7 Days of Pinterest Adventure – Join Me!

As many of you know, I have been concentrating much of my social media time on Facebook over the last few months.  It has been worth my time and energy and the resulting blog traffic has been awesome.

Pinterest strategy

The problem is that you can’t be EVERYWHERE at once.  So, some of my other social media profiles have suffered…

anyone following me on G+ right now probably believes that I am dead.

This week I am taking back my Pinterest account from quiet slumber.

I am devoting 1 hour per day to the account and writing about it here at B2B so you can join me if your Pinterest has also been sleeping!

On your mark, get set, go…60 minutes on the clock.

What I did today – DAY ONE

First 20 minutes -

  1. Deleted boards – I went through quickly and deleted 15 boards that I was a contributor, but hadn’t pinned anything in 6 months.  I figured if I hadn’t used it, the space could be given to someone else!  I have over 100 boards…so it is getting a bit ridiculous.  I have a feeling I will be able to delete a few more as I get deeper into this, but for now 15 seems a lot lighter!
  2. Renamed a board – I had one board that I started that I hadn’t used much.  It had good content, so I renamed it something that was related, but would get more use.
  3. Look at my secret boards – I haven’t used these much, so I was unfamiliar with what I was thinking when I started them!  Getting re-acquainted with the possibilities…

Second 20 minutes -

Pinned/scheduled my new blog content {6 pins} and found 15 other quality pins to schedule/share from other blogs/websites.

Last 20 minutes -

I found my largest 3 boards and because they are all boards that I am a contributor to, I read the description/instructions and wrote those down!  I created a “schedule” to use them to their fullest potential finding posts that fit the boards and either scheduling them or adding them to a spread sheet that will make it an easy share later this week.

Whew.  OK, I feel like I have just scratched the surface of what needs to be accomplished, but the good news is that there are solid pins going out today and for the rest of the week on my top 3 boards...and tomorrow is another day!

DAY TWO

After day one, I realized how big this job was going to be!  So, my main project today is to get a bit more done without feeling completely overwhelmed.

Baby steps.

Today, I spent the majority of my time finding the rest of my top 10 boards – the ones that seem to get the best re-pin rate.  The funny thing is that it isn’t always a numbers game.  Some of my smaller boards do better than the larger ones.

But, I wanted to identify my top 10 boards {that I am a contributor too} so that I could have those with a scheduling plan by the end of the day.

Oh, and I also noticed this morning when I looked at my blog live Google Analytics is that the morning is REALLY low for Pinterest traffic.  I don’t know if that is because I don’t pin in the morning to my blog or if it is just a low traffic time.  I am going to schedule some early morning pins for a week or two and see if I can change that pattern at all.

DAY THREE

 Shhh…life got in the way and day three was a bit later than day three.

I hung out on Pinterest and took a hard look at the remaining boards.  I had 110 boards remaining after day one.  That is still REALLY OVERWHELMING.

My first investigation was to look at how many people were on a new board when I created it.  For me, that is around 30K.  When I got to looking at many of the group boards I was a member of, I noticed that they had a smaller following.  I started removing myself from those boards unless they had a crazy-high repin rate.

I deleted myself from 24 more boards.

I had to be pretty ruthless.  I needed to get this under control!  Ack!

After all that deleting, I noticed that I was down about 500 followers…not bad for deleting 1/4th of my boards.

DAY FOUR

After the board purge, I was feeling better about what was left.  It was something that seemed to be manageable.

I am attacking it from two different ways -

  1. The top 10 boards will be scheduled and handled separately from the rest – many of them have restrictive rules.  I plan on pinning to these once a day unless not allowed.
  2. The rest of the boards are ones that are mine or smaller group boards or group boards with liberal rules.  I plan on using these to pin an additional 20 pins a day from a spreadsheet that I will be creating tomorrow.

DAY FIVE

OK today, I tackled the top 10 boards with a spreadsheet to keep track.  If you know me, you know I am NOT a spreadsheet person.  They hurt my head!  BUT I love giving my opinion, so using Google Docs to create a form that feeds into a spreadsheet is something I do ALL THE TIME.

I created a form that asked for my link, pinned photo notes and which boards the pin is appropriate for:

Pinterest board scheduling

So, the first time I go in, I fill this out.

When I am ready to pin again, I access the spreadsheet portion of the form and delete the board name when it is pinned to that board.  When an entry is completely pinned to all appropriate boards, then I delete the line entry.  If there is another photo in that post that also can be pinned, I would start that as a separate entry.

Each of these top 10 boards I am pinning daily {unless the rules say otherwise}.  I am using Curalate by creating buffers for each board so they go out just once a day.  I also like that I can schedule a bunch all at once – like a whole week ahead and then add when time allows.

Tomorrow…

DAY SIX

Using Social Media Stats for Blogging Goals

Last week we talked a little bit about Google Analytics and how it can help your blog to ACT on what you find.

Today I want to take that a little bit further and look at some social media stats and how that can help your blog.  Stats are everywhere these days and we should recognize the power of these stats and capture them for GOOD!

listen to what social media is telling you - B2B

Hashtags

I love hashtags on Twitter & G+.  And although this doesn’t qualify as a “statistic”, I think it is something that we should consider when blogging.  If you are consistently using a hashtag on social media, you may want to take a second look at whether you are regularly WRITING blog content with that as a keyword.

With the hashtag being searchable, it is a VERY good idea to have your name associated with a hashtag in your genre, but don’t leave your blog out of the loop!  Create consistent content using that keyword too!  This proves to Google that not only do you interact with that hashtag online, but you aren an expert in it because you are writing about it as well.

Top Pins

Pinterest’s analytics are getting richer by the year.  Many third party apps are also helpful in analyzing Pinterest stats.  Viral Tag, Ahalogy and Curalate are all things that I regularly use to help me determine what my most popular pins are at any given time.  But you actually don’t need super fancy graphs because what you can find under “analytics” in Pinterest is pretty awesome.

Pinterest - Most Clicked AnalyticsMy favorite page in analytics is my “most clicked” pins.

It is one thing to have a lot of re-pins, but if they are not consistently being clicked on, then what is the point?  My bottom line is to generate blog traffic which means people actually have to CLICK OVER TO THE POST!

Once you find which pins are generating the best click-throughs, then it is easy to create content that fits well with your blog and delivers visitors from Pinterest.

Top FB Posts

Even if your top FB posts are not from your blog, you can learn what is resonating with your fans!  I click through to the POSTS page in FB insights:

FB Insights Page AnalyticsWhile it is helpful to look at the orange bar to see how many people saw that post on my page, when I am looking for things that are important to post about on my blog, then I check out the blue bar.  The blue bar is going to reflect the number of click-throughs to my blog {or someone else’s blog}.  Notice a theme here?

What good is social media for bloggers if it isn’t driving blog traffic?

You may have a good answer for that, but in order for me to justify my time and energy on a social media platform, I need to see results in the form of passive income generated from my blog!

While the pink bar looks good on my FB page – likes, comments and shares – it is the blue bar that is working on my blog’s behalf.  I take a look at what I am already writing that is doing well and what might be a formula to improving other content.

If you are not familiar with FB stats, you might want to watch my FB math video.

 

 

Some Thoughts on Pinterest

As I have mentioned, I write a blog in the kids activities space which means a ton of my readers are on Pinterest {or found me through Pinterest}.

go to bed after one more pin

Pinterest was a social network that I came kicking and screaming to a little late in the game because I was finding a good portion of my website traffic was Pinterest-based.  I joined soon after you didn’t need an invite.

Yep, I joined with the masses.

I am not fond of being part of the masses because it ups the level of difficulty for getting noticed, but at that point in my blogging life taking on yet another social network seemed like a daunting task.

Over the last two years, I have slowly, yet steadily increased my following and find Pinterest holds a place in my top 3 referral sources every single month.

You can follow me on Pinterest here.

So, how does a blogger who was a bit late to the party and never featured on a must-follow list stand out?  Here are a few things I have learned over the last few years that I hope you find helpful.

If you could leave your Pinterest tips in the comments, I would adore to know how you are doing it.

Tips for Pinterest

  1. Pin Daily – I know this is obvious, but I often skip a day or two out of necessity and I always regret it.  I ONLY get followers when I pin.  So every day I skip is a day I am just leaving followers on the table.  Since my website published twice a day I am also giving up some valuable and early promotion space when I don’t pin things immediately.
  2. Pin to Multiple Boards – NOT ALL AT ONCE.  Please not all at once.  If you pin to multiple boards all at once, I will hunt you down!  Pin the same post to all your boards that are applicable, but over time.  I like to leave at least a day in between pinning or re-pinning a post so that there is a lot of content between those pins and I don’t spam my followers with the same pin without variety.  But many of my boards fit a lot of my content.  By systematically making sure that things are pinned where they fit, I can make sure I am doing everything in my power to get the word out about that AMAZING post :).
  3. Pin Generously – Pinterest is where you can be completely generous with your influence.  Grab the best posts from all your fellow bloggers and pin the heck out of them.  If it is amazing, you want to pin it!  It will attract new followers for you and help them out as well.
  4. Pin Often – There is some controversy out there right now about how many pins is acceptable.  Rumor has it that Pinterest has suggested no more than 30 per day, but I know power pinners who are doing 3x that amount without any issues with Pinterest {and no one can really cite where that 30 per day came from}.  I shoot for at least 30 – with 2/3rds of that being other people’s content.
  5. Pin Beautiful – It HAS to be pretty.  The only substitute for pretty is GENIUS.  So, if it isn’t pretty or GENIUS, then don’t pin it.
  6. Delete Pins – If a pin didn’t do well, delete it!  Why have that on your board?  On my collaborative boards, I go through almost daily and delete anything that didn’t get at least 10 re-pins.  If the people on Pinterest didn’t like it, it is GONE.
  7. Find the Best Boards and Exploit – Because there just isn’t enough time in the world to spend all day on Pinterest, you are going to have to make some time management decisions.  Identify your most effective boards and pin there first.  Check this article about Tailwind if you are in search of that information.
  8. Schedule Wisely – I use ViralTag to schedule my pins because I can spread things out over the entire day/night, yet mimic the “bolus” effect of natural pinning.  When people sit down and pin they naturally will pin a bunch of things in a row.  Be thoughtful of that if you use a scheduler since it is unnatural to have things going out every 20 minutes or so.
  9. Schedule Your Own Content Last – This seems counter-intuitive, but the end of each of the pin groups should be your own pins back to your website so they get the longest stream exposure.
  10. Have Fun?  Yes, it is pretty obvious when a pinner is just pinning for work or pinning for fun.  If it isn’t fun, then you need to figure out a way to increase the happiness of your pin stream.

 

Blogprenuer: Holly Homer and Melissa Taylor

Hope you enjoyed last week’s Blogprenuer Hangout with Holly Homer and Amy Lynn Andrews which focused on Amy’s journey from blogging to writing an ebook along with her tips for writing an ebook. They also talked about Google Plus and how to grow your following on that social platform. This week, Holly spent time talking with another successful blogger turned entrepreneur, Melissa Taylor.

BlogprenuerHeaderEVENT

Melissa Taylor is a blogger, freelance writer and published author. She can be found online at Melissa Taylor and at Imagination Soup. Melissa has published two books… The first is Book Love: Help Your Child Grow from Reluctant to Enthusiastic Reader and the second book is Pinterest Savvy: How I Got 1 Million + Followers. Of course, you should also follow Melissa on Pinterest since she did write the book about it.

In this week’s hangout, Holly and Melissa talked about Melissa journey from blogger to published author on Amazon. There was also a lot of talk about Pinterest and how to effectively use Pinterest including text on images, how often to pin images and etiquette for contributor boards. Really good information for anyone who uses Pinterest.

After watching the video, here are some good follow-up posts for you to read:

How to leverage Pinterest for awesome traffic

Pinterest tutorial reference

3 Ways to make your blog Pinterest friendly

The basics of picture sizes and social media sites

Stay tuned for the next Blogprenuer hangout with Holly Holly which will air on Monday 4/1/13 at 7pm CST. 

Pinterest Savvy Book

One of my blogging friends released a book yesterday.

Cuz she is super sweet, she sent it to me a week or so ago and I read it in an afternoon.

It is the story of how she got 1+ Million followers on Pinterest.

Yep, that is why I read it so fast.  I want 1+ Million followers on Pinterest.

Pinterest Savvy:  How I Got 1+ Million Followers on Pinterest by Melissa Taylor

The book is only $4.99 and worth a whole lot more.  My followers have been increasing daily since I started changing my Pinterest ways!

Win-a-Kindle-Fire

Melissa is also giving away a Kindle Fire.  Click here for more information about how to enter.

The Basics of Picture Sizes and Social Media Sites

With the plethora of social media sites we are able to promote our blogs to many different readers.

I’ve found through experience and in talking to other bloggers that pictures help to capture attention for my posts, especially now that Pinterest is popular.

But (isn’t there always a but), it seems that each social networking site has its own size requirements for pictures.

Use the wrong size for Facebook wall pictures and people can’t see the punch line for your very funny picture.

Use the wrong size on Pinterest and the image can’t be pinned.

So, I thought it would be good to compile a handy list of size requirements for the popular social sharing sites that you can use as a reference.

Facebook

To get the most bang for your buck on Facebook, crop your wall images to 960 pixels square. The images will be displayed at 403 pixels square without any cropping from Facebook.

Remember, if your picture has text on it it’s really important to pay attention to size. To maximize the amount of likes your image gets, you want people to be able to see everything without having to click on the image.

Instagram

For your Instagram pictures, think square when taking them. I tend to take my pictures using my camera app and then upload to Instagram so I have to make sure that the image isn’t too close up or I’ll have to crop out something important. Remember this if you aren’t using Instagram to snap the picture.

Pinterest

The recommended size for a Pinterest image is 600 pixels wide. I couldn’t find a solid answer for the recommended height so I would suggest starting with 600 wide and then trying out different heights to see what looks best for the image you are using.

Keep in mind that once the image is uploaded to Pinterest, it will be resized to 192 pixels wide for the thumbnail image.

And pictures smaller than 80 pixels square are not pinnable.

Your Blog (Website)

Each person’s blog is different so I’ll just give general advice here. Find out what the size of your posting area is and make your images slightly smaller than that.

Example, the posting area on my personal blog and my cocktail blog is 620 pixels wide so I make my landscape (horizontal) images 600 pixels wide. Make sense?

Conclusion

I know it’s a little frustrating that the “one size fits all” rule doesn’t apply for images and the various social networking sites. Sometimes the pictures that I use in my blog work for Pinterest but I have to use something different for Facebook. I’ve found this out through trial and error but now that I know I can plan for this when writing my posts.

I suggest you play around and figure out what works best for you and your images.

Good luck!

Pinterest Follow Link-up

The funny thing about Pinterest is that REAL people are there.

pinterest logoOn Twitter and G+, I am following mostly my blogging friends, but Pinterest like FB seems to appeal to people I see outside of my computer.

*gasp*

The downside is that I am missing out on following some of my blogging friends which are often a VERY good source to re-pin.

I thought it would be fun to make sure that I am following YOU – and hopefully this will be like a big group hug of blogger Pinterest love.

Please add your Pinterest profile URL in a comment below.

Here is mine:  Holly on Pinterest

If you are interested in joining any of my collaborative boards, please mention that in your comment below.  These are the ones that might be of interest to you:

Now go pin something pretty!

3 Ways To Make Your Blog Pin Friendly

Pinterest has been a great source of traffic for many bloggers who use beautiful pictures in their posts. However, there has been a lot of controversy lately over Pinterest and copyright violations.

Many people are afraid to pin images from sites for fear of getting sued. Some are even going so far as to ask the site owner (via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc) before they pin images.

As bloggers, we love (almost) any site that helps us share our posts with people so naturally we want people to be able to pin our stuff. To help people know that your site and posts are pin friendly here are some tips:

Put a Pin Friendly button or text in your sidebar

Place either a button that says your site is Pinterest friendly or text in the sidebar.   Make sure that the button or text is high enough so that people will see it when they are reading the post.  You can see an example of pin friendly text in the sidebar on my cocktail blog.

Put Pin Friendly text at the bottom of your post

This might seem like a lot of work depending on how often you post, but you can put text at the bottom of every post saying that the post is pin friendly. This will ensure that after reading the post people know that they are welcome to pin it.

Use a Pin It Button in the blog post

Pinterest has a Pin It button that you can place in your blog posts. Fill out the URL of the post, the URL of the image, and a short description of the pin. Then place the code in the HTML of your blog post.

If you are on a self hosted WordPress site there are plugins that you can use for a pin it share button including:

Pinterest “Pin It” Button - places a pin it button on the image that a user will see when they hover over the image.

Pin It On Pinterest – places a pin it button at the end of the post and you can decide what image gets pinned and the description for the pin.

Shareaholic - includes a share on Pinterest button in the post share icons at the bottom of the post.

Social Discussions – includes a Pin it button in the post share buttons at the bottom of the post (looks different than the Shareaholic share buttons).

(Note these are just a few options for Pinterest sharing buttons, there are many out there).

Personally, I recommend putting pin friendly text or a button in your sidebar along with a pin it button in your posts. The text/button in the sidebar immediately lets people know that your site is pin friendly and the pin it button in blog posts makes it easy for people to pin your images.

Remember the easier you make it for people to share your content, the more traffic you can drive to your site.

 

How to Leverage Pinterest for Awesome Traffic

Pinterest. Yes, another social media effort to keep up with. I bet you are thinking why bother? What good can it do for me? I know many
people approach new networks with similar apprehension. Luckily, Jessica from Four Plus an Angel helps us understand this tool- yes TOOL- much better. After reviewing her great tips on Pinterest on her blog, I knew we had to explore her tips further. So why is Pinterest worth your time?

Traffic experience

I have found Pinterest to be an amazing source of traffic for my site. As involvement in Pinterest grows so do my numbers. The difference between this traffic and the visitors you may get from other social media tools such as Twitter or StumbleUpon is that it may be a slow increase but longer lasting.

For example, on StumbleUpon you may have a post that takes off and receives 2,000 hits in one day and then never again afterwards. On Pinterest, one of your posts may be pinned and repinned by one user at a time, day after day. This pin could ultimately land on the board of someone who has thousands of Pinterest followers and the next thing you know you are getting hundreds, sometimes thousands. of visits per day to that post.

How to choose what to pin

Choosing what to pin is a very important part of finding success on Pinterest. You do not want to pin your own posts too often and you also do not want to pin things that are not interesting to a wide group of readers. “How to” posts tend to do best. I know many pin recipes but they are not necessarily the best traffic drivers because, while they are pinned often, there is not a need to visit your site for the recipe until someone actually wants to make it. How many times have you pinned a recipe without ever actually visiting the site?

How to Pin

When you pin something, you have to give the reader a reason to visit you. For example, if you have a great way to make your own toothpaste, either pin a visual of the finished product or a text-only graphic  that says something like “Easy Way to Make Your Own Toothpaste.” If you pin a graphic that includes the recipe then there is no reason for the viewer to visit your site. Make sense?

Here is an example:

My sweet friend and fellow Pinterest addict Amanda, pinned the image of a funny text message between my husband and I that was within one of my posts.

So nice of her to pin it and I did get a few visits from this. I decided to repin and add text to give readers a reason to visit my blog.

I received 68 visits within the first hour and the pin has continued to bring traffic in ever since.

Other Tips

The most important thing to do when using Pinterest is to pin selectively, only pin what you love. You will have more followers if you pin unique, interesting things rather than every picture of a cute kitten you have ever come across. I have unfollowed many a board that pins a massive amount of images. Unless it is something I truly love, those pins only clog my feed and keep me from seeing other pins that I may like.

Unlike other forms of social media it is not frowned upon to pin your own posts as long as you are pinning useful information and it is only a SMALL portion of what you pin. If you solely use Pinterest to pin your own blog posts your only follower will be you.

How to choose social media platforms: An article roundup

social media platforms

Everyone wonders what social media profiles are important to keep and which simply do not matter. With more platforms launching all of the time, it can be tough to keep up with yet another profile. So which platforms are worthwhile and which can you let fall by the wayside? Here, we share a roundup of articles on the various social media options.

Google+ Brand Pages

Should brands be bothered with creating Google+ Brand Pages? The verdict does not seem to be in just yet, but this article on Mashable discusses why companies should invest in them. The most compelling reason? Future integration with other Google products, which in turn can provide better search and brand visibility. An interesting look at the pages that have people wondering if it’s another Google product that will disappear.

An additional factor to consider is that Google  has recently announced that Google Friend Connect will soon no longer be an option for those without Blogger blogs- it will be retired on March 1. Instead, Google suggests creating a Google+ Page in order to help ease the loss. More information can be read in the article Google Closes Knol, Friend Connect and Other Services

Klout

Klout. It has become a hotly debated topic (ahem- excuse the pun) in the social media world. Is it accurate? Should I be concerned about my score? Why did they change their algorithm? Where are MY perks? With so many questions and emotional responses, many have done away with their profiles. Here, Fadra from Social Dialect discusses why she’s not deleting her Klout profile on social dialect (and links to two people who have).

Pinterest

Did you know that Pinterest has grown 2000% since June? Yes, I said two THOUSAND percent. In fact, this article discusses how Pinterest is now pulling in more pageviews than etsy. Generating more than 420 million pageviews in the month of October, this is one social network worth paying attention to- especially since investors think it’s only at the early part of its growth.

So tell us: What do you think? What social media networks are worthwhile to you and which do you leave alone? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!