March 19th, 2012

Is Your Blog Pinterest-Friendly? Do You Want It to Be?

Pinterest is huge right now, with both praise and controversy. Some blogs are getting huge traffic from Pinterest. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to get your blog ready for Pinterest. It comes down to one simple thing: have images.

The image on your blog post is what will show up on Pinterest. Make it a good one and it may be repinned all around, driving some good traffic. That said, there are a few catches. Like most things, it’s really not as simple as it first sounds.

The problem basically comes down to copyright. Users are supposed to make sure they have the right to share the photos they pin, but almost no one does. It’s a part of the TOS that is largely ignored and may cause legal issues. You don’t want this to become an issue for your own Pin Boards, as the legal issues can fall right in your lap. Even if the legal issues don’t impact you personally as such, you don’t want your posts that others have pinned to vanish due to copyright issues.

Stock Photos

If you use stock photos on your site, you don’t own the copyright on them, and in time this may be an issue for people who use Pinterest. Those royalty-free photos you use don’t include a license to have them go onto sites you don’t own. You don’t want to pin them onto your own boards to market your site and you shouldn’t encourage pinning of that page either.

Fortunately, Pinterest does allow you to block pinning to their site, as they have recognized the problem. You do have to take action in the form of a meta tag, and there is a WordPress plugin which will handle that for you. It’s easy enough to do manually; all you have to do is add <meta name=”pinterest” content=”nopin” /> to your header, and your images are safe from Pinterest.

Blocking pinning is a very good idea if you don’t have the rights to spread the image around. It may not directly be your fault that someone has pinned the image from your site, but if you know there’s an issue, it’s not that hard to prevent it.

Is the Traffic Right For You?

Some people don’t like the traffic they get from Pinterest, which is why sites such as Flickr now allow users to block pinning. Many crafters on sites such as Etsy aren’t all that happy about having their images used by people who simply intend to make the projects on their own. You really have to think about what it is you’re going to get from Pinterest before you start chasing the traffic.

Others have seen great success. There’s a good article on BusinessGrow.com about the success some people have found on Pinterest.  Sure, we can’t all have that kind of success, but it’s certainly fun to try.

AdAge has a very good article on planning for Pinterest.  These are things you should be thinking about if you want to leverage Pinterest traffic for your online home business, such as using images to improve audience engagement.

It’s something you have to think about whenever you look at any traffic source. Traffic is great, but if you aren’t getting what you want from it, what’s the point? Traffic doesn’t bring sales unless it’s targeted.

As for me, I know I don’t get much Pinterest traffic much. I have no doubt that it’s in large part to a lack of images here. I don’t know how often I’ll put in the effort to add in pinnable images here, but on some of my other sites, they’ll be more of a priority.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

July 28th, 2011

How Do You Use Facebook For Your Home Business?

Facebook is hugely popular. Many people love how it allows them to keep in touch with family, friends, old classmates and so forth with little effort. It’s an easy way to share those fun little moments you wouldn’t call and tell people about, but want to brag about anyhow… hopefully without sharing too much information.

Facebook is also great for many home businesses. Just as with your personal life, you can use Facebook to keep in contact with people about your business.

Don’t mix your business with your personal stuff on Facebook, however, or at least not too much. Facebook makes it easy to set up a page for your business, so that people who are interested in your business can follow it there, rather than being a part of your personal page.

It’s not that business acquaintances can’t become personal friends – they can. It’s that you want most of your business contacts separate. You don’t want to hit your Facebook friend limit due to business contacts and then not be able to friend your friends when your business page can be liked by as many people as care to do so.

What Should You Share on Your Business’s Facebook Page?

You probably don’t want to share what your kids or pets just did, or talk about your vacation plans on your business Facebook page. That’s not what most people are after when it comes to your business.

You do want to share what’s going on with your home business. Link to new blog posts. Announce sales and new products.

Interact With Current and Potential Customers

Facebook is one of many places you can interact with your customers. They may contact you with questions or problems through Facebook. Sometimes you’ll even get a rave review there.

How Do You Get People to Like Your Page?

The frustrating part at first can be getting enough people to like your business Facebook page. It’s frustrating trying to get those first few likes.

You can ask your current personal friends to like your page. Odds are many of them already know what you’re doing, and it’s a simple way for them to support you. Some may even be curious about what you do with your business anyhow.

You can also pay people who will build your account to a certain number of likes. I’m not a fan of this, as you really want people who are actually interested in your business to hit the like button, not just random accounts. This gives a nice looking count for your page, but if it doesn’t give anything more than that, what’s the point?

Facebook lets you post on the site using the name of your page rather than your own name. This is useful for some careful, polite marketing. You don’t want to spam all over Facebook, saying “visit me, buy from me!” Just as with any other site, you want to be interesting enough that people visit your page because you sound like someone who has something they want to check out.

Be careful what you post on other people’s and businesses’ walls. The nice ones just delete you if they don’t like how you posted on their wall. Others mark your posts as spam, which can lead to the loss of your account.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

April 12th, 2010

Which Social Media Sites Should You Be Marketing On?

There are a lot of social media websites out there. You could spend hours each day on marketing on them, but which ones will give you the best results?

That depends on you and your target market.

No social media website is going to do you any good at all if you don’t put some effort into it. If you just sign up and drop your link in, you probably aren’t going to see much benefit from any of them.

Where’s Your Target Market?

Start by figuring out which social media websites your target market is using. With the wide range out there, they may be using a few, but there are some rules of thumb, such as more professional networking going on at LinkedIn and sites such as Twitter and Facebook having a huge range of people on them.

You can find people in your target market on Facebook by checking out the Groups pages. Search on your keywords and see if there are any active groups there. What about Fan pages for your competition?

There are a variety of ways to seek people out on Twitter. You can search on the site itself. You can find directories that Twitter users have signed up on so their accounts show by category, such as WeFollow or Twellow.

Social bookmarking sites can also be a good choice, although it can be hard to say how the quality of traffic will be. A ton of traffic doesn’t always mean a ton of conversions, subscribers or anything other than a ton of traffic. But sites such as StumbleUpon, Digg and Reddit can be a fun experiment. Just beware the time sink.

How Do You Use Social Media?

How you use a particular social media site depends on which one you’re using. What works well on one may not be the best way to build a network on another.

To find people on LinkedIn, you may be best off letting them find you. Become an expert there. Join groups. Answer questions. Show that you’re an expert and build your references as a professional. It’s social, but more professional than personal.

Twitter does well if you can provide interesting information in a small space. It’s good if you’re able to tweet regularly and be interesting in some way. Share good article links, make interesting observations, interact with people as they post interesting things.

With all sites, the challenge is to keep them from eating up too much of your day. It’s very easy to get sucked into the various sites. If you don’t want to waste a lot of time on Facebook, for example, don’t start playing the games there. Sign up, connect with some friends and you can quickly tell who’s gotten too much into the various games. They might invite you, but unless you have time to spare you’re better off avoiding the games. Better to spend your time on things there that will benefit your home business.

Using StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit and similar sites can also be a huge time suck. You can get some good traffic out of them if you build a good profile and connections, but you can also lose a lot of time wandering them aimlessly. Use them wisely and at times when you can’t so easily do things that will more directly bring in business.

On any social media site, being overly promotional is not a good idea. People aren’t there to have things sold to them. They’re networking because they enjoy it, to build their own business, to get good information, that kind of thing. If you do nothing but say “buy, buy, buy,” they’ll unfriend you as fast as they can.

Instead, give quality information to bring people to you. If you sound like an expert and they need what you have to offer, they’ll decide to do business with you.

How Many to Use?

You can’t do a good job of using all social media websites, not even if you only stick to the big ones. There’s too much to do.

You’ll be better off if you can pick a couple to focus on. Get good at marketing on them.

Dividing your efforts dilutes them. There’s a balance between being available on a variety of networks and being unable to keep up.

As with any other sort of marketing you haven’t tried before, start by using just one social media site. Figure out what you’re doing. Get some fans, friends, followers, whatever they’re called. Get comfortable.

Even though each site takes a slightly different approach, you can take some of what you learn from each site and apply it to the next one while continuing with the sites you’re already on. You’re learning how to bring in business with a possibly more personal touch than other forms of marketing may have been for you.

Social media marketing isn’t something that comes naturally for everyone, but it’s a big help for bringing in traffic and business if you use it right. Give yourself some time and really pay attention to the learning process. You might find it a lot of fun as well as profitable.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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Disclosure: Home with the Kids is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. I also review or mention products for which I may receive compensation from other sources. All opinions are my own.