Know Before Paying for Web Services

In February, website developer Francisco Samuel explained to NIM what we’re doing right, wrong, and what we could be doing better. We learned how to avoid being overcharged on development, domains, and hosting. We also found out the secrets to search engine optimization with quick tips on how to enhance your website without getting cheated out of your money.

#NIMRI attendees learned all about:

  • Internet Consultants Who are good? What is a good price?
  • Mobile sites My website on the iPhone, iPad, & other mobile devices
  • SEO Search engine optimization tactics and strategy
  • Domains & Hosting Must I pay?
  • Analytics How to track your traffic
  • Launch, Maintain, Blog, & Repeat Ways to keep the flow of your site

Franciso Samuel graduated from UMass Dartmouth in 1987 with a BS in Computer Science. He has more than a decade of experience working in software development and project management and over 5 years in internet development and dot-coms. He has been running Abacus Software for 15 years, building websites and technology consulting throughout New England.

Key takeaways

  • Content is one of the keys to website success,  both for search engines and for humans
  • Blogging helps keep search engines coming back & boosts the likelihood that your site will come up when someone searches
  • Be wary of proprietary work – something a developer created and others don’t use
  • Work with someone who works with common coding programs and CMS systems like WordPress or Drupal
  • Make sure your content is specific and describes what you do
  • If there’s something you are not familiar with, check Google trends to see how common it is

Attendees’ Tweets

Fantastic clip from Matt Cutts to demonstrate there are still people being “snookered” by SEOs – well-done @FranciscoSamuel #NIMRI

Buyer beware: if it’s too good to be true whether the stock market or #SEO says @FranciscoSamuel citing @mattcutts #NIMRI

Blogging helps keep search engines coming back & boosts likelihood that your site will come up when someone searches @FranciscoSamuel #NIMRI

Wordclouds can be helpful to ensure you are using the words folks looking for you would be using #keywords #NIMRI

Be sure you own your own domain and that you can log in to the account @franciscosamuel #NIMRI

Don’t miss monthly #NIMRI gatherings.

 

Maximize MultiMedia: A Do-It-Yourself Production!

Why should you think and create multimedia? Data and metrics increasingly spotlight multimedia:

January’s Newport Interactive Marketers event left attendees feeling confident and knowledgeable about how to create a more appealing platform through multimedia. It turns out, creating multimedia can easily be done on your own. It’s not always necessary to spend thousands of dollars on something that can easily be put together with a few but important steps that Donna Mac of DMac Voice & Media was able to share with NIM attendees. So grab a pen and paper and turn your ideas into a creative multimedia creation that will quickly catch the eye of your target audience.

Did you know that 1 minute of video can account for thousands of words? Multimedia can package so much information and be displayed in a creative, attention-grabbing way. So why wouldn’t we all use media to benefit our businesses? Donna Mac asked the audience and here is what we found out:

  • Multimedia production is confusing or overwhelming
  • It seems like a daunting task to create multimedia
  • Takes too long and costs too much money

Donna engaged the audience with just how simple it can be to DO IT YOURSELF. So let’s take a look at her simple steps to managing your own multimedia production:

Multimedia pre-production

  • Choose a platform. Audio, Audio/Visual, or just Video.
  • Know the business: What is your goal and what are you “selling?”
  • Who is the audience: What will they be receptive to?
  • Know the BRAND and pick a style, whether it be professional or funny, make sure to add your flavor.
  • What will turn your audience’s attention to the video? Don’t be too lengthy, pushy, or self-centered.
  • BEGIN THE WRITING PROCESS. Who, what, when, and how. It’s your business, tell your story.
  • Keep it short, simple, and sweet. Remember to be authentic: People need to relate, so don’t sound too automated or commercial. You need to build trust, so be real.

Producing your multimedia

  • Gather your equipment: Make sure you have a quality recording device. And for visual media, make sure to have good lighting, good backgrounds, and look presentable.
  • Make sure the production is directed, whether it’s by you or someone else; you must keep it organized. Schedule your recordings in a timely fashion and make sure everything you need is recorded.
  • When recording, you want to always sound authentic, look presentable, and be true to yourself.
  • Keep in mind the background of your footage: Make sure the focus is you and that there are no distractions. Plan on multiple, so you have the best footage you can get.

Multimedia Post-Production

  • Organize and asses your footage, make sure to remove anything with continuity errors and keep the best of all the takes.
  • Piece it together: Make sure your footage makes chronological sense.
  • Add narration, pictures, background sounds, and an opening and closing – depending on the type of media.
  • IMPORTANT! REVISE: Creating media is much like writing a paper, keep in concise and error-free.

Special thanks to Donna Mac of DMac Voice & Media for sharing her years of expertise and knowledge with NIM. Donna is president and founder of DMac Voice & Media.

 

NIM Roundup: Ed King Gets NIM Stoked About Google+

NIM Roundup: Ed King Gets NIM Stoked About Google+

Would you fall in love with Google+ if it boosted your business by 75%? Well, photographer Ed King did, and Google+ for Business did just that for 02809 Ed King Photography. King explained at the September 27 NIM event how the social media platform some take for granted is actually one of the best tools you can have in your marketing toolkit.

What makes Google+ a necessary part of the marketer’s toolkit is how much it improves a marketer’s reach. Similar to Facebook, but with added reach, Google+ Business Pages creates friend-circles with live hangouts, resulting in community conversations that have more longevity so your messaging can grow exponentially.

King explained that Google+ sites are indexed faster and your connections affect search results. In fact, when King made G+ a priority in his marketing campaign, he gained more than 2,000 followers!

With 15 years experience in business-to-business sales, marketing and working with clients such as Partners Healthcare & Brigham and Women’s Hospital, former chapter president of East Bay B.N.I., King became active in social media in 1990 when he worked with AOL and in a content development role for iVillage.

Although Google+ is a little over a year old, it’s gaining serious ground, according to King. It’s a Facebook-heavy world out there, and people grow complacent and think that Facebook is the only network they need but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Getting involved in G+ Circles

Some people feel like they’re talking to themselves in G+ circles because they don’t understand the potential. In fact, live circles can improve the reach of a business easily if you know how to use them. If sites on G+ get indexed faster, and presence is about indexing … then G+ is well worth checking out, and King has the 22,000 new followers to prove it.

“My sales have increased dramatically,” says King. “It has opened doors which would never have existed without it.” An example is an online Google mentorship with a photographer who has worked with National Geographic, which has played a vital role in King’s overall online presence.

King was lucky enough to have five images selected as “Google Plus Photo Extract Photo of the day” this year, which boosted his actual print sales not only for those prints but others in his collections as well.

“I know some will say because it is a visual product that is easily shared but the idea is fresh interesting content, but I have even received feedback from one person who shares my work regularly, who mentioned to me that  because of our connection with the shared images it has increased her overall reach.”

King’s Background in Google+

King’s two-year-old fan page slowly grew his fan base – 150 fans in two years – but when he started using Google Plus that number blossomed to a ripe 22,000 followers, plus he has added an additional 300 fans to Facebook in 6 months. His Twitter account was another marketing outlet that was slow to grow, although he said he uses Google+ a bit more. He was able to add several hundred quality contacts in the past few months. [ SUE, this part is unclear to me – does he mean quality contacts through Google+, or quality contacts through Twitter via Google+??? ]

“All of this growth has lead to an increase in revenue and opportunities like my recent shoot on the Tall Ship from New Bedford to Philly which has lead to more revenue,” says King, who was asked to teach an online course through a Google contact and who gave his first three-day workshop in Rhode Island this this past September through another Google contact.

Is Google+ the whole marketing package?

As to whether Google+ is the whole marketing package, King ganders that it’s a strong possibility since he had been working other aspects of social media but until Google+ he never imagined that he could be this successful using social media.

King had some advice for the Newport hospitality industry: “Personally, if I was in the hospitality industry in Newport I would be hosting a weekly or bi-weekly hangout highlighting the area.  This may be a slow grow at first but the live stream to Youtube makes this accessible for anyone at anytime they think about searching Newport as an example.”

Hanging out on Google+ takes patience, and good listening skills, suggests King, who took the time to learn how to use the multifaceted tool until he figured out exactly how to make it work for him.

King’s passion for Google+ piqued new interest for NIM marketers, and NIM founder Suzanne McDonald got right to work to put together a Google+ hangout of her own for NIMers who wanted the marketing success Ed King was able to achieve through G+, for 02809!

Take a look at the hot topics trending twitter about the event:

12MeterCharters says, “Write a complete intro in your Google+ business page. No. 1 complaint of users is incomplete intro.”

Sue_DesigEditor says, “Of 100 million active users, @02809Photo is ranked 626 in US but his Google+ has also boosted his other social platforms.”

KevinTVine says, “Listening to @02809photo talk about how Google+ helped bolster his photography business into the stratosphere #NIMRI

Stay tuned for November NIM event at La Forge Casino Restaurant at 186 Bellevue Avenue. NIM looks forward to seeing you at the next function at La Forge Casino Restaurant at 186 Bellevue Avenue. http://www.laforgerestaurant.com! Easy parking across the street in the CVS parking lot. Don’t forget to register!

 

 

What A Website Should Really Cost: A Look Into NIM’s October Event

From wanting to launch a knitting site, to running a marketing firm, Marketers from all sides of business came hear just what this month’s panel had to say. Newport Interactive Marketers’ wrapped up 2012 focusing on websites. What are the must-haves? How to save money on site development? What type of expert help do you need and can you afford it?

The panelists answered questions from those who’ve never had a website, to those who create websites professionally. Meet the Panel:

 John Picozzi

   Senior Web Developer at Rubic Design + Interactive, John is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University and holds a bachelor’s degree in web design and e-commerce as well as an associates degree in web development. John is highly skilled across all areas of website development and design: from server-side coding, to content layout, and site architecture. He comes to Rubic Design + Interactive from the advertising and PR industry where he built and maintained web solutions for national brands like CVSCaremark, Marriott International, and Dunkin Donuts.

Matt Medeiros

  Co-founder of Slocum Studio, WordPress architect, business development, blogger at MattReport.com, and inbound marketer. Helping others on the web.

Sean Walther

  Sean Walther is a freelance web developer and has been doing what he loves for almost 15 years. Recently Sean has been specializing in WordPress deployments, but has a varied history with many types of web technologies.  Prior to his current freelance role, Sean was the CTO of a web development firm in Boston for 3 years. Sean is a graduate of Boston University, with a BA in computer science.

 David Englund

owner of Englund Studio. Founded in 2002 offering graphic design and illustration services, Englund Studio has since been the winner of both the Webmasters Award and the American Design Award for creative website design. Improving customer interaction and attraction through WEO (Web Experience Optimization) is a vital concern. Englund Studio has created custom websites, WordPress sites, mobile sites, blogs, and squeeze pages for customer lead generation. David is preparing to launch a podcast show called Marketing Differently.

 

Key takeaways from October’s Newport Interactive Marketers

  • You get what you pay for. If you’re willing to pay more, you’re going to get more. So what is more: a more custom website, to a more involved developer who can plan for where your business is headed.
  • Those with smaller budgets were able to learn about alternatives, such as website templates, which allow you to develop and update your own website, using a platforms such as WordPress. But be sure to purchase your own domain, such as NewportInteractiveMarketers.com.
  • Another cost effective way of having an online presence without breaking the budget, would be working with a designer who can put together a basic website without any extensive plug-ins or features. Lindsay Logan from WOMA design, a Newport Marketer, talked about ways that she personally helps clients with this and how it is less costly than most options.

 

Website considerations BEFORE meeting with a developer

  • Know your audience. What are they looking for in a website? Know the main draw of your audience and emphasize it in your website. Should that be the focus of your website that is easy to access on the home page.
  • Bring a list of competitor’s websites and examples of the similarities and differences you want.
  • It’s not what you want to see on the site, it’s what your viewers need to see. Do what’s best for your business & let web designers help you, after all you’re paying for their expertise!
  • Come with a theme to start out. Panelists warned against free themes, like Theme Forest due to malicious or sloppy code.

 

Where do you want to be in two years?

  • Don’t be afraid to tell the person your working with, your budget. If you have a smaller budget like $1,500 then maybe craigslist or WordPress is better for you. It’s important let them know these things and you can discuss the best options within your budget range.
  • Designers, Developers, Marketers, SEO, and content strategists are all incorporated into the FULL process of designing a website: Keep in mind that this is what you’re paying for and discuss what each will be able to do for you. Know what you’re paying for and let them know what you want from them.

 What sparked debate?

WordPress & Drupal

  • Is WordPress good? Yes. Small budget? Go for it. Test it out. Use if for a year, higher income – then spend the money. Website = Virtual salesperson.
  • WordPress does not have a great online ecommerce store, where as Drupal does.
  • WordPress plug-in options: fantastic! Includes: Contact for 7, advanced custom fields, designer clients (extra forms on pages), WD Photo Kit, Contact 17.
  • You always have the option to pay for it. Why pay for it when you can get it for free? Support! You get what you pay for.
  • Web developer should have no excuse or at least a good reason not to have a WordPress up and running for you.

Audience’s questions answered:

Is the cost is going up or down?

The prices of websites have gone down because now there are free options to creating websites and many people are able to do it themselves with these options.

Why go local in choosing a developer?

Go Local! Meet with designers face to face and get to know the person that’s helping to develop your business. Also, be able to receive training on how to use and update the website! You want to know the where about of your developer, constant contact is key, especially when you’re paying for it.

What are the price ranges that our panelists are charging their clients?

They currently start looking at projects in the $1,500 as a starter. And average prices range from 5,000 to 10,000.

What is the value that developers add to the price?

The value that developers give to the price is time. They take care of it, maintain it, and spend the most time with the website’s construction and maintenance.

What are some key components a website should have?

  • Blog OR consistently updated with content
  • News Letter
  • Email options but not a barrier to website, always keep your website accessible without effort by your viewers.
  • Search Bar & Social Media Icons
  • Should you have a feed of social media? Depends on whether or not you’re social media is a key part of your business and whether or not it is a good outlet that would be appealing to your customers.
  • Definitely Images and Video – CRITICAL. Less reading and more media.

 

And remember, a website is a virtual sales person, so take your time and make sure it’s saying exactly what you want it to say! 

Integrating SEO and Social Media With Google’s Eric Enge

SEO guru Eric Enge broke SEO and Social Media down into plain English at NIM’s Aug. 23 event. Stressing an integrative approach using SEO and Social, Enge said the best way to compete in SEO keywords is to be user-centric.

If anyone knows how to boil down complex ideas for an audience, it’s Enge, who is CEO of Stone Temple Consulting, a 25+ person SEO firm with offices in Massachusetts and California. Enge is also a frequent speaker at marketing conferences like SES, PubCon, and SMX.

According to Enge, the job of any website is to be first in that search. So his PowerPoint presentation boiled down complex SEO and Social Media topics so that attendees of all social media aptitudes could learn just how.

Integrating Search and Social Media highlights

  • Spun or garbage content or cheap tricks to build brand and rank is not the best way to go
  • Devote the right amount of space to anchor text, key phrases, brand names, and domains
  • Avoid bad link-building and backlinking practices, e.g. low-cost or paid-for tactics
Eric Enge From Stone Temple Consulting

Eric Enge featured guest speaker at NIM’s Aug. 23 networking and learning event.

  • Emphasize users in your web content, because they are central to the Google algorithm
  • Make sure your brand lends itself to your audience (and if it doesn’t, ask yourself what it will take to get there)
  • Provide diverse, quality content
  • Title tags play a big role
  • Meta description influences click-through rate

Learning Google’s Algorithm

Quoting Google Search Quality Group expert Matt Cutts throughout the talk, Enge explained that Google algorithm finds quality, diverse results help solve problems for users.

Enge discussed the impact of Google’s Panda algorithm update, ushered in on Feb. 23, 2011, and the impact of Penguin, which came to the fore April 24, 2012.  He discussed the viability of SEO, Social, PR and Real Content integrated together for a masterful integrative marketing plan.

You can build a huge audience even if you’re a small brand, according to Enge, who said 48.8% of the population uses Google+ (that’s 150 million US users) and Google+ creates community circles. But he warned against trying to get too much out of driving FB “likes” and Google+ “+1’s” since these don’t specifically address which part of your content is working. Likes, +1’s and shares aren’t visible to Google. Tweeted links, for example, can help Google discover content faster than Facebook and Google+.

Title Tage, Meta Description & CTR

NIM attendees learned how large a role Title Tags play, how Meta Description can influence click-through rate (CTR), and more specifically, how Bing uses CTR.

“Saying SEO is dead is like saying you 85-year-old grandmother can configure your web server,” Enge explained.

In addition to good content that is user-focused, Enge provided an example of how one guest posting propelled one site from 0 to 100,000 customers using an integrated approach.

In the hierarchy of social media effort, the 1-on-1 meeting is at the top (takes the most effort), then the meeting, then meetups, then blogging, then LinkedIn, Twitter, then Facebook. The bottom line? Make the effort to meet with actual people to build real communities, and that will fuel social media activity that builds your reputation, since that’s what people (users) value most.

Thanks to Eric Enge for speaking in Newport; you can visit his website at www.stonetemple.com, follow him on Twitter @stonetemple, or add him to your Google+: +Eric Enge.

 

Record Turnout for 100% Networking!

Thanks to all of you, NIM boasts the biggest turnout so far! 100% Networking saw 150 signups plus some walk-ins – lots of new faces. Raindrops were avoided, connections were made, views were enjoyed, drinks were downed.

Beautiful views of Newport from the Hotel Viking rooftop

 

Ruth Bazine of PRSA chats with former colleagues from Roger Williams University

Was it the venue (who doesn’t enjoy a view of Newport from a rooftop?) or is the word being spread?

 

Coming in August … NIM is pleased to feature “Search & Social Marketing” with global expert Eric Enge. Details are forthcoming.

 

Newport Comic Book Store Thrives With Social Media

Continuation of June 5 interview with Wayne Quackenbush from Newport’s Annex Comics, see part 1 here

NIM: As a marketer of a narrow-niche store, it must be challenging to get new customers. How has Facebook helped?

WQ: People visit the shop, visit my website, or E-bay store just to meet the eccentric person behind the Facebook page.

NIM: Tell us what they’ll find if they make an appearance in your store.

WQ: A mess. Stacks and walls of comics and product, the aforementioned local artwork, masks, clown dolls, and DVDs everywhere.

NIM: What’s the misconception about comics?

WQ: Some Americans have the opinion that comics are for kids or for the unintelligent, or they think the store will provide a rarified atmosphere of hipster elitist geekdom. Comics used to be for everybody and, in many countries of the world, they still are. They are unique artwork by a single creator or small group of creators telling an immersing and synergistic story in a way that is not possible in any other medium.

NIM: You’re a little in love with the industry, and I think that authenticity translates on your Facebook and web pages. Describe graphic love, the comic-book kind.

WQ: Comics allow an imaginative freedom in way that isn’t seen in films or in video games. There is an aesthetic pleasure in the pictures that isn’t present when reading fiction. With comics, the reader has to imagine the sounds, smells, and motion that are implied by the language and vision portrayed.

NIM: Everything has changed so much in the past 10 or 15 years. How have comic books changed?

WQ: That would take an essay. Simply, the 32-page full-color slim pamphlet remains the same but with more sophisticated coloring and better paper. But other forms of presentation of the art form have come into being from graphic novels, which are a thick collection of individual and previously published stories.

NIM: What’s popular with the Kids now?  Zombies seem to be a big theme. I don’t get it.

WQ: Zombies are best used as a metaphor in fiction … they can symbolize the horror of “the other,” rampant consumerism, the pervasive anti-intellectualism of American society, the infantile and lizard brain hunger that lives in everyone, the hive mind … And everyone has a lingering fear of being bitten really hard.

NIM: Yes, it makes sense. Hey, do you have any plans for cyber-expansion?

WQ: I’m running four different Facebook accounts: my personal account, the store account, the store small business account, and the Annex Art Society page, so I really haven’t had time. Luckily, I have a Webmaster in charge of the store website.

NIM: I know it’s not polite to talk about religion or politics, but in business, it’s always polite to talk about money!  Has social media helped your business financially?

WQ: Yes.

NIM: See? That’s sort of the point that gets lost because social media is so much fun. I know you’re not a fan of hash tags, but #NIMRI is one hashtag you should “follow” on Twitter. You’ll learn so much about even more social media opportunities to promote your brand.

WQ: I found out about NIM from friends. The acronym reminds me a little of Nine Inch Nails. I would attend those meetings.

NIM: Hashtag NIN!  That’s funny. Well, NIM can help you learn search optimization, to spread the word effortlessly and worldwide about the Annex, so we look forward to seeing you at the next meeting.

NIM: ListenWayne, it was a pleasure talking to you about the Annex. I’m really happy that you have taken the social media bull by the horns, and it’s wonderful to learn you’re also helping kids tap their creativity. #socialmedia

To learn more about Annex Comics, or immerse yourself in zombie-lit, please FB friend Wayne on Facebook or visit his website at annexcomics.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media to Drive Events | Newport Interactive Marketers

 

America's Cup World Series Newport 2012

Tall Ships Newport 2012

Social Media: Share and Share Alike

Besides social media, what’s the most important word in the Newport Interactive Marketers vocabulary? That would be “share.” The group shares connections, contacts, information, leads, advice, insight, links, hashtags, business cards, stories, you name it. With social media dominating marketing today, business owners large and small need one another to succeed. So they share – and share often.

In light of this summer’s big events – America’s Cup World Series and Ocean State Tall Ships – 3 social media experts who are also NIM members shared their tops tips and insights for using social media to boost events or bring people through your doors.

  • Mindfull’s Social Media Training Guru Chip Leakas, specializing in real estate
  • RI Blood Center’s Social Media Maven Kathy Manchester, who rocked NIM’s Social Media on a Budget panel
  • Social Media Manager Brian Hodge, who feeds multimedia for GoProvidence.com

The May 17 panel focused on marketing and new media, trading short cuts, hot tips, and best practices that could be implemented  by businesses based in Newport and in surrounding locations. Participants came away with their brains chock full of tips they could try immediately and … of course, share via Twitter, Facebook, and all manner of social media platforms.

Events and Social Media

  • There are 3 phases to any planned event: lead-up, spreading, get others to share, generate buzz during event & post-event
  • Facebook lets brands schedule ads via an “offers” button right from the brand page
  • Understanding customers via social comes first; getting them to know you is second

Social Media To-Dos

  • Update Facebook header image often. Look on Flickr for Creative Commons, which let’s you use photos freely. Highlighted posts cover the width of your Facebook page
  • Facebook and Twitter move on an momentary basis; be actively engaged or you will lose business
  • If you’re on Twitter, you need to be monitoring the feed. People expect answers, and they expect their complaints to be answered
  • Host a Twitter powerhour for social media savvy folks, offer some freebies, or a prize
  • Restaurants should be sharing menus and specials on Facebook and Twitter
  • Offer social customers discounts. Create an event, because social media people love to interact in real life, too
  • Ask customers who have had a great experience to review your business, because testimonials are huge
  • Encourage people to tag themselves when you feature them in your photo and post it to Facebook
  • Check privacy settings so you are notified when people post on your Facebook. page
  • Encourage people to share their photos and post them on your brand page.
  • Set up a Facebook contest, use Wildfire to help with contests, set up a photo contest during Americas Cup and Tall Ships, offer a gift certificate to the winner
  • Post events to RI Monthly, Patch, and @NewportBuzz willing to share.

Social Media Resources

  • Fbcovers.com and similar tools allow you to customize your Facebook header.images
  • Inboxq is another helpful tool to build campaigns around keywords
  • Foursquare is a great tool to drive awareness and loyalty
  • Yelp is a great tool to build awareness, want to be sure you’ve claimed your biz
  • Google Places (now converted to Google+ pages) give you an opportunity to upload photos and videos. 84% of people use consumer videos when travel planning
  • QR codes can be really handy, just need to make sure your site is mobile-friendly

Thanks @NewportBuzz@12MeterCharters, @NoirBlancDesign for sharing Tweeting insights.

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Pinterest: A Top-Tier Social Media Tool for Business

 

If instead of posting quotes on Facebook, you’d rather share tapestries you found at the bazaar in India, or smiling sloths from your trip to Costa Rica, then you’ll love Pinterest. But did you know that in addition to providing the perfect platform for those who are more visual- than text-oriented, Pinterest can also help your business gain traffic and credibility?

For baby boomers, the act of “pinning” may still conjure up a fraternity engagement ceremony. But Pinterest is so on the edge of marketing platforms that even the aughts ought to know about. In fact, it’s one of the top three social media tools including Facebook and Twitter, according to Annie Colella of Discover Newport (gonewport.com), who presented a talk to NIM April 26.

So, what’s Pinterest?

Simply defined, Pinterest is a pinboard-style social photo sharing network about your personal and business interests. “Pinners” discover and post photos they love or are inspired by and organize them into a thematic pinboard. Then they share them so that people they know and people they don’t know gain access and the ability to follow them. Think Facebook+Flickr+Twitter+Youtube. (Pinterest even accommodates video uploads for pinning, from Youtube and Vimeo.)

Colella, whose sunny personality, high profile position at gonewport.com, and visual bent make her the quintessential pinner, presented a Powerpoint rich in easy-to-understand tips for business promotion through the fun and surprisingly simple act of “pinning.” The pinning expert summed up Pinterest in one sentence: “It’s Like Fantasy Football for girls.”

Pinterest has cross-reach

While the 80/20 rule applies to Pinterest in terms of women (80) and men (20) are users, in time, Pinterest promises to level out once business people see its merits, Colella said. Those merits are numerous because Pinterest is integrated with Facebook and Twitter. This way users can sign in through one or the other of their social networks, making cross-networking sharing easier. Pinners can pin their own, or, with attribution, re-pin somebody else’s image.

“Great boards promote the event and lifestyle of their demographic,” said Colella, underscoring why Pinterest is such a great tool for brand creation and development.

Generating traffic for your brand via Pinterest comes down to traditional SEO and link building, Colello told NIM. In addition to integration with other social media accounts, pinners can also bring new visitors to their associated websites, blogs and digitally published guest articles.

How does Pinterest stack up to other social?

Not sold yet? Pinterest outsmarts Facebook for time spent, according to mashable.com. And in October of 2011, the website of Tim, Inc’s Real Simple Magazine got more traffic from Pinterest than Facebook.

Pinterest has another advantage: most pinners re-pin rather than pin new items from the Web, and if they are linking back and crediting the way they should, that means Pinterest is a remarkable website traffic referral tool. This is true particularly for apparel retailers.

Another gleaming statistic is that Pinterest hit $10 million U.S. monthly unique visitors, faster than any independent site in history. Like Google, Pinterest also contains analytic tools for tracking traffic such as PinReach, which tracks interests, followers, boards and pins via analytics to measure the most popular boards by re-pin and who your influential followers are.

Now, NIM-ers are savvy marketers already, but so much new stuff comes onto the social media horizon that every new platform introduced can bring apprehension. To reinforce the power of Pinterest, Colello explained that Pinterest was the top social referrer for marthastewartweddings.com and marthastewart.com, sending more traffic to both properties than Facebook and Twitter combined. Pinterest generates more referral traffic to web sites than YouTube, Google+ and Linkedin combined.

You have to be invited

The only downside thus far, Colello said, is Pinterest is still a closed community, therefore users have to request an invite from existing users to join. So Colella promised to take names at the end of her talk so she could send out Pinterest invitations. She then invited guests to find her on Twitter if they had any more Pinterest questions. And that, folks, is the way social media should work!

After the talk, Portsmouth resident Cheryl Digennaro said she would consider using Pinterest in addition to Facebook to promote her reiki business. “I didn’t really know much about Pinterest before,” said Digennaro, “but now I plan on using Pinterest to post photos and quotes from my favorite authors, holistic practitioners, physicians and quantum physicists who support my message.”

Some of Annie’s hot Pinterest tips & takeaways:

  • Don’t be selfish; pin from sources other than your own site
  • Re-pin, “favorite” and comment on other users’ pins
  • Always provide linkbacks and credit your sources
  • Use keywords to make your pins easy to find
  • Be nice!
  • Include item price in description
  • Link back to your e-commerce site so the consumer can make a purchase
  • Use pleasing graphics, good inspirational images – a “wow” effect makes a good Pinterest board for users to follow
  • Don’t be over-promotional. Concentrate on great products, inspirations, corporate and social responsibility.

 

Photos by Ramon at www.smalltimevideo.com

DE/NIM would like to thank @anniecolellahttp://www.gonewport.com/@41northhttp://www.41north.com

Please stay tuned for the next meeting of NIM in June!

Annex Comics Taps Social Media to Boost its Base

Around since the 80s, Annex Comics flourishes in 2012, due in large part to the way in which owner Wayne Quackenbush took the social media bull by the horns to promote the fine (and funny) art of comic books.

Here’s Part I of our two-part interview.

NIM: Wayne Quackenbush, I can’t think of a better name to stick onto a Web domain than Quackenbush, but you’re Annex Comics. How long has the Annex been around?

WQ: I started working at the Annex in 1994, and bought it from the owner in 1998. I had an extensive background in retail, having managed several photo-processing and video stores in NYC.

NIM: What’s photo processing? Just kidding. So you’re a savvy retailer who likes new media. Are you a wave-rider in your business, or does the Annex rely on your fan base/repeat customers for its success?

WQ: We’ve ridden through fads over the years, made a lot of changes and experimented with product as much as possible. I introduced video sales and rentals, for instance. The Annex was the first store in the state to go all DVD, and now we have dinosaur status because we’re the last store in Rhode Island to offer DVD rentals.

NIM: That’s very cool, Wayne. I miss the excitement of going to a place and renting something. Speaking of dinosaurs, a few businesses still have yet to embrace social media as a genius marketing tool. But you have. Tell us how you market Annex these days, and how that’s different from before.

WQ: I used to run occasional ads in the local papers, I put up flyers for events and got interviewed in local magazines and on public access TV. Word-of-mouth was and is most effective.

NIM: And what’s faster at getting words out of mouths than Facebook? Your store has quite the presence there. You have a Facebook page for your store, and a Web page for Annex Art Society.

NIM: Before I started following (stalking?!!) you on Facebook, I thought of your clientele as the hipster/nerd/geek squad. Am I on- or off-base?

WQ: My customer base fits the categories named but there’s more. A general description would be male, college educated, mostly in their 20s and 30s.

NIM: How to you market to the Kids who know everything and think everything’s “whatever”?

WQ: I always try to shock and amaze. The store markets a sense of wonder.

NIM: What’s shocking or amazing at the Annex these days?

WQ: I think people would be surprised at the inroads we’ve achieved in promoting local artists via Facebook through our daily artistic challenges, where artists all over the world participate, and our efforts to encourage creativity, especially in young people.

NIM: How do you reach the young’uns?

WQ: The Annex showcases at least 30 artists a year in our galleries. I work with local high schools in artistic intern programs and I teach a drawing class in the store every Saturday morning.

NIM: Well it must be fun, if people are getting anyone under 80 out of bed Saturday mornings! I think that’s great.

NIM: It takes a lot of effort to man those contests because they are so popular! And social media gives people lots of access to your wall. Why has the response to these contests been so great and how do you keep up with them?

WQ: Personally, the daily Art Challenge is a kind of creative calisthenics, an exercise to keep my brain hopping. I know a few others feel the same way. Plus, humans are social creatures, and it’s extremely gratifying to connect in this way and share images and ideas.

NIM: Isn’t that the beauty of social media? It allows you to actually have fun while you promote your business and grow your numbers. And, it gets people in your door who might otherwise just have walked by, had they not seen the quality of the art that’s being posted on your timeline.

Installment II: Facebook, Zombies, hashtags, and more!

Visit Annex Comics in real life at 314 Broadway in Newport, or go to https://www.facebook.com/annex.comics