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How To Use Sulia For Blogging

I was so taken with Bottlenose, I went ahead and tried out another aggregate site. Sulia has a very attractive user interface as you can see from the screenshot of my account above.

Here’s how they describe what they do on their website:

We use a combination of editors and sophisticated algorithms to identify the best-regarded sources across thousands of topics. We then dynamically filter content from those sources, regardless of where it’s created (a blog, a social network, a media site, through Sulia’s publishing system, etc.), into high-quality, realtime “interest channels.” The result is streams of timely content from experts that is always on-topic, readable, and relevant.

Ease of Use

Simply link it to your Facebook or Twitter account and you are ready to start using it. It also has a handy bookmarklet, similar to Pinterest, which you pin to your bookmarks tool bar. Then simply click on it when you want to quickly post anything you find interesting directly to Sulia.

I love the interface and I really like that it aggregates sources from blogs, Facebook and Twitter. This is another example of how to stay up to date with the topics people are interested in so that you can write about it on your own blog. Are you tempted to try it?

Pinteresting Ways To Use Pinterest For Your Business

If you’re aware of Pinterest and you’ve been reading about it, you have probably read that some businesses are doing very well from Pinterest – both for increasing their brand awareness and for driving significant traffic to their website and generating sales.

Follow Me on Pinterest

However, if you’ve been wondering how else to use it besides trying to create content that gets repinned and goes viral, here are some ideas.
I recently gave a talk on pinterest for the KLCK bloggers network and I was trying to provide examples for how the various people in the listening group could use it for their business. One example was photography and I suggested that photographers could use examples of photographs for future shoots. We then had a chat about copyright issues as there is a very fine line between finding inspiration and breaking copyright rules unfortunately.
Our photographer for our upcoming Grafton Media Blog awards shoot, Damien Carroll,  was there and he went home with ideas forming in his mind. As we are three women organising the blog awards, we had come up with a “Charlie’s Angels” idea for the photoshoot but we were still rather doubtful.  Damien created a board for the photoshoot with various photographs from the original Charlie’s Angels from the 70s and 80s and the more recent film.
A picture tells a thousand words and once we saw the shared board (see our post on how to create a shared board if you need that information), we could visualise what he meant and what poses we thought were possible and might get us some publicity.
We chose the “Charlie’s Angels” pose from the film with the 3 characters in black and then we added our “Charlie” to the mix.
We also tried the “Angels Walk” pose and what was so valuable once we had decided on the poses too, was that the pinterest app was available on the iphone and we could glance at it, glance at the photos on the camera and see if we needed to adjust.
Lorna Sixsmith, Amanda Webb and Beatrice Whelan
As Damien found, it is a fantastic way of putting mood boards and shoot plans together.  He is using Pinterest for more shoots by sharing the boards with mdoels, make-up artists and stylists and each person can add pins to the boards which leads to an interactive collaboration of ideas.  We will be using pinterest to plan our theme for the blog awards night too.
Dress makers could use pinterest to create boards of dresses and clients could choose the sleeves of one dress with the skirt of another, hairdressers could pin pictures of their models to demonstrate their skills, beauticians can pin pictures of nail art, food bloggers can include pictures of their recipes and the list goes on.
Have you found pinterest to be a handy tool for your business? We’d love to hear more examples.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Facebook for Beginners: How to Use Pic Monkey & Create a Highlighted Update on Facebook

Many thanks to Sue of Quirki Stuff who asked us how she could display a ‘Before and After’ photograph of one of their painted items of furniture on facebook.

First of all, if you wish to incorporate 2 or 3 before and after photographs into a collage or display a wide photograph in order to give it more presence on Facebook, you need to be aware of the dimensions that Facebook allows for these photos.  Highlighted and ‘Milestone’ photographs have dimensions of 843 x 403. If the photo is not this size, it will be ‘stretched’ to fit so may not appear as you had hoped.

To create a collage, a handy free tool is Pic Monkey. Simply opt for the ‘create a collage’ option and decide which layout you would like.

How to use Pic MonkeyYou can choose to upload photos from your computer and all the photos you wish to use will stack in the box on the left side. You can then move them to the collage one at a time or all at once. It is easy to change them from one box to another too.  You will notice in the photographs below that the cabinet cannot be seen in its entirety, hence the boxes need to be enlarged.

How to use Pic Monkey

Place the cursor on the outer edges of the collage and pull them outwards to enlarge the photograph. You can see the total size of the photograph at the bottom and as you can see, it is larger than the required 843 x 403 for Facebook requirements.

How to use Pic Monkey

By manipulating the outer edges of the collage again, it is possible to reduce the total size of the image to 843 x 403, the desired dimensions. This can be a bit finicky so don’t worry if it isn’t exact, it just means that Facebook will either stretch or hide a tiny bit of the photo.

How to upload a photo on Facebook

Then, simply name the photograph and save it to the desired location on your computer.

How to upload a photo on Facebook

How to Upload a picture to Facebook

Next, you need to upload the photograph to facebook. Do check out our previous post on how to upload a photograph to facebook if you don’t know how to do this.

As you can see in the screenshot above, the collage had been cut to 403 x 403 so part of it is obscured. By clicking on the little star (highlight button) on the top right to the photograph, this changes it to 843 x 403 and gives it more prominence across the page – perfect for showing off a ‘before/after’ transformation.

How to Upload a picture to Facebook

Marie and I offer training session in groups and as one to ones so if you feel that you really need to get to grips with facebook or any of the other social meda and would like some help, do get in touch.

Next up – how to create a long, tall, skinny photograph for Pinterest.

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.

Find It Friday: Pinterest

For this week’s Find It Friday post, we were asked a question about pinterest from Racquele:  Should I set up a specific board for each of my Pinterest categories (e.g. ‘My tutorials’ and ‘My Fabric Boxes’).  Am I being dishonest if I pin my products amongst other pictures in more general boards as people wouldn’t know some of the items are mine?


Pinterest Boards

Tips For Your Pinterest Boards

  1. Try to ensure that each board name contains a popular keyword that people may search for. For example, ‘my fabric boxes’ is fine as other pinners may be looking for ‘fabric’, ‘boxes’, or ‘fabric boxes’ and your board and pins should then show up in searches.  ‘My tutorials’ is too vague – you need to explain what the tutorials are about e.g. ‘My  Sewing Tutorials’. ‘Sewing’ may also be a popular search term which would lead to your products being found and repinned.
  2. Set up as many boards as are appropriate but ensure that you have a number of pins in each one. Don’t have boards that are empty.
  3. See if some of the most popular board names would fit your boards. For example, according to the infographic we posted yesterday, two of the most popular board names are ‘For the Home’ and ‘Products I Love’.
  4. Remember to re-arrange your boards for variety and don’t forget to move those out-of-season boards to the bottom of the page. See ‘How to Re-arrange your Pinterest Boards‘.
  5. Pinterest has many benefits for your business from increasing brand awareness to significant SEO advantages.  With many people spending more time on Pinterest than any of the other social media platforms, it is certainly worth spending time on getting it right and maximising the benefits for your business.  Pinterest traffic to my online shop surpassed that of Facebook for the first time this month – time will tell if sales from Pinterest surpass those from Facebook.

Are you being dishonest by mixing your own products with others?

Not at all.  You can make it clear that the products are yours by describing them as such in the descriptor or by putting them in boards with an appropriate title, e.g. ‘My Craft Ideas’.  For example, on my pinterest account, I have a board that is named ‘Garrendenny Lane Products’ and it is evident they are products from my online shop.  I also have a board named ‘Wallpapers I Love’ and these are a mixture between wallpapers I stock and others I like. However, I think it is evident from my collection of boards that I have two businesses and my total of 59 boards reflect my products, my services as well as other areas of my life and my interests.
True pinners pin products they like as well as their own products but you are not being dishonest by mixing them up.  What is ‘bad pinterest practice‘ is pinning only your own products and it is very unlikely that you will get many repins or followers as a result unless you are already a hugely successful brand.
Pinning is about sharing and as long as you remember that, you won’t go wrong.

Would you like to attend a course on pinterest?

We will be putting in tenders to teach courses on pinterest and are hoping to gauge interest for same by posting a poll on our facebook page. We are also wondering if people would be interested in attending a webinar taught by Marie and I. We’d really appreciate if you could answer the questions on our poll or leave any comments in the box below.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend and that the sun shines 🙂


Successful launch of Write on Track

Yesterday, saw the successful launch of Write on Track,  at the Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co. Kildare.

We would like to thank all our friends and colleagues who came along to support us and those who tweeted and messaged us their good wishes. We’d also like to extend a special thanks to the  Little Coffee House, who provided the delicious refreshments for us.

Photographer, Damien Carroll took pictures at the launch and we will be posting them on our Facebook page shortly. Damien was great at getting the right shots and also putting us at our ease.  Alongside Amanda Webb of Spiderworking, Damien will be teaching a photography and video workshop on 18th May in Carlow. If you are interested in attending, make sure to stay informed of the details through the KLCK Blogger’s Network page.  Prior to the workshop, Damien is presenting at the next KLCK meeting on 14th May on the topic of photography for blogging. Both are not to be missed events!

Come to our launch

On Monday, 16th April, we will be launching Write on Track at the next KLCK Bloggers Network meeting and you are all invited!

Lorna and I would love for you to join us at the Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co. Kildare, to help us celebrate the official launch of Write on Track.

I will be giving a presentation on how to get your blog on the right track, and how to stay on it. So, whether you are new to blogging or have been blogging for some time, this talk will walk you through the steps you need to take to ensure that your blog is on track to succeed.

Among the topics I will cover:

  • How to run a SWOT analysis on your blog
  • How to audit your search engine optimistion for better results
  • How to determine if it is time to end or relaunch your current blog
  • How to reignite your passion for blogging
KLCK Bloggers Network

KLCK Bloggers Network is an informal group for bloggers. All are welcome, those who are just thinking about blogging, those struggling with their blogs and those who have fully established blogs. There is something for everyone to learn from our meetings even the pros find there is something they can learn. It’s also completely free.

When: Monday 16th April  7.30pm

Where: Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co. Kildare

Hope to see you there and don’t forget to RSVP on Facebook,  Eventbrite or by leaving a comment below. 

Calling All Irish Furniture, Gift & Interiors Businesses

If you are an interiors, gift or furniture business based in Ireland, you may be interested in this competition that will ensure that more of your target market will view your products. House and Home magazine have launched a ‘Pick It’ service on their website whereby users can create mood boards from the magazine’s gallery pages but also from products featured from Irish shops.  If you have an online shop, the facility is there whereby the user can click the product and be brought to your site in a new tab and they can then purchase the item if they wish.

Apart from the increased brand awareness and profile building, this will also increase the number of back links to your website from a related site which is good in terms of SEO juice.

The subscription for the winning business will last for a year and carries a value of €487.

You can enter the competition on the Garrendenny Lane by leaving a comment on the blog, names will be drawn this Friday. If you know of an interiors, gift or furniture business (online or offline) that would be interested, do let them know.

Pinterest for Business?

Have you heard of Pinterest? If your business is in any way related to retail / food / photography / interiors / architecture / knitting /hairdressing – indeed, if it is related to anything that you can take photographs of and find other photographs of on the internet, then Pinterest could be extremely useful for your business and will help to drive traffic to your website.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is an online virtual scrapbook or pinboard and the beauty is you can have as many pinboards as you like and you can share them with other people.  See  our previous post for an explanation of how to set up Pinterest and how to ‘pin’ pictures on it.

How will it boost my business?

  • Pinterest is a little like an online ‘word of mouth’. People can pin pictures they like from websites and blogs (there will be a post on copyright issues regarding this coming up tomorrow) and they can repin pictures they like on other people’s boards.
  • According to Hubspot, Pinterest is turning more browsers into buyers than other social media tools.
  • Pinterest is a wonderful tool for any creative business to showcase their voice through images.
  • Pinterest allows you to send visual messages about your business – be it product or service.
  • Companies such as Etsy have had huge success with pinterest driving thousands and thousands of people to their site. Etsy has over 45,000 followers on its pinterest account.
  • People can search for terms such as ‘bridesmaid shoes’, ‘Christmas’, ‘Wedding dresses’, ‘curtains’, ‘wallpaper’, so you do need to take care when naming your boards and describing each picture.  It could be a good idea to use the keyword analysis tool to optimise your pictures.  However, you can see how the possibilities of getting your product passed around as ‘repinning’ can really help to get the word out there.
  • Each pin works as a link to your site so will count as a backlink.  Each pin from your site should continually carry the source, ie your website, and if others embed the picture into their blog post, it will show the source as well as link to it if the picture is clicked upon.
  • It is proving to be addictive! Women aged 25-44 are the most popular users but with the growth in infographics, more men seem to be partaking in it.  One week recorded 11 million hits – a phenomenal amount for what is a relatively new media platform.
  • It is shareable.  It can link with your website, facebook and twitter. At the moment, it will show on people’s personal profiles on facebook (not business pages) so friends can see their pins and their activity.  You can also link it to your twitter profile which can be a business one so each time you pin a picture, a tweet will be sent out.
  • Pinterest can indicate trends or the success of new products. Repins may suggest how popular a product might become.
  • Infographics are becoming very popular too so you can create a visual image of any company or industry data and share it by pinning.

How do I join?

You can apply to Pinterest to join and this can take a little while. Invitations mean that you can start pinning straight away so if you would like an invite, do leave a comment below and we will email you one.

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.