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Tim Peter

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April 23, 2013

The Key to Social Media Success

April 23, 2013 | By | One Comment

Social media successFew businesses have faced as much competitive pressure over the last decade as travel agents. Those who’ve survived have done so by connecting effectively with their customers, addressing real needs, and providing excellent service.

But the growth of social media has introduced a new variable to travel agents’ relationships with their clients, one that many struggle to navigate. The latest issue of Travel Agent Magazine features a cover story, “Social Media Tips From the Experts,” all about how travel agents — and anyone in the travel space, really — can use social media to connect with their clients in ever more effective ways. The piece features tips from a number of leading social media marketing experts, including our own Tim Peter.

Among the tips Tim shared with the magazine was this advice:

“Think about what’s of value to your customers,” Peter says. “Travel agents should be better at this than a lot of other people because you talk to customers every day. What are the things your clients ask you all the time? That’s great info to share.”

Content marketing — itself core to any social media marketing efforts — challenges marketers to continually generate new content. But any business person, travel agent or otherwise, who talks to customers regularly knows what really matters to those customers. Or should.

Creating deep relationships with customers depends on first listening to what your customers say and working to understand what customers actually need. Of course, the understanding is as important as the listening. Henry Ford famously said, “If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Ford translated “faster horses” into serving a real need: providing reliable, inexpensive, and, yes, faster transportation.

Your social media efforts should aim for the same goal. First, listen to what your customers and clients say, on social channels as well as offline. Then understand what those customers need. Then, finally, engage with customers to address those needs.

By the way, the article as a whole is filled with a ton of tips you can use, regardless of your industry or occupation. Check it out if you get the chance.

And, if you’re interested in more, sign up for our free newsletter to get more information on how to build your social, local, mobile marketing strategy. You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of social, including:

Tim Peter

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June 20, 2012

Everybody needs both Pinterest and LinkedIn | Biznology

June 20, 2012 | By | No Comments

Do you really need both LinkedIn and Pinterest?When it comes to marketing strategy, whether social, mobile, local, print, broadcast or anything else, there’s no “one size fits all” model. Each business depends on (ideally) having the right strategy focused on reaching the right customers in the right channels and at the right time.

Piece of cake, right?

When you consider how challenging that mandate is, it’s no wonder many snake oil salesmen want to fit you into their box, applying the same “strategy” they’re using with everyone else.

So, why would I suggest that everybody needs both Pinterest and LinkedIn in my latest Biznology blog post?

Well, read it and see.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

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And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

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June 18, 2012

A dozen useful content marketing best practices worth reviewing

June 18, 2012 | By | One Comment

Content marketing tipsTake a look at these items and think about they have in common:

  • Posting on your brand’s blog
  • Updating your brand’s Facebook page
  • Sharing an image on Pinterest
  • Retweeting a fascinating tweet on Twitter
  • Posting an image to Instagram
  • Commenting on a Google+ stream

Answer? They’re all forms of content marketing, designed to attract likes and links, friends and followers, comments and customers. Regardless of the channels you’re using, many of the same principles of content marketing apply. Check out the following articles collected from the Thinks archive and across the web to point you to content marketing success:

Content marketing tips

  1. Before beginning with any content marketing, you should give some thought to what your brand story is. Then check out these tips on how to build your brand story online.
  2. Blogging is a big part of content marketing, whether posted on your brand’s blog, your Facebook page or on Google+. This next post outlines 4 steps to creating great content for your blog. And, while it mainly talks about blogging, the tips apply equally well to your other content marketing channels too.
  3. Of course, you’re not responsible for creating all the content you share with your friends, fans and followers. You can use these 5 tools to help you curating great content.
  4. In fact, if you’re going to do more curation than creation, check out SEOmoz’s great guide to content curation for SEO.
  5. Learning from others is a great way to build your content archive. So you will probably enjoy these 8 cool content marketing tips from the HEDNA conference.
  6. A number of resources out on the web contributed to these7 tips to build a better blog. And they apply almost equally to just about any other part of your content marketing.
  7. If you’re posting to Pinterest, you might find this marketer’s quick guide to Pinterest useful, as well as our entire Pinterest tips roundup.
  8. Now, content marketing is really just another form of marketing itself. So take a look at these 5 common mistakes killing your online marketing and apply them to your efforts.
  9. I’m often asked to assess how well various efforts work for my clients. These simple tips for measuring the value of your blog content can help you answer at least one of those questions for yourself.
  10. With the rise of other social media channels such as Facebook and Google+, I’m often asked, “Is small business blogging still relevant?” I think it is. But check out the article and decide for yourself.
  11. And, of course, I recommend checking out our guide on how to build your small business blog. It applies to non-business (i.e., non-profit) and personal blogs, too.
  12. Finally, interacting with your customer is a crucial component of content marketing. Check out this story to see why you must respond to negative comments in social media.

Crafting a consistent brand story and the content to support it online isn’t always easy. But check out the tips above and you may find it’s a lot easier than you thought.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

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May 4, 2012

Social secrets of marketing superheroes (Small Business E-commerce Link Digest – May 4, 2012)

May 4, 2012 | By | No Comments

Superheroes of social mediaWell, if you haven’t heard, there’s a little art house film opening this weekend featuring quirky characters who dress up in costume… and save the entire freakin’ planet. C’mon… Robert Downey, Jr.? Joss Whedon? The Hulk? Why, yes, I am jazzed like a fourteen year-old to see that big, damn superhero movie.

Happily, superheroes don’t only appear in comic books and celluloid. Nope, the Interwebs are full of ‘em, too. Here’s what some of my favorite (social media) superheroes have been up to the last few days:

Have a great weekend, Big Thinkers! Hope you enjoy the show (I know I will). And we’ll see you back here next week.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

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May 3, 2012

Guest post: Four Keys to Increase E-commerce Exposure in 2012 by Nii Ahene

May 3, 2012 | By | No Comments

As technology continues to change and new technology emerges, it can be overwhelming for business owners looking to gain exposure in today’s competitive market. Here are 4 ways to increase e-commerce exposure:

1. Social Sharing 2.0 – Pinterest and Facebook

Facebook

Facebook

These days many retailers have Facebook pages, but haven’t done much since creating the page. In order to use Facebook effectively, it is important to engage your audience. Here are top-rated apps that can help you drive sales using Facebook:

  • Pagemodo Welcome Page
  • Booshaka
  • Constant Contact: Join My List
  • NetworkedBlogs
  • Market Place App Powered By Oodle
  • Wildfire Contest App
  • YouTube for Pages

Pinterest

By now, we’re sure you have heard of Pinterest, a social bookmarking site that has gained tremendous momentum in 2012. As a retailer it’s easy to see how Pinterest have the potential to drive traffic to a website through the link attached to each “pin” or post. Here are a few tips for increasing traffic using Pinterest:

  • Create your own branded pinboard
  • Consider investing in compelling product imagery on-site
  • Use contests encourage your customers to become virtual evangelists
  • Find and engage with existing Pinterest board owners
[Editor's note: Check out our past Pinterest tips, too]

2. Video Content – Video Reviews/Product Walkthrough

These days 61% of customers read online reviews before they make purchase decisions making them an essential part of e-commerce sites. As proven sales drivers, video reviews increase conversions.

Here are a few tips for making effective video reviews:

  • Keep your review less than three minutes
  • Stay focused on the product
  • Concentrate on the primary product features & how they benefit the consumer
  • Take advantage of simple editing software
[Editor's note: For more on this topic, take a look at Jackie Codair's "Why every SMB should have online video" post]

3. Abandoned Cart Follow Up E-mails

Abandoned cart emails

What happens when someone abandons his or her cart in your e-commerce store? Here are proven ways to convert abandoned carts into sales:

  • Make sure your website can save abandoned carts and your email system can send abandoned cart emails.
  • Be sure to include real-time inventory numbers on both your product pages and in the shopping cart—if people abandoned their cart because of back-ordered products, send automatic emails when the products become available.
  • In the emails sent to shoppers after they abandon their cart, let them know when their cart will be cleared.
  • Include pictures of the abandoned items in the emails.
  • Include promotional offers in the emails to help increase conversions.

4. Mobile Optimized Sites

Mobile sites With the popularity of smart phones, mobile phone owners are increasingly using their phones for mobile shopping. In fact, 35% of US Web-enabled mobile phone owners said they used their phone to shop. If you would like to make sure that your site is compatible for mobile users, here are a few tips:

  • Include lower resolution photos and remove background images.
  • Increase font size to improve readability.
  • Redesign the e-commerce site flow vertically as opposed to horizontally.

Conclusion

Utilizing some or all of these techniques and advances in technology can increase exposure and drive sales. Have you had success using any of these techniques increase exposure? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Nii Ahene is COO of CPC Strategy, a shopping feed management agency and is responsible for day-to-day business operations and long-term financial, tactical and strategic planning for the company. He has been with CPC Strategy since January of 2007. Prior to working with CPC Strategy, Nii was a product manager at eBay working on algorithmic merchandising and reviews and guides.

Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

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April 20, 2012

This Week's Pinterest, Productivity, SEO, Mobile and Social News (Small Business E-commerce Link Digest – April 20, 2012)

April 20, 2012 | By | No Comments

Every so often, I post what I call “the open browser tabs” edition of the link digest, rounding up the items that have remained open in my browser tabs for the week. Here’s what’s going on this week:

Have a great weekend, Big Thinkers. We’ll see you back here next week.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

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April 13, 2012

What's going on with Google+, Facebook and Pinterest? (Small Business E-commerce Link Digest – April 13, 2012)

April 13, 2012 | By | No Comments

Lots going on in the social sphere this week, so I’m not going to waste your time with a lot of build up. Instead, let’s just look at the latest on how you can Google+, Facebook and Pinterest work better for your business:

How to get more Pins and RePins on Pinterest

Have a great weekend, Big Thinkers. See you back here next week.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

Tim Peter

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April 6, 2012

5+ quick tips to improve your online marketing

April 6, 2012 | By | No Comments

Improve your online marketingGetting people to friend, follow or fantasize about you online is loads of work, no question. And there really is no realistic, reliable “get rich quick” business model (if there were, everybody would already be doing it). As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to succeed online. Far from it. In fact, many of the basics are well understood. Here are some quick tips that underscore those basics and can help you improve your online marketing efforts—oh, and help you towards your ultimate goals:

Strong stuff, all around. Yes, you might not “get rich quick.” But, that’s OK. After all, getting rich at a more reasonable pace is still a pretty good idea.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

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March 7, 2012

How not to use Pinterest

March 7, 2012 | By | No Comments

How not to use pinterestOr any other social site, for that matter. Mashable’s got a great article today about how brands are marketing on Pinterest. I put “marketing” in quotes, because what Mashable points out is less marketing and more “land rush.”

Marketing consists of the series of connections you create with a customer. So, great marketers make those connections meaningful, not a one-time, “wham bam, thank you, dear sir and/or ma’am” event. As Shelby McLeod notes in the Mashable piece,

“Rather than using people for statistical gains, brands and marketers should focus on defining their voice and creating a community of dedicated followers with whom they regularly interact. The best practice is to think of each pin, each Like, each comment and each follow as a tiny gesture between two people building a relationship. Through many small interactions, a connection is fostered that is based on trust and loyalty. And those are the types of connections that make a single community member so valuable.” [emphasis mine]

Remember, social is people. Avoid what the snake oil salesmen tell you and work to build relationships. That’s how you use Pinterest.

And every other social site, to boot.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

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February 17, 2012

6+ Useful Pinterest, Facebook, Google+ and Tumblr Tips (Small Business E-commerce Link Digest – February 17, 2012)

February 17, 2012 | By | 6 Comments

Social media marketing tipsWhew, it’s been a busy week here at Thinks Central, not to mention all around the social, local, mobile marketing milieu. Just look at all the great stuff we’ve rounded up this week:

  1. Pinterest is one topic that’s cropping up all over the place. And Mashable’s got an interesting article about how the United States Army uses Pinterest to attract recurits. The Army’s efforts aren’t surprising given the Marines’ success with social media starting some four years ago!
  2. If you’re looking to put Pinterest to work for your business, don’t forget to check out our marketer’s quick guide to Pinterest and the Wall Street Journal’s 6 tips for getting the most out of Pinterest.
  3. Speaking of “quick guides” for social tools, Open Forum has a great little guide to Tumblr for business. I like Tumblr as a simple social blogging platform and am thrilled to see it getting more attention.
  4. Also, take a look at Search Engine Watch’s roundup of 6 successful brands on Google+ or USA Today’s profile of small business social success story Smashburger to illustrate the big results small businesses achieve with effective social, local and mobile marketing.
  5. Keeping that theme in mind, Open Forum offers some great Facebook marketing tips.
  6. And, finally, nothing will doom your social success faster than a failure to engage your team. Fortunately, Social Media Examiner walks you through 5 ways to get your company on board with social media.

That ought to hold you through this holiday weekend (or until Monday for our readers outside the States). Have a great one and don’t forget to subscribe to our email list for more social, local, mobile marketing goodness every day.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

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