Making the Most of Pinterest and Instagram

24 Mar

Pinterest and Instagram are two heavily visually-focused social networks and while they have both been around for more than two years, many organizations are just now exploring how to use Pinterest and Instagram for their organizations.

Making the Most of Pinterest and Instagram

As the final presentation during my time at the Indiana Office of Tourism Development, I talked about how visually-focused social networks like Pinterest and Instagram are getting bigger and more important every day. I specifically talked about some of the differences between the two services as well as how some tourism and hospitality organizations are making the most of both of these networks. Check out the full presentation video or the embedded Prezi below to learn tips for driving engagement with your posts and hear about a few contests and promotions run through each network.

Click here to view the entire Making the Most of Pinterest & Instagram presentation on YouTube.

Below is the full Prezi presentation if you want to browse the deck.

Click here to view the presentation on

Making Sense of Web Analytics – 2012 New Media Workshop

17 Dec

The Indiana Office of Tourism Development recently hosted the 2012 New Media Workshop with a session called Making Sense of Web Analytics. Jeremy Williams presented an overview of web analytics in general (specifically focusing on Google Analytics). With the help of our friends at 12 Stars Media, we filmed the presentation and have embedded the video below.

Thanks to everyone who attended the workshop, we hope it was beneficial and that you walked away with a better understanding of how to use Google Analytics (and web analytics in general) to help you understand how visitors use your site and how you might make modifications to improve your conversion rates and how visitors use your website.

About the session:

One of the biggest advantages of online marketing (as opposed to traditional print, radio and tv) is that everything done online can be tracked and attributed to specific ad campaigns. The challenge facing most tourism marketers today is that too few organizations are accurately tracking the visitors on their website and how their visitors are finding their website.

During this presentation, the attendees learned some basic things they should be tracking on their websites. They also learned some tips and tricks for tagging advertising links as well as any links they sent out through social media channels like Facebook and Twitter so they could more accurately gauge the value received from different advertising opportunities and social channels.

Attendees learned about some basic stats they should be tracking on a regular basis as well as some more in-depth stats that provided them with a deeper knowledge of how their visitors are using their websites.

If you can’t see the presentation above, click here to view it on Prezi.

If you can’t see the video above, click here to view on YouTube.


5 Reasons Why You Need a Mobile Website RIGHT NOW

4 Jun

If you’re like most companies, you have a website. You probably also don’t have a mobile website. While this may not have been a big problem even last year, it’s quickly becoming extremely important to have a functional mobile version of your website ready for your customers. Here are the top five reasons why:

1. More than half of U.S. consumers own a smartphone

Major Mobile Platforms

It’s hard to believe that the first iPhone was released five years ago. In the five short years since 2007, smartphones have become a ubiquitous fixture in American culture. Since it’s not 2007 anymore, you can no longer ignore the fact that more people have smartphones than feature phones (basically any phone that isn’t an iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile or Android) and they’re using those smartphones to browse the internet. This trend has been predicted for years, but as of March 2012, the majority of Americans now have a smartphone.

The next time you’re waiting somewhere – waiting to get seated at a table for dinner, waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store – take a look around at how many people are passing the time by using their smartphone. This might help you realize how important it is for your company to have a mobile site.

Major Mobile Platforms (photo credit:


Access your Important Files from Anywhere with Dropbox

23 Apr

Dropbox - Sign up through here and we both get an extra 500MB

I’ve been writing a lot lately about web-based apps, including ones that you can use to automate social tasks (ifttt) or just save time and batch your updates (Buffer). Each of these apps can help save you time while still allowing you to participate in social media. One of the apps I haven’t talked about yet is an app I use every single day. Dropbox is a free app that allows you to sync files (through the cloud) and access them anywhere you can connect to the internet. In today’s world, work no longer lives 100% at the office and personal matters no longer live 100% at home. That’s where Dropbox comes into play.

You can easily access all of your files at, through their intuitive web interface but one of Dropbox‘s strengths is installing it to your computer. A quick install and you can either create a new Dropbox folder on your computer that Dropbox will always keep synced or you can specify which folders you want to be synced anywhere on your computer. For example, you can sync your My Documents folder to ensure that all of your docs are synced.

I have created a separate Dropbox folder to keep my important files synced and within that folder, I’ve created a folder of portable applications, so I can access programs I use frequently on any computer where I have Dropbox installed, like my desktop computer at home (that’s little more than a glorified home server now) or my laptop, wherever I bring it.

You can also create shared folders with Dropbox. So, when my whole family is in town, I’ll take a bunch of pictures, then share that folder with everyone so they can download the pictures to their own computer. They can also upload their own pictures to the folder so we can have a private space that allows us to exchange files that might be too big (or too numerous) for email.

In addition to private folder sharing, you can also post files up that can be publicly downloaded. Do you have a whitepaper you want to post on your website? Store it in Dropbox and share the link for people to download.

Dropbox is a free download available for iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad – click here to download the iOS app) as well as Android devices (click here to download the Android app from the Google Play Store), so in addition to being able to access your files on your computer and via the web interface, you can also have your most important files wherever you are by accessing the Dropbox app via your mobile device. Another nice feature about the Dropbox mobile apps is that you can set it up to automatically upload any photos or videos you take directly to a folder in Dropbox. Doing so makes sure you have all your photos and videos conveniently synced across multiple platforms. You also get free additional storage space by signing up for Instant Upload.

If you’re interested in trying out Dropbox, be sure to sign up through this link. It’s a referral link and it means that once you create an account and install it on your computer, we’ll both get an extra 500MB of free storage space.

You can create a Dropbox account for free and get 2GB of space, but you can quickly add more free storage to that by sharing links via Twitter and Facebook or by downloading the mobile app and hooking up Instant Upload. You can actually get up to 16GB of storage space for free through various referral links. If you need more storage, you can upgrade to their Pro 50 account (50 GB – $10/mo) or Pro 100 (100 GB – $20/mo) accounts. If you’re looking to use Dropbox for your office, they even have corporate plans available as well. Find out more about the various plans they offer here.

*Note: I’ve used referral links to Dropbox throughout this post. If you sign up and install the desktop app to your computer through this link, we both get 500MB extra*

Social Media for Customer Retention – a Brief Scotty’s @Brewhouse Case Study

29 Mar

Scotty's Brewhouse

For the past few weeks, Scotty’s Brewhouse, a local restaurant chain (I hate using the word “chain” to refer to a place like Scotty’s, but there are 5 locations, so I’m sticking with chain) has been running the Scotty’s Burger Bracket Challenge. In short, the contest allowed people to submit new burger recipes that would then be voted on in a bracket-style until the top burger was chosen. For the final two burgers, the Fit to Be Thai’d Burger and the Confused Buffalo Burger (read about them here), Scotty’s has been serving both burgers at their restaurants and the winning burger will be the one with the most orders as of Sunday, April 1 at 10:00 PM EDT. The winning burger will then become a permanent addition to the menu at Scotty’s Brewhouse.

Owner Scott Wise is no stranger to customer service or social media – in fact, I interviewed Scott a couple years ago to talk with him about his fantastic use of social media in the restaurant industry. I’ve always been impressed with Scott’s grasp of social media and how important it is for customer service today. I actually mention Scott as an example of how to use social media for customer service whenever I present to organizations.

Since Scott knows what he’s doing by using social media for great customer service I shouldn’t be surprised by what he did today, but it’s a great case study in customer retention:

I’ve been craving one of the final two burgers for a few days now and I sent out at tweet around lunchtime asking if anyone wanted to join me at Scotty’s Brewhouse downtown for lunch. A few friends replied and we went back and forth talking about @brewhouse for a few minutes, but weren’t able to find a time that worked for everyone so we scratched it.

A couple hours later, we were all mentioned in a tweet by Scott thanking us for talking about the restaurant and offering us all $10 gift certificates to use at the restaurant (see screenshot below for some of the conversation and resulting tweet from Scott):

Conversation about @Brewhouse results in $10 Gift Certificate

Wow! We were all just talking about Scotty’s Brewhouse and we didn’t even end up eating there today, but Scott still recognized us by gifting all five of us a $10 gift certificate to spend at the restaurant.If you look at face value of the gift cards, Scott is now out $50 by giving us these cards, but think of what our potential lifetime spending will be at his restaurant. Does this free $10 gift card make me want to go back to eat at Scotty’s again? You bet. Spend more than the face value of the gift card? Probably. Would this blog post have even been written if he hadn’t rewarded his customers?

The simple act of rewarding customers for their loyalty (or, in this case, just for talking about the restaurant) ensures an even more fervent fanbase for his restaurant. Scott will see that $50 investment returned many times over because he was listening to his customers.

Thank you Scott for your tremendous generosity.

Here’s a video I put together with the help of 12 Stars Media. Erik Deckers and I went to Scotty’s last week to try out the two burgers remaining in the 2012 Scotty’s Burger Bracket Challenge.

Save Time and Automate Tasks with ifttt

21 Mar

ifttt (If This Then That)I recently wrote about how Buffer can help you easily share great content to your social profiles without having to spend all day online. ifttt is another app that can help you automate tasks you want to accomplish so you can spend your time on more important things.

Quite simply, ifttt (short for If This Then That) is an app that lets you create automated Tasks or Recipes (tasks created and shared by others). For example, I have a task set up so every time I post a photo to Instagram, ifttt will automatically save a copy to a folder in my Dropbox account. I also have another task set up so when I star an article in my Google Reader, it will automatically add that article to my Buffer account to be posted to my social profiles.

You can create an account at and you’ll get up to 10 tasks for free. ifttt currently offers 41 different channels like Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Buffer, Facebook Pages, LinkedIn, Readability, SMS and many more. With all the channels they offer, the number of tasks you could possibly create are nearly endless.

ifttt continually adds new channels, so if one that you frequently use isn’t yet supported, chances are they’ll add it once enough people start using it. Below, I’ll explain how to go about setting up a Task on ifttt.


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