Social Media Trends and Utility

M-sunglassesRemember in the 80’s when Madonna-wear was so trendy? VanDesign (VD) has been in existence since then…we are pushing 30 years in business and luckily no longer wear hair hankies and shoulder pads.  As founder/owner, I consider three decades a long career path especially when compared to some well-intended but ultimately short-lived enterprises (e.g. dot.coms).  As a boutique creative/marketing firm with its roots in the horse industry, VD business strategies and use of technology have had to evolve or simply close our door. Yes, I guess one, not so trendy door.

However, you know the story about the cobbler’s kids with no shoes?  Well, VD has failed in that respect. Adept as we are at marketing ideas for and about our clients (aka the kids), VD has been hesitant to engage new SM marketing technologies and only lightly manages three social media (SM) networks, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

We are becoming more aware of SM platforms, strategies and current trends (through online SM education…thank you SNHU and Dr. J. Rogers) but actually engaging and awareness are distinctly different.

Let’s pretend for this post, that VanDesign IS the client and we want to enhance VD’s SM reach. As a consultant on their corporate marketing team, I first want to identify and then apply, a new SM tool/tactic that would enhance their target market.  Remember, SM is simply another tool in our marketing toolbox. We only should use it in conjunction with VD’s overall business plan or to help achieve a specific company objective.

Funny, I just happen to know one of VanDesign’s business objectives…to increase their brand awareness, beyond the equine industry. What SM tool would YOU suggest for VanDesign (see poll below)?

pinterest-logoTaking what I know to date about SM, VanDesign’s objective and as a savvy marketer, I would recommend VD immediately set up some pin boards on Pinterest. Here are my reasons why:

  • Pinterest is visual…a perfect platform to display latest designs, logos created, illustrations, font/color trends, etc.
  • In 2012 alone, Pinterest usage rates grew by over 1000%…a completely overwhelming statistic.
  • At present, Pinterest is driving more referral traffic than LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube combined. And the only social media site driving more traffic than Pinterest is Facebook (Stelzner, 2012).
  • Pinterest shares a similar demographic to the Horse Industry (HI): 88% of the HI involve women, while 59% are between the ages of 25-54. 46% of horse owners have an income of between $25k and $75k…28% of an annual income over $100k.
  • Up to 80% of Pinterest users are women between the ages of 25 and 55. Pinterest users are fairly affluent too, with a salary of $50,000+.

Pinterest it seems, is a perfect match from a demographic standpoint, but now let’s help VD further confirm their efforts by applying these ideas specific to Pinterest.

  • Setting up a Business Pinterest account would be appropriate.
  • Board ideas may include…fonts that inspire, annual color trends, logos created by VD…anything along these lines.
  • VD has portfolio’s of design work/illustration to pin on boards
  • Use “Pin it” and “Follow” buttons AND Profile and Board Widgits to grow VD’s community and increase traffic…these make it easier for people to pin items from VD’s site, see what they’re doing on Pinterest, and follow VD or their boards.
  • Promote VD”s Pins…link to Pinterest Profile from other SM networks (e.g. FaceBook, LinkedIn, etc.) and VD’s Website.
  • Pinterest tracks trends and VD can adjust their pins and social networks accordingly.

Like the passing of Madonna’s trendy-wear, social media tools and strategies will continue to evolve (Rogers, 2013). Similar in sans-trendiness to VanDesign, networks such as FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest seem to be here for the long-term.  So, with research, proper planning and a slight “wait and see” attitude, businesses can confidently leverage these SM platforms to their advantage.

References

Stelzner, M. (2012) Pinterest Marketing: What Marketers Need to Know to Succeed, Retrieved February 1, 2013 from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/pinterest-marketing-what-marketers-need-to-know-to-succeed/

AHP-Equine-Survey-Final-3.pdf, Retrieved February 1, 2013 from http://goo.gl/BBOHG

Rogers, J. (2013) Module Four Lecture: Social Media: Considering the Horizon, SM Market Strategy, MKT655-X2158, SNHU, Manchester, NH

Armano, D (2012) Harvard Business Review: Blog Network; Six Social-Digital Trends For 2013, Retrieved February 1, 2013 from http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/12/six_social-digital_trends_for.html

Bullas, J. (2013) 6 Social Media Trends You Should Not Ignore, Retrieved January 31, 2013 from http://www.jeffbullas.com/2013/01/03/6-social-media-trends-you-should-not-ignore-in-2013/

Michaelian, B. (2013) Huff Post Small Business: New and Social Media Trends for Small Business in 2013,  Retrieved January 30, 2013 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/britt-michaelian/social-media-small-business_b_2491821.html

Advertisements

Searching for Blogs: Horsey or Otherwise

Like any niche industry, when horse enthusiasts get together, their favorite topic of course is talking horse.  There is a never-ending stream of stuff to ruminate over…from horse health, to the latest training technique, to Dobbin’s last bowel movement. The last topic is usually related to colic or the last time you wormed the horse.  Horse folks ALWAYS offer some sort of expertise, whether you want to hear it or not. See what I mean?

This ability to share equine information has crossed over into online “blog-land.”  The horse world loves to blog, is VERY popular and offers in-depth information as well.

When specifically searching for blogs first try using search engines for blogs instead of the usual Bing, Yahoo and Google searchers. Here are a few noteworthy options.

Technorati.com (founded as the first blog search engine) is a real-time search engine dedicated to the blogosphere. It only searches through blogs (author’s tags) to find exactly what you’re looking for. Technorati tracks trends and topics on the Web. It’s an easy service to use, returns relatively good results, and offers a lot of good insights into what the Web at large is talking about.

Blogs.com is a new service from blogging company SAY Media that helps you discover the best in blogs. You can quickly and easily find blogs by category and topic or read daily blog roundups of some of the best blog content around the Web. Top 10 Lists from celebrity bloggers and influencers also help you discover new blogs, and everyone is invited to create their own Top 10 lists to share with the community. Blogs.com also produces a free weekly email newsletter so you can get the best in blogs delivered to your inbox.

Icerocket.com is similar to Technorati in that it tracks popular web stuff such as Movies, Video Buzz and Top Posts. It also offers tools like a blog tracker and covers blog trends. There is even an IceSpy tool to find out what other fellow rocketeers are searching for.

Google Blog Search (formally Blogger), further defines a general Google search. You can look at Google Blog Search similarly to Google Trends — it can serve as a barometer of what’s important enough to show up on Google.com, too. Do all hot topics on Google Blog Search also show up in Google.com universal results? Probably not. Do all topics that show up in universal search also appear on the home page of Google blog search? Probably not. But if you’re looking for the type of blog content and the blog sources that show up in universal search, it seems like the Google Blog Search home page is a good place to start.

If you’re looking for some great horse related blogs, your search ends here. Following are a few of my favorites.

TheHorse.com “Your Guide to Equine Healthcare” (overseen by a board of the American Association of Equine Veterinarians (AAEP) offers “The Horse Blog Stable,” a series of care related blogs. This is a very good resource for non-emergency horse care.

Smartpakequine.com  also offers great care resources but more importantly has information about equine supplements.  Although because of the source, you’ll have read between the lines a bit about the product suggestions.

The Hoofwall discusses farrier/blacksmith concerns, seminars and the latest horse shoeing technology.  Some recent blog titles include…Educational Programs for Farriers, Hammer Time at Bloom Forge, Farrier Talent has a Good Ring To It.

The Chronicle of the Horse blog series are written by Chronicle staff and regular contributors.  They are written about every topic imaginable and the English Disciplines.

Horse Junkies United goal is to provide cool, fun and meaningful content that relates to all amateur riders across English Disciplines.  They want to be the voice of all amateur riders out there! They cover events, have clinic reports, interviews with riders, talk about our horses and what they’re learning along the way…. Anything and everything horsey imaginable all in good fun and with a point of view.

And now for fun… Fugly Horse of the Day offers snarky commentary on the breeding of poor quality horses, silly or abusive training techniques, and pretty much anything else that annoys horse peeps.

Other sources:

http://www.smallbusinesssem.com/google-blog-search-smx-west/1686/