Tag Archives: social media

A Poll: When Do You Use Pinterest…Or Do You?

IstockPhoto Pin + interests
Pin Plus Interests equals Pinterest purchased from iStockPhoto.com

So, everybody seems to have a post about Pinterest. My post is a Pinterest poll, to find out when you are using this “newish” and fast-growing social media site, and if you are not yet using it, plus a short description for folks who are new to the site, and a few how to tips for all.

Why am I interested? I’ve been asking if people are using Pinterest at various meetings and events (not geeky events, but like at my pottery class) and LOTS of people are saying yes I use it and I love it. More so than other new or hot sites in the past. So I’m curious.

Here’s the Poll Link:  When do you use Pinterest? http://poll.fm/3jug4

What is Pinterest?

Skip this if you are on it already, or read it and comment below if you would describe it differently.

Pinterest is a cross between a social media site and a bookmarking tool (like delicious.com) for webpages and images on the web – but VISUAL and easy to use. When you find an image or webpage you want to remember and/or share with others, you use their little tool, a “pin it” button, to select the image you want to pin, then it opens your Pinterest page, and you virtually “Pin” the image and a link to the site you pinned it from to a virtual cork board – under whatever category or title you think fits.  This is all easier to do than it might seem from this description. Here is the Help page with lots of simple info about how the site http://pinterest.com/about/help/

When you login to pinterest, you see the most recent images/website links pinned by those people that you have selected to follow on pinterest. And those who follow you, see what you pinned. If you like something – click it and check out the original blog post or product behind the pin. You can also just “like” the Pin, or re-pin it to one of your own boards.

Why would you use Pinterest?

That is a subject for another post, but I use it to book mark interesting sites so I can find them later, to collect images that appeal to me or interest me; I’m a photographer by hobby. I am also using it to let people know who I am as a person, not just as a PR/Social media consultant; as a break from my work day; and I am learning to use it so I can help clients use it for their businesses. To find me there go to Pinterest.com/cathylarkin

Look for a future post with links to some of the best posts out there on Pinterest – the pros and cons. Some artists and bloggers love it – it drives traffic and new customers or readers to their sites, other artists ans bloggers hate it and see it as a way that others can steal their images or work. It’s complicated, but the huge surge in popularity has put it in the forefront of social media sites. Here is a link to my @Pinterest board of articles on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/cathylarkin/pinterest-how-to-info/

Pinterest Tips:

Be sure to bookmark the actual product page or blog post on the site, not the homepage. On some sites there are several items or images or blog posts on that home page. If you just hit pin this, and select an image, although it looks like you posted a specific image and link, you’ve posted the image, and a link to the home page. If I am that blogger and I write three more posts, then your pin get’s disconnected from that post. so always click the headline of a post, then pin the image from that page.

If you go on a pinning binge, try and vary the subject a bit – otherwise you might fill the welcome screen of your followers with all of those ice cream recipes and make them so hungry that they unfollow you. Pin a few ice cream recipes, then a few cute cats 9or whatever else you like), then back to ice cream etc.

At first you will follow people, and all their boards, to get started, but begin to be selective, follow selected individual boards of a person – the things that you also like or think are interesting. And if you have kids who use your computer (or are using this for business), be aware that one person’s taste in art may include tasteful (or less so) nudes, and one person’s funny or humor board, may shock you or make you raise your eyebrows. So my advice is to be selective. Everything is public on Pinterest, tehre are no private boards,and others can see the boards you choose to follow.

If you are a blogger or sell products on the internet be sure to get the “Pin it” button for your site: here’s the link: http://pinterest.com/about/goodies/ – although several social share plugins for wordpress sites have already added the Pin it button to their services.

Pinterest is still in Beta, and invite only, but it is faster to get an invite by asking someone who is on the site to send you one. If you want an invite , just leave a ask for one in the comments below and I’ll send one to your email address.

Share your pinterest tips, times you use the site, if you love it, hate it or don;t get it.

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Web Savvy PR Tip #4 Comment Before You Link

Do you think before you link (or retweet a link on Twitter)? Commenting before you post a link to any social site can be a great online PR tactic

This is a part of my how to series on Twitter.com: #WebSavvyPRTip 4: Think B4 U Link: Commenting on a post B4 you link 2 it can be a good PR strategy. http://websavvypr.com/category/pr-tips/ 4 more

Before posting the link of someone else’s good blog post to a social networking or social bookmarking site (like Twitter, Digg, Delicious, Facebook, LinkedIn or other such sites) – think. If it is a post that fits the interest of your audience (readers, customers, clients, friends) consider commenting on the post before you link to it. Then your audience gets to see your POV, hence expanding the reach of your brand or company. This also shows that you know what they are interested in by exposing your followers/friends to a great blog post that may be of interest to them.

Now, this strategy will have it’s detractors, and can be misused. Hence my “think before you link.”

First – be sure it is a topic you are interested in, your readers are interested in, and be sure that your comment can add something to the conversation on that blog (not just be looked at as spammy by the post’s author or that site’s readers). Feel free to comment on any blog you want, but if you are looking to expand the reach of your brand – by using this technique: by commenting, then posting the link on a social networking site in which you have built a community – choose wisely. Be thoughtful/selective about the posts to comment on and link to. Is it in your area of expertise? Will it help find new readers/clients? Will it look like you are trying to horn in on someone else’s territory. This commenng idea may sound cold, or calculating, but done right, it is a four way win/win situation: for you & your audience, and for the blogger and his or her readers.

The Pros of commenting on the right post before lining to it:

  • It creates opportunities for conversation – or engaging with people – and that’s the foundation of social networking.
  • It builds your brand (when you fill out the comment form on the blog – fill in your name or social media username and your website/blog URL).
  • It also establishes your credibility – allowing you to share your expertise briefly, and exposes that blog’s readers to your point of view, as well as your own audience. Think share info, not show-off.
  • It shares the love – the interactivity of comments are the solar power that makes this “social media electricity” work. It’s a part of what separates a static website from a dynamic blog. It’s also a way to “pay it forward” as they say. The last time I commented on a blog, I had several readers of that blog head over to my site and comment on a post there.
  • It can help build a connection with another blogger, be they big-wig, newbie or just another blogger like us, or even with another person who commented on the post too.
  • Many folks have said that social networking sites are killing blogs – that people comment on Twitter and Digg, and not on the blog itself. Sure it happens, but why not do both – I have seen them act synergistically or work well together to move a client’s brand forward.
  • Everyone likes good comments on their blogs, it. But be sure it is a “good comment.” I suggest not writing a throw away comment like “great post” (although I enjoy getting these on my blog too, and they are fine for the new or shy person commenting early on, but that is under-utilizing the potential power of comments ). Good comments add value to the conversation; they move it forward. That is, they provide useful information that either expands on the original post, provides additional info on the idea, confirms the original post with additional info, or provides a different POV on the subject among other things. Think – would you like to see a comment like this on your own blog, might it get more people to engage here, on this blog? If so, then make it.
  • If more folks did this, it might increase the interactivity on many blogs. If you have gotten used to the 140-160 character limits on Twitter (and Facebook/Linked in Status updates), it gives you a chance to briefly expand on an idea.

The Cons of commenting on a post before linking:

  • You can be seen as a Comment SPAMMER That is – don’t comment something bland and put a link to your own site – that’s the basic definition of “Comment SPAM.”
  • Your comments are “searchable” via Google & Yahoo– your comments can show up when a prospective client searches for your name/company– make them count. If you tear into a blogger with a different POV than yours, it can come back to haunt you. That client seeing your venting may decide they don’t want to work with someone like that; or by being taken out of context; or by starting a “flame war,” a series of comments back and forth that begins to remind you of the schoolyard when you were ten. Intelligent healthy debate – builds your brand integrity, peeing matches are just that.
  • Think – would you like to see a comment like this on your own blog? Or is it the equivalent of the guy who comes to the party and talks so loudly about his own “stuff,” that people start avoiding him. Don’t be the blow hard.
  • Read the other comments on the blog post, be sure you are not duplicating what others have said already, or if you are weighing in – reference other comments above – to show you read them, and are not a spammer.
  • As your brand’s audience grows, if you ONLY comment on blogs where it is sure to drive traffic back to your site – that is a kind of link bait or comment SPAM- and can diminish the quality of your brand in your own audience’s eyes, or in that of a prospective customer, and that blogger.

So – Think before you Link, and Comment First if Appropriate:

  1. Comment on appropriate blog posts in ways that expand your brand, and add value to the conversation;
  2. Then post the link to your favorite social media or social networking site (How to do this effectively may be fodder for another post);
  3. Don’t forget to check the blog’s comment stream later (many allow you to sign up to receive e-mail when more comments are made). Someone may be trying to engage you in further conversation – that’s when you know you’ve hit the right note. Don’t be a hit-and-run commenter.

Feel free to share your @twitter name or Twitter link when commenting on my blog. That does not equal spam for me; It helps further opportunities to connect.

By Cathy Larkin, www.WebSavvyPR.com, find me on Twitter; I am an online and traditional PR consultant, with many  years of Public Relations experience, and a social media guide. I help individuals and small businesses find the right strategies and tools for their business to help expand the reach of their brand. I can help you: create a blog or add one to your existing website; learn to use social media tools and social networking software to get the word out about what you do; and help you reach out to traditional media outlets to tell your story. 484-802-7576, See my blog sidebar for other social media sites I am on and how to contact me.

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Cathy Larkin’s Web Savvy PR Tip 1 – Social Branding

Web Savvy PR & Social Branding Tip #1:

Original Twitter.com post: #WebSavvyPRTip 1- To build online brand & extend influence, use same username/ profile 4 all social Media sites http://websavvypr.com 4 more

To build an online audience, expand your brand, and create repeat visitors, try using the same or similar usernames, and similar profile wording for each social media / social networking / social bookmarking site you join. If you already have a long-time presence on several sites, consider ways you can update them to build a more consistent presence; it may also help boost your organic search engine ranking. Work keywords for your area of expertise and interests into your profile.

More detail on Social Branding:

I try and sign up with my first, or my first and last name, followed by my blog/website handle (I sometimes use web handle as a part of either my first or last name). So on Twitter I am CathyWebSavvyPR (It looked too long with Larkin, so I left it off (maybe rightly, maybe wrongly). I noticed someone else doing it on LinkedIn (but just with company name – not personal name), I think it was “The Publicity Hound,” and when she answered a question, her “handle” intrigued me enough to check out her website. I know there are many opinions out there on this already.

You don’t have to use your real name in your username, but don’t forget to add it to your profile. For my online and traditional PR business, I feel it is necessary. Especially since there are a couple of folks out there online with the same first and last name as I have. This will, over time, help folks to distinguish us from each other.

Many folks in the social media landscape are using their full names as their usernames.  This has advantages for building your personal brand, and some disadvantages.  www.chrisbrogan.com for example. Some people with common names may find theirs is already taken, or snagged by a domain reseller, both of which complicate things.

Pros – If your info is good, if you provide value to your readers, your name and authority will grow.

Cons – however, it may take you longer to get established. A username that includes something about what you have to offer (as long as you back it up with good content) can help your influence gow by leaps and bounds.

Cons – if you are one of those planning to build and sell a businessyou can’t sell your name – but a website URL and social media handles along with it – that can work. But i is chancey – As we know Social media is based on reputation – that empire you built may cruble after the sale, if the new owners don’t follow though. Result – lots of upset subscribers.

With social networking and bookmarking sites in general, be sure to fill out the part of the profile that includes the link to your blog/website, or to your LinkedIn or Facebook accounts, so if someone likes what they read on whichever social media site you are on, find and check the rest of your info out. Of course some sites only let you use your full name. In that case note your username/handle in your profile write up.  Also use widgets and apps (simple tools sites provide) to link your various networks together.

Social Branding Questions for You:

What about just company names with a logo, no photo and no person’s name on the account. I find I am less inclined to subscribe, follow or friend them – unless they really provide value, or if I already really like the company, and they provide value.  What’s your reaction?

Is the practice of a business name and first name too in your face? or is it a happy medium?

Does this annoy you when you see it done?

Or does it help you:

A) have a clue about what someone does/who they are? Or help clue you in about their expertise?

B) Help you recognize and connect with folks you may have seen on other sites?

Transparency and authenticity are crucial in social media, social networking arena. Don’t hide behind a company, or a profile name.  We all make mistakes, but that one can be a killer. As a PR professional, I always disclose if I an talking about a client.  Sometimes that can be challenging – especially on sites like Twitter.com, where posts are limited to 140 characters and spaces.

Agree or disagree with this – you tell me?

P.S. I’m putting short versions of these on Twitter and expanding on them here on my blog – for the Web Savvy PR Intro go to http://websavvypr.com/cathy-larkin-web-savvy-pr-tips-series/pr-tips/admin/2008/12/

Or check out the conversation on twitter as the series growshttp://search.twitter.com/ Then you’ll have to copy and paste or type in the # sign like so:  #websavvyprtip to see the series and any conversations around the posts on that service, as the series grows.

About Cathy Larkin:

In her Web Savvy PR business, Cathy Larkin acts as a Social Media Guide using her 18 + years of PR experience, combined with an intense study of social media, to assist small businesses, non-profits, authors, bloggers, consltants, and speakers get online and use the tools that are right for them, to help expand their brands, build their businesses and have a blast while doing so. Also check http://www.linkedin.com/in/cathylarkin for more on her background. Check out her short posts on the micro blogging service Twitter too http://twitter.com/CathyWebSavvyPR.

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Cathy Larkin Web Savvy PR Tips Series Intro

I’m posting a series of Web Savvy PR tips for small business, entrepreneurs, bloggers, speakers, authors, consultants, and non-profits to help folks share ways to use the social media and Online PR tools and to generate a conversation. My favorite quote is: “The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.” Benjamin Disraeli. I’m sharing my riches here, to engage my readers in revealing their own knowledge and skills.

I’m putting short versions of these Web Savvy PR Tips on my Twitter page: http://twitter.com/CathyWebSavvyPR and then expanding the tips – on using Public Relations and social media to help expand your brand and reach – here on my blog. I will also be asking questions here on what you think of these tips – have they worked for you; do you have a better tip; does this particular tip annoy you when you see it used?

When I can, I will try to credit the source of the tip. If you know the source, or someone who has a similar idea, let me know. Some tips will be straight from others, most will have my perspective or take on them, some will be all mine, and some may be combinations that I’ve created from more than one idea.

Also – let me know what Traditional and Online Public Relations / Social Media questions you have; or topics you want to discuss and I’ll work it in. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll research it, interview someone or get another expert to guest post.

I got this twitter “tip idea” from renaissancedoc on Twitter. He was putting disaster prep tips on twitter and his blog during Hurricane Gustav in Sept. 2008.

You can access the series here on my blog for more detailed discussions than the short note on twitter, or find the short briefs and comment there too by going to http://search.twitter.com then put in #websavvypr tip and they will all come up.

In her Web Savvy PR business, Cathy Larkin acts as a Social Media Guide using her 18 + years of PR experience, combined with an intense study of social media, to assist small business, non-profits, consultants, authors, bloggers and speakers to get online and really use the tools that are right for them, to help expand their brands, build their businesses and have a bast while doing so. Also check http://www.linkedin.com/in/cathylarkin for more on her background.

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