Claiming This Spot


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Pinning & Stumbling Into Business

Businesses are always looking to increase their marketing potential, and to expand their clientele. Social media platforms are one of the most popular form of free advertising for businesses to customers from around the world. My personal favourite social media platforms are Pinterest and StumbleUpon, and they both just happen to be two of the most effective ways to promote a business. If learning how to be social media savvy with the best up-and-coming websites for advertising, then read on!

Pinterest is a social media website that allows users to “pin” photos of places, people, objects, and more onto a virtual pin board. These photos become links when clicked on, and will transport the user to the website from which the photo originated. You can “repin” someone else’s photo onto your board, and vice versa. This is essentially the same concept as sharing a post or other content. A pin can travel from person to person, while friends or even strangers “like”, repin, or comment your photo as many times as they care to. These pins can be organized onto boards, where other people can follow you, or just follow a specific board.

Pinterest offers a lot of visual potential for a business to promote products and their brand. When people see something that they like on Pinterest, they will click on it, and be instantly navigated to that businesses website to learn more about the product, or just to browse for other products that generate interest. I would use Pinterest for this feature alone, just because Pinterest is a visual representation of the product; so, if the product is directly linked to the website it came from, then who’s to say that person won’t explore the rest of the site, and possibly make a purchase? The number of likes and repins categorizes the photo as “recently popular”, which can be displayed on the home login page for Pinterest as a result (see photo, bottom left). The amount of exposure for pins and products is huge, especially since Pinterest has recently launched a new app, making the Pinterest and sharing experience mobile.

Where you can view the “most popular” pins of the day.

Indigo is a chain of bookstores and retail stores, which are partnered with Chapters and Coles. I follow this brand on Pinterest, and I am always impressed by the different types of content that they share with their followers. All products have their own boards to shop through, including books that changed lives, home décor, back to school, and exploring the world. I have repinned several of their pins of books I have read, and I have had some of those pins repinned by my followers. This is the power of social media, and Pinterest allows companies like Indigo to showcase their products all over the Internet to persons from all over the world. If your company has a charity or event that they support, then create a board for that event with pictures, so then followers can search the board and pins for that event, and generate awareness.

Another great social media platform for businesses is StumbleUpon, a website that uses a member’s interests and searches the Internet and other users’ pages or likes for content that is relevant to the member’s chosen interest. Interests could include humor, nature, photography, fashion, fitness, and many more. You can also “like” or “dislike” the page you are viewing, so that StumbleUpon can customize its searches to suit your preferences and style. Viewers can “stumble” through their interests, which basically means that it is a randomized search through the content for your interest.

I am fairly new to the StumbleUpon website, but I have found it to be extremely useful. I was looking for photos for a project, and I needed a specific travel picture. I searched under my “travel interest”, and found several photos that I could use. If a business decided to create a channel (a page designated to that business), they could add website, photos, and videos and categorize them under an interest category, viewers that subscribe to that interest category will see the content that was shared.

The World Wildlife Fund(WWF) is a great example of an organization using StumbleUpon. They created a channel for their organization, and filled it with initiatives to help animals and environments in peril, as well as information on endangered animals and news around the world. Approximately 13, 000 people follow this channel, and the WWF channel displays a link to their Twitter page for its followers to check out and tweet at the organization. Viewers can search through channels easily and effortlessly (see photo, bottom right).

Searching through channels for businesses and leisure.

By using Pinterest and StumbelUpon for business, awareness for a company’s brands and initiatives have reached users, using “interests” as their ultimate weapon. For example, if a viewer selects “food & drink” as one of their personal interests, then information and photos from multiple websites are filtered to your account to read as long as that website has anything to do with food. The possibility of using a person’s interests as a method to instantly share content from that company, whether it be clothing, electronics, or household items, people will notice and will become customers to this company. The power of sharing content with what the viewer is primarily interested in is a useful tool to all companies, and platforms like Pinterest and StumbleUpon allow these methods to come alive for businesses as easy advertising.

There have been recent advancements in technology, and most people own or have owned a smartphone, tablet, or a computer. With this technology emerged a new market for different platforms in the form of apps and websites for people to use at leisure, or for business motives. These apps and websites have opened the doors for businesses to target customers by exposing their products with the apps that the customer uses. Since these large social media platforms have become more accessible and compatible with the usage of smartphones and tablets, businesses are able to offer services at anytime, anywhere. I use both the Pinterest and StumbleUpon apps almost everyday on my Samsung Galaxy S Captivate, and I will admit that it is so much easier to use these social media sites, especially if I don’t have access to a computer where I am at the time. All I need is a secure Internet connection, whether that is WiFi or my data plan. I would join Pinterest and StumbleUpon just for the fact that there is already an app made to help consumers access your products, where you didn’t even have to create an app at all!

The possibilities of these social media platforms are enormous, and I recommend using at least one of these two websites if I ran a business. Pinterest and StumbleUpon are two of the fastest growing social media sites around the world, with Pinterest users growing rapidly in the North American continent. And like I’ve said before, it is essentially FREE ADVERTISING. Its doesn’t cost anything for a business or a person to have these accounts on Pinterest or StumbleUpon, as well as many other social media accounts, and your products are still getting some publicity. If you’re interested, follow me on Pinterest and StumbleUpon (both Clara Quinn) to see what its all about!

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Promoting Businesses: Potential YouTube & Video Ideas

Promoting a business in today’s markets can be difficult, especially trying to differentiate your company and services from that of another’s. There are so many methods to promote and market your company, including Facebook and Twitter and blogging. But what if the message you’re trying to convey to customers can’t be said in a post, tweet, or words for that matter.

Videos are a huge source for public information around the world, with YouTube being a huge supplier for free public information of all kinds. Many businesses have already started using YouTube videos to their advantage, by getting their product out there in a convenient way for viewers to stumble upon. Videos are so much easier to access and there are videos about everything you can imagine, with people searching these videos thousands of times a second. So, the best way to promote a business in my opinion: YouTube video! The following video describes the reasons for using YouTube in your business marketing strategy:

For those who are not as creative as they would like to be, or have no idea how to get started on a video, I am going to provide an example of some interesting strategies and ideas for a promotional video. I have been given the task of creating one or more promotional videos for the following imaginary business:

Pet Pawsitive is a mid-sized business with two locations in Belleville and Kingston. Unlike your traditional pet supply store, Pet Pawsitive is focused on providing behavioral and psychological training for pets and their owners, including basic animal education, obedience, rehabilitation and service classes. Each location also contains a retail outlet that sells all-natural and holistic pet foods and a variety of training supplies. Pet Pawsitive doesn’t sell animals but does work closely with local and national shelters and humane societies to connect would-be owners with their next animal companion. The company is known for being very active in each of their communities, participating in and holding events and fundraisers. The average staff size of a Pet Pawsitive location is 6 to 10 employees which includes management, retail clerks and certified trainers.

The add mentions behavioural and psychological training for your pets, including education and rehabilitation classes etc. First of all, what methods are used for psychological training as well as behavioural? How? Why? As a pet owner of an almost 10 year cat (see photo, right 🙂 ), I would think about what kind of details I would like to know, as well as the customer. In this case, I would create a video giving a visual on the different procedures and techniques the staff would perform for different pets. If I was a concerned customer and wanted to know what methods of training would be done on my pet, a video will give me great insight to the actual practices at work instead of just hearing about these services that I have no idea what is involved or is being taught. This type of video could be used for many types of videos, including a behind-the-scenes, product, or demonstration videos.

I may also have a general information video on the company by itself. This video would include a virtual tour through the store and facilities in the Belleville and Kingston locations (1 video per location could be beneficial and less confusing). A description outlining the various services provided by Pet Pawsitive would be useful for browsing customers, as well as interviews or reviews by satisfied customers and their pets to justify the services. Real reviews are very important to me, no matter what I am looking to purchase, so I would recommend adding them to the video.

All videos should definitely be very friendly and engaging, and the previously mentioned video idea should be a short and general video could be the video most viewed by customers the most, since a lot of people are looking for fast information on the company. I believe that there could be a segment on the staff as well, who would always be friendly and helpful in all of your pet’s needs. The staff is important, and a level of trust between the customer and the staff has to be communicated through the video to grab the viewers attention and business. Pet owners are devoted to their pets, I would know, and I would always want to know that my cat is in safe hands, so this to me would be appealing.

As far as promoting products, like the all-natural pet foods, a short and simple video on what the benefits are for the product would be the best. I liked the following video called “Canidae All Natural Pet Food”, which briefly describes their all-natural pet food product. Canidae is a company that is using YouTube to promote its products in a friendly and relatable way for customers to understand. Another video that could be added is an interview with an expert on organic and all natural pet foods, to hear the science and health pros and cons of using all natural foods. To me, hearing from the experts tell me what I would really be giving my pet that I wouldn’t know from watching a commercial.

Lastly, a video promoting the fundraising and events that Pet Pawsitive is so important, especially with consumers today. Corporate social responsibility is one of the traits a customer looks for in a company, to see if they are helping the community or impacting their environment for the positive. I would definitely make a video for each fundraiser, because if all of the events are in one video, the goal or idea of each fundraiser may not come off as clear as you would want. Videos highlighting your businesses fundraising goals, achievements, information (including contact info.) and how people can get involved. A well thought out video with staff, pets, and volunteers will leave a lasting and heart-warming impression on viewers.

Uploading YouTube videos is one of the best ways for your business to spread its name. As soon as one person watches the video, 50 other people are going to hear about that video from that person. This is why it is so important to have an engaging and influential video that the viewer cannot ignore or forget. If an extra challenge is what you want, then I would suggest making a YouTube Channel for your business; that one place where all of your videos will be together, similar to a website. Hopefully my opinions as a real-world consumer and self-promoter will help your business reach new levels. And who knows, your company could be the next video going viral!


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Tim Hortons on Facebook: Always Fresh!

The Tim Hortons Logo

For over a year now, I have been tracking the Tim Hortons Facebook page for fun. I only liked their Facebook page simply because I like Tim Hortons’s food. However, what I saw on Tim Hortons’s Facebook page wasn’t what I was expecting. I ended up learning a lot of information I never knew about the company, and other brands and events. Facebook has been a successful business strategy for many businesses; so what about Tim Horton’s?

At first glance, I notice the Tim Hortons logo: everywhere. As the cover photo, in the various badges (links connected to related ideas and sections), and the posts on the page. The cover photo for the page features the current “Facebook event” for Tim Hortons, known as the “Tims Photo Tour” where you upload photos of yourself with a Tim Hortons product anywhere in the world, however you want. All throughout the page I’ve noticed that people are responding to this event with enthusiasm, and are sharing photos from around the world, or locally. The cover photo is definitely adding publicity to this event, as the participation for this campaign is overwhelming with customers showing off their purchases.

The feature I love the most about this page is the instant timeline at the far right side of the Facebook page. It is quick and easy to link back as far as 1964 when Tim Hortons opened their first restaurant, all the way until the present day on the page. The information is very brief, each post being a picture with a caption or description of a milestone in Tim Hortons history. It was nice to have that small overview, but I think I would’ve liked a little bit more information from the earlier years of the company’s history. It’s nice to know how and when a company transformed, and their impact on today’s economy and consumers.

Who’s PUMPed for Pumpkin Spice?

When reading through Tim Hortons’s Facebook posts, there is a very positive atmosphere that I really enjoy reading. If you like updates on products and contests, this is a great place to find opinions and interests of all kinds. Even Coldstone Creamery, a recent partner with Tim Hortons, has mini debates and updates on all of their newest ice creams and products, which adds extra business to both companies. The posts are also reading nicely into the fall season, where pictures of Tim Hortons products are artistically represented by an autumn setting. I find this gives the products a cozy and relevant feel to what’s current in the market. It’s obvious that Tim Hortons keeps their Facebook page updated, with a new post being created at least twice a week.

Chances are if you’re Canadian, you’ve bought something from Tim Hortons. If you’re not Canadian, chances are you’ve at least heard about Tim Hortons. Also known as Tim’s, Timmie’s, Timmy Ho’s, Timmy Ho-Ho’s, this food chain has evolved from just being a coffee and doughnut shop to being a Canadian food icon nation-wide and throughout North America. Tim Hortons is very well known, and there’s no doubt that Facebook has been an asset for the company to really make themselves known and make it easier for customers to interact. For more information on Tim Hortons and what they have to offer, visit their website at www.timhortons.com. I can’t wait to see what’s next for Tim Horton’s in the future!