Free Call Friday for June 13th
Today I had the third call in a four-part series I am calling Free Call Fridays. I will be having a training call at Noon Eastern every Friday for a month, all about social media marketing strategy.
Thanks so much to everyone that was on the call live today, and for all of the amazing feedback people sent in from the first call where we covered what a social media strategy is and why you are wasting your time online without one, and then for the second call where we covered Facebook strategy, specifically.
Today I covered Pinterest and Instagram strategies. I dove into why these networks are booming and helping entrepreneurs and small businesses in every niche imaginable. Whether you have physical goods or are a service provider, you can leverage these highly-visual networks.
NOTE: You have TWO WAYS to consume the call content! This blog post will basically serve as a transcript for the call. If you can read faster than I can talk (which is quite possible since I'm Southern) then you may prefer to read all about it.
For others, I know it's easier to listen while you drive or what have you, so the call recording can also be found at the bottom of this post. I hope that's helpful! Now, carry on….
So, honestly, Pinterest and Instagram are loves of mine for a few reasons. First off, I am a very visual person and was an art director for many years before getting into social media and digital marketing. Social media in general is becoming more and more visual these days, but Pinterest and Instagram are clearly the most visual. You literally cannot post on either of them without including an image or video. Images are very powerful and can convey a feeling and get a message across much more quickly than any other medium, which is why I think these channels are growing so quickly and doing so well for businesses.
And the other reason I love Pinterest in particular is that I've brought in $3000 in revenue this year that I never would have had if it were not for Pinterest! So yes, even if you are a service provider of some sort — a coach, consultant, or expert — or even if you're in a “boring” industry like tech or accounting, you actually can do very well on Pinterest & Instagram. H&R Block, Constant Contact, and HubSpot are 3 businesses that you wouldn't expect on Pinterest but they are thriving there!
5 reasons to take a look at Pinterest
Regardless of whether or not you have a naturally visual brand, the 5 reasons that I think you should take a look at Pinterest are…
- increased website traffic
- the ability to show your personality & style
- the fact that people go to Pinterest with the intent to BUY and
- the fact that it's very easy to collaborate with people on Pinterest
So let's break those down one at a time, starting with SEO. I think of Pinterest like one big search engine optimization (SEO) opportunity waiting for you to take advantage of it. And they make it SO easy for you to do too! There are basically 5 areas that you can take advantage of that can drastically impact how easy it is for you to be found not only on Pinterest search, but in Google search.
And the great news is – it's much easier to rank well for your Pinterest content than your website content. Everything you do on Pinterest is indexed and can be found on Google – whether someone happens to have a Pinterest account or not – and they can view the pin and click thru to your site without an account as well – they just can't like or repine if they're Pinterest users.
The 5 areas you can optimize are:
- The board names
- The board description
- The pin description – with hashtags being optional, everything you put in there will be searchable
- Your profile area
- Custom URLs
So if you listened to the first two calls then I am probably starting to sound like a broken record, but knowing your keywords and what you want to get found for online is very important and using the keywords strategically in your social profiles and in your posts is critically important. In this day and age, with millions of websites out there, odds are, you're probably not ranking really highly for your blog, unless you're in a really unique niche and there's not a lot of competition.
SEO for websites is complicated
You have to get a fair amount of traffic before you can compete in most cases. Also, one of the factors that Google looks at when it comes to search rankings is social. Optimizing your accounts, posting good quality keyword-rich content, getting interaction and growing your following are all important elements of getting found online these days.
So once you know those keywords, it's time to go in and in a natural and non-spammy way, you need to start optimizing your accounts. You need to be using those keywords in all 5 areas of Pinterest.
How I made $3000 this year from Pinterest
Now, if you're a little skeptical as to whether or not it can work, I can promise you that it can because I'm living proof. As I said, I've brought in $3000 this year from clients that found me on Pinterest alone, for online training programs I have. They literally never would have found me otherwise.
As you can probably tell, I'm from Kentucky, but for my 12-week program that wrapped up last month I had an amazing woman from Bali in the group and she found me on Pinterest. She was doing some searches on Pinterest and came across one of my training videos. A short little 10 minute one. But that prompted her to check out my boards and led her to my Power Editor webinar and in that webinar I was promoting my 12-week class which was about to start at the time. She checked out my website, emailed me a couple of questions & signed up very quickly. She said she liked my teaching style, and felt like I was a good fit based on the videos, and that was all she needed. Now, clearly, I never would have had her in my program, all the way in Bali, if she hadn't found me on Pinterest. We didn't even know each other from a Facebook group, which is a very common way for me to find clients.
Then I had another client find me on Pinterest through a Google search. I don't really work with many local clients, I just happen to have a very global audience, but for my Social Media Marketing board on Pinterest, I actually added-on my location to the board name, so it's Social Media and Marketing Lexington KY. Now, in the board description I make it clear that I do business online and work with people from around the world, and it's a very popular board. Adding the location didn't hurt my reach in any way, actually, adding it on really helped me because the first person to sign up for my upcoming strategy workshop is someone local to me that found me by searching for that phrase.
She didn't find my website – she found my Pinterest board. But because I have my account well optimized and linked to my website, she was then able to go there, see my services and get signed up for a free phone consultation, which then led to her joining the workshop.
Had I just been relying on my website to be found in that search result, it might not have happened. I don't get a huge amount of traffic to my site, so it doesn't necessarily rank really well in search results. However, being on a site like Pinterest naturally bumps you up in search results. The network gives your content some weight with search engines, and helps your content rank well. So getting your boards and pins well-optimized really can help you rank well on Google!
I also wanted to mention URLs – for your profile and your boards. You get to create a custom URL for your account, which can be whatever you like – it's not the same as your display name. You can have your business name in there or you could get in a search term you'd like to rank well for. Also, every board has its own unique URL which is the same as the board name. So that URL is getting indexed and an individual board can rank for you, so be sure to get those keywords in there, using phrases that people would search for. It's OK to get a little creative with your board names, but don't put something totally random or non-descriptive, because that board name and URL are too important to not take advantage of them.
Increased website traffic
OK going back to our four reasons why you should be on Pinterest, the second is increased website traffic. Every image you pin on Pinterest is a hyperlink, meaning that if someone clicks on your pin, they are automatically redirected to the web page that it was pinned from. If you manually upload an image, you need to be sure you add the URL to the pin so that it's clickable. You can also add the URL in the description if you want, just make sure it's not a shortened URL because Pinterest tends to think those are spam and flags them.
But the concept of Pinterest is that it's a social bookmarking site. People are pinning things so that they can get back to that info later. Pinterest drives a ton of traffic to websites, so you want to make sure you have everything linked up properly, and you want to put pinnable images on every page of your site so that people have something to pin and can return to you later. Some sites that don't even have anything to sell actually use Pinterest just to drive a ton of traffic to their site and then they use those large numbers to land profitable ad partners for their site, and that's where they make their money because they are basically a lifestyle blog or magazine, for example.
Show your personality and style
The 3rd reason I like Pinterest is that it gives you a chance to really show your personality and style. Pinterest is one platform where it's perfectly acceptable and even encouraged that you go broad with what you pin. So for example, for my full time job, I work at a travel agency that specializes in Caribbean travel. So we don't just have pins of the hotels we sell – though we do have 100s of those – but we also have a Caribbean food board, a travel tip board, travel quotes & inspiration, and even resort wear – clothes, swim suits and accessories.
Do we sell resort wear? Nope. And our resorts are all-inclusive, but while food is a big part of the experience, I'm not just pinning food at our resorts. I'm inspiring & speaking to a lifestyle. People that are looking for all inclusive travel to the Caribbean are also going to need vacation clothes, and travel tips, and they probably love Mexican and Caribbean food and are going to want to cook some of it to remind them of their travels. So no, not every board directly leads to sales, but they are very popular, they do provide value to our ideal clients, they do help people find us and most don't just follow the food board for example, they also follow the resort boards as well, click thru to our site and BUY from us.
70% of people actually go to Pinterest to be inspired and to shop
Which is why shopping is my 4th reason on the list! Pinterest is second to Facebook as a traffic generator overall, but it's the #1 source of all e-commerce traffic coming from social channels and it has the highest average order values – meaning people that come to your site from Pinterest are not only more likely to buy, but they are more likely to spend more when they get there. So whether you're offering services or products, if you have something to sell, Pinterest is a great place to be.
Pinterest is perfect for collaboration
My 5th reason to give Pinterest a try is that it's very easy to collaborate with people. Whether or not you are looking to directly sell or drive traffic from Pinterest, you could still utilize Pinterest when working with clients or collaborating with team members like your Virtual Assistant. In looking for examples for today, I came across a great story about a residential designer, Heather Cleveland, that uses Pinterest to start her projects with clients. She said that it's much easier to get a feel for someone's style when they can share examples with her on a private group board.
So both her and the clients will pin to the board, showing examples of colors & styles & products they like. The type of faucet they want in the kitchen or the tile for the bathroom, for example. The clients love it because they are getting through the initial process much more quickly and saving on billable hours, but they also think that she's really talented because she can hone in on what they like very quickly and they are thrilled with the end results because it matches up with what they wanted and it was much easier for them to express their desires visually from the get-go.
She is also able to use Pinterest like a portfolio of past work which has helped her land new clients. She actually mentioned in the article that she had a $40,000 home remodel booked from someone that saw a past project and said, I want that exact bathroom too. Now. Not to mention the fact that the designer is able to find suppliers and goods that she never would have been able to source on her own had she had to go out searching for it all on Google. It just wouldn't have surfaced in the same way. So now she has a lot more to offer her clients and is able to stand out as a high-value designer. Pinterest is actually giving her a competitive advantage!
Instagram really wants to keep the focus on the photos and they want to keep you in the app, so the only clickable link you get on Instagram is in your bio where you can link to your website. So Instagram isn't necessarily going to be a big traffic driver for you. With that said, it can be done. It's very common for people to direct users to their bio from a post if they really want to direct them to a link, for example. You can change out the URL as much as you want, so take advantage of that bio link as needed.
You can also go ahead and put your URL in the post description. It won't be clickable, but it will keep your site name at the forefront of people's minds and if it's easy to remember it's quite possible people will just open up a browser and type it in to check you out. Another cool trick I like is putting your URL where a physical location name would normally go with a geotag. That way you are still getting the URL on the post. It won't be a hyperlink, but it's another chance to get your URL out there.
For the most part though, the value of Instagram doesn't lie in driving site traffic or even with SEO like with other networks, so it takes a whole other strategy. If you're a coach or consultant, you'll be primarily focused on building your brand in various ways. If you're an artist or sell something like jewelry or clothing, for example, you'll be showing your products, and behind the scenes glimpses. What inspires you. If you're promoting a destination or have a brick and mortar store, you can actually use geo-tagging and strategic hashtags to help people find you on Instagram and drive traffic to your location.
Find your groove…
You're going to have to get a little more creative if you're a service provider, but it absolutely can be done. I know quite a few entrepreneurs doing very well on Instagram, in fact. I know that it personally took me a little while to find my groove on Instagram but for me, the best mix is to go fairly heavy on entrepreneurial quotes. Things that inspire me and speak to my brand, that I believe will appeal to my ideal client. I share things there that I don't share on Facebook, which is my hub!
I do put some social media tips on there occasionally, and that's actually going to be a new project as I wrap up my 90-day video challenge on Facebook and YouTube, but so far it's been focused more on entrepreneurial quotes, some behind the scenes looks at my work space and conferences I've attended, a little bit of my family, and some travel photos. All of which I think fits well with my perfect match clients – women entrepreneurs who are looking to be inspired, to grow their business, they desire the freedom to travel and work from anywhere, and most are moms striving for a work-life balance as well.
As far as service providers go, I know Jenn Scalia has amassed an amazing following on Instagram, totally organically, as a life coach. She shares great quotes that speak to her brand over at Be Awesome on Purpose, and promotes her podcast. She hit 12,000 followers in under 6 months, doubled her email list, and got paying clients straight from Instagram.
She directs people to a free e-book from her bio to get signups and puts her website URL on most of her posts to build her brand and get site traffic.
Another example is Jenn Herman of Jenn's Trends who blogs about social media and specializes in Instagram. She always posts on Instagram when she has a new blog post up. She creates an image for the post that she puts on Instagram and then puts the link in her bio to make it easy to access. So you can promote your content and freebies!
Instagram for brick and mortar stores
Another type of business that many people don't realize you can do well with on Instagram is brick and mortar stores. One story that I imagine many of you are familiar with is Sue Zimmerman's success with her shop on Cape Cod, Sue B Do. She sells really cute clothing and accessories at her retail shop and grew her business by 40% in one year using Instagram. She had the girls in the shop posting every day, using hashtags for the local area and for the items they were selling and geotagging the photos. By being active and consistent with their posting and using hashtags that people were searching for in the area, they were getting found. By sharing photos of the items available in her shop and taking photos with customers and tagging them with their purchases, they started enticing people to come in. And when you geotag a photo – which is just adding it to a photo map, the location appears right above the photo. If someone clicks on that, it opens up a map and people can get driving directions right to your store.
Rebecca's of Clinton in North Carolina is a similar success story for a retail shop. It's a small shop and they also ship anywhere in the US. They have over 2600 followers and every time they post an item from the shop they get anywhere from a couple dozen to hundreds of likes, people commenting to ask about the size or price or other colors and they frequently have people coming into the shop specifically to buy something they saw on Instagram.
Something cute they did at homecoming time since they cater a lot to younger girls is they would post a collage photo of a customer in 3 different dresses and then say “help Megan decide, dress #1, 2 or 3?” They'd get dozens of votes quickly and sell one of the dresses on the spot. I've seen stylists use a similar concept during sessions with clients and it works really well for them to generate buzz.
For physical goods
Jewelry designers and artists show their pieces in progress and finished works and direct people to their website or Etsy shop to buy & can do really well on Instagram. There really is a great variety of businesses doing very well with Instagram, so I'd say that while it's not always easy to figure out what to post for some industries, it really can be done. Then it's just a matter of learning which hashtags are going to help you get found, geotagging for locations, cross posting & promoting your account on other networks, and deciding what your goals are….
Is Instagram strictly going to be about branding and showing your personality and style in a way that you really can't on any other network? Or are you going to grow your list and direct people to your website like Jenn Scalia was able to? Are you going to directly sell on Instagram like Sue or Rebecca's? Maybe it's a combination of things, but as with any network, you really need to have 1 primary goal and one secondary goal to focus on and measure against.
I've said this countless times already, but you really are very unlikely to have great success on ANY network unless you are clear on your goals and mission for that channel. What are you trying to accomplish? What's in it for the fans and followers? How are you providing value to them and serving them in a way that will covert them into clients or customers?
Just posting for posting's sake will never do you any good
When it comes to social media, you really do need to have a plan in place to succeed. If you're not clear on what you're doing on social and what's in it for fans and followers, how are you going to attract people into your business? They're going to realize you're sort of aimless, they're going to get confused and about the brand, and if you're not managing it all well then they're likely to have a bad customer experience with your brand possibly even before becoming an actual customer and then get scared off from working with you before you even realized they were a potential lead.
It's time to get serious about social media. I'm not saying it can't be fun, it should be actually, but personally, I find it the most fun when it's really working for me. When I'm signing up new coaching clients and selling digital products. That's fun. Struggling with what to post, when and where to post, and how to keep up with it all – how to find the time to manage it all…that's not fun. Struggling to grow your business and connect with your ideal clients is not fun and neither is wasting your time and money on marketing that's not working.
Stop the Struggle!
If those are all things you're struggling with, I'd like to invite you to stop the struggle. To get clear on your ideal client. To get clear on your message and mission. To decide which channels you should be on and which you can ditch. To figure out the keywords and hashtags you keep hearing so much about. To figure out how you can create that constant stream of content that's needed today without going crazy and taking a lot of time away from all of the other things you need to do to grow your business.
I know it sounds like a lot, but if I can work full time, run my business, take care of my young sons, create a YouTube video every day and post multiple times per day on my main social networks, then I promise you that you can juggle it all too. You're going to learn to get more done in less time so that you can really market your programs in a way that does them justice, rather than slapping something together because you realize you need to promote this wonderful package you've been working so hard on for so long!
So I would like to personally invite you to join us in the Social Media Strategy Workshop that starts soon!
Social Media Strategy Workshop
This will be a 6-week program that will walk you step by step through creating your social media strategy. We'll meet weekly and break down the components of the strategy 1 by 1. Everything we've talked about on the calls will be covered – from getting clear on your client avatar & how you can best serve them, to creating your content strategy so that you'll never be at a loss for what to post on ANY network.
I'll be providing the framework, we'll do a live training and you'll be put on the hot seat every week so that you can start working out your ideas right then and there on the calls and get feedback not only from me, but from the group as well.
It will be like being a part of a mastermind group. To make sure that everyone in the group is committed to doing the work and really taking massive action, I'll be talking to everyone that would like to join 1-on-1 beforehand!
Everyone will walk away at the end of the workshop with a complete plan that they can immediately start putting in place. In addition to the weekly calls, there will be worksheets and resource lists, and you will also be put into my private Facebook group for clients where you can get ongoing support even after the 6 weeks is over.You won't be left on your own to figure things out at any step!
Free Decision Making Call
If you're interested in joining, be sure to email me with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up for a free 15 min consult by clicking here. There are a limited number of spots available, so be sure to sign up now!
Want to listen to this material instead? Catch the audio version below!
Don't forget, doors close on your chance to join us in the Social Media Strategy Workshop June 30th. Schedule a call to see if the program is right for you by clicking here. If you'd like to catch the audio version of this post and missed Friday's call, you can listen to the replay on your phone using the call back numbers below, or use the embedded player at the bottom of the page.
To listen to the playback:
Dial: (605) 562-3132
Enter Access Code: 563650#
Reference Number: 7
NOTE: There's a 5 second delay at the beginning of the recording before it gets started.
Author: Julie Lowe