Pinterest adds Paid Advertisements

22 Sep

Pinterest has announced this past week that they would begin adding in paid “pins” to their repertoire. Like many other social media platforms, Pinterest will be adding paid advertisements in order to support their site. On 9/20/2013, I received the e-mail posted below to warn me of the new addition. Check it out:

E-mail-from-PinterestHere are my thoughts; first, I’m glad that Ben Silbermann took the time to write this e-mail and send it to Pinterest users. It’s really refreshing to get a warning beforehand, unlike some other botched efforts by other companies. I also appreciate that there is an understanding that users are not always thrilled about advertisements, so I welcome the fact that they are working to make it something that will not be a nuisance to users.

In this action alone, I’m confident that the paid advertisements on Pinterest will not become overbearing, and might even be useful. Who knew a simple e-mail can make such a difference in approaching consumers?! Plus, using his family, Ben gives users something that they can relate with. I honestly have to say, kudos for approaching advertising in an honest and respectful way. Hopefully, I will be impressed with the use, we will see!

 

Have you seen paid pins on Pinterest yet? What do you think? Leave comments below!

 

5 Tips for Keeping Your Content Fresh

14 Sep

At times, creating content can be very daunting, especially when you don’t have any ideas on what to write about! Every writer has hit that point where they’re flummoxed; if you’ve run dry on topic ideas, try some of these tips to help grow your editorial calendar.

Get Inspiration from Others

Editorial Calendar | Samantha WinchellIt’s really ok if you draw inspiration from others in your industry. Let’s face it, in this day and age there really aren’t very many original ideas, especially when considering topic ideas. The trick is, only take inspiration, not the idea itself.

Take a Cue from Social Media

Look through trending topics on Twitter; are there any that apply to you or your content category? Write about it!

Allow for More Variety

For instance, this is technically a blog about the business and marketing industries, but there are other topics that I could cover that would still relate. For example, I could talk about my favorite coffee to drink at work or how to relieve stress during the day, (both of which are coming up, by the by). Though neither of these posts directly relate with business/marketing, as a worker-bee I still find these topics to be relevant in my every-day life, as would others.

Attend an Event

Depending on what your blog is about, attending an event may be a very valuable option. Attending events will often provide you with a myriad of new ideas. Not to mention, events are typically of interest to the public, and often drive more traffic to your site from those who could not attend in-person.

Use a Keyword Tool

This is a more intense form of brainstorming, but blank blogs call for drastic measures! Using tools such as Google Analytics and Webmasters, you can not only find the keywords that currently rank for your site, but you can also get suggested keywords as well. Using these suggestions, you will often find inspiration for new posts while gaining insight as to what works best at the same time. Who doesn’t love a win-win?

Do you have any helpful techniques for brainstorming new content ideas? Share your ideas in the comments below!

3 Simple Ways you can Use your iPhone to Stay Organized

13 Sep

Everyone has their own way of staying organized, but it’s always interesting to me to see how others stay organized. With organization, I see it as always leaving room for improvement. I find that the best way for me to stay organized is to take notes on the go; and what better way of doing that than using your phone? Keep reading to see how I stay organized using my iPhone!

Taking Screen Shots

This is the perfect solution if you are in a rush, or want to save something for later. To take a screen shot on an iPhone, all you have to do it hold down the power button and home button at the same time. Screen shots will automatically be saved to your camera roll.

Here’s how I use screen shots to organize:

  • Shazam a song you like? Take a quick screen shot of the app to save song/artist/album details. You can look through your pictures later when you’re downloading music.
  • Take pictures of interesting quotes or articles while you’re browsing the web on your phone. You will be able to reference them at a later date.
  • Did someone text you an address or other tidbit of information that you’ll need later? Taking a screen shot will make it easier to find that information rather than scrolling through all of your text chats.

Using the Notes App – (Yes, the one that comes on your phone!)

I’m a perpetual list-maker. I can’t help it, I love to make lists. When I’m on the go, or don’t have a pen and paper with me, the Notes app comes in handy. To be honest, I wouldn’t make long lists using the Notes app, but small to medium lists work perfectly.

Here are some lists that I commonly make using the Notes app:

  • Packing lists – I hate forgetting items when traveling, so before packing I will make a list of items I need. Having the list on my phone is great because if I remember something that I’d like to add during the day I can simply grab my phone and put it in!
  • Books to read – I love reading, but when it comes time to purchase books, I’m always at a loss. Unless of course, I’ve taken note of books others have recommended to me in my Notes app.
  • Bills to pay – Let’s face it, we all have a ton of bills all over the place, and it’s hard to remember sometimes what you have to pay. I keep a list of all bills on my phone that I can reference each month so that I don’t forget any.

Using the Reminders App

This is an app that often goes untouched on a lot of phones – don’t ignore this app! This app acts as the string on your finger. Use it for those pesky items that don’t come up often, but that need to be done. These are the items you are likely to forget. Make sure to set a date and time for the app to “remind” you of your tasks. Items will pop up on your phone’s screen, and if programmed, will also be sent to your e-mail address.

If you haven’t checked an item off, a red notification will appear on the app’s icon, (and we all hate having notifications on our apps). You will be more likely to check your reminders just to get that red circle off your darn phone, and in turn will be reminded again of the task at hand. Not to mention, checking the boxes after finishing a task can feel so rewarding!
How do you use your phone to stay organized?
Let me know in the comments below!

Top 3 Apps to Use With Instagram

11 Sep

Instagram is by far my favorite platform for social media. I’m a very visual person, and I like that Instagram is so straightforward. But, with over 130 million users, photos on Instagram can start to all look the same after a while. For this reason, it’s cool that there are so many apps out there that you can use in conjunction with Instagram to make your photos more creative and unique. Here are my top three apps to use with Instagram!

Picfx | $1.99 | Best for Filters

Picfx - Top Apps for Instagram

Picfx is a great app if you’re a filter junky. Like many apps, you can first choose to take a picture using the app, or you can pick from your camera roll. What makes this app different is unlike a lot of other apps, with Picfx you can layer multiple filters. This is a great option if you want to add a color filter and a texture all in one fell-swoop.

Though this application is not free, I feel that you get a lot of options for the two dollars that you do spend. Set up as a scrolling book-like interface you can choose from over a hundred filters, (with new filters added continually), from categories including classic, vintage, urban, light, textures, space, frames, and more! Additionally, there is a feature to fade filters as well, so you can go as dark or light as you’d like.

Pictures can be shared straight from the application, or can be saved to your camera role. This app is very easy to use, and is well worth the money. I recommend it if you like to play around with colors and textures.

PicLab | Free* | Best for Fonts

PicLab - Apps for InstagramPicLab offers great tools to edit your photos including frames, filters, and basic color editing. However, I typically tend to ignore all of those features. The true reason that I love this app is for it’s text feature. Any time I add text to my photos, it is done using this app.

The reason there’s an asterisk next to “free” is because you can technically download this app for free, but in order for it to really be useful you’ll need to spend a tiny bit of money. The first purchase you’ll probably make is in eliminating the branded watermark. This is a one-time cost, and was an obvious step for me. In doing this alone, you’ll have a great app for about $1.00, but to go even further, you can buy more fonts, frames, etc. I went ahead and purchased all of the fonts, and in total I think I’ve spent around $3-4 on this app. But, I’ve used it so many times that I think the cost is worth it.

The selection of fonts can really cater to any taste – there are multiple fonts that I really love, and the added tools and features are just a bonus. Like Picfx, photos can be shared directly, or saved for later.
InstaFrame | Free | Best for Frames

InstaFrame - Apps for InstagramWe’ve all heard of Pic Stitch, and even though I love Pic Stitch, it’s at that point where it’s, “been there, done that.” I have used InstaFrame for a long time, and have grown to love the fun, colorful and customizable frames. I currently use the free version of this app, and find that the selection is wide-spread enough that I don’t have to make any purchases, though that is an option. To make up for the difference, there are advertisements on the app, but they are small banner ads that, frankly, do not bother me at all.

Unlike Pic Stitch, InstaFrame offers more variety for frame shapes, colors, designs, and sizes, and even offers other tools as well such as text and filter options. I find that I use this app with more fun, playful photos, and love how easy it is to quickly add multiple photos and make them look very unique. Photos edited with this application really stand out in a sea of pictures, and allow for a lot more creativity than Pic Stitch.

Like the other two apps, you can share straight from InstaFrame or save to your camera role. If you’ve paid for any additional features on this app, please leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

Can’t Take the Heat?

20 Jul

Marketers should always be aware of opportune moments, and when summer weather kicks it up a notch, it is no different. With this overbearing east-coast heat wave lingering around for the past week, I have been taking note of the brands that have been taking advantage of this marketing opportunity. Check out these not subtle at all, but effective social media posts from Facebook!

Heat Wave Samantha Winchell Marketing

Ski Vermont goes for the Keep Calm trend.

Skinny Pancake Samantha Winchell Marketing

The Skinny Pancake goes for a classic Vermont theme. That license plate seems just a little out of place in Vermont!

Heat4

Alpine Sporting Goods goes for the irony. That snow looks good right about now!

Heat5

Brueggers Bagels highlights the flavors of a warmer climate.

Heat1

And of course, Evolution PT Yoga takes it quite literally and encourages customers to come visit and escape the heat!

Have you seen any good weather marketing during this heatwave? Comment below!

Quick Tip: Use Social Validation

18 Jul

Social validation has been in place for years and years. You see that your neighbors just got a shiny new boat, and even though you live in northern New Mexico, you all of a sudden feel the need for a shiny new boat yourself! We are all a little bit guilty of keeping up with the joneses, and when you think about it, it’s no different online.

Samantha Winchell Marketing social validation mashable

Click to read more…

As a result, social (media) validation has become a really great tool for marketers. Take this post from Mashable for instance. Normally this isn’t an article that I would read, but seeing that 131 people have shared it on Facebook, and 596 people have tweeted about it makes me think twice. Other people liked this post, so maybe I will too. Mashable does a great job of continually including share buttons on all of their posts to give them social validation.

 

“Seeing that 131 people have shared it on Facebook, and 596 people have tweeted about it makes me think twice.”

 

Mashable Social Media validation samantha winchellPeople trust their friends, and neighbors, and through social media, they’re more trusting of something that others have liked. Including social share buttons in your posts will help convince viewers that the post is interesting and worthwhile.

Samantha Winchell Mashable Social Validation Media

Personal Digital Identity Review

24 Apr

To the viewers of this post,

I am creating this post to review the work I have done so far on my personal digital identity (PDI), and the results I have seen from the effort I have put forth this semester. All information below has been in efforts to boost my online presence, and has been in process from January-April 2013. These results cover the timeline of my marketing capstone course at Champlain College.

 

Social Media Platforms

Below are the social media platforms that were integrated into my PDI in order to boost my online presence.

Samantha Winchell Twitter

The social media platform that I have used most consistently is Twitter. I have been active on Twitter since 2009, and plan to keep up with posts. The difference this semester is that I’ve been posting more material relevant to my career choice. Before, I was often posting more personally, but in using the advice from my professor to post 85% professional and 15% personal, I was following and retweeting professionals, and adding my own professional content. I began this semester with about 115 followers, and have grown my following to 182.

Samantha Winchell Google Plus

My use of Google + was new this semester. In my time using Google +, I have seen that it is a more professional tool than Twitter, allowing users to post more content like Facebook. I have mostly utilized Google + this semester to post about my blog posts, however, I am eager to learn more about how I can use Google +. I hope to find new connections in the Google + community, and learn more about the tools that Google + offers such as Google Chat.

Samantha Winchell LinkedIn

LinkedIn is another platform that I am familiar with. I have had a LinkedIn profile since 2009, and have updated it continually. However, I grew my use of LinkedIn this semester through making posts, and joining and participating in groups. I learned a lot from various groups, especially a social media group where I often participated in group conversations. From these conversations I gained invaluable advice, new connections, and a new outlook on using LinkedIn.
Samantha Winchell YouTube

My presence on YouTube this semester has been one platform that I started from scratch. I have not posted on YouTube as much as my other platforms, but for my post on the Vermont Gun Rally, posting original video content was very beneficial. Since posting my video in February, it has gained 170 views from a variety of different sources. I have found with this platform that search engines have played a big role into views. With many of my other social media platforms I have found that popularity is driven from self-promotion.

I am excited to see where I can take my YouTube channel, and hope to learn more about creating, editing, and posting relevant videos. This is one platform that I will really want to expand upon after graduation.

 

Optimization

Results below are current as of April 24th, 2013. Each posting details scores and standings of my personal pages.

Google Results Samantha Winchell

At the start of this assignment, my Google search results using the term, “Samantha Winchell,” brought up meager results, hitting only my Twitter account on the first page. Since working on my online presence, I have been able to take most, if not all spots on the first page depending on the day.

 

Growth

Samantha Winchell Klout Kred TweetGrader

Samantha WinchellBefore this semester, I had never used tools such as Klout, Kred, and Tweet Grader. Through use, I have been able to track my outreach and see what sort of posts gain the most attention. Since I have been updating more professionally, I have noticed a dramatic increase in scores. As shown conveniently from Elaine, my starting scores this semester were all lower than what they are now. I am proud of the advancements I have made, and will continue to work at all of my media to maximize growth.

Utilizing LinkedIn to Expand Your Online Presence

22 Apr

LinkedIn is a popular tool holding over 200 million users, but do you feel like you’ve been employing all of its tools  effectively? If you answered “no,” read below to find useful tips and best practices in order to maintain and put use to your profile.

Best Practices

  • Make sure your profile is complete – Many people have included education, past jobs and possibly even a vague summary, but often, the smaller details are overlooked. For example, LinkedIn has included areas where you can encompass honors and awards, interests, and skills and expertise. Don’t let these areas sit empty! Adding in extra information about yourself can make you more relatable, and may lead to increased interest from potential employers.
  • Make sure to utilize LinkedIn as a social media tool – Read an interesting article relevant to your job position or area of interest? Post about it! By keeping your profile up to date, you are likely to increase your search engine optimization and you may connect with others who share in your interests.LinkedIn Share
  • Now that you’ve included a list of your skills, encourage connections to “endorse” your skills. It is one thing to say that you LinkedIn Endorsementshave a skill, it’s another to have a list of people who validate that claim.
  • Much like skill endorsements, also seek recommendations from past and present colleagues. Ask people who you are confident will give a positive review, and don’t forget to recommend others as well. Obtaining recommendations on LinkedIn is valuable to showcase how you work with others. Beneficially, recommendations are available for prospective employers without them having to ask. Opportunities can arise at any point in time, and it’s best to be prepared.
  • Lastly, make sure that your job descriptions are full, accurately described and contain key terms applying to your position. By adding more copy, you are allowing search engines more material, ultimately making it so that you will show up in more searches.

Tips and Tricks

  • Having difficulty gaining connections? Reach out to past classmates, professionals in the area, family and friends. People you may knowLinkedIn conveniently provides a systematic resource where you can find people you may know. Don’t be afraid to reach out and “connect” with people who you may not be very familiar with. Thus far, I have found LinkedIn to be a very open and relaxed atmosphere with accepting and friendly attitudes.
  • If you have posted your job descriptions and skills, but are still not getting any endorsements or recommendations, post to other profiles that are active on LinkedIn. Many people will reciprocate.
  • Additionally, move your skills to the top of your page. Because potential employers are busy, they will not spend a great deal of time on your profile unless they are seriously considering you as a candidate. Help them out by providing important information up front.
  • If you find it difficult to be consistent with updating materials, consider using an organizational tool such as HootSuite where you can connect posts to multiple social media platforms. You may find that a post that you make on Google + or Twitter would also be relevant on your LinkedIn. By using a social media organization tool, you will only need to make one post.

I hope that you find these best practices and tips and tricks to be helpful!

Feel free to comment below with any questions or share your tips and best practices. Additionally, share your LinkedIn profile if you’d like to gain new connections. Connect with me!

#PinChat – 4/17

17 Apr

I am new to Tweet Chats, and participated for the first time in the #PinChat, which is on Wednesdays beginning at 9:00 EST. Within the hour of following pinchat, I gained invaluable information on how to use Pinterest as a tool for promoting blog posts and books. In this post I will discuss some of the proceedings and helpful tips and information for anyone looking to use Pinterest as a social platform.

PinChatI decided to follow the PinChat because Pinterest is a social tool that I have not done much with. I am versed in Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google +, but to this point, I have mainly used Pinterest as a personal resource. By following the PinChat I was hoping to gain more information of how I could integrate Pinterest professionally and some insight into best-practices.

To start, joining any kind of tweet chat can be helpful in meeting new people. During my time on PinChat I gained five new followers on twitter and decided to follow three members who had a lot of advice and insight. I followed @Tribe2Point0 (Pinterest) the administrator for PinChat, and also @PegFitzpatrick (Pinterest) and @Pin_Chat.

At first the conversation was going a mile a minute, mostly with people greeting their friends and new members, including myself. It took a few minutes to really get started in discussing Pinterest, but I found that once the format was established it was pretty easy to follow. Because hashtags don’t always catch on, I felt that I asked a few questions towards the beginning that went unnoticed, but that’s ok because I can ask again next week. However, the conversation was very interactive, and there were many interesting questions and answers put forth.

Here is some of what I learned:

– Pinterest can be used professionally and in the marketing world. Many people are using Pinterest as a tool to promote their PinChat Professional Marketingblogs and companies. As shown to the right, Peg Fitzpatrick discusses how she uses Pinterest for marketing and content curation. By searching on Pinterest, she was able to find inspiration. Using Pinterest does not exactly mean that you have to be “pinning” your own content all of the time, you can also gain from the pins of others.

– You can make boards that cater to “Pinspiration.” Until this point, I have not been able to find the link between my blog and Pinterest. I was unaware that people were looking for marketing items on Pinterest, and after learning this I will try to start incorporating my blog onto Pinterest.PinChat Boards

– Infographics are extremely popular. On more than one occasion, people expressed their excitement for infographics and explained that they do very well on Pinterest.

– And lastly, in my aha moment, I realized that what I went onto Pinterest for was “How To’s.” I realized that people were looking to gain from being on Pinterest, and I will take this as a learning experience. Maybe I can include my blog – if people can learn from it!

PinChat How To

I gained a lot from participating in the PinChat and will probably join in again in future weeks. I hope to grow my presence on Pinterest, and have been looking for a way to connect it with my interest in marketing. It’s good to know that Pinterest is not only about drooling over the gorgeous outfits.

 

 

Using Pinterest as a Marketing Tool

15 Apr

In a couple weeks I will be moving from student housing to a new apartment, and in my efforts to plan ahead I have been using Pinterest Marketingdifferent tools, including Pinterest, to arrange our décor ahead of time. In my exploration I have been noticing some all-star marketing tactics put forth by companies in the Pinterest realm.

Where I really began to notice company integration was in the labeling of paint colors in décor pictures. I feel that it is ingenious and vital for companies to take advantage of  including brand and color names within these posts because it allows consumers to see examples of real-life projects and easily locate the paint for themselves. Take the image below for instance. The image itself was the “pin,” and has the caption below, “Sherwin Williams Tidewater.” When one clicks on the image of this pin, they are lead to an entire forum of room inspirations that list each of the paint colors used by specific brands. This is a fantastic way for companies to leverage the fact that people are already using their products and are urging others to use them as well.

Sherwin Williams Pinterest

To be honest, I am not 100% certain that Sherwin Williams placed this pin themselves, but the growth of consumers including this information is by no means un-promoted by the posted companies. With this in mind, there are companies in the home industry that are making a conscious effort to incorporate Pinterest into their marketing repertoire.

Crate and Barrel included an entire portion of their site to Pinterest, displaying various inspiration boards for customers to peruse,Crate and Barrel Pinterest each of which features Crate and Barrel’s products. An advantage of literally creating a pin board within your company’s site is that customers can pin directly, avoiding having to make a new pin themselves. This is advantageous to any company, allowing them to post the correct information and track results. As shown in the example above, Crate and Barrel includes pictures and a “Pin Button” for viewers to click. Viewers can easily and effortlessly pin Crate and Barrel’s products to their boards for future reference.

This ease into what is basically an advertisement feels less intrusive and forced for consumers. Not only do you connect with the active users on your site, but you can then reach their friends and followers on Pinterest as well. From there, pins have the chance to spread like wildfire. Pinterest has become a digital platform for “word of mouth” marketing, but instead of word of mouth it’s word of pin board.

Samantha Winchell Pinterest snamatha2020 In the wake of Pinterest introducing analytics tools, the opportunities are becoming limitless. I am in the strong belief that Pinterest is a still-growing tool for companies in the retail industry to take advantage of. Because the program is very consumer driven, companies do not have to constantly update their material as they do for other social media tools, and allow consumers to feel as if they have more control over their choices. Pinterest is unique in that it feels unorganized, as in non-fixed promotion, while being an organizational tool. Consumers latch onto the organic feeling of the program.

Comment below with any company Pinterest boards that have impressed you. I look forward to graduating and moving into a new apartment, and have really enjoyed comparing companies in such a comprehensive tool.