Using Pinterest to grow your business

Last week, the social pinboard site Pinterest that has everyone talking ditched its invite only policy and offered open registration to all users. Now, anyone can begin pinning away on the social media site that has been dubbed “the fastest growing social site.” But how do you use Pinterest to grow your business and build your brand? Here on ABC Good Morning Connecticut to go over this is Social Media & Public Relations Expert Kris Ruby, Founder of Ruby Media Group.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard  where members organize and share photos of their favorite things, it is one of the fastest growing social media networks online.

Pin it to Win it with the following tips!

  1. Re-pin visually stunning photos
  2. Create storyboards of relevant content that your customers will be interested in
  3. Avoid self promotion. Pin items that demonstrate the lifestyle that your brand represents, rather than pinning promotional items

 



Westchester County Business Journal: Small Business Report- Public relations and Social Media

Why is Social Media Important for PR?

Public Relations and Social Media: A perfect pair

PR and Social Media

Does PR Include Social Media?

An integrated public relations campaign should always include PR as a component of it.  To run a successful marketing campaign, social media must be integrated within a larger Public Relations and marketing strategy. Social media cannot stand in a silo.

Social Media and Public Relations go hand in hand, you can’t have one without the other. Public Relations fuels Social Media with content and press coverage for posting, and social media fuels Public Relations with larger opportunities to form direct relationships with journalists, media outlets and print publications.  A social media campaign without PR would lack rich content for continuous posting, and a PR campaign without social media would lack a primary vehicle in which to share earned media coverage with a larger fan base. Social media and PR are critical for personal brand building as well.

The Evolution of Social Media and PR

Three years ago, social media was all the rage.  As businesses struggled to stay afloat in tough economic times, they slashed traditional advertising budgets and put PR and marketing on hold.  Then came social media. “What’s your Twitter handle?” and “Friend me” were the buzzwords. Everyone wanted in on the hottest trend in marketing. People soon jumped on the social media bandwagon, not fully understanding what social media was or entailed, but knew they needed to be a part of it. Company’s who had put all traditional media buying on hold began pouring this money into social media, expecting the same sales driven results as traditional media.  Social Media managers were expected to show the results of traditional advertising, marketing and PR initiatives, all through social channels and with smaller budgets.

Why Social Media is Not a Magic Bullet

Social media is  supposed to be social. Social entails “engaging” with fans, opening up the channel of communication from 1 way to 2-way communication, and not direct sales. As companies allocated traditional marketing and PR budgets solely for Social Media, they became unsatisfied with the results. They were looking for social media to be the magic bullet to fix their business, to drive sales, and to give something it was never meant to give. In an effort to stretch dollars put into social media, companies began pushing harder to drive sales through the social channels they set up. The more they pushed the sale, the further away the fans went.

As the economy picks up, traditional media budgets are slowly coming back into the marketing mix, and companies are integrating these traditional media vehicles with social media strategies.  The result is a fully integrated marketing approach with increased opportunities for the end user to engage with the brand through several touch points.

Social Media PR Campaign Example 

In order to be successful, everything in a digital marketing campaign needs to be integrated seamlessly for a positive customer experience.  For example, a Westchester fashion boutique was looking to build buzz about their new store opening. This particular retailer is a perfect example of a company using social media and PR interchangeably.  Traditional press releases were written for the grand opening, as well as social media releases to bloggers. A local celebrity spokesperson modeled clothes at the Grand Opening, and was utilized in the preliminary ad campaigns. The spokesperson also utilized their social media to get the word out about the store. As a way to take the conversation offline and meet their fans in person, the retailer participated in event sponsorships such as The WAG’s Ageless Forever Event, or A Taste of The Towns at The Gym in Armonk.  They also shoot all of their own advertising campaigns, and reward their Facebook fans with teasers of behind the scenes footage from shoots to create a unique experience that can only be found in social media. For Valentine’s Day, a “wish list” was created in print for customers to track their favorite items in the store. We combined this in the digital realm by creating a “digital wish list” so users could get a similar experience at home on their laptops, if they didn’t want to fill out the list at the store.

Social Media Marketing for Business

The role of social media for businesses in Westchester County has drastically changed and will continue to evolve.

It is no longer a question of “Should my business be active in social media?” but rather, “What social media strategy is my business implementing this year?”

As companies continue to put money back into traditional advertising and PR campaigns, social media will become a pivotal feedback mechanism to gauge response rate. Facebook, in particular, will serve as a powerful and free focus group to test ad campaigns. Company’s looking to place media buys in traditional print are now taking advantage of Facebook’s advertising platform to test ad concepts to determine which ad gains the highest response rate from a loyal fan base. Impression rates, social reach and click-through conversions can then be used to create PR and marketing campaigns.

Businesses that are most successful with social media are those who see it for what it is; not a direct sales tool, but rather, a new form of selling through the art of ‘not selling.’  Social Media fans are coming to your Facebook business fan page to get an entirely unique experience, one that cannot be found in print, email newsletters, or even your web site. Company’s that embrace this form of brand-building within their larger marketing budgets will be satisfied with the results and ROI.

Social Media is only one component of a comprehensive marketing strategy.  The most innovative companies with successful marketing campaigns today are combining social media, Public Relations, marketing communications, event sponsorship and corporate social responsibility initiatives into their marketing plans. They leverage all of these marketing opportunities to cross-promote and further build their brand.

Kris Ruby is President of Ruby Media Group, a premiere Public Relations and Social Media Agency serving Westchester and Fairfield County. For more information, please visit www.rubymediagroup.com

Date of publication: Westchester County Business Journal, February 21, 2012

 


Professional Women of Connecticut: Public Relations Meets Social Media

Join Professional Women of Connecticut on February 27th for a great event: Public Relations Meets Social Media, The intersection between PR and Social Media in 2012. We will discuss social medias role in your overall media budget, media planning and buying, traditional advertising vs. Facebook advertising and more!


914 Inc. Westchester Magazine Business Breakfast and Social Media Discussion

This morning I spoke on a social media panel at the 914 Inc. Westchester Magazine Business Breakfast and Social Media Discussion. Here are some of the questions we discussed and some of my business insights on the recent Facebook changes, social media for your business today and more! Thank you to Dave Donelson for a great job moderating the panel discussion, as well as all of the other panelists.

914 INC MAgazine Social Media Panel

Why do small businesses need social media?

Small businesses need social media because it is a cost-effective way for any company to market to a highly-targeted audience for a fraction of the cost of traditional print advertising. Social media is important to businesses because people are talking about your business. It is better to have a voice and opinion then to ignore what people are saying about your company altogether. Social media is important for businesses today because it is an integral part of business.

Social Media Vs. Traditional Media- how does it differ? 

Social media differs from other forms of promotion in that it is, in essence, not supposed to be promotional. Social media is truly brand building. People today don’t realize just how important brand building is for their business, and instead think forms of direct marketing or advertising are more powerful then other types of promotions.

Social media marketing differs from traditional marketing in that it does not focus on immediately establishing the value of your services or products, but rather it is about establishing you as an icon and thought leader in the industry- to create an awareness of your name and brand.  It is not a specific advertisement for a given product or service- it is about brand engagement.

How much does social media marketing cost? 

Social media is not free. On average, it takes anywhere between 25-40 hours per month to integrate your social media and public relations campaign. We wrote a great guide on the cost of social media marketing services for further information on this topic. Social Media is an extension of corporate branding.  As a client, you are paying for the ability to utilize modern electronic techniques to get in front of a targeted audience.  Social media is not an advertisement and it is not a banner ad.  Social media is inherently about branding to a focused audience.  It is about the ability to quickly get in front of prospects, current clients and leads, and to establish an online relationship with them and build customer engagement.  The type of results you should expect are similar to what you would expect from a long-term branding campaign.  Social media marketing is essentially a global awareness and branding campaign that takes time to develop.

How do you measure social media campaign results? 

You know if you are getting results from a social media campaign based on several different KPI’s including community awareness of your brand, an increase in press mentions, an increase in brand identity (positive brand identity), or an increase in new leads.

What are the key factors to measure success of a social media campaign? 

The most important factor to be successful with a social media campaign for your business is to have clients who are willing to make the commitment to work with you on content creation. If you are going to represent someone online (similar to how a Hollywood agent represents an actor) then the agent needs to be in fairly frequent communication with that actor. The same is true for social media. In order to represent what your clients are doing in real-time, you need to be in frequent contact with them so what you are posting about their lives represents what they are doing. If you have a client that is impossible to get in touch with or only wants you to make up stories about what they could potentially doing, the campaign will never truly be a success.

What is the top social media marketing mistake to avoid?

The one thing you should never do in social media is to be too promotional, and yet we are all (myself included) guilty of it. Once you have committed this crime, it is best to disappear off the Facebook radar for a little while so you redeem yourself, or you can try 30 days of positive posting and make sure NONE of your posts include the words “Me” or “I” in them and are only informational, sharing posts that have nothing to do with you, your clients, or your company. Here are 10 Social Media Mistakes your Business is Making and here are 5 Reasons why your social media marketing campaign bombed for further reading on this topic.

Growing your audience on social media is important, but how do you get started?

Any media, social or otherwise, needs an audience. You get an audience by branding yourself as an opinion leader and expert in your field. Take your knowledge that you have in a specific niche market and start sharing it with friends and family to begin building the audience. If they like what you have to say, they will then start sharing your posts with their friends and family, and it can eventually lead to you developing your own unique audience.

Given the limited audiences of most social media, how does a business justify it?

I disagree with the premise of the question. According to recent statistics, Facebook has 800+ users and Google+ has 43 million users. Definitely not a “limited” audience.

Social Media Strategy or Execution: Which comes first?

1.    Social Media Strategy should always come first (so to answer the question, the first social media to come first is NOT social media, it is traditional marketing/PR laid out in MS Word!)

2.    Once you have chosen the appropriate channels for your strategy and business goals, you can then choose which networks work for your company.

The future of social media: what’s the newest thing in social media?

  • The new Facebook Timeline will revolutionize your Facebook experience, but it also has the potential to drudge up everything from your entire Facebook history (from 5+ years ago that you thought was gone forever)
  • On Sept 30th, everyone’s Facebook profile will go through a drastic change and everyone will have the Facebook Timeline. This change will be mandatory.

 “Rather than just displaying your most recent activities, your profile will become a scrapbook documenting your entire life, all the way back to your birth. Facebook will become a record of your existence: All your memories, your victories and your defeats, your loves, your losses and everything in between. You’ll be shocked, as I was, when this change is made. Suddenly your life is laid out before you, the highs and lows somehow pinpointed by Facebook’s algorithms.” Pete Cashmore, CNN “You’ll Freak When You See the New Facebook” 

  • Users will have more control over what shows up on their newsfeed. You can unsubscribe from people’s updates as opposed to de-friending. Additionally, you can control how much of what you see from their updates
  • Hulu and Spotify are now integrated directly into Facebook. You can actually watch and play music directly from Facebook. Additionally, you can share what you’re listening to and comment directly on what other people are listening/watching as well.
  • You don’t have to just “Like” something anymore; you’ll be able to use any verb through “Facebook Gestures.” I wonder if this will change the premise of “Liking” a fan page and how this will impact business fan pages?
For a great article on the new Facebook Timeline, Pete Cashmores article for CNN is a MUST READ

Entrepreneur Magazine: Back from the Brink: Surviving Startup Stress

Check out Jason Fells latest article on the home page of Entrepreneur Magazine.com.  I particularly love his intro with Disney!

“Master animator and entrepreneur Walt Disney suffered an emotional meltdown in 1931, three years after the debut of Mickey Mouse in the cartoon Steamboat Willie. He was cracking under the pressure of running Walt Disney Studio and overseeing a brand that was beginning to receive global recognition.

“I had a hell of a breakdown,” Disney recalls in a TV biography called Walt: The Man Behind the Myth. “I got to the point that I couldn’t talk on the telephone. I’d begin to cry.”

Disney ultimately began to better manage stress by traveling with his wife, Lillian, and by playing polo. For other business owners, the road to recovering from work-related tensions isn’t so clear. “Stress reduces the entrepreneur’s ability to make effective decisions and manage risk, which creates additional stress,” explains Dick Thompson, author of The Stress Effect: Why Smart Leaders Make Dumb Decisions — And What to Do About It (Jossey-Bass, 2010).” Jason Fell, Entrepreneur Magazine, copyright 

Read The FULL article here! 

Definitely also want to give a major shout out and thank you to my business coach Bonnie Haber of Corporate Calm, who worked with me through surviving “startup stress” Thanks Bonnie! Highly recommend her

 

 

 


Dig Boston: Up- Start, Socializing Your Business and social media snubbing!

Dig Boston published an interview today titled “Up-Start,” Socializing your Business, where Justin Korn summarized some of my main takeaways for business owners to start their own companies.  My Favorite part, where he discussed my notion of “social media snubbing.” Have you been snubbed?

“Within the next few weeks or so, approximately 300,000 students will migrate back to Boston for the fall. Essentially, Boston is a college town at heart; it gave rise to some of the most prolific minds in the country. Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates are products of Boston, names that bring as much pride to Boston as Ted Williams and Bobby Orr. Whether or not you attend a university or have a B.A. in basket weaving, Boston’s youth is driving an entrepreneurial movement that is exciting and promising.

Got any top 40 entrepreneurs under 40? We do. She’s only 23 and she’s wise beyond her years.

Kristen Ruby, founder of Ruby Media Group—an agency that specializes in Social Media Marketing, Public Relations and Personal Branding—is another product of her environment: Boston. She graduated from Boston University’s College of Communications and patented RMG (Ruby Media Group LLC) right after graduation. While RMG is well on its way to climbing Forbes’ lists in years to come, Kristen’s goal is paving the way for other young-minded thinkers to drink the Kool-Aid and start their own company.

So instead of sending out hundreds of resumes, deforesting ponderosa pine trees with your printed CVs, try creating your own job stability. Yes, you still need to put food on the table, and yes, you will have to motivate yourself to turn off Springer’s paternity test specials and take charge! But, there’s nothing like being your own boss— ask anyone, especially Kristen.

In Short, Kristen came to a lot of realizations that if left untreated, clash together in a not-so-pretty midlife crisis. Kristen interned for a company that later gave her a “trial run” as a social media specialist, which would eventually turn into a full-time regular job. During her internship, she was lucky enough to discover her passion for social media, albeit she also became weary of answering to a higher power— the boss. Kristen jettisoned big corporate America, taking what she learned and delivering a product businesses thrive on. She interned, she saw, and she conquered.” (Copyright Dig Boston, Justin Korn)

 

 

 



RMG- Time Magazine & Gratitude for The YEC

RMG was recently featured in Time Magazine– another reason why we love the YEC and why the YEC rocks! I would like to especially thank Scott Gerber, Ryan Paugh and Natalie MacNeil for bringing me into this amazing group as a founding member. They inspire me every day, and I am so honored that Scott included me in this column on Time. I urge everyone to look into their businesses, and the YEC. They are crushing it. Thank you again! Totally honored to be included in this awesome column and hopefully inspire some other entrepreneurs!

Read the full article here


Twitter Handles connect Westchester Community at Social Media Tent #BOW11

This year at Best of Westchester 2011, RMG helped Westchester Magazine create the first ever social media tent.  What is a social media tent you ask? The goal of the social media tent was to bring together bloggers and active social media partners together for an opportunity for fans to “Meet and Greet” with them and put a face to the Twitter handle.  We even held a meet and greet with Miss Westchester Christina DeLeon and Publisher Ralph Martinelli.  For one night, under one roof, we tried to see people by their Twitter handles, not by their organizations. There were competitive social media agencies, publicists, Publishers and journalists- but all of that was invisible when social media brought them together and they were defined by their Twitter handles. We tried to do, what many would say, was the impossible. Social Media can bring together people in a way that most any other form of traditional business cannot. 20 years ago, it would be unheard of to have different publishers, different communications agencies, and different media outlets all under one roof- promoting one cause-, which was to bring together a community of digitally active voices. I believe we accomplished something very special that evening under the social media tent- we brought together people that otherwise would never be under the same roof, and we were there for the same mission- to increase community and share our experiences of the evening. Granted we learned it was hard to keep journalists in a confined space for any length of time (especially when there are 1,000 things taking place at the Best of Westchester to absorb) but it was really special to see a community come together under the alias of a Twitter handle and a hashtag.