Advertise with CBS Local Pages

While an average of 66% of Americans use the Internet to find local businesses, your organization could benefit from advertising online with CBS Local Pages. CBS delivers an online outlet for local businesses to create a strong presence online via the websites, search engines and mobile devices to drive awareness, interest and engagement in your organization. CBS Local Pages include business information, a message to your customers, reviews, photos, coupons, offers, maps, directions and more. Also, these pages are also very simple to build, track and update over time.

Thanks to CBS’ partnership with CityGrid, your business can reach 300+ unique sites and apps in their network, reaching over 140 million people each month. Plus, CBS Local Pages are fully optimized for search engine optimization. Depending on what industry your organization belongs to, CBS Local Pages will ensure that your listing reaches the right audience. For example, restaurants could have their information distributed to popular websites such as Urban Spoon and MenuPages.com.

If your business is interested in advertising on CBS Local Pages or would like detailed pricing information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com.

How Photo Sharing Sites Can Help Your Business

Photo Sharing Websites

Photo sharing websites have taken the Web by storm by offering a new medium for individuals and businesses alike to share multimedia and develop their brand. When used properly, photo sharing can bring a human face and creativity to your organization. These sites also provide essential links back to your website or blog, building traffic and enhancing your search engine optimization. Best of all, photo sharing sites are completely free and don’t require a huge time commitment.

This article will provide you with an overview of the most popular photo sharing websites:PinterestInstagram and Flickr.

Pinterest — With new social media sites popping up left and right, Pinterest has already distinguished itself as a photo sharing powerhouse. It’s already one of the 10 most visited social networking sites, according to a study by Experian Hitwise, with more Web traffic than Tumblr and Google+! Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that allows users to organize, share and store all of their favorite photos, called “pins,” from the Web. For example, someone may create a board for “Recipes,” “Ideas for the Home” or “Favorite Products.” Users can “follow” others to keep up-to-date with their boards, discover new things and connect with others who have similar interests. They can also “re-pin” someone else’s pin that they want to add to their own boards (similar to Twitter’s “re-tweet” button). With millions of new pins added every week, this social networking site is connecting users from all over the world. Here are several tips for using Pinterest to promote your business:

  • Don’t Overly Promote Yourself — One thing to keep in mind is that you should not excessively promote yourself on Pinterest. While it’s fine to post a photo of a product or project that you’re proud of, businesses should avoid pure self-promotion. An important part of Pinterest is that it can humanize your business, which is essential to connecting with your audience on a more personal level. Consider creating boards for other content on the Web that you like and want to share with your followers, rather than only your own material. For example, the social media organization Mashable uses Pinterest to categorize “What We’re Loving on the Web.” Instead of including only their own material and self-promotion, they have boards for “Web Humor,” “Infographics” and “Tech and Gadgets.”

  • What Should I Pin? — Depending on your industry or organization, there are a variety of photos that would be appropriate for a business to add to Pinterest. See below for examples:

    • Restaurants — Since food is very popular on Pinterest, restaurants would benefit from posting photos of the meals they offer and recipes.

    • Retailers — Retail stores can post photos of new products, fashion and other services.

    • Non-profit Organizations — Depending on their field, non-profits could post “behind-the-scenes” photos from the work they do, inspiring pictures or quotes, photos from events and more.

  • Include Links — When posting a pin, always include a link back to the original page. This way, when users click on the photo, they can be taken to your website, wherever the photo was derived from or wherever you’d like to take them.

  • How Do I Begin? — To start using Pinterest, create a profile here.

Instagram — Instagram is a real-time photo sharing application, available in the App store. Unfortunately, Instagram is only available on the Apple iPhone or iPod touch for now. While it is not available on desktops just yet, the company does intend to extend Instagram to a website. When you upload a photo to Instagram, you can choose a filter to transform the look and feel of the shot. These filters can instantly convert your mobile photo into a creative, artsy or professional-looking snapshot. For example, you can use filters such as “Toaster,” “Inkwell” and “1977” to customize the look of your photo. When used effectively, Instagram could become a powerful way of attracting, engaging and nourishing a follower base. Here are several tips for how businesses can incorporate Instagram into their social media strategy:

  • Link Instagram to Your Other Social Media Profiles — The benefits of Instagram are that it is incredibly fast and simple and integrates with other social media platforms. Businesses can easily link Instagram to FacebookTwitterFlickrand FourSquare profiles to incorporate multimedia on a regular basis.

  • Be Creative — As with any photo sharing site, keep in mind that it’s about being interesting and fun, not about pushing products down your audience’s throat. Instagram is unique from other photo sharing sites because of its use of custom photo filters. For example, take a look at how Starbucks has uploaded creative shots of their products using the photo filters here.

  • What Should I Upload to Instagram? — As with any photo sharing site, it depends on your business and what industry you belong to. For example, if you’re a non-profit organization, you can see how non-profits are using Instagram here. Generally, any business can use Instagram to upload and customize photos from special events, new products and “behind-the-scenes” photos of your business’ work, services or daily activities.

  • How Do I Begin? — To begin, download the Instagram App here and create your profile.

Flickr — Flickr allows users to submit photos and videos and organize them using tags and “sets,” where other members can browse and interact with each other. Businesses can use Flickr to store and share graphics, photos and videos that are relevant to their business or industry in some way. It’s also not frowned upon to add a personal touch to your business’ Flickr profile by adding a separate set for favorite photos or videos that haven’t been created by your organization. Using Flickr is another great way to incorporate multimedia into your Web, social media and overall marketing strategy. Here are several tips for incorporating Flickr into your business’ social media marketing strategy:

  • Interact with the Flickr Community — To boost their popularity on the site and increase their level of engagement, businesses can interact with other Flickr users. Comment on other photos you like, add special photos to your “favorites” list and encourage comments. At the minimum, be sure to reply to any and all comments left on your company’s photos.

  • Join Flickr Groups — Flickr Groups are a great way to interact with your target audiences. Businesses can submit photos and videos to these groups, depending on their posting rules and whether the group is public or private. To begin, search for relevant groups and submit requests to join.

  • How Do I Begin? — To sign up for Flickr, you’ll need a Yahoo ID. To sign up for Yahoo, click here. Once you have your ID, create a Flickr profile by clicking here and begin posting photos and videos that relate to your business or industry.

For more information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.

Advertise in the Health & Wellness Section of the Town Crier & the Long Island Pennysaver

This February, the Town Crier and the Long Island Pennysaver will include a special feature on health and wellness. This section will spotlight the latest news, articles and tips for maintaining healthy lifestyles. Last year, the feature was very well received and popular among the medical, health and wellness communities of Nassau and Suffolk County, Long Island.

Businesses can choose from ¼ page, ½ page and full page advertisements. Rates for this opportunity vary, depending on which zone you choose to run your ad in. For example, Zone 1 is distributed in towns such as Dix Hills, Huntington and Cold Spring Harbor.

We would recommend this advertising opportunity for any business or organization in the healthcare or medical field, or any company that is looking to target those interested in health, wellness or overall fitness. If you are interested in advertising in this special section, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com.

Should My Business Have a Blog?

blog-keys

Maintaining an active blog can establish your organization as a leader in your industry, change your website from an online brochure to an interactive hub of information and give your customers a way to engage with you. Because blogs are less formal than a company website, and more interactive, they provide a forum for businesses to provide useful information, rather than just company promotion, and build their reputation and credibility among customers.

This article will provide you with the benefits of blogging, advice on how to begin blogging and five essential blogging tips for your business.

Benefits of Blogging — Successful blogs can demonstrate your expertise and leadership in your industry, attract the attention of your audience and secure leads for your business. Creating and maintaining a blog for your business will dramatically improve your content creation, boost your reputation and improve your search engine optimization (SEO).

  • Content Creation — It has never been more important for businesses to generate quality content on a regular basis. The quality of your content is what influences your audience’s decision on whether or not to invest their time into reading your website or blog, and ultimately whether to trust your company and give it their business. Blogs are the perfect venues to distribute and store your content. Your blog should house informative, thought-provoking content that is related to your industry or the problem that your business solves for your audience. Very often, a blog will become your content hub of information. To learn more about the importance of content creation, please read our article, “Why Quality Content Reigns Supreme.”

  • Build Your Reputation — While your business’ website should focus on the products or services your business offers, your blog should demonstrate your organization’s knowledge and expertise in this area. By providing your audience with valuable content and helpful articles, your business will gain credibility and trust among existing and potential customers.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Benefits — Blogging can dramatically improve your search engine rankings. Search engines place heavy emphasis on new, current and quality content, so blogs are given high authority.

How to Begin Blogging — Before you jump into the blogosphere, it’s important to spend some time researching and browsing through other blogs in your industry. Once you’re comfortable with how blogs work, you should first establish a clear objective and target audience. Ask yourself the following questions: Is my target audience likely to engage in blogs? What content would my audience find most valuable? What type of information, and multimedia, is my audience looking for? To be able to answer these questions, it’s important to be able to put yourself into the mindset of your current or potential customers.

When you’re ready to begin, we recommend incorporating your blog into your main website, instead of giving it its own URL. Especially to those who are new to Web marketing, this is the easiest way to begin. Another factor to consider, when choosing whether or not to incorporate your blog, is that many people don’t have the time to develop content for and market more than one website. Incorporating your blog into your business’ main site will provide it with fresh content, as well as search engine optimization benefits.

The most successful blogs are updated weekly, at least, with fresh and interesting content related to their industry. You may choose to blog about news in your business area, company updates, helpful and “how-to” articles and other content that may be valuable to your audience. Remember to include relevant tags with each entry so that your posts can be easily categorized and found on the Web.

5 Essential Blogging Tips — To make sure your business’ blog is as successful as it can be, follow these five essential tips:

  • Incorporate Multimedia — It’s essential to add some form of multimedia to each blog entry to make your content interesting and visually appealing. By adding a photo, graphic or video to your post, you’ll appeal to a greater audience, since everyone takes in information differently. Some people are visual learners and will be far more receptive to your blog if it incorporates more than just text.

  • Add Sharing Icons — Including social media and social bookmarking icons on your blog is a great way to enable sharing. With sharing icons present next to each blog post, readers can easily share the entry with their friends or on their own social media profiles. It’s important to include the following sharing icons: Facebook’s “Like” button, Twitter, the Google+ “+1” button, StumbleUponDiggDelicious and the option to email the blog entry to a friend. Please follow each hyperlink for more information and to learn how to enable each of these sharing features on your blog. When done properly, this will definitely boost your blog’s traffic.

  • Include Hyperlinks — Wherever possible, it’s important to include hyperlinks that lead to more specific information. For example, find keywords in your blog posts and link them to another article you may have written on the topic or a section of your company’s website that offers more information on this topic or services you may offer.

  • Encourage Feedback — You want your blog to be as interactive as possible. It’s important to include a call to action in your blog posts and it could be something as simple as, “What are your thoughts? Share your opinion in the comment section below!” You should also include your contact information at the end of a blog post, should they have any questions or require more information. Remember to regularly scan your comments to remove any spam and reply to any questions, comments or concerns in a timely and helpful manner.

  • Promote on Social Media — With the powerful sharing capabilities of social media sites, your business’ social media profiles are perfect venues for promoting your blog. Whenever you update your blog, make sure to notify your Facebook fans, Twitterfollowers and Google+ circles. After you write your blog entry, use these sharing icons to “tweet,” share on your Facebook fan page, add to your social bookmarking profiles and more. In your social media updates, include a “teaser,” such as a portion of your blog entry, with the title, and encourage people to follow the link to read the rest of your post.

For more information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.

Advertise Your Business on a Full-Size Map of Long Island with the Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau is offering an exciting new marketing vehicle to get your message in front of thousands of consumers who will be looking for ideas and information on how to spend their leisure time, and money, on Long Island this summer. This advertising opportunity is perfect for getting your business’ message across  visitors to and residents of Long Island. This year, 100,000 full-size Long Island maps will be distributed throughout Long Island, Manhattan, Westchester, Hudson Valley and Connecticut.

All advertisers will receive a complimentary business profile on Ettractions.com, an attractions and visitor information website, which has over 137,000 unique monthly visitors. Your profile will include up to 2,000 characters of content, up to 5 photos and up to 5 videos.

We would highly recommend this advertising opportunity for attraction or tourism-related organizations. If you are interested in advertising your business on this map, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com.

Twitter Unveils Brand-New Design and Special Features for Businesses

twitter

On December 8, 2011, Twitter unleashed a brand-new design and several new features. Twitter is continuing to roll out these major updates for both Twitter.com and its mobile-friendly website. These huge changes are meant to make the social media giant more organized, user-friendly and able to provide more opportunities for businesses and brands to interact with their audiences. If you are unfamiliar with Twitter, please read our article, “Secrets to Twitter Marketing.”

This article will provide you with an overview of the recent changes made to Twitter’s homepage, embedded tweets, the emergence of enhanced profile pages and how you can get the newest version of Twitter.

New Homepage — When you first log in to the new Twitter on your desktop or mobile phone, you’ll notice that the homepage has been completely revamped. Twitter condensed everything to fit neatly into four organized columns. These four tabs are called “Home,” “Connect,” “Discover” and “Me.”

  • Home — On their homepage, users are now able to see more detailed information about reply tweets (@replies) and retweets for a certain tweet by clicking on the “Open” option. The “Open” feature makes it easier to keep track of conversations and interactions revolving around a tweet. This was never possible on the previous version of Twitter. Also, unlike the old Twitter newsfeed, users can now view media elements, such as photos and videos, inside the tweet, rather than only on the side.

  • Connect — The “Connect” tab includes information such as who has followed you, which users mentioned you and who has replied to, “favorited” or “retweeted” one of your tweets.

  • Discover — The “Discover” tab is where users can search for different forms of content on Twitter. This new tool customizes information for each user since it can identify stories and trends that the individual would be most interested in, based on their connections, location and language.

  • Me — The “Me” column is your new and enhanced Twitter profile. The new design includes a much larger space for your personal photo, short biography and location. Information such as who you are following and who your followers are will now appear on the left-hand side of the screen, with your conversations on the right.

Embedded Tweets — The Embedded Tweet feature allows users to render a tweet on any third-party website. Readers are then able to retweet, reply to, favorite and follow the user right from the website, without leaving the page to go into Twitter. To get the embed code for a tweet, simply click on the tweet you wish to embed and click “Embed this Tweet.” This can be a great way for businesses to share tweets on their website, such as positive reviews or testimonials.

Enhanced Profiles Pages — The hope for enhanced profile pages is that businesses will be able to create a stronger and more interactive presence on Twitter. These pages will include a larger header image for displaying your business’ logo, tagline and any other visuals that you may want to include on your page. You can also promote one of your tweets at the top of your page’s timeline, if you want readers to see this message first. Businesses should take advantage of this promoted tweet and include only their strongest, most engaging and relevant content. Enhanced profile pages are free of charge, but they are not available to everyone just yet. So far, Twitter has launched these pages exclusively with 21 advertising partners and select brands. According to an official statement from Twitter, they will slowly roll out enhanced profile pages to a wider audience of brands in the coming months.

How Can I Get the New Twitter? — If you’re still using the old version of Twitter, there is a way to switch over. Simply delete your current Twitter app from your smartphone and download the latest version. After you download the new app, you’ll be given access to the redesigned Twitter on your computer as well. If you use Tweetdeck, this program was also updated to be consistent with the new version of Twitter. You can click here to use or download the latest version of Tweetdeck.

To keep up-to-date on Twitter’s rapidly evolving changes, visit fly.twitter.com. For more information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.

Is Traditional Networking a Waste of Time in 2012?

With the value of social media networking and other Web tools, businesses should develop a multifaceted strategy that places greater emphasis on online networking and business development over traditional in-person networking and trade shows.

Networking

Building and nourishing relationships with clients, customers and professionals is an essential component of promoting your business. While traditional networking events such as trade shows and other social events have long been a staple of the business world, I have become increasingly skeptical of their long-term effectiveness. I’ve found that these networking methods are costly, time-consuming and rarely offer any substantial results. As social networking sites secure a stronger influence on people’s day-to-day lives, I’ve found that my time is often better spent using online communication outlets. Web networking is cost-effective and doesn’t require any travel or huge time commitments. By first taking advantage of online networking techniques, and supplementing this effort with traditional networking, your business can strengthen existing relationships and build new ones. This article will explain the problem with traditional networking, why social media and Web-based networking provides a solution, how to make the most of in-person networking, which events to attend and which you should avoid and five ways you can network and develop your business without leaving your desk.

The Problem with Traditional Networking — I often feel guilty for not attending as many business networking events as I think I should. Then again, when I do attend a business trade show or a general networking event, I often come back to the office and say that it was a complete waste of time. Most of these events are filled with salespeople and barely any real decision makers. Between travel time and attendance fees, I’ve found that traditional networking events are also costly and extremely time-consuming. These events take a lot of valuable time away from being at the office and getting other things done, including marketing. I usually come back from these events bombarded with business cards, without any genuine connections or prospects. It’s really not surprising that most business cards handed out at networking events either end up gathering dust in the office or at the bottom of the trash can. So what’s the solution? In 2012, my goal is to focus 90% of my networking efforts on social media and Web-based networking.

The Alternative: Social Media and Web-based Networking — Especially for professionals who have a limited amount of time on their hands for networking, using social media sites such as LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Google+ can be convenient, less time-consuming and effective. For those predominantly in B2B fields, I recommend focusing onLinkedIn because this site places an emphasis on networking with other business professionals. Through social media, you can engage in quick and frequent conversations with your audience. You can also get introduced to people who you otherwise would have never had access to. For example, you can request introductions with personalized messages through LinkedIn and search for fellow professionals in your industry using theTwitter search engine. Professionals can also take advantage of the LinkedIn Groups andLinkedIn Answers sections to share their expertise, engage in conversations and strengthen their credibility by posting on these forums. Social networking is excellent for meeting other professionals, keeping in touch with existing contacts and making initial connections, but it can never be as personal as direct interaction. However, online communication shouldn’t be your sole business networking strategy because it is not nearly personal enough. I believe that there is still a place for traditional networking techniques to supplement and make the most of your online efforts. The key is to be focused and attend the right events for you.

Making the Most of In-person Networking — Businesses shouldn’t abandon traditional networking events altogether. I recommend attending networking events where you know you will be in front of your prospective customers or clients. The following are examples of which traditional networking events are still appropriate to attend and which ones you should avoid:

  • What to Attend:

    • Events where you know you’ll be in front of your prospective customers or clients.

    • Events where you know CEOs and decision makers will be in attendance, not just salespeople.

    • Events that you know will attract your specific, niche target audience.

  • What to Avoid:

    • Large, general trade shows

    • Speed networking events

    • General Chamber meetings

    • Lectures

      • If you do attend lectures, do so for educational purposes rather than networking. However, you may want to attend these events to meet the speaker or network before the program begins. If you accomplished your goals, politely exit.

Once you’ve made an initial connection at a networking event, it’s essential to encourage communication using social media. For example, if someone has their Twitter handle orFacebook page name printed on their business card, try connecting with them after the networking event has ended. You can also request an introduction on LinkedIn or Google+by searching for the person’s full name or company. After you’ve reached out to your connections using social media, you can send private messages, engage them in conversations and keep in touch. On Twitter, you can also send your connections personalized tweets such as, “I thought you would be interested in this article…” or “What is your opinion on this topic?” Also, don’t forget to add them to your e-newsletter list.

Just as you should follow up with those you’ve met through face-to-face networking events using social media, I would also encourage in-person meetings with those you’ve met on the Web. After you’ve made an initial connection with a potential customer, client or professional, you can invite them to meet face-to-face, talk over the phone or have a conversation through Skype.

Before you leave the office for your next networking meeting, try these business development techniques.

5 Ways You Can Network and Develop Business Without Leaving Your Desk:

  1. Monitor Craigslist — Use Craigslist to monitor and respond to business opportunities. By setting five minutes aside at the beginning every day, you can easily browse to see if anyone is searching for something that your business can provide. If you find a relevant post, simply send an introductory message to the posted email, describing your business and how you can help the user.
  1. Participate in LinkedIn Answers and Groups — By participating in LinkedIn Group discussions and responding to questions on LinkedIn Answers, people will begin to see you as a thought leader and trusted source in your field. LinkedIn Answers is so valuable because, at traditional networking events, you may need to meet dozens of people before you find a question that is relevant to your business. On LinkedIn Answers, you can simply browse through questions and respond to what you can answer best. Not only will having this visibility and recognition on LinkedIn help you make stronger connections, but users will look to your business first, should they require your products or services in the future.
  1. Request Introductions on LinkedIn — Requesting an introduction on LinkedIn is a useful way to create new connections within your LinkedIn network. You can easily send and respond to introductions to those who are connected to the users that you are connected to. To do this, click on one of your contacts, search through this person’s connections for someone you would like to be introduced to and then click the “Get Introduced” button. You will then be prompted to compose a simple message to the person you are requesting an introduction from. By upgrading to a paid LinkedIn account, you may send messages directly, without waiting for an introduction from one of your contacts.
  1. Follow Up with Social Media Connections — Each time someone follows you on Twitter, becomes a fan on Facebook or connects with you on LinkedIn, don’t just ignore them. A tip is to send direct messages, thanking the user for connecting with your business and perhaps leading them to either your website, blog or another Web page.
  1. Participate in the Blogosphere — Blogging can also be a strong business networking tool. While it is important to frequently update your own blog, it is just as helpful to leave thoughtful comments on other blogs. You should strive to connect with bloggers in your targeted business areas. By sharing your expertise or advice with relevant bloggers, or on blogs that you know your target audience will visit, you can build powerful connections and relationships.

Wait, everything we just talked about cost you $0. Compare that to gas and attendance fees, not to mention valuable time spent out of your office. After you’ve taken advantage of these free tools, you can generate more leads and continue to build your business by developing Web advertising campaigns. To learn more about Web advertising, landing pages and email advertising, download our free guide, “Five Steps to Generating New Business through Web Advertising, Landing Pages and Emails.”

For more information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.