Do You Use Pinterest and Should You?

We’re hearing a lot about the new social media sharing site — Pinterest.  But a new survey of  4,851 U.S. online shopping consumers, conducted earlier this month by online shopping site, found that just 10 percent of respondents had Pinterest accounts. About 58 percent did not have a Pinterest account, while another 32 percent didn’t know what the service was.

Pinterest  allows users to create virtual bulletin boards of items and products. The site has quickly gained popularity, but most consumers who don’t already use Pinterest aren’t interested in it, according to the survey.  Eighty-nine percent of those surveyed who do not have a Pinterest account said they don’t plan to sign up for one.

When those who use the site were asked what type of items they pin, 70 percent  said they share recipes or other cooking-related photos, while 65 percent said home decorating inspiration and 53 percent said craft ideas. Forty-one percent of users said they pin images of clothing, while 34 share entertaining tips and 33 percent pin gardening ideas.

The survey also found that most account holders login a few times a week, and have created two to five pinboards. Only ten percent of respondents said they login numerous times a day.

But there is good news for those of you who are gift retailers.  Twenty-one percent said they have purchased a product after seeing it on Pinterest. According to a separate infographic released last month by Monetate, Pinterest is already driving more traffic to retailers’ websites than Google+.

So if you are a retailer, it is something you might want to consider adding to your marketing mix.  As with any social media, however, there are pros and cons.  Copyright issues can be a problem and how you set up your account can make the difference between success and failure at using Pinterest as a marketing tool.

There are many websites, ebooks, and webinars that have jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon, proclaiming that they can tell you what you need to know.  But most of those that I have visited fail to tell you what you REALLY need to know.   As a result, I’ve combined what I have learned into an ebook that outlines the problems with Pinterest and details how to use it effectively as a business-building tool.  If you’re in business, you don’t have the time to waste on another social media site that isn’t of benefit to you.

You can find information on this ebook at:


Do you forget the most important thing?

One of my favorite bloggers is copyblogger.  In one of his recent posts, he wrote something that all of us who sell things, whether it be services or products, should think about.

“You need to tell your reader exactly what to do, how to do it, and that you want her to do it right now.

Make it specific

The late copywriting master Gary Halbert liked to include seemingly insane levels of detail in his calls to action.

His copy would end with something like, “Call (specific 800 number). You’ll talk with a woman named Robin in a blue sweater who will ask you, Would you like the large size or the jumbo?. Tell her you want the jumbo. She’ll ask you for your mailing address where you can receive packages, and you’ll give it to her.” He goes on and on like that for quite some time.

For the beginning copywriter, it feels like a strange, awkward technique that’s going to “look weird.” But for the reader, in the context of taking action that might cost some money, time or inconvenience, this level of detail creates a solid, comfortable understanding of what to do next and what to expect.

If you want your reader to take action, use highly specific language with clear, concrete details. Don’t leave any question about what you want to see happen. And don’t be afraid to be a little “too obvious.”

He said a lot more in that post, too.  You should read it if you write copy for your website, articles, or anything else.  You’ll find it at

Did you find your Pot of Gold?

Like the wee leprechauns of Irish lore, we, as small business owners, seem to be constantly searching for that “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow.

But, no matter how hard we search, it frequently remains elusive. The best of us are constantly trying something new — adding a new niche, taking a chance on new products, or creating a website or facebook page. Sometimes we succeed. Other times we fail. And, unfortunately, for many of you, failure makes you stop trying to follow that rainbow. Makes you become stagnant, resting comfortably with the familiar surrounding us without realizing that too can lead to failure.

I’m not any different than the rest of you. I hate failure. However, I’ve discovered that it’s a natural part of life, unavoidable if you have any interest in living a full life and operating a successful business.

Failure is even a factor for success because it means that you are not sitting idle. You are doing something. Failures can provide direction for what you should be doing.

Consider the many successes that were preceeded by failure. Michael Jordan tells us that “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. I’ve failed over and over and over again. That is why I succeed.” Sony started making electric rice cookers and ended up as a major player in the technology field.

I think Thomas Edison said it best, “I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

If you embrace failure and learn from it as you continue following the rainbow, you can be on your way to finding that pot of gold. But if you let it knock you down and become a permanent guest in your life, you’ll never find it.

The next time you fail at something, pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and learn from it. Then DO SOMETHING to continue down that rainbow path.



Facebook Timeline for Business Pages – Are you ready?

Now that you’ve created your business page on Facebook, they’re in the process of changing it.  And the changes are big ones.  Just like your personal page, your business page will automatically go to the Timeline format as of March 30th.  You can still preview what it will look like and make any changes.  You can even make the new format live now if you like.

But as of March 30th, you won’t have that choice.  It will automatically be changed for you.

Confused about the changes?  Or haven’t heard about them yet?

We’re here to help.

The biggest visual change is the addition of a Cover Photo…a big image that will stretch across the top of your page.  So start now by creating a compelling Cover Photo that helps tell your story.  It could be a picture of your products, a photo of people using your service, an interesting graphic or whatever makes sense for you.  But there are restrictions.

Your cover photo cannot have:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Buy it on our website”
  • Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section
  • A request to Like or Share your page.
  • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”

The maximum size for a Cover Photo is 851 x 315 pixels. But remember that your profile photo will overlap your cover photo, so build around it.

Your custom tags are changing and moving on the page.

The custom Facebook tabs you created have been moved from the left column to a bigger, more prominent position and renamed Views and Apps.  You’re  limited to only four tabs showing, and the first one must be Photos.  You can arrange the remaining tabs however you wish.

Make sure your profile picture still works.

On your current business page, your profile picture is cropped from your left sidebar image. The timeline gets rid of this sidebar image, although your profile picture carries over.  Chances are your profile photo will still work but you may want to double-check how it looks as it will be much smaller if you created a larger sidebar photo for your page.  And on the new business timeline page, your profile will sit on top of your cover photo.

Make sure that the profile photo works on its own, since it represents your brand on Facebook anywhere you post or comment. Your profile photo is 180 x 180 on your page, 32 x 32 on other parts of Facebook.

The layout of your wall is going to be different.

There will be two columns instead of one.  And there are ways to make the more important posts stand out.

  • Highlight: By default, updates to your page appear on either the left or right of the timeline which divides the page. By rolling over any of your page’s posts (but not your fans’ posts) you can highlight the post and expand it to the full width of the page, making it more prominent.
  • Pin: As you roll over an update, you can also click on the edit icon and choose to pin the post, which will make it appear at the top of your timeline, increasing its visibility. Again, you can only do this to your page’s posts. You can only pin one item at a time and after seven days the post will return to its regular place in your timeline. (You can always re-pin it.)

You’re going to have to rethink your Facebook marketing strategies.

Since you can’t ask someone to like your page in the cover photo, what can you do?

It is against Facebook guidelines to operate a raffle but you are allowed to offer something to everyone who likes your page.

The new Timeline format creates problems as well as opportunities for us.  Learn how to use it correctly and make it work to your benefit instead of against you.