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Is Pinterest Right For Your Business?

Is Pinterest becoming King of the social media platforms?

Have you seen reports that pinterest is surpassing other social media platforms, including facebook, for driving traffic to various websites? Indeed, on checking my own google analytics last week, I discovered that traffic from Pinterest had surpassed that from Facebook for the first time, and not only were more people visiting but the bounce rate was lower, they were staying on the website for longer and they were looking at more pages. Of course, the next step is to put aside time to set up funnels for my Google Analytics to see if the traffic from Pinterest is resulting in sales (See CGOnline Marketing’s post on how to set up a funnel).

Are you wondering if Pinterest is right for your business?

Repinly will help you to determine this.  You can check out the most popular pinners and see if you can emulate their success, read the statistics on the most popular categories  and perhaps it is of no surprise that Food and Drink is the most popular in terms of pins, with its most popular pin of fish cakes coming in at 1,516 repins.  Home Decor is the most popular category for boards.  You can even find out your own pinterest score (Mine is 26 out of 100).

Most Popular Categories on Pinterest

How can you use repinly effectively?  It will give you pointers regarding how to create popular pins and how to gain comments, likes and repins.  Of the Food and Drink category, the top pin with 1,516 repins may seem like a very high number of repins to reach but if you look further down the page, #16 has 53 repins, a relatively small number in comparison (at the time of my search).  Having a pin repinned by one of the most popular pinners would certainly be an excellent method for your picture to go viral.

How Users Spend their Time on Pinterest

80% of pins on pinterest are repins, this is an interesting statistic especially when compared to the statistic that only 1.4% of tweets are retweets. It certainly demonstrates the high possibility of pins going viral. What is interesting is that while people repin or like a picture to show that they like it and wish to share it, they don’t spend much time commenting.  I have to admit I rarely comment on pins – but perhaps we need to be doing more of this in order to build relationships on pinterest.

Popular Categories on Pinterest

See the above table for the most popular categories – this also shows that it is important to categorise your boards appropriately.  I was surprised the ‘Food and Drink’ was so low on the list considering the popularity of any pins related to food and drink.

Repinly is an interesting tool particularly if you love statistics but it is also interesting to see the most popular pins and wonder sometimes just what has made them so popular!

Are you on pinterest yet? If you have any questions, do ask them in the comment box below. You can follow me on pinterest here.

9 reasons you should add SlideShare to your blogger’s toolkit

SlideShare is a social platform for sharing presentations, and with 60 million monthly visitors and 130 million page views, it is amongst the most visited 200 websites in the world. 

While its primary purpose is uploading presentations (which in turn can generate business leads, drive traffic to your blog and position you as an expert in your field), it also has value as an educational and research tool, a good way of reaching an international market and even a way to beat blogger’s block (browsing presentations online can spark your own blog ideas, or you can embed a presentation on your blog).

Here are nine reasons that you should add SlideShare to your blogger’s toolkit!

  1. Upload presentations publicly or privately
  2. Download presentations from others
  3. Use as blog research tool
  4. Embed presentations on your blog
  5. Share with ease on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
  6. Generate business leads with your presentations
  7. Slidecast: sync mp3 audio with slides to create a webinar
  8. Embed YouTube videos inside SlideShare presentations
  9. Use SlideShare PRO for premium features like branded channels, analytics, ad free pages

SlideShare has recently been bought by Linkedin, a fact which strengthens its power as a B2B tool. Writing about the merger recently, Spiderworking’s Amanda Webb has this to say:

One of the reasons I joined SlideShare was because of it’s Linkedin integration.  It’s possible to display a SlideShow on your Linkedin profile using the application.  This is handy for people like me who may wish to offer teasers of courses, share slides from a speech and it’s even more useful for those who work within a visual industry.  It’s a fantastic way to showcase your portfolio.

Do you use SlideShare? Have you found it useful? We’d love to hear from you if you do. 

Subscribe to Write on Track on SlideShare (we will be adding more presentations soon).

Blogging for Success: Interview 2 – Margaret of Oldfarm

Blogging For Success Series – Interview 2

This week, as part of our ‘Blogging for Success’ series, we are interviewing Margaret from Oldfarm, a small family business that is selling their pork very successfully through their social media platforms. I recently visited Margaret and her husband Alfie  and we ‘swopped’ some pork for goat meat and I really can vouch for their pork – I had never tasted rashers that were so delicious.

Oldfarm  free range Pork Rashers

How long have you been selling pork for?

We started in a small way in 2008 just killing a couple of pigs and selling on to family and friends, but when we were both let go from our jobs in mid-2009, it was time to look at the business in a more serious way.

 What social media tools are you using to increase brand awareness?

LinkedIn:  I participate in various forums there. Not necessarily about pork, but about social media and low cost marketing.

Twitter:  This has become our best medium this year for spreading brand awareness!  Last year it was approx. 60% Facebook and the rest taken up by Twitter/word of mouth but this year the switch has gone completely the opposite way!  I operate the Oldefarm twitter account, and Alfie, my partner, has a separate account (@pigoftheday).  He feels he can be unPC and can take a more controversial stance being somewhat removed from the business account.

Facebook: I was a reluctant convert to Facebook (the whole privacy thing, but I only post what I am happy to be public with), but have found it a very useful tool for our business.  We have followers on Facebook and an almost completely different set of followers on Twitter, so you have to keep them both going!

Pinterest:  I am still playing about with this… yes, we have some followers but I need to start spending more time on it.

YouTube:  We have a YouTube channel set up, but Alfie needs to start practising using the video!

Oldfarm Pigs

As your blog topics tend to be very varied which is, of course, part of its delight, do you have any examples where your blog posts resulted in increased sales or free press coverage?

 I don’t think any of my blog posts have resulted in direct sales.  However, there are a few that come to mind that definitely increased awareness of us.

One post was on social media and how we use it to promote the business … this post was obviously very popular with Social Media companies who used it as a case study for their clients … and we did have an increase of Twitter followers from that.

Similarly, when I wrote the post about our nasty abattoir experience there was a huge response on the blog itself and an upsurge of ‘likes’ on the Facebook page and followers on the blog and on Twitter.

Whether this will lead to sales?  I would like to think that it will probably do so.  I have found that people can be a fan/follower for months before they finally decide to order.  One man was a fan and regular commenter on our Facebook page for 18 months before he placed his first order!  It is a game of wait and see!

We have been extremely lucky with free media coverage.  It was through one of our fans on Facebook that I got to appear on TV AM and promote the business.  And we have also had a lot of newspaper coverage and magazine articles through contacts we have made via  both Twitter accounts.  We are both avid ‘networkers’ at all times and this has helped enormously with the media coverage.

OldFarm Blog - A Year in Redwood 

What tends to be the most popular topic for your blog posts?

 Gosh!  I write about so many different things that happen here, that anger or annoy me.  And then I post recipes too!

However, prompted by your question I’ve looked back at the statistics and the most popular are the ‘home’ posts.  The posts about what’s going on, or not going on, in our lives.

I should check those statistics more often!

Your blog isn’t integrated into your website, do you think this has an effect (either way) on brand awareness/ sales?

 Interesting, Lorna, that you should ask this question right now!  I am at the moment getting quotes to integrate the two!

The blog originally started as more of a ‘personal’ diary of our life here, but it has become more and more part of the business [well our life is the business now in an holistic sort of way], so I think the time has come to integrate the blog into the website.

It is very confusing at a network meeting, or any forum, introducing yourself as being from Oldfarm  and then saying but my blog is A Year in Redwood.   I reckon it makes it harder for people to remember either name.

So combining the two is a work in progress at the moment hopefully a short one!

OldFarm Pigs

As a successful small business that is using social media to spread the word, do you have any tips to share with any SMEs thinking of investing time in social media?

 Don’t become obsessive about the numbers!  You can look at other brands and their facebook and twitter fanbase is huge …… BUT….. are they getting orders for their efforts?  I would safely say that approximately 10% of our Twitter and Facebook followers have actually ordered from us.  That is 120 people that we would not have met otherwise.  If we can make them regular customers then we are better off.  Remember that “Social media” should be just that Social, sales come from knowing and trusting people.

Be patient!  People will watch, comment, chat…. and finally, something will trigger them to order.  You cannot rush it.

Be Yourself!   I was once told that I was ‘off message’ by a Marketing Consultant because I was posting about stuff other than the pork (he felt I shouldn’t even be posting photos of the pigs!).  However, I have found that people want to see other things.  They want to know about our ‘lives’.  I have had American followers tell me they live their ideal life through us!  I know they are in America and we don’t export pork to America (yet!) but perhaps they have friends or cousins in Ireland who are watching!

I’d like to thank Margaret for partaking in our ‘Blogging for Success’ series and sharing her experiences with us. What becomes apparent is that it is not only important to show your expertise via your social media channels but also your personality and your passion as they will often become your most popular posts. Your blog can act as the core to your other social media platforms and Margaret has recognised that Oldfarm has, in some instances, different followers on twitter to facebook but the goal is to increase brand awareness and if people want to find out more, they can do on her website, blog or even the old-fashioned way, of picking up the telephone.

If you have been blogging successfully for your business and have tips to share with our readers, we’d love if you could get in touch with Marie or I.

Embedding a Tweet in a Blog Post – How & Why

Teaching a class on social media this week, I was asked why and how would a blogger place a ‘tweet within a box’ in a blog post.  As always when asked a question, I guessed if one person is wondering the answer, then it may indeed be a question on the lips of many so I decided to make it the topic of this week’s Find It Friday post.

Why Embed a Tweet in a Blog Post?

1. Embedding a tweet brings more attention to a tweet that you or somebody else has written, particularly as they are enclosed within a box and other graphical elements.

2. The follow box within the embedded tweet will work so people can follow you from the embedded tweet.

3. If there is a link to another website, a link to a video or a photograph within the embedded tweet, the link will work.

4. You could share any favourited tweets, particularly good for those tweets when people have said nice things about you, such as testimonials or interesting comments on your blog post.

5. If your blog topic is based on a twitter chat or a hashtag, embedding some of the tweets will make the post more interesting and more visual.

How to Embed a Tweet in your Blog Post:

1. Go to and either click on your account to find your tweets or identify a tweet you wish to embed.

2. Hover over the top right of the tweet where it will say ‘reply, delete, favourite and open’ – click open.

3. Once you have clicked open, the tweet will appear on its own.

4. Click ‘Details’

5. Click ’embed this tweet’.

6. Then copy (control + c) the html code from the box that appears and paste (control and V)  it into your blog post. Remember to click your alignment choice before you copy it.

7. And here is the embedded tweet for you to see. (by the way, it won’t appear in a box when you paste it in the dashboard but is enclosed once you click ‘publish’.)

8. You can even embed a whole conversation that includes replies.

Do you think you would embed tweets within a blog post? Can you think of any other uses for embedded tweets?

We often run courses in collaboration with Enterprise Boards or will run independent courses subject to demand – on all things related to blogging. Do check our Talks and Training section for details of upcoming courses or contact us if you would like one to one mentoring.

Pinterest Tips for Business Pinners

Following on from yesterday’s post on Pinterest for Business we thought we would give you some practical tips regarding how to pin for your business.

Some Pinterest Tips for Business Users:

  • Initially pinners were signing up using their personal details but I notice that now people are signing up using their business name.  It is important to remember that true pinners pin pictures they like and not just their own products and I think this should go for businesses too. To date, I have followed almost everyone back that followed me but I didn’t follow one jeweller back. Why? Because he only had 2 boards filled with what looked like stock pictures of diamond rings. He was clearly using it for promote his product rather than showing a regard for his favourite jewels.
  •  I believe that people will prefer to engage with people rather than businesses on pinterest. Having said that, pinterest gives a business a real opportunity to demonstrate their personality through images.
  • If you don’t want to set up a business account for pinterest, you could set up a couple of boards for your business and the business name will show up in the search box (I have boards relating to both businesses as well as lots of general ones).
  • People who know you will follow back whether you have few or many boards and you can start off by following all your facebook friends on pinterest.  However, if you are following people you don’t know and you are hoping they will follow you back, then do build up some pins and boards first.
  • If you are pinning continuously, it may be best to disable the automatic tweets and facebook updates from pinterest and just share the ‘best ones’.  I tend to pin for 10-15 minutes at a time to spread the love and prevent anyone becoming too irritated at the flow of pinterest tweets.  I do find that I can receive lots of tweet responses to pins though, particularly in the evenings so people are intrigued enough to look, particularly if your description lures them in.
  • Be careful about what you pin, particularly if you are using it for business and/or business personal pictures.  If potential clients or customers are following you, they may lower their opinion of you if they see racy pictures or suggestive underwear.
  • Pin pictures that relate to what your brand means to you and what you want it to mean to your customers.
  • Bloggers are using pinterest to source images for their posts so this will increase the chance of them being seen by more people. As mentioned earlier, the image will carry evidence of its source particularly if the blogger embeds it into the post. This should drive more traffic to your website. Marie will discuss the issues of copyright in a post later on today but you can use watermarks on your pictures or you can insert some code into your website which means the images cannot be pinned.
  • You can allow others to pin to your pin boards so it can become a collaborative effort – get clients involved.
  • Put your website address in the bio of your Pinterest account.
  • Show people what they can do with the products – include lifestyle photos.
  • Create boards to publicize events or days when people give gifts, e.g. Mother’s Day and create a board of suitable Mother’s Day gifts.
  • Remember to re-arrange your boards so different ones are over the fold at different times.  If you have an Easter board, move it down to the bottom of the page once Easter is over.

If you have any more questions about pinterest, do post them in the comments and we will answer them in our blog post on Friday.

Do add any comments if you have any tips to share with our readers. Thank you, Lorna and happy pinning.

What is Pinterest?

Have you been hearing people talking and/or tweeting about pinterest and wondered what on earth is it all about? Well, we’re going to do a number of posts on pinterest here this week and in this first post, we’re introducing the concept of pinterest to you.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is like a virtual online pinboard. Imagine you are getting married and moving into a new house.  It would be like having pinboards all around your office or room, one board would have cut-out pictures of wedding dresses from magazines, another might have bridesmaids dresses, another wedding shoes and you might have numerous boards with pictures to help you plan your dream kitchen, your garden, your living room and your bedrooms in your new home. But instead of having them in a scrapbook or on a wall mounted pinboard, you can access them in your own pinterest account online.

Within Pinterest, you can have as many pinboards as you like on as many topics as you like.  You can follow other people and they can follow you.  You can repin any pictures you find that you like.  It really is a true eye candy store.

True pinners post pictures that they find and love, pinning pictures that resonate with them, picture that they would use to inspire their wedding, their new home, their garden, their dress style, their cooking, their baking or anything else they love.

When you go to the pinterest site, you will see a series of pictures. Each picture will tell you how many times it has been repinned (that means other people like it so much they have shared it on their own boards), how many likes it has received and how many people have commented on it.

You can download the ‘Pin’ button on the site and it will sit neatly on your bookmarks bar. Everytime you see a picture on a blog or a website that you would like to include in one of your boards, you simply click on the ‘pin in’ button, select the board you wish to put it in, add a comment and it will stay on that board until you remove it.  You can also opt to share that pin on twitter and/or facebook. Each picture should carry the original source and I’ll write more about that in a post later in the week.

If you would like to follow some video instructions, then do have a look at this video by Amanda of Spiderworking.

You can apply to join pinterest but that does take some time. It is much quicker if you know a pinterest user and ask them to invite you. All they need is your email address.  If you would like an invite, do leave a comment below and we will send you one. You can find me on pinterest here too.

I’m sure we’ll think of various “pinterest’ topics” as we move through the week,  our posts will include tips on using pinterest for your business, the “do’s and don’ts of pinterest”, how it can increase the traffic to your website, and more.  If you have any questions, do ask and we’ll answer them in our final post on Friday.

Business Pages on Google +

Everyone is talking about it …. business pages on Google +.  They have been given the green light and you can now create your business page there.  It is relatively easy to do especially if you follow these instructions.

If you have set up a Google + business page and are based in Ireland, then head over to Spiderworking where Amanda is setting up a directory.

Do connect with our page on Google+ too please :). Individual urls aren’t available as yet but I’d imagine they will be available quite soon.

How to improve your Customer Service by using Social Media: Part 3 – Blogging

All businesses want their company to offer excellent customer service to their customers, they want to be noted for the quality of their customer service and gain repeat business again and again. It is much easier to keep a customer than gain a new one so treating your customers well and keeping them is good business sense.

In our previous posts, we looked at how Facebook and Twitter can help you to improve your customer service. Today it is the blog’s turn.

Blogging and Customer Service

1.  Your blog provides a vehicle for keeping your customers informed and for showing the personality of your business.  By including posts revealing your enthusiasm for your products and services, potential customers will know that you are striving to produce the best.

2.  Feature questions that customers may ask you by answering the questions in a blog post.  These have two advantages – the question gives you a blog topic and by showing that you have addressed a customer’s concerns or queries, it shows you take them seriously and respect them too.

3.  Inviting your readers to comment demonstrates that you respect and appreciate their opinions. Responding to their comments shows that you appreciate them too. A compliment towards your business within a comment speaks volumes.

4. A blog gives you the opportunity for a two-way conversation.  If your customers can see that your business is approachable and friendly, they are more likely to contact you if there is a problem.  Learning about a problem early on and having an opportunity to correct it means that the customer hasn’t had time to become irritated and will be mollified rapidly.

5. Ask people for feedback on new products or services and by featuring them in future blog posts shows that you value their opinion and act on it.  Show that you will take action to overcome any challenges or problems that are reported.

Can you think of any other ways businesses can demonstrate their high levels of customer service via their blog posts?


How to improve your Customer Service using social media – Part 2 (Twitter)

Our last post looked at how you can show your customers just how good your customer service is by responding to your fans’ updates and comments on your Facebook page.  You can also show that you take concerns and complaints seriously as your Facebook page gives you the scope to respond to such comments and react accordingly where everyone can view it.


Today we are looking at twitter. With daily increasing numbers of people signing up to tweet, more and more people are gaining a ‘voice’ that can be transmitted online at a extremely fast speed.

Many business people seem to be afraid of twitter, afraid of the power of a compaint about their business going viral, afraid of not being in control over what is said.  However, even if a complaint is made about your business, you are much better off knowing about it. Not only will you find out where the ‘cracks’ in your business are and you can then do something about them but you can respond. An angry customer who receives an apology or an assurance that their complaint will be resolved or investigated will calm down quite quickly.

It can be hard to get a customer, even harder to keep them so if you can address any concerns as soon as they are voiced, all the better. There are lots of examples on various blogs and websites where consumers have been genuinely surprised when their annoyed tweet has been addressed with a phone call by a manager and an offer of a discount for their next purchase. The result: – they are calmed, pleased to be noticed and they all sound as though they will shop at that store again.

When watching ‘Frontline’ one Monday evening when the focus was on merchant banking, I tweeted my dissatisfaction with Realex and Elavon.  The following morning, I had received a tweet and an email from Realex saying that I would receive a phone call later in the day. Within two hours, my problem had been resolved.  Did Elavon respond? No!  Indeed, it took many emails and telephone calls before I received answers. I still think of Elavon with dread and equate them with incompetence.

Practicalities: How to do it?

  • You can set up a google alert on twitter, track tweets for particular keywords and an application like hootsuite is probably one of the easiest ways to do it.
  • Use the @reply to respond.  If it is a positive tweet, thank them. If it is negative and can’t be solved in 140 characters, tell him/her you will be in contact by email within x hours and ensure it is followed up
  • Use the retweet / RT to add ‘thank you’ to a positive tweet and it will then be seen by your followers.
  • You can favourite positive tweets too.
  • Don’t just use twitter to discover things about your brand or about your competitors.  Use it as a normal person, follow others, tweet about ordinary things as well as happenings within your industry.

Another advantage of monitoring your brand and levels of customer service on twitter is that you can listen to your customers, find out where the ‘cracks’ on, learn from them, improve your business and utimately keep your existing customers and gain new ones.

Don’t be afraid of negative tweets. You can still demonstrate your high levels of customer service by responding to them. Embrace twitter 🙂

Our next post will examine how you can improve and monitor your levels of customers service via your blog.


Improving your Customer Service by using Social Media: Part One (Facebook)

Have you ever considered how you can improve your levels of customer service through your use of social media? Not only that, but potential customers will be able to gauge how important your company considers good customer service to be and how it is perceived within your company. In short, they will get a sense of  how well or how poorly they will be looked after if they buy your products or services.

Do not be afraid of negative reviews, negative tweets or negative updates to your Facebook page – you can turn a negative into a positive by addressing the problem and you can also help to spread the word when you get positive feedback.

I’m going to look at various social media platforms in turn over a series of four blog posts: Facebook, Blog, Twitter and Linked In/Reviews

Part One – Facebook

A customer or a potential customer can really get a sense of your company’s respect for their customers from your Facebook page.  I’m sure many companies do not intend for their brand to be represented poorly on their facebook page and it may not reflect a poor level of customer service at all (indeed, their customer service may be excellent in many ways) but if they are not using social media effectively and properly, it can reflect poorly on them.

Always, always acknowledge when someone posts an update on your page.  If it is a general comment, then click ‘like’ or respond in a friendly and polite tone.  If they are complimenting your service or your products, always thank them and say you are glad they enjoyed it.  If it is a complaint, (have a strategy planned in advance) always respond in a constructive way, in a way that will calm them down, assuring them that you will prevent it happening again or that you will correct the error or you will look into it and Do It!

I have looked at some pages belonging to big brands, companies that are spending thousands on television, radio and print advertising and they are not responding to their customers on their facebook pages – whether the updates are negative or positive.

The Mr. Tayto theme park facebook page has almost 200,000 fans and facebook is a wonderful way for this company to get visitors back again and let them know about upcoming promotions and events.  However, many people have left complaints about waiting times at one of the rides, others have posted questions, more people have complimented them on providing them with a great day out and very few have been acknowledged, let alone responded to.

We actually had a wonderful day at the Tayto Park during the summer and the staff were so friendly and helpful that I really think this is a genuine shame that it is reflecting badly on their brand. What do you think? Do you think a big brand that is still growing their business should be interacting more with their fans?

I  love the Nicholas Mosse facebook page – here the administrator is really engaging with ‘likers’, responding to their comments and updates. Always cheerful, not pretending to be Nicholas himself, always helpful and it is creating such a welcoming atmosphere on the page.

When I look at the Nicholas Mosse page, the image that comes to my mind is of the Seven Dwarves singing as they work or Santa’s workshop – as the potters pot and paint in their workshop!  It certainly gives the impression that should I purchase something that arrives damaged or flawed that they would replace it and certainly look after my concerns.

With comments and updates appearing now in the Ticker feed, evidence of good or bad customer service is going to be even more apparent to Facebook users which is certainly something to bear in mind.

If you want to know more about representing your brand through facebook, do check out the spiderworking blog too.

Don’t be afraid of social media – embrace it and it will increase the brand awareness of your company in a positive light.