12 Ideas For Shared Pinterest Boards

Sharing boards on pinterest is a good idea for many reasons, not least spreading awareness of your brand and generating traffic to your website and hence, increase sales/enquiries.

If you’ve been wondering about creating a shared board but weren’t sure of the topic, we have 11 ideas to help you in your strategy.

I recently set up a shared board on pinterest inviting others to share their ‘decorating stories’, mostly before and after pictures of upcycled furniture and redecorated rooms. What I have found is that more and more people are following that particular board than any of my other individual boards so it can be a great way to ensure your pins are seen by a wider audience.

I have recently been invited to join shared boards on Irish blogs and on wallpaper – which I will use to promote my own blogs and of course, the wallpapers I sell too.

If you are wondering how to set up a shared board on pinterest – here’s our explanation of how to do it.

Here’s some ideas for type of shared boards that would work well on Pinterest:

1. Travel Agencies –  invite clients to share some holiday photos onto a shared board.  Encourage your staff to share their photos there too.  This encourages interaction with your customers as well as providing photographs of your holiday destinations.

2.  Photographers – Creating ideas for a photoshoot and sharing the board with models, stylists and other participants. See how our photographer for the Grafton Media Blog Awards photoshoot used a shared board to inspire the photoshoot.

3. Organising Events:  Ask speakers to share photos / slides / videos before the event in order to promote themselves and the event.

4. Organising Exhibitions: Invite exhibitors to share photos of some of their products – this should attract attention from those considering attending the exhibition too.

5. Hotels – Ask guests to share photos of their stay there, of their meal, of the activities they took part in and local places they visited.

6. Travel Agencies – create a shared board for travel tips.

7. Fashion / Retail – ask people to share photos of themselves wearing clothes/accessories from your store. There are so many fashion blogs where people show photos of themselves that I think this would be a popular one.

8. Pet stores – people love showing pictures of their pets so create a shared board for their pets in cute poses or wearing the collars/accessories they purchased from your store.

9. Retail/ Exhibitor – create a shared ‘Trends’ board where people can share pictures they find of the latest trends. It becomes a treasure trove of ideas as well as creating a community feeling within your pinterest account.

10. Wool/Fabric shops – knitting, crochet and patchwork amongst other crafts, have become increasingly popular and people love to share photos of what they have created. Create a shared board for your customers.

11. Bookshops – create a shared board and invite people to submit reviews (link to their blog ) of recent books.  Bookclubs could create shared boards too.

12. Weddings – for anything to do with weddings, invite the couple to share pictures of wedding cakes, floral arrangements, wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, honeymoon pictures ……  The bride will probably create shared boards to share with her bridesmaids and her photographer at the very least.

Many thanks to Elish of Irish Furniture  Fair for discussing the topic of shared boards with me and coming up with some of the ideas above.

Have you created shared boards?  Have you found them useful for your business? Do share your experiences with us. I hope these have given you some ideas for how you could create a shared pinterest board for your business.

How To Win With The Web

We have both mentioned the benefits of blogging in the past which include improved SEO, increase brand awareness and as a method to gain free press coverage.

I also find that things seem to happen in threes and I’ve recently been interviewed for three different publications – partly as a result of my blog for my other business at Garrendenny Lane.  On Monday, a journalist from the Irish Times phoned me asking if I would take part in an article on ‘mumpreneurs’ / mums working from home. She had heard of me from someone who said I was the first person came to her mind! Hopefully that will be out next Monday or the following week.  I was also contacted regarding an article in a similar theme for a business banking publication.  Some time ago, I was contacted for an interview for the Digital Hub website and am delighted to say that it was just been published and I’m the first in their ‘Winning with Web’ series.  In the interview, I explain the benefits of blogging as I have experienced them.

The Digital Hub are looking for other businesses to take part in this series so if your business is registered in Ireland and has survived, grown, expanded and/or transformed because of your use of the web, then do get in contact with them.

We see blogging as being the core of any social media presence and one of the services we offer is we can take care of your blog, from writing  your posts and spreading your wisdom across other social media channels to creating a social media strategy for you to work towards.  Running a business is time-consuming and many people feel that adding social media to their to-do list is just one thing to many. Outsourcing your social media leaves you time to get on with running your business.  Blogging will get your business noticed, it’s not going to happen overnight necessarily, it does take time but a quality blog will reap rewards, attention and sales.  Do contact us if you feel the time is right to outsource your social media.

The Top 9 Social Networks For Your Business (Infographic)

If you would like advice or guidance on how to get your business started on any of these social networking platforms, then contact us  for more information about our competitively priced training packages.

Why Your Blog Links Should Open in a New Window

Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you click a link on a website or within a blog that the original source (e.g the blog) sometimes disappears and you are then faced with a decision to either return to the source or to read the new link, perhaps click a link in that, become distracted and never return to the original blog as it disappears, lost, into cyber space?

Do you prefer when you click a link in a blog post and it opens in a new tab /window? I do. It means that the original post stays open in one window, the new link is also open and if I do become distracted, both of them will stay open for me to return to later. (Yes, I have to admit that I can have up to 20 tabs open on my browser by 5pm any day!)

If you find that you’re like me and end up with multiple articles to read during a spare hour, do try out Pocket which is a handy little bookmarker – you can read all about it on the Spiderworking blog.

How to add a hyperlink that opens in a new window:

Click on the text that you wish to incorporate into the link and highlight it. Just as I have done above with ‘spiderworking blog’, and then click the hyperlink button above (as shown in the image below)

How to create a hyperlink within a blog post

A box opens and you paste in the url of the new link, add a descriptor:

How to ensure links open in a new window

And this is the important bit – tick the box which says ‘open in a new window/tab‘ and then click ‘add link’.

You’re done.

Ensure you do this and you’ll never lose a reader again.

Any questions? Do ask in the comment box below.

How to write the perfect blog post

PerfectBlogPost

Too hard to read? Click on image to see a larger version of this infographic

How to Monitor your Pinterest Performance with Pinerly

Hearing that pinterest is driving as much traffic to businesses as google +, Linked in and youtube combined is all very well, but how do you know that your pinning is working? How do you monitor your efforts and time spent on pinterest? How can you tell what % of your pins are being repinned? How many people are visiting your website as a result of your activity on pinterest and if pinterest is helping your bottom line?

Pinerly

The Pinterest Way

One way to see which pins are being pinned from your website is to place your website after http://www.pinterest.com/source as shown here – http://www.pinterest.com/source/write-on-track.com – this will show the pins pinned by myself, Marie and any other party who has pinned our blog posts.

Pinterest also emails you each time a pin is repinned, liked or commented on – this information also comes for any pins you have repinned.

Pinerly It

I have started using Pinerly to assess the success of my pinning.  Pinerly is a new website that provides pinanalytics, tips, suggested people to follow and will be introducing scheduling of pins shortly too.

How does Pinerly work:

It will only provide a report on those pins pinned via the pinerly bookmarklet hence it will only provide information on the pins you have pinned yourself, not on those pinned by other people.

You need to install the pinerly bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar and pin the image or blog post by clicking on it.  Each image that is pinned creates a separate ‘campaign’ and Pinerly provides statistics on your campaigns daily and it also sends you a weekly update to show your progress.

Once you click on the pinerly bookmarklet, this box will open and you fill in the details as shown. You can add text to the picture if you wish to as well.

How to use Pinerly

You then click on the Pinerly It button, and it will ask you to click on a  ‘pin to pinterest’ button and you can choose which board to pin to, hence it is a two-step process rather than just a single step.

I have to admit I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been using pinterest or pinerly as much as previously.  However, what I have noticed is that while my recent pins haven’t been getting very many repins or likes, they have been receiving click throughs to the website.  My pins receive many more clicks than they do likes or repins and that surprised me. The pinanalytics will also tell you the reach that each pin achieved.

When you look at the statistics in Repinly and see how many repins some pins manage to achieve while you get one or two, it can be a little disheartening for some. But I would argue that the value is also in the click throughs, those people who are clicking to see your blog post or your product. Being able to see the number of click throughs in pinerly is one of its strengths.

Suggested Pinners to Follow

Pinerly offers a number of suggested pinners to follow under the various categories. They emailed me over a week ago asking for my information as they were going to add me to one of the categories. It will be interesting to see if I get many new followers as a result once they add me to it.

I had to wait a couple of months for my application to Pinerly to be accepted, they are allowing people to join by invitation so if you would like to try it out, do send me your email address and I’ll send you an invite.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics would be the most reliable method to guage your success and evaluate how to improve. I have to admit that I have still to set up funnels in Google Analytics to see what sales are resulting from click throughs to the website. I intend to do that asap and then I’ll share the results with you.

If you would like to learn more about pinterest, I am presenting a talk in Carlow on 29th August and if you live far away, stay tuned for news of our new website providing online training – launching soon 🙂

How to Get More Fans on Facebook

I’m often asked (and I’m sure every other social media consultant is asked this question too) how to get more fans on facebook.  I devoted some posts some time ago to how you can use the ‘marching’ methods amongst others and provided my reasons as to why I wouldn’t recommend the ‘marching’ method fully.  However, today I am going to give you a relatively easy and free method that I am wholeheartedly recommending –  how creating compelling content that is shared by your existing fans can really grow your fan base and encourage interaction.

My Garrendenny Lane (online shop) facebook page was fairly static at 1550 fans for some time and I had organising a facebook competition on my ‘to-do’ list but hadn’t got around to it.

I generally post an update once a day, sometimes it will be a link to a blog post or to one of our products and sometimes it is a photograph that I come across and think my fans would like to see.

I look at the ‘people talking about it’ numbers to indicate how well the page is performing, what percentage of fans are likely to see the updates and how a business is interacting with its fans/potential customers. Seeing a page that has 8,000 likers and 2 people talking about it is a disaster in my eyes and certainly doesn’t say anything positive about the business. The number of people talking about your page indicates the numbers who have liked, commented on and shared your page hence it shows the level of interaction too.  The higher the percentage of people talking about your page relative to your number of fans, the more fans will see your updates in your news feed.

The Garrendenny Lane page generally had anything between 35-85 people talking about it, occasionally going up to 150.  I could get up to 15 likes on an update, perhaps up to 5 or 6 comments and one or two shares.  I just couldn’t get more people to share my pictures.  I saw pictures that I had put up on my page being shared from other pages, pages that achieved up to 300 shares on one picture (yes, the very same picture that I had uploaded). Admittedly they had a huge fanbase but what I was doing wrong? In a word, nothing – sometimes people just don’t think about sharing a picture if you are continually giving them information, whereas the page that had huge success with pictures was putting up stunning photographs on a daily basis. Their fans were accustomed to oooh and aaaah and share.

Then, I shared a picture of a simple but very effective little playhouse in under the stairs and the comments and shares just took off. 87 people shared it, it received 42 comments and 359 people liked it with a total of 7,000 people seeing it as a result of the shares. Remember I only had 1550 fans. 1,087 views were by organic means and 6,674 views were viral (as a result of the shares).

How to get more likes on facebookAs a result of the shares and increased interaction, my fan numbers increased by about 60 over the course of the week. I’m not saying that all of the new fans were as a result of this picture but as numbers had been static for some time, I’d argue the majority of them were.

The number of ‘people talking about it’ stayed at the 450 mark for over a week and then slowly reduced to 115.

How to get more likes on facebook

I just checked the source of the ‘playhouse’ and their page has just over 4,000 likes with an incredible 54,000 people talking about it!!

I have just posted another picture (of a wooden creel becoming a bookcase)  that is proving popular with shares, likes and comments so do have a look and see if my ‘talking about it’ number is increasing as a result. At the time of writing, 764 people have seen it (which is almost 50% of my fan base which is good considering some experts calculate that your updates are seen by only 16% of your fans), 536 of those being organic and 236 being viral.

The more people that share, like and comment means that your page gets much more exposure which results in more fans. If you interact with those comments, it demonstrates that you provide good customer service.  If you are providing interesting content, it shows your personality and that of your business.

Having said all that, it is not as easy as it sounds. I recently put up a couple of images on the Write on Track facebook page with no success whatsoever, partly because they weren’t clever enough to be worthy of sharing and partly because people aren’t accustomed to sharing photos from our page, it mostly being used for sharing links to interesting articles.

My advice to you though, is to keep trying it occasionally.  Sharing an interesting or funny photograph with your fans (that is related to your subject area if possible and ensure it isn’t inappropriate for your business) will show your personality and will lead to more fans as well as engagement. Create something that is funny and original and share it with your likers.

Have you any ‘tried and tested’ methods of increasing your facebook fans? We’d love to hear them.

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

10 Tips For Great Blogging

Ten Tips for Great Blogging to ensure your blog is found, is read, is returned to, is acted upon, is shared and benefits from interaction.

Blogging Tips

1. Punctuation, Grammar, Spelling – Writing a blog post should undergo similar practices to writing a book – planning, preparation, writing, editing, spell checking, reading it aloud and only then, do you hit publish.  I have to admit that I am guilty of not proofreading properly sometimes, just doing a quick skim read and then wondering why I missed an occasional typo.  Spelling, punctuation and grammar are just as important in a blog post as they are in a book, in a published article or in an examination.  Use the spell checker, use a thesaurus and/or dictionary and if you feel your punctuation or grammar could be improved, read it aloud or ask a friend or colleague to do so.

2. Quality Pictures – Try to include good photographs in your blog posts.  Every blog post should have a minimum of one photograph, partly to create visual interest and to break up the text and partly to serve as a photograph to pin on Pinterest, thereby serving as a link to your blog post.

If you use a photograph that does not belong to you, credit the source. not yours, then credit them. Try to use your own original photography if you can. The photograph above was a simple one I took of our windmill on my iphone. I used it as I wanted a fairly plain background to place the text against.With so many people having smart phones now, it is much easier to snap a quick photograph if you see something suitable when you are out and about.

3. Blog regularly – Try to blog fairly regularly. If you post 3 or 4 times a week, then schedule some posts if you are going to be away or if you have a busy week coming up.  Try to have a regular topic once or twice a week, e.g. Tuesday’s Tip or Fabric Friday.

4. Personality – whether your blog is a personal or business blog, your readers should be able to get to know you by reading your blog. This doesn’t mean that you have to include details of your social life or your family life in every blog post if it is a business blog but let your readers get a sense of the person behind the business and the blog by incorporating a sentence or two of your life into a percentage of your blog posts.

5. Share on social networks – There are so many social networks available now that it is important to share your blog post there too. Don’t rely on your blog being found on its SEO alone, help potential readers find it by sharing it on all or some of the following social media platforms: pinterest, twitter, facebook, google +, and linked in.  Remember your aim is to get more traffic to your website and use your blog as the core of your social media – to bring traffic from the other networks back to your blog and hence to your website.

6. Interaction – It can be very hard to get comments on your own blog (unless you are a guru) if you don’t comment on other blogs.  I know it is difficult to find the time and I don’t comment on as many other blogs as I should. However, I often interact with the blog writer on facebook or twitter instead.  It is also important to respond to those who write a comment on your blog, not necessarily every commentator but occasional ones.  Enjoy the conversation and become part of a community by using your blog in this way.

7. Knowledgeable  – if you don’t know enough about the subject you are writing about and you are leaving gaps, there is a high likelihood this will either be pointed out by someone in the comments or some won’t return to your blog again. If you don’t know enough, do some more research before you hit ‘publish’.  Ensure your content is unique too – if you have taken information from another website or blog, credit that source.

8. Be Compelling – A blog is not a text book so make it as interesting as you can – in terms of layout, using images or diagrams to break up the text if it is long, and be as entertaining and informative as the subject matter allows.

9. Join blogging groups – Joining an offline blogging group will further your relationships with other bloggers, increasing support for your blog. It will also help to iron our any problems you may have as you can get answers to your questions. I always come away buzzing from our KLCK bloggers network meetings.  Blogging groups can be online too – I’ve noticed a Dublin Bloggers group set up on facebook recently and there are bound to be hundreds more too – either in terms of geographical area or in subject area.

10. Ease of Navigation – Remember that a reader may come to your blog initially via a post you wrote a year ago. Can they find related posts easily?  Are your posts categorised?  If they want to contact you, is your ‘contact us’ page set up? Can they see a picture of you in the  About Us page or in the sidebar?  Can they access your most recent post easily?  Ease of navigation is important as readers may wish to read more posts in that subject area or just to read more of the wonderful content you have written.  Remember to include a call to action too – readers need to know what you want them to do and how they can benefit more from your service or products.

Blogging is a great tool and if used well, can result in incredible returns – both in terms of building your profile, monetary rewards and personal benefits.

Have I left out any tips? Do you have any to add?

Do like our facebook page for the latest updates from both of us at Write on Track.

How to Create ‘Long, Tall & Skinny’ Photos for Pinterest

In our last post, we talked about how creating an extra wide photograph for your facebook page can really highlight that photograph and status. In this post, I’m going to show you how to create a long, tall and skinny photograph for pinterest and why this is a good idea.

Photos on pinterest are all the same width which is predetermined by Pinterest and your photographs will fit into that scale. However, photographs can be as long as they like so a long, tall, skinny photo will gain more attention on the pinterest page – this is why infographics are long and narrow.

You may notice too that tutorials such as how to create a complicated french plait, will show a series of photographs collaged into a single long image and while I’m not going to suggest to try to make every photo you pin a long, tall and skinny photo, it is a good idea to do so occasionally.

‘Before and after’ photographs are perfect for this, as are tutorials as I mentioned above if you can take a series of photographs to show progress.

Here’s how to do it by using pic monkey first to create the collage:

Choose the collage layout you would like to use on the left. Decide how many photos you would like to use. In this example, I am showing one ‘before’ and one ‘after’ so I choose the number with the least number of boxes – 3.

When you first upload the photos, they will go into a box on the left so it is simply a case of moving them across with the cursor. You may find that the photo is off centre as you can see in the top example below but you can still move around the photo to centre the object.

As you can see below, the chair has now been centred. Next – I want to get rid of the third box which is surplus, plus I want the photo to be long and narrow so I click on the little ‘x’ in the top right hand corner and it disappears.

Using Pic Monkey

You can see below that the removal of the box on the left hasn’t changed the dimensions of the overall collage which as stayed at 1024 x 1024 hence the photo itself has become skewed in scale plus I want to create a long tall skinny photo!

What you need to do next is move the cursor in on the sides of the boxed collage until you are happy with the scale and your photo is long, tall and skinny!

Then, save it to your blog post and you’ll see on this post how I created two collages but really, for pinterest, the long image is the best.  Pin it and see it on the pinterest page.

There you have it – all the tips you need to create long, tall and skinny photos for pinterest – particularly useful for showing ‘before and after’ shots or tutorials.  We offer tutorials in how to use pinterest effectively for your business so do get in contact if you would like to book one.