6 Ways To Organise Your Pinterest Boards

It’s ‘O’ today in the #AtoZChallenge. April seems to be going very quickly now!

I’m going to suggest how you can organise your Pinterest boards more efficiently. It is very easy to move your boards around by dragging and dropping them into place and it’s worthwhile re-arranging them occasionally or having a particular focus behind their organisation.

6 Ways to Organise your pinterest boards

1. Alphabetical

I’ve noticed some pinners with lots of boards organise them alphabetically and this can be an easy way of finding a particular board. However, it has disadvantages as other pinners may decide to follow you based on your top two rows of boards, hence they only see the first couple of letters.

2. By Theme

If you have a number of different themes in your business account, slotting similarly themed boards together in sections or rows can prevent your account looking rather hodge podge.

3. Seasonal

Place your seasonal boards in the top two rows and then move them to the bottom of your boards page once the season is over, for example, Christmas boards could be moved to the top after Hallow’een but should spend Jan – Oct at the bottom of the page.

4. Colour

Some visual boards are just a delight to look at, such is the colour harmony within the board. Choose attractive images for your board covers and arrange them appropriately. I noticed some businesses turning their board pages green for St Patrick’s Day by using green images for their covers this March.

See this post – How To Select Cover Images for your Pinterest Boards

5. Prioritise the Most Appropriate

Which boards show off your business best? Which boards contain the most focused pins and offer the best snapshot of your business? Put them along your top row.  Anyone contemplating following your account should be able to decide ‘yes’ or ‘no’ by glancing at your top two rows and your biography. Attract your target audience by being focused.

6. Number of Pins

Should you put your most popular boards in the top row? You could do. It’s more important though to ‘springclean’ your board every so often and consider deleting the boards that only have a few pins. We all create boards on the spur of the moment and discover after a month or two that we haven’t pinned much to them. Either make a conscious effort to pin more to those boards or delete them. The boards at the top of your boards page should certainly be well populated with good quality pins.

“Free

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Making Newsworthy Content for Your Social Media

How To Make Your Social Media Content Newsworthy

It is the turn of the letter ‘N’ in the #AtoZchallenge.

Today’s topic is about being newsworthy. I don’t mean in the writing news articles sense but I am referring to your social media. How can you make your social media content appear as and be newsworthy for your target market? Here’s 3 ways to do it.

1. Blog About New Developments

When blogging, write about new developments within your sphere.  You can give your own opinion and spin on these newsworthy events, thereby educating your audience. You can also show how your company is keeping up to date with changes in legislation and how you are going to make it easier for your staff and your customers.  By doing this, not only are you informing your target customers, you are also promoting your company as being ahead of the game.

How To Make Your Social Media Content Newsworthy

For example, if your business is a restaurant, many of your blog post will be able recipes or different ways of cooking dishes.  Including a positive discussion on topical issues such as childhood obesity, calories provided on menus or the availability of gluten-free food will show your willingness to engage with changes, the media and perhaps contentious issues while informing your customer.

2. Share New Content On Your Channels

Allocate some time every morning to check through news headlines as well as blog articles within your own niche. Make it a point to share those that are most useful to your target audience and schedule them across twitter, your facebook page and Pinterest. Become known as a good knowledge source and it will gain you respect amongst your competitors and your customers.

3. Structure

Think about what draws people in to read a newspaper or magazine article – it is usually the title and the first paragraph. The first paragraph often reveals the who, what, when, where and how in brief.  Ensure you tell your audience the main summary of your written piece and then expand on it with more detail. Tell them what they will know by the time they have finished reading. Let them know what reading your blog post will be advantageous to them. Make your blog posts newsworthy in that they are worthy of the reader’s time, they are interesting, structured and either educational or entertaining.

The most interesting piece of news in the world won’t be read if it isn’t phrased and structured appropriately. Here’s a good post on writing magnetic headlines. 

photo credit: nikkorsnapper via photopin cc

“Free

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3 Pinterest Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make

3 Pinterest Mistakes You Don't Want To Make

It’s ‘M’ in the #AtoZChallenge and I’m concentrating on 3 Mistakes that you really don’t want to make on Pinterest.

1. Not Linking Your Pin To Your Website

3 Pinterest Mistakes You Don't Want To Make Believe it or not, this is one of the most common mistakes I see businesses making on Pinterest, hence, I mention it quite a bit on this blog. As a business, you are using your social media channels to engage with followers and drive traffic to your website. If the pin doesn’t contain a link, the repinner has no way of finding your blog or website.

Many people believe that Pinterest is just for beautiful or striking images – for businesses that concentrate on fashion, crafts, food or interiors. This isn’t the case at all. My business is about teaching social media and I’m finding that by using clear images that show what the blog post contains (ie useful information), Pinterest is far surpassing facebook and twitter in driving traffic to my site and it is second to google organic search at 13% of my total traffic.

See our post How To Ensure Your Pins Link To Your Website to check you are doing it correctly.

2. Not Naming Your Images

Your images in your blog posts and on your website must be named appropriately, ideally with a keyword phrase.  Google can’t read pictures but it can read the title which is why  the naming of images will help the optimisation of your website.

It’s also important as if visitors to your website pin your image, if the description is there, they are more inclined to leave it as it is therefore the pin will travel and still contain your chosen keyword.  If the pin is named as 7579347.jpg or .medium76.jpg, the pinner then has to go and write their own description which may not be what you would like.

Pin this post and you will see how the title of the post comes up as the image description so it saves you having to write it.

3. Not Having Pinnable Images In Every Post

Ensure there is a pinnable image in every single blog post. If your business is a visual one, you will have no problem finding and using beautiful images. But if your business demands a mostly text based article, it still needs an image to break up the text and to use on Pinterest.

There is one particular social media blog (which is very popular and has excellent content) but every time I go to pin their blog post, I get a choice of three images which are pulled from the sidebar – their logo and two images of the blog founders, neither of which demonstrate what the post is about and neither have the appropriate description. I end up abandoning it.

I usually use Picmonkey to create a text image just like the one I have used in this blog post. There’s nothing fancy about it but it does what it says on the tin and works well with plenty of shares happening on Pinterest.

See our post ‘How To Add Text To Your Images‘ for a tutorial.

I hope this helps to prevent you making these Pinterest mistakes and improve the pinnability of your website and images.

“Free

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Do Your Pinterest Links Deliver Click Throughs To Your Website?

How much traffic do your pins deliver to your website

How much traffic do your pins deliver to your website It’s ‘L’ in the #AtoZChallenge. Today I am exploring the value of your Pinterest links in terms of the amount of click throughs they deliver to your website and showing you how to find this out on your own account.

As you probably know, each image pinned from your website to Pinterest contains a link back to your website, a link that means that any other pinner can click on that image and be brought to your website ready to purchase that product, browse or read your articles.

See our recent post: How To Ensure Your Pins Link To Your Website. This post shows you who pins from your website but not how many clicks are generated.

An important question though is – how many click throughs do each of those links in the pins generate? How much traffic does Pinterest with its clickable links bring to your website?  You need the repins to get the click throughs but the repins aren’t any good on their own.

If your Pinterest account has been verified, you will have access to Pinterest analytics in the drop down menu on the top right.  Opt for ‘Most Clicked’ and choose a the two week option on the top left. (It is a disadvantage that the time scale is limited). If you wish to use Google Analytics to find your most clickable pins, check out this post for how to determine your most effective pins .

How to find your most clicked pins

Click ‘ export’ on the top right and it will create a csv file for you.

Interpreting Pinterest Analytics

Interestingly, I find that a pin that has had 150 repins and 40 likes has only had 21 clicks during that fortnight but one that received 4 repins has had 63 clicks through to my blog. However, the 150 repins and 40 likes are over ‘all time’ and when I click on the pin url and paste it into my address bar, I discover that it is a pin on my own board that was pinned over 6 months ago – it just shows it is still delivering traffic – people who will read the post and see that I also offer Pinterest online courses.

The top ‘most clicked’ pin was pinned only two days ago so either the pinner or one of her four repinners is influential. I should check that I am following them (either an individual board or all boards) as after all, if their repin of my content delivers 63 clicks in less than two days, their following is interested in my content.

The CSV file is also handy for determining what are your most popular pins. Paste the url for them into your address bar and evaluate them – what is it about them that is proving popular with other pinners? Try to emulate the success of the most popular and most clickable by using them as a model for future images.

How often do you check your repins and click throughs from Pinterest?  If you are doing it as a result of this post, do let me know if you are disappointed or pleasantly surprised with what you find.

“Free

 

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The Importance Of Using The Keyword Planner Tool

Using the Keyword Planner Tool

It’s the turn of ‘K’ in the #AtoZChallenge and today I am showing you how to use the keyword planner tool, demonstrating why it is so important to use it on a regular basis. Using the right keywords in your website content and your blog posts can hugely influence the SEO of your website, determining how successful it is in terms of bringing more traffic to your site. You can read lots of articles about the value of short keywords and long tail keywords regarding which is best. Essentially though, it comes down to using keywords that people use to search and using similar keywords consistently.

If you would like to learn how to use the Google Keyword planner, this post of mine shows you how to use it in a step by step process and this post by Spiderworking is a video tutorial .

If a business wishes to bring more traffic to her website to book sewing classes, the google planner tool is really important to ascertain which are the most commonly searched for keywords – and are there any popular ones that she may not have thought of? Sewing lessons and sewing classes are the obvious ones but which is most popular? Which one should go in the page title or first paragraph?

When I searched for these terms, the tools threw up other ideas which were actually more popular in the monthly searches.

Using the Keyword Planner Tool

As you can see, within Ireland, ‘sewing classes’ is a more popular than ‘sewing lessons’ so the former should be used more within the website copy. Checking if one’s location is being searched for is a good idea too and we can see that ‘sewing classes dublin’ has even more searches. The two terms that surprised me (probably because I know so little about this area) were that ‘dressmaking courses’ is even more popular than ‘sewing classes’ and when I searched then for ‘sewing courses’ it yielded a result of 30 searches per month. ‘Sewing patterns’ was the one that surprised me and writing a blog post about sewing patterns would be a suggestion because while it will bring traffic that aren’t necessarily looking for lessons, they may require this business’s services in another way and it would certainly increase brand awareness too.

Another tip is to ensure that all the content on the website and blog are related in terms of genre – if a very different topic is introduced, it can confuse the search engine, people may arrive at the site because of the blog post on the other topic, such as foraging for mushrooms, and then they leave again straight away. That may seem an extreme example but it does happen. Keep content related and it will help its ranking so related topics for this business might include tutorials for altering a hem, sewing on buttons, altering a blouse, cutting a dressmaking pattern, fixing a sewing machine – all topics that will demonstrate the business person’s expertise and knowledge and convince potential customers that she will be the perfect teacher.

Do you use the keyword planner tool regularly when preparing for your blog posts?

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How Journalists Might Find You and Your Business

How to get free press coverage via your social media It’s J of the #AtoZChallenge and today I’m exploring how you can help Journalists to find you and your business via your social media.

Social media isn’t just about improving the SEO of your website, engaging with potential customers, driving traffic, increasing brand awareness and increasing sales. Social media also offers you the potential of getting free press coverage for your business as journalists will use social media to find stories – they don’t necessarily rely just on press releases for their features.

I knew that my blog was going to work well for getting press coverage once it secured my first feature for me – within two months of starting my blog, a journalist had found me via my blog and I was featured in a national newspaper. Admittedly there are more blogs out there now so it can be harder to stand out but on the plus side, most journalists are actively using social media now.

Journalists use the search engines if looking for a particular source to complete a story – if your blog is well optimised and it is suitable, they can then check out your blog / Linked in profile / twitter account /  facebook page to determine if you are the right person / product for their feature

To maximise your chances:

1. Ensure your contact details are easily accessible on your blog / website / facebook page / twitter bio.

2. Use good images. Journalists often require photographs and if they can see that you have good images (either your own or from a supplier), they are more inclined to contact you.

3. Be newsworthy – comment on the latest fashions, be one of the first to report from the design or trade shows or in your particular area. Demonstrate your knowledge so you are viewed as a good source of information.

4. Have a high-res good photograph available of yourself should the journalist require it.

5. Create a story – see what is ‘trending’ or a popular line in the media, can your story fit into it. For example, self published authors getting good publishing deals (particularly if they were stay at home mums when writing the book) are popular stories at the moment – if that fits you, make the most of it.

We will shortly be launching a new course at We Teach Social entitled – How To Get Free Press Coverage Via Your Social Media. Do sign up for the newsletter to get updates.

“Free

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How To Ensure Your Blog Posts Are Interesting

How to write interesting blog posts It is time for the letter ‘I’ of the #AtoZChallenge for April so today’s post is about how to ensure that your blog posts are interesting for your audience.

How can you continually create interesting content for your blog – content that people are going to want to read, return to, and if it is a business blog, buy from you?

1. Create Content That People Need

People will be interested in your content if it meets their needs. One way to do this is to answer their questions and solve their problems, perhaps even before they realise they have a problem.  The easiest way to do this is to make a list of the questions that customers ask you, be it on the phone, in person or by email and write blog posts in response to those questions. You can bet that if a couple of people are asking a particular question, there will be many more searching for the answer too – and now your blog post will pop up in the search results.

2. Emphasise Benefits, Not Features

If you go on a sales course, you will be told to emphasise the benefits of your product or service, concentrating on them rather than concentrating on the features. Remember this if you are writing blog posts about a product. For example, if I am buying a household gadget such as a new vacuum cleaner, I want to know that xxx power means it can hoover up pet hairs effectively – that’s the benefit of that particular hoover.

3. Tell Stories

People love stories, they hook them in, they want to read to the end, it makes them feel that they know the business all the more.  This post by Amanda of Spiderworking shows how to put your staff at the centre of your storytelling and I love the Pinterest example of the zoo.

4. Break It Up

No matter how interesting your content is, if people are faced with a wall of text on their laptop screen they are going to struggle to read it. Remember that we read differently on the laptop to a book or a newspaper.  Break up the text with subheadings or images to create some white space and visual interest.

5. Ending

If yours is a business blog, you need to reward your readers at the end of the blog post for staying with you. That reward might be encouraging engagement by asking them to comment or perhaps that they like your facebook page so they can see your updates there or perhaps you can tell them where to buy the product you have blogged about. Yes, these are calls to action but if people have read a long blog post, they are interested in your content so reward them by offering them more.

And my ending today is this banner image with our free ebook from We Teach Social. I hope you enjoy it – it has ten social media tips to boost your business.

“Free

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Pinterest Tutorial: How To Ensure Your Pins Link To Your Website

How to ensure your pins link to your website

It’s H in the #AtoZchallenge – How to ensure your pins link to your website in this Pinterest tutorial.

How to ensure your pins link to your website I notice that many business pinners have pins on their accounts that don’t have links to their websites. It is essential that your pins link to your website, otherwise you are wasting your time on Pinterest. The benefit of Pinterest is that all pins can be clicked to bring people to your website so they can buy your product or book your service.  It is a common occurrence though so don’t feel bad if you check your pins and find that it has happened to you. The good news is it is easy to fix.

How To Check Your Pins Link To Your Website

I was repinning one of Zwartbles Ireland’s beautiful rug images this morning and I noticed she had the link to her website in the description. While this means people can find your website, people just tend to click on the image itself and if that doesn’t work, they are gone and you may have lost a sale or a connection.  I double checked on Suzanna’s pin and yes, it has ‘Image’ in the box above the image. If it was linked to the website, it would say ‘Visit Site’. Clicking on an image without a link just brings people to a blank page.

The problem is that you don’t know the potential of any of your pins.  It could be repinned by a very popular pinner in six months time and go viral, perhaps without your knowledge.  You won’t be alerted to its virality as there won’t be a surge in traffic to your website as there’s no link to bring people there.

It’s really important that all of your own pins link to a relevant page on your website.

How to check your pins link to your website

The good news is it is very easy to add the correct links in for each pin or even to change the link if you wish to do so.  Here’s how to do it.

 How To Add Your Website Link To Pins

To add in the correct link, go to the pin on your gallery page and click on the pencil icon on the top right of the pin. The pin comes up as a popup. I am able to edit Zwartbles’ pin as I have repinned it onto one of my boards and just as I thought, the source box is empty.

How to add a link to a pin

I copy and past the correct link into the source box and click ‘save changes’. This is it – it is that simple. But oh, so important.

How to add a link to a pin

You can also use this method if you wish to alter the link on any of your pins – just delete the existing link and paste in the new one.

The problem is – even if you add in the link later, it is likely that any repins will still be missing the link therefore it is better to pin your images using the method below.

How To Ensure Your Pins Link To Your Website

Many people upload their photos directly from the computer – the problem with that is you then have to remember to go in and add the correct link to each pin. You can also add a pin from the website page but this method can be glitchy too.

It’s much better to get into the habit of pinning directly from the website. You can do this by clicking on the ‘add a pin’ as shown in the screenshot below.  You can then install the ‘pin it’ button onto your toolbar (as shown in the top right of the screenshot).

How to ensure your pins link to your website

Many websites and blogs have the Pin It button installed so you don’t even have to use the one on your toolbar, for example, I have one in my share buttons on this blog post so other readers can share this on Pinterest if they wish. The Chrome browser now has the ‘pin it’ function on all images so you just have to click on the button on the image if using Chrome.

Whichever method you use – just ensure that your images link to your website as otherwise you are losing out on traffic and sales.

I hope that helps. PS – Suzanna gave her permission for her pin to be used as an example. If you would like to learn more about Pinterest, do check out our online Pinterest courses at We Teach Social

“Free

 

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Googling Your Own Name – What Do You Find?

It’s the turn of ‘G’ in the #AtoZChallenge and today I’m exploring the importance of ‘googling’ or searching for your own online existence in any of the search engines. Have you ever googled your own name? What did you find?  Of course, it will depend on whether your name is  relatively popular  or fairly rare. If you are using social media well, anyone searching for you should be able to see evidence of your abilities and of your following as your sources should show up on or near the first page of google. For example, if someone googles ‘Lorna Sixsmith’, what shows on the first page are both my websites, my twitter account, images, my linked in profile and three blog posts where three bloggers reviewed my book. These are all links that I am happy for anyone to see and it is evident that I have a reasonably good following on social media. When I google ‘Amanda Webb’, although it is clear there are other ‘Amanda Webbs’ out there from the images provided, all but one of the links are for Amanda’s twitter, pinterest, website and linked in accounts.  If your name is a popular one, you will have to work even harder to ensure your accounts are shown.

Why Social Media Is So Important for your Online Reputation

Your Online Profile

It is important that your own content shows in a search for your own name as it will show you in your best light. You have some amount of control over what people will see and this is important whether you are going for a job interview or if you are meeting a new client.

Having a following on social media is also seen as crucial for many industries now. For example, if you are an author hoping to land a good publishing deal, most publishers are going to want to see evidence of a good following on most of the social media channels which would include a blog, facebook page and twitter.

If you happen to share a name with someone who is not that favourable (and it does happen), then you don’t want to be confused with him or her. It is even more important that you work hard to ensure positive links are shown on the first page of google searches for your name.

Not Enough Hours

Do you feel there aren’t enough hours in the day for social media on top of everything else?  However, not only is social media becoming increasingly important in terms of increasing brand awareness and generating traffic to your website, but it acts as an online curriculum vitae in many ways.

You need to prioritise the social media networks you partake in. For example, all business people should have a Linked In profile that is fully complete and it is important to log into Linked In on a weekly basis to network online, take part in group discussions and ensure your skills are up to date. If your target market is business people, it is even more important that your Linked in account is impressive and that you use this network well.

If your business is B2C (business to consumer), then having a facebook page is also a good idea. Even if you don’t use facebook, it doesn’t mean that your target audience aren’t on there. Whether you are a local or an international business, you can find out if your target customers are there. See this post on ‘How to find out if your target audience is on Facebook‘ by Spiderworking for full instructions on how to do so.

Twitter isn’t just a place to send tweets with links to your website. In fact, twitter works best if you use it as a conversational tool having found your relevant audience to follow. People buy from people and twitter is a wonderful place to converse, to build connections and to find relevant content.

If you have an ecommerce store or if you have beautiful images on your website and blog, Pinterest is for you, particularly if your target market is American mums.  That’s not to say that Pinterest doesn’t work for other businesses or audiences (for example, Pinterest sends more traffic to this blog than any of the other platforms) but it is particularly effective in those areas. Pinterest boards also show up in google searches as will your own Pinterest account.

Some businesses perceive Facebook as providing them with a mini website, that they don’t need to invest in their own site. However, if Facebook closed down tomorrow (admittedly that is unlikely), they would be left with very little web presence. Facebook is great for communicating with and reaching your audience but one of its main aims must be to drive traffic to your website.  It doesn’t improve the SEO of your website in any way but your compelling updates and links across to the website will encourage people to click the links.  Your blog and website should be the hub and the other platforms (e.g. twitter, google +, pinterest, facebook and linkedin) should be used to showcase your products or services on your website, drive traffic to your blog and convert them to business.

Admittedly, it all takes time but it is a case of deciding which platforms suit your business best and get started with them, do a social media course so you know you are operating them effectively and then evaluate. Your social media is your online curriculum vitae, use it wisely for good effect.

Do go and ‘google’ your own name – let me know what you think of the results. Are there any surprises?

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Feedly – For Finding Blogs & Relevant Content

It is the turn of ‘F’ for the #AtoZChallenge and I’d like to show you how to find relevant blogs and content by using feedly.

How often do you read other blogs? Reading works by other bloggers mean that you keep abreast of what is happening in your industry and it can often spark off ideas for your own content. By commenting on other blogs, it gives you a vehicle to connect with other bloggers too.

When many bloggers start blogging and find blogs they would like to read on a regular basis, they might bookmark them and visit them periodically. This can be very time consuming and it also means that there may be six posts waiting to be read or the blogger may not have posted in that time.

A more effective way to keep on top of your blog reading is to use Feedly. You can categorise your blog interests and see when blogs have been updated. For those who post more often than you might be able to keep up with, you can see the featured image, title and start of first paragraph so you can choose which posts you would like to read.

How To Use Feedly

1. Go to Feedly and set up an account – you will need a gmail account to do this.

2. If you know the url of a blog you wish to follow, click ‘Add content’ on the left side, paste in the url and it will invite you to follow that blog. It will also ask you to create a category or choose a category. Tick the relevant category and ‘Add’ and it is as simple as that.  If you have read all of them, click the arrow on the top right and click ‘mark all as read’.

Using Feedly

How to find content on feedly

3. You can also search for relevant blogs on feedly by typing the term in the search box. It will offer you a variety of blogs to check out. You can choose to follow them by adding them to your feedly account or investigate individual posts for your research or curation purposes.

4. On a regular basis then, log into your feedly account and you can see how many unread posts are by each blog. Click on the blog of interest and you will see three featured posts along the top with the remainder in reverse chronological order.

5. Bear this process in mind for your own blog – remember other feedly users will be using your title, featured image and opening text to decide whether to follow you or not.

It is also available as a mobile app so you can use it on your smartphone or tablet as well as your PC or laptop.  I hope you found this useful if you haven’t heard of feedly before.

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