Pinterest Tips & A Speaker’s Experience – Web Summit

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There’s been much written about the Web Summit in the last few days and yes, it was a brilliant event, being described as the ‘Ploughing Match for nerds’ (The ploughing match is the biggest agricultural 3 day festival in Ireland, attracting almost 300,000 people this year). It was even better in fact as @GoodFoodIreland were providing the food in Herbert Park and there were a number of food/farming talks too. As a dairy farmer / social media trainer, I loved seeing the merge of #websummit and #foodsummit, and of course, Paddy Cosgrave is a farmer’s son. It was my first visit to the Web Summit and I really enjoyed the relaxed and slightly chaotic atmosphere. Many of the speakers didn’t ‘present’ as such, their nuggets of wisdom were delivered in a conversation / interview with both interviewer and interviewee sitting on a variety of comfy armchairs and sofas on various stages. I was also chuffed to be there as a speaker – more on that further down!

Lorna Sixsmith Web Summit

One of my favourite talks was by Joanne Bradford on Pinterest:

Pinterest Is About Your Future

‘Pinterest is about your future’. I loved this opening line by Joanne Bradford on Tuesday. Pinterest is where you and your target audience plan things you want in the future – be it inspiration boards for decorating a new home, travel boards for a holiday destination, patterns and inspirations for arts and crafts, find book reviews to help you find new reads, new fashion trends, gifts to purchase for Christmas and much more. Of course, we also use it for enjoyment as well as education but so many of people’s boards contain pins planning their future.

For the majority of pinners, Pinterest is about inspiration and then action. Pinterest is where people find the perfect pair of shoes, the nicest hotel, the wallpaper for their hallway, the best books to read, the most impressive birthday cakes, the most inspiring ideas for transforming pallets into furniture and so much more. Once they have compiled sufficient pins in their ‘My Dream Kitchen’ board, they have plenty of ideas to help them decide on their perfect kitchen. From a business perspective, it is just a case of working out how your products can inspire your target market to take action.

There are now 70 million users with 30 billion pins in 750 million boards on Pinterest so there’s no getting away from the fact that this social media platform is a significant player.

Pinterest is now delivering up to 25% of traffic to some websites. If you have an ecommerce store, the potential is significant. All online stores should use product rich pins. By doing so, the shop’s name and logo will be displayed as well as the product description. The price is also visible and all pinners will receive an email notification if the product price is reduced, this is a really effective way to reach these pinners again. People are now using Pinterest to bookmark information too so it’s a good idea to use the article rich pins so your blog posts stand out amongst the other pins.

There are three elements to a pin’s success, to helping it gain repins and drive traffic to a website. The pin itself must be striking and attractive. The pin description should be compelling and the pin must be linked to the correct (and attractive) landing page if it is to increase your website traffic and help conversions to sales. While the majority of a pin’s repins are within a couple of days, pins are ‘evergreen’ and can re-surge in popularity again after months or years.

Shoes on Pinterest

Bradford argued that Pinterest provides a much more varied yet tailored search than Google. If you search on google for ‘shoes’, you are going to see  links to well known brands and shops. In Pinterest, you will see a wide variety of beautiful shoes and with the new ‘Interests’, you can choose to narrow your focus into subcategories, making it easier to find those perfect shoes. From a business perspective, it highlights that the pin description needs to be quite focused – ideally incorporating the relevant ‘interest’ subcategory name into the description too.

Did you know that humour is the most popular category on Pinterest? I hadn’t realised, I had presumed it was women’s fashion or home decor. According to Bradford, ‘Pinterest is as much comedy as cupcakes’ – be it funny captions, humourous images, hilarious quotes with hilarious images of animals being one of the most popular. I’ve made a note to make more use of Pinterest for my humourous guide to marrying a farmer book!

My Web Summit Speaking Experience

I wasn’t on a big stage with hundreds or thousands of people in front of me – I started small!  I was on the People’s Stage in the corner of the Enterprise Summit but there was still a buzz. Maybe it was the drama of the stage curtains beside us that added drama to the occasion, maybe it was the attractive and relaxed assortment of chairs for the audience that added character, maybe it was all the background noise, it still felt special to be speaking at the Web Summit.

Lorna Web Summit People's Stage

Delivering a rehearsed presentation is very different to being on a Q & A panel. When I spoke at the National Women’s Enterprise Day a couple of weeks ago, I knew that the butterflies would ebb a few seconds into my talk, I knew what I was going to say, I had slides to prompt me in case I forgot anything in any case. By the time the Q&A came around, I was perfectly relaxed and ‘in the zone’.

Being on a panel means that you’re not quite sure what the questions are going to be, and while you know you can adjust your points to suit the question, it still lends that element of uncertainty. However, the atmosphere at the Web Summit is really relaxed and between chatting to the other panelists and meeting friends who had come to hear me talk, I didn’t have  a chance to feel nervous in front of our small but significant audience.  The questions were all fine – based on best practice for blogging and using social media, how blogging can contribute to a business’s pillars of growth and why businesses should consider outsourcing their blogging if they don’t have the skillset inhouse.

One thing I liked about the Web Summit was its relaxed nature, everyone was friendly and happy to be there. The sun was shining so the ten minute walk between the 3 areas was a pleasurable stroll. I liked the relaxed dress code too – most male speakers wore jeans, open necked shirt and a jacket rather than a suit and the ladies were ‘smart casual’ too. It suited the atmosphere of the Web Summit. While the rest of the country seemed rather bemused that the failure of wifi at the Web Summit was getting so much attention, it was a tech conference with most attendees using twitter to take notes, share nuggets of information with their followers and have conversations with other attendees.

LornaSixsmith RTE Digital

And that’s one of the beauties of twitter – how friendships and business relationships can develop. I first ‘met’ Jojanneke van den Bosch when we were both listening to RTE Countrywide, an agricultural radio show on Saturday mornings, we were both tweeting and when Jojanneke realised that I also taught social media and as she was coming to Ireland for a holiday, she got in contact and came down to the farm for an afternoon. We met again at the Web Summit and in conversation with RTÉ Digital, they decided they’d like to interview us about our similarities – we both teach social media, we’ve both self published book unrelated to our main jobs and we’re both interested in agriculture!

Were you at the Web Summit? What was the highlight for you?


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Posted in Blogs, Pinterest, Tools for Conferences
  • Amanda Webb

    That stage looks a lot bigger than the one I saw. Looks like you got a good one :) Who else was on the panel with you?

    • Lorna Sixsmith

      Thanks Amanda, I enjoyed it. The others were Sara Allen from New York, Jorge De Andrade from Brussels and Justin Fulcher from Singapore.

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