users a month and is the 60th most visited site in the U.S.
• Pinterest drives more referral traffic than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn — combined.

To get up to speed fast, Wikipedia gives you the gist.

Interested yet?

A recent article in Forbes stated:

Realizing that you could be using Pinterest to engage with your online audience is a far different thing from knowing how. And even knowing how is sometimes a far cry from knowing how to best engage with them.

OK, you’re interested. But how do you get customers from the site?

5 Ways to Lure Customers on Pinterest

Here are five ways to consider.

1. Pin images from your website and blog

We’ve discussed image marketing. Have at it. You’ve got images, so post them onto boards on Pinterest. You can join Pinterest as a business. The site offers many different tools for business, so that you can monitor and measure engagement.

Pinterest Success Stories

 

Pinterest Business Success Stories

No images? Grab your cell phone camera, and start snapping. You don’t need to hire a photographer.  Home-made images are not only fine, but also seem more credible to viewers.

2. Pin your videos and presentations

Here’s your chance to make the most of the content you already have — post your presentations and videos onto your business boards.

Since you can share boards, ask your customers to pin too — create boards they can use.

3. What do you wish your customers knew? Pin it

I’m sure you’ve got Frequently Asked Questions on your website. You’ve got Support and Help pages too. Who reads them? That’s right — very few people.

Make all your helpful info more palatable when you pin it. Create graphics like infographics, and how-to images. (And videos.)

4. Pin fun items — make your brand stand out

Pinterest suggests:

Show what inspires you

Instead of just showing off your products, show what inspires them. Create boards for the ideas, places, people and moods behind your brand.

Getting any ideas yet? Of course you are. The point is, make your boards entertaining.

5. More fun: create contests on Pinterest

Pinterest users love contests. Who doesn’t?

Hubspot shared 8 Real-Life Examples of Engaging Pinterest Contests:

… when it comes to contests, Pinterest is a rule hater’s dream network. In fact, it wasn’t until Pinterest launched business accounts recently that the social network even had a set of official rules or guidelines for running contests, and it’s definitely one of the more flexible social networks in this respect.

Contests are easy to set up, and they drive engagement.

So there you have it. Five ways to lure customers using Pinterest. Although Pinterest won’t work for all businesses, chances are good that it will work for yours.

If you need help setting up Pinterest for your business, get in touch.

 

You’re a Star: Shine Brightly With a Customized Publicity Campaign This Week

PR Publicity

What could you do if you had an unlimited advertising budget? Maybe you’re salivating, thinking of all the advertising you could buy.

Sadly, even with an unlimited advertising budget, your results may not be as amazing as you hope.

Here’s why. When you buy advertising, you’re limited to the advertising venues you choose. In 2013, audiences are fragmented. If you choose to advertise on radio and TV, you won’t reach all the people in your target audience. Your audience may miss your ads completely. That’s money down the drain. The same applies to any advertising venue – you’ll reach just a small part of your potential audience.

Every business needs to advertise. However, for true effectiveness, you need something else: publicity. Publicity amplifies the effect of your advertising, and it’s long-lasting. I’ve often told the story of I first got into copywriting… how a press release I wrote changed the fortunes of my employer.

You need publicity as well as advertising

Few businesses strive for publicity. Public relations tends to be a mystery. Businesses may not even be aware that most news stories in print and digital media originate from a press release.

Here’s a secret: journalists mine their press releases looking for the faintest glimmer of gold amongst the trash. Finding a story is GOLD to them. Providing that gold isn’t easy. However, it’s possible. What could your company achieve if a journalist or three wrote about you? If you appeared in Google News?

You need just two things to create a powerful publicity campaign: time and imagination.

Firstly you create the content for your campaign, and then you launch it.

What do you need to include in a publicity campaign?

A few days ago one of my writing students contacted me about a new ebook she’s launching. She asked me what she would need to include in her first publicity campaign.

Good question. The short answer is, anything you like. It’s your campaign, so whatever you think goes. Ask yourself some questions. How much time do you have available? What results do you want?

Let’s say that you want to create a customized publicity campaign this week to promote something. That “something” could be your business, a new product you’re launching, or a service you provide. As in the case of my student, it could be an ebook. Maybe it’s something for your community – your child’s school needs new sporting equipment, and you’re running a donations drive.

Your first step in any publicity campaign is always to set clearly defined goal.

The next step is to decide what your message will be, and commit to staying on message. “Staying on message” throughout your campaign is perhaps the hardest thing to do, as any politician will tell you. It’s a challenge, but you won’t get the results you want unless you manage to do that.

Let’s get started…

Step 1: set a clearly defined goal

Write down your goal for this publicity campaign. Please don’t omit doing this. You must write down your goal, because you won’t remember what it is tomorrow. Trust me on this one.

Step 2: what’s your campaign’s message? Write it down

Write down the message in a sentence, preferably on a sticky note (stick it onto your phone), as well as in your diary. Make sure the message is in front of you DAILY.

Step 3: create a media kit

According to Wikipedia, common components of a media kit include:

Backgrounder with historical information on the company or individual.
Fact sheet listing specific features, statistics, or benefits.

Biographies of key executives, individuals, artists, etc.

Past press coverage

Photos or other images (high resolution) of key executives, logos, products, etc.

A press release detailing the current news the media kit is sent in reference to

Media contact information (usually of a public relations department or spokesperson)

Collateral advertising material, such as: postcard, flier, newspaper ad, etc.

You can put anything you like in your media kit.

At a minimum, include a company backgrounder, some photographs, and anything else you think would be helpful to a journalist or blogger who wants to write about whatever it is that you’re promoting.

Many companies add their company’s media kit to the “media” section of their website. You can do this too.

However, for the sake of this publicity campaign, create a customized media kit which focuses solely on your goals for this campaign, rather than on your company as a whole.

Let’s get started with your customized publicity campaign

Set a date on which you’ll begin your campaign. Please don’t put it too far in the future. Give yourself a week for preparation. If you give yourself too much time, it won’t get done.

Next, decide what you’ll include in your campaign.

You could include: a series of press releases, Facebook and Google+ pages, a webinar, guest posts on blogs, a blog tour, content marketing with articles… anything you like.

Ask yourself: What am I comfortable creating? Or hiring someone to create for me?

LIMIT yourself. Don’t aim to include too much. A press release, a blog post, a YouTube video, and a couple of articles, might be all that you can comfortably create in a week.

Every company has different resources. Use them. If you have a mailing list, make good use of that list. These are people who want to hear from you, who have done business with you, and who know you. They can help you to get the word out. So include mailings to your list in your list of activities for your publicity campaign.

Create your creative material

Create your material. If you’re a copywriter, you can do it yourself. Alternatively you can hire someone.

The time element: avoid becoming overwhelmed

We’ll have more to say on the various elements of a publicity campaign later – I’ll create some additional how-to material for you on this blog.

For now, consider the time you have available.

If you’re doing everything yourself, creating all the creative material might take you a week or more. Aim to have everything ready before you launch the publicity campaign. Once you launch, you’ll be so busy talking to people and running your business, that you won’t have time to create additional material.

However, don’t set the launch date so far in the future that you procrastinate. As stated, I recommend that you take a maximum of ONE week to create to your campaign material, and then a week to execute. Any longer than that, and your campaign will stall.

Just get it done. :-)

There you have it. You’re good to go. Set a goal for your campaign, decide on a message, and start creating your material today.

Your Micro-Business: Clever, Free Social Media Marketing Ideas

Baby

Looking for clever ideas to promote your micro-business? If you’re a sole trader, or own a small company, it’s hard to take your business to the next level. You don’t want to splash out on advertising without being sure of a return.

Read this article for some very clever ways to use social media sites like Pinterest to get followers and attention, Will Social Spur Sales for This Mom’s Small Business?:

“Hold a ‘Pin it to Win it’ contest on Pinterest. By the time Lynch had offered her suggestions, Ismail had created a Pinterest page for JumpSac. At the time of this writing, there was nothing on it. Lynch suggests JumpSac pin a photo of its best-selling product and then ask users to repin it for a chance to win the item.”

Build your own social media ecosystem

We’ve talked about image marketing before. Like Pinterest, Springpad’s a real boon to image marketers. Business owners have little time, so using Pinterest and Springpad makes sense. It takes seconds to pin something onto a Pinterest board, ditto to “spring” something onto Springpad.

Here’s a tip. Social media is inexpensive advertising. It’s not free, because it takes time. However, if you set up a workflow, in which you repurpose the same content onto several sites, you can set up your own little social media marketing ecosystem:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Springpad
  • Google+
  • Tumblr

(Make sure that your images link to appropriate pages on your website.)

Choose any three of the above; there’s no need to go crazy. :-) Vary the text content slightly. The images can stay the same.

The key to making this work for your business is consistency, over time. It’s much better to post one piece of content to your ecosystem once a week, than it is to post six pieces, and then let never use your social media accounts again.