Drive Traffic to Your Site Using Pinterest

Always include the pin source on Pinterest.
Always include the pin source - it's a Pinterest best practice.
Pinterest continues to be a valuable tool for marketers. According to Wayfair, Pinterest referrals spend 70% more than visitors referred from non-social channels, including search, according to industry reports. This is a prime opportunity -- seize it!
Here is the lowdown to drive traffic to your website using Pinterest.

Pin Images Correctly to Pack a Punch

Always include the image source when pinning. If you do nothing else I suggest from this post, please make sure to do this! This creates a backlink to the site hosting the image. Pinners click the image for more information and are redirected to host site (hello traffic!). Consider targeted landing pages for really cool, highly shareable images (cough, infographics) for better tracking. This will be especially useful if you are are just getting started on Pinterest.

Use descriptive captions. What do I mean by descriptive captions? Write a clear description of the image and keyword stuff the hell out of it. That's right, use as many keywords as you think are necessary for your image to show up in Pinterest search. The same goes for board titles and board descriptions.
  • Ditch the cutesie board title and description for one that is searchable; make part of the caption cutesie if you must. 
  • You should also include a link back to your website with a call to action in each caption. Example: "For more information on this glitter-covered clutch, check out [URL]."
  • Have an image relevant for multiple keyword sets? That's easy -- pin the image on separate boards with unique, keyword-targeted captions for each.

Ask for image credit from haters. If you come across an image that is yours and doesn't link back to your website, contact the pinner and ask for an edit. Provide them with all information needed make the update easy. The easier it will be, the more likely they are to comply. Remind them that pinning without credit is really lame and can damage their community reputation.

BONUS: You can instantly check out your site's Pinterest back links by typing http://pinterest.com/source/yourdomain.com/ into your browser. Make sure to replace 'yourdomain.com' with your actual domain. Make sure to like those pins and thank the pinner for sharing!

The 1/10 Ratio

It's perfectly acceptable (and encouraged) to share your own images on your pin boards. What's less acecptable is cramming your boards full of your own content. It tends to turn users off and can ding your community credibility. Don't worry though -- there is a simple solution!

Pin your stuff and then pin others' more. Abide by the 1/10 Ratio: for every one pin that's your own content, pin ten that aren't.

This is important for a few reasons. First: people check out who is linking to them and are more likely to visit your board and then your website. Second: people like to share content where they are mentioned, so this increases the odds of promotion. It also:
  • Adds variety to your board.
  • Adds credibility to your brand: people strongly dislike (I'd venture to say dis-trust) overt self-promotion.
  • Check out Pinterest's etiquette page for more information.

Publish Web Content with Images

Fact: content containing images is more popular than content without images. Fact: nothing from your site will be shared on Pinterest without images. Publish content with images. It's that simple.

Tell me what you pinned while I rub your feet.
Include shareable images with your web content. Ryan Gosling demands it.

 

Getting Started

If you don't know where to start when building a pin board, start with the content you already have -- the images from your website! If your posts are void of images, take the time to go through them and add them.

A few more ideas:
  • Create custom images for your post that include the title.
  • Include website URL in your profile.
  • Pin a coupon that requires a visit to a targeted landing page on your site.
  • Bust writer's block by performing a Pinterest search on relevant keywords for your niche. Note which pins get the most repins and comments. Write content on these hot topics and then pin it to your board.
  • For information on finding free images, click here.

Now that you're good to go, please follow and contribute to my 'What's Your Favorite Color' pin board! Once you follow the board, I will add you as an contributor. Happy pinning!  

How have you used Pinterest to increase traffic to your website? Please share in the comments below.

"Dracula: The Panto" at Indy Fringe

This is a guest post by Robby Slaughter and a review from IndyFringe.

My first show at Indy Fringe this year was "Dracula: The Panto", a raucous retelling of Bram Stoker's classic. As the narrator explained in the opening, a "panto" (short for "pantomime" is a family-friendly version of a popular story, filled with songs, modern references and irreverent humor. The cast delivered handily on this promise.

"Dracula" is a can't miss mostly because of the side-splitting lyrics in the musical numbers. Watch for self-referential commentary in the love song and pop-culture asides from the henchmen. And like any good IndyFringe show, this production includes a few moments of clarity about their own budget, audience expectations, and especially a bit of local flare.

Performances were by and large earnest and enjoyable. A special mention goes to Kate Homan (whose dialogue admits the oddity of her playing the male role of Dr. Van Helsing), and whose skeptical looks and energetic singing voice are a major highlight. Jonah Winston, who plays the jive-talking American explorer, keeps audiences on their toes with his broad expressions and fourth-wall asides.

The star and the headliner, however, is Dracula himself. Masterfully played by Matthew Anderson, his hilariously exaggerated body language is enough to make the audience double over alone. Anderson excels at adhering to the form of the panto, with frequent conversations with the audiences. He demands us to boo his character more, "After all, I'm the villain of this piece!"

Although the performance brought laughs and engaged the crowd, the show was plagued by technical difficulties. These cannot be attributed to the Cook Theater at the recently-restored Indiana Landmarks Center. The Fringe's newest performance space is gorgeous and had incredible acoustics for later shows. But this reviewer missed quite a few lyrics and could not hear many of the singers due to problems with the audio balance. Hopefully, these can be address for later shows.

Despite these concerns, "Dracula: The Panto" is a hit. This is a great introduction to IndyFringe for first-timers and a perfect experience for long-time fans. Catch it yourself!

More at www.indyfringe.org. Enjoy other works by this company at http://www.eclecticpond.org/,

Optimize Your Social Presence

There are dozens of social networking sites; so many, in fact, that it can get difficult to keep track of all of them. The good news is that you don't have to! Stick with those best suited to your needs and work from there.


Here are a few simple ways to optimize your social presence.

Create a social presence landing page

"If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to tweet about it, does it a make a sound?" No! Make it easy for people to find you. Create a digital portfolio to make it easy for Internet creepers everywhere! Bonus: linking to a single portfolio page will clear up email signature clutter. I suggest:
  • Vizify: this is a relatively new, free service that gives digital portfolios a visual pop. You can link to 'Big Three' networks, add in quotes, photos, work history, and statistics.
I love the layout of my Vizify bio page.
  • About.me: is the better known free digital portfolio site used by millions (and counting). Upload a short bio about yourself and link to all of your social sites. You can also quickly gauge your influence when logged into the dashboard; About.me shows your Klout, True Reach, Amplification, and Network scores.

Use the same username or handle on all networks

This might be common sense but you'd be amazed at how many people do not do this! Using the same username or handle (in my case, Lediamedia) is important for consistency. It helps your personal brand pack a punch and makes it much easier for people to find you on differing platforms.
  • If you haven't picked a handle or username yet, do it!
  • Even if you don't plan on using a particular platform, I highly recommend reserving your handle or username. You never know what platforms will become relevant to your needs in the future.
  • Here's a list of social networking sites from Wikipedia to get you started.

Know what makes each platform tick

Do not treat every social network the same. I repeat, do not post the exact same thing to every network. Hashtags belong on Twitter, not Facebook. Updates on what you just ate do not belong on LinkedIn. Ignoring this fact will make you look like an idiot and could affect your online credibility.

Know the purpose for each network and write original posts for each one. This does not mean you have to share four different articles on four different networks; this simply means that sharing on Twitter will look different than sharing on LinkedIn or Facebook.

  • Start with "The Big Four": Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Check out the above funny photo for quick reference.
  • Know where your target audience is hanging out and join the party. This will require research on your part. If no one interested in your product/service is using Pinterest, maybe it's not the right place for your updates.
  • Find great content, share it everywhere (with slight tweaks). Re-write the post for each platform.

How have you optimized your social presence? Please share in the comments below.

Using ifttt for Inbound Marketing (and other ideas)

Have you ever wished all of your social networks and apps could play nice with each other? Now they can, thanks to ifttt (If This Then That). You can create recipes (or hacks) to connect two favorite networks/apps together like never before. Ahh, synergy.


What is IFTTT?

A sort of “digital duct tape” according to Linden Tibbets, the app’s creator, If This Then That (ifttt) allows you to connect two services you are already using together. Mix and match apps and platforms to create customized recipes quickly and easily. They partnered with Buffer last November, making future task scheduling and updating possible. (Totally sci-fi!) Searching for public recipes from their website is easy, and so is creating your own. Each of the 50 channels have pre-selcted options to choose from making it nearly impossible to mess up.

What can you use it for?

Use ifttt for productivity/automation, inbound marketing, and content curation.

1. Productivity / Automation
This is the most obvious use of ifttt. Use recipes to help automate tasks. Here are some examples:
  • Post a photo to Instagram and have it automatically publish to Tumblr.
  • Receive a text message five minutes before your favorite show starts.
  • Tagged Facebook photos are saved to a specified Dropbox folder.
  • Text 'mileage' to ifttt and then record mileage on your Google Calendar.
  • Receive notification if it's going to rain.
  • Save email attachments automatically to Evernote.
Believe me, the possibilities here are about endless! Check out and use some of the automation recipes I've made here. FYI creating a hashtag archive in Evernote is one of them.

2. Inbound Marketing
If This Then That is a potentially powerful resource for inbound marketers. Why? You can create hundreds of recipes with a variety of triggers to help with social listening and influencer monitoring.

Let's say you are in the insurance business and want to know every time someone tweets about looking for a new insurance plan. You can set up an alert (text, email, new note in Evernote, etc.) with the trigger "looking for new insurance plan" from multiple social platforms.

Here are a few more inbound marketing recipes to try:
  • Receive immediate notifications for top 'frequently asked questions' in your industry appearing on various social platforms.
  • Send tweets mentioning specific keywords and phrases directly to your phone.
  • Keep a running list of all the people your targeted influencers talk to inside Dropbox (so you can talk to them, too).

3. Content Curation 
That's a fancy way of saying 'finding and sharing the most relevant, useful information with a variety of people on a variety of platforms'. It's important to keep an open mind when it comes to thinking about content. Most conjure up images of blog posts, but content includes everything from photos to videos, podcasts, presentations, etc. For a more detailed description of content curation, check out this post.

Use ifttt to do the heavy lifting of finding, sorting, and uploading content.  Here are a few of my ideas:
  • Send links you post on Twitter to a specific Evernote notebook for archiving.
  • Keep all the photos you like (not just post) on Instagram in a single folder in dropbox.
  • Starring a tweet with a link automatically adds a Delicious bookmark.
  • Upload a video to your YouTube account then that video is automatically published on your WordPress site.
  • Set up special keyword triggers for your RSS feed to be sent to specific (and separate) folders.

The recipes for inbound marketing, content curation, and automation seem endless. What are some recipes that you've made? Please share them below in the comments.