7 Sins of Pinterest

Are you using Pinterest for business purposes, or simply want to make a good impression on your personal account? It’s extremely easy to climb on the bandwagon and start pinning. Everybody can do that, but that won’t bring you followers. Although Pinterest is all about visual, you should do more than just pin images.

Here are 7 deadly sins you should avoid if you want to make the most out of your Pinterest account:

1. Not having a high-quality profile picture
Pinterest is a visually oriented platform, so make sure you keep that in mind and stick to high-quality professional shots if you want to make a good impression.

2. Using a personal Pinterest profile as a business page
If you’re using Pinterest for business purposes, you shouldn’t promote it through your personal account because you’ll be missing out on features made especially for Pinterest Business Page, like analytics, for example.

3. Not linking Facebook and Twitter to your Pinterest account
Link other Social Media accounts you have with Pinterest. This way people will be able to find out more about you, and your Pinterest profile will gain more credibility.
 
4. Not following other people or businesses
Social Media is all about networking and following other people you may not know but whose work or personality you admire. By connecting with others you can get inspired and come up with a few ideas for your own Pinterest board.

5. Pinning images that are not relevant
Although pinning is important, it’s more important what you pin, than the pinning per se. People sometimes pin just about anything. But this only makes them look like they don’t know what they’re doing. Pinning relevant and useful content is crucial if you want to make the most out of your Pinterest account.

6. Using one board for all of your content
Make use of the boards! That’s what they are made for, to classify your content and make it easy to navigate. If you throw all of your content into one board, people will get confused and won’t be able to follow through.

7. Not adding a pin description
​Don’t be stingy on words when it comes to pin descriptions! You have 500 words available - make use of that! If you use Pinterest to promote your business, this is a perfect space to throw in some keywords and phrases you want to be associated with when people search you up.

 
5 Ways Small Businesses Can Offer Great Customer Service

The customer is always right, as the saying goes. And it’s true: customer service is likely to be at the core of your business, whether you’re selling SEO services or childcare. What’s more, offering superior customer service is a great way to separate yourself from the competition. As a small business, it’s unlikely you’ll have a huge customer service center, but don't worry! With these 5 simple tips, businesses of any size can deliver great customer service.

1. Learn to admit mistakes
It’s quite normal for new or small businesses to make mistakes. While a mistake here or there won’t destroy your company, it’s important that you don’t let mistakes cause more damage than they need to. The best way to avoid damage is by handling any mistakes made in the proper way. Once a mistake happens, take responsibility and overcompensate in your response.

Your goal here is to turn a disappointed customer into someone who buys again. Disappointment is only temporary, and if you can impress your customers with your response to their problem, they’re likely to spread the word.

2. Spread a customer service culture
It’s no use saying your business values customer service if your staff doesn’t follow through. Attempt to spread your enthusiasm throughout the organization. Often, setting up customer service-related goals is the most effective way to do this. Don’t forget to create incentives to encourage your staff to put as much effort as possible into customer service.

Think about training your staff. Use specific scenarios to see how individuals would choose to deal with them. Ask for specific targets to aim for… No customer complaints in 30 days? Personalized responses to all complaints? Compensation for all returned goods? These are all great goals to shoot for that will make your company seem more professional.

3. Get personal
Being a small business might mean you don’t have access to endless resources or customer databases. However, it does give you the unique opportunity to offer truly personalized responses to your customers. This doesn’t just mean switching out one customer’s name for another in a template; anything you can say or do to make your customers feel valued counts. Go the extra mile, and your customer will build a loyalty to your company that can be extremely valuable.

4. Be flexible in your response
Another advantage of being a small business in these circumstances is that you can be less rigid. Big businesses have strict, clearly established rules and protocol to follow. Small businesses can differentiate, and even excel, by being more flexible. Of course, this won’t always be possible, and it’s important to maintain a basic structure to keep your company organized. However, by deviating from the script once in a while, you can build a connection with your customers that other companies can’t.

5. Get input from your customers
​As a small business, it can be hard to perfect your product. Why not use your customer to help you improve your offering? After all, they know better than anyone where there is room for improvement. It’s a win-win situation: you’ll make your offer better for your existing customers, potentially help attract more customers, and your customer can give valuable input and feel appreciated.

 

Top 5 Things Professionals Shouldn't Do on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is easily one of the most popular social media networks available for professional networking that you can find globally. Unfortunately, a lot of people make mistakes while using LinkedIn due to lack of awareness. Here is a list of the 5 worst things that you should never do on LinkedIn as a professional.

1. Controversial posts
LinkedIn is not Facebook or Twitter. Refrain from just ‘stirring the pot’ with unqualified content that’s solely intended to get others engaged in emotional responses. Stay professional. Stay classy and consider that you’re speaking to other professionals. But does that really mean you should be middle of the road and repeat mainstream opinions? Absolutely not! But what you can just brush off with a flippant comment on Facebook will hurt you on LinkedIn. Folks here expect you to be able to have qualified arguments for controversial opinions and you better be able to rationally defend your point of view. But that doesn’t mean you have to hold back just because your opinion differs – just be smart about how you make your case and think before you polarize people.

2. Religious or political posts
People feel not only passionate about their business, but also about sharing religious posts and political posts. But LinkedIn is probably not the right platform for this kind of content. Content that essentially forces you to take a for or against position polarizes and is not conducive to the discussions taking place on LinkedIn. Content like this can also be considered offensive or ignorant by your client, coworkers or employer. Better to stick to topics where you comment on or actively share content and insights rather than just dogmatic statements that force your audience to choose a pro or contra position.

3. Uploading sales pitch posts
It is true that LinkedIn is one of the best platforms available for B2B professionals. In other words, you will be able to create professional relationships with other businesses through LinkedIn. However, steer clear of simply broadcasting your sales material via LinkedIn. Some businesses may be able to create direct sales through LinkedIn. But most businesses will still need to establish more in-depth relationships with their desired perfect clients before engaging in sales conversations. These sales conversations usually take place offline and you are just using LinkedIn to open the door and establish the connection that allows you to have this conversation. Also, it’s common sense and a good practice to first get to know your LinkedIn connection before blasting them with sales messages. Otherwise, you’re really just using social media as an extension of sales 1.0 and LinkedIn just turned into a cold call…and we all know how these work…

4. Sharing too much of personal information
While LinkedIn is said to increasingly become the Facebook of people who have a job, you probably still shouldn’t share too much of your personal information on LinkedIn. There are social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat available for you to share personal information. But LinkedIn is probably not the best place to do that. All the information that you share on LinkedIn should be predominantly professional and relevant. In other words, you shouldn’t share what you had for dinner, cat memes or pics of your kids or your last party-outing – even if it was with colleagues. That said, you don’t have to ‘sanitize’ and ‘depersonalize’ the content you share on LinkedIn. After all, it’s your human perspective that makes something interesting. With that, in the end, it’s all about finding the right way to share something that matters to you personally. For example, if you or someone you love have been impacted by a disease, you could think about how this experience has shaped that person’s work experience or you could share how their colleagues have come together to help out and you could make it a post about the power of support and where people can find resources for support. Or if you want to share something about someone losing their job, make it about the bigger topic of how certain industries or regions struggle to stay competitive and then bring it back to how these challenges impact the individual worker. Show the big picture, but tie your opinion back to the individual experience and make it relatable.

5. Stalking other people
This one is tricky because it seems contradictory. When you’re on LinkedIn, you should always make your profile visible, unless you have a good professional reason to not do it. But otherwise, transparency matters and it’s what brings you the biggest benefit on this platform. Having your profile set to ‘visible’ and visiting profiles of other LinkedIn members that you find interesting or that you want to reach out to is generally a great way to create interest. After all, they are likely to see your profile under their ‘who visited my profile’ section and if they’re intrigued, they may then visit your profile in return. Now, when they do that, you will see them as a 2nd degree connection visiting your profile in YOUR ‘who visited my profile’ section. At that point, since they have clearly taken interest in your profile (or your well-tailored profile headline!), you could now reach out to them, and strike up a conversation, invite them to connect – and maybe even find that they’re good prospects for your business.

​While this process admittedly sounds a bit twisted at first, it actually makes sense: you create interest, let the other person decide and then you follow-up with an action, if there’s mutual interest. A bit like dating in middle-school.
So, now why did I say this topic is contradictory? Because it comes back to the intent of your interaction. If you want to create interest and then you engage with the purpose of a productive conversation, that’s exactly what LinkedIn encourages. However, it can quickly turn into something a bit creepy if you cloak your profile or if you make yourself invisible, especially when you peek at one particular person’s profile. Or maybe you don’t cloak your profile, but you didn’t get along with a particular coworker. You never resolved the conflict and you’re definitely not on friendly terms with that person. And now you still go and visit that person’s profile once a week or every other week. Sounds pretty creepy to me – wouldn’t you agree? So, don’t stalk and instead visit profiles of others with the purpose to make productive connections, drop them a message and help others out. Or don’t visit their profiles at all.

 
 7 Sins of Facebook

 

Facebook is a powerful platform that can be used by professionals to promote their brand as well as for personal purposes. It can be a real treasure trove of information, but some people don’t use it to its full potential. If you don’t want to be one of them, take a look at our list of 7 cardinal sins people commit on Facebook:

1. Creating a personal profile for your business
Some people create a personal account instead of a page for their business. It’s simply not as effective, and it doesn’t look professional. Personal profiles are designed for personal users, and pages are far better suited to businesses. By using pages instead of a personal profile, businesses allow people to like their page, interact directly with them, or follow them. They also benefit from features designed specifically for businesses, such as Facebook Business Page Analytics.

2. Posting just about anything
Whether you’re using Facebook for personal or professional purposes, it’s generally considered logical to be selective about what you choose to post. People will respect you more and understand your content better.

3. Publishing lengthy posts
Today, the average attention span is shorter than ever. With that in mind, you should keep your posts concise and to the point. If you can’t express something clearly and coherently, perhaps it’s not worth publishing at all.

4. Over-posting
Over-posting can seriously decrease the number of followers you have because people eventually start seeing you as spam. Don’t post too often - try to limit yourself to a maximum of two posts per day.

5. Having several Facebook accounts   This goes both for personal and business accounts. First of all, having multiple personal accounts is discouraged and, secondly, it makes no sense to bother to maintain both when you can just adjust the privacy settings to your needs.

6Posting bad resolution images
This one just makes you seem unprofessional. If people can’t tell what’s on the image you posted and you can’t seem to find a better one, it might be better not to post anything at all.

7Sharing your social plans
Unless you’re planning on inviting all of your Facebook friends to your party on Saturday, it’s better not to share the details. Plus, there’s a safety issue here. Publishing everything you do isn’t always such a good idea.

 
4 Great Ways to Promote Your Content

Got a feeling your content isn’t making the impact you expected? You wouldn’t be the only one. Creating content for marketing is just half the task. For your content to be truly effective, people need to see and read it. In short: you need visibility. Luckily, you don't need to be a social media guru to succeed. Here are 4 easy ways to give your content the visibility it deserves and make it stand out in a crowded space.

1. Earned, owned & paid channels
Before you start thinking about promoting content, you should familiarize yourself with this important triad: earned, owned & paid. Owned media is platforms you own, for example your blog - you determine what gets published here. Paid is a channel where you pay to place content, generally, when you place ads, display ads, pay-per-click etc.   Finally, earned media is when the customers themselves promote your content, so someone writes about you, reviews your services, reposts or shares the content that you created.

When smaller companies engage in content marketing, they tend to focus on owned and sometimes earned media. In this article, we’ll focus on showing you how you leverage your owned media to create some earned media. In other words, creating your own content but then working it, so that customers and partners expand your reach and do some of your work for you. Don’t overlook paid media, though. It’s not dead; in fact, it’s often used to drive extra growth during key periods for engagement and can be a great accelerator to give owned content even more visibility, while you fully control where it gets shared.

Let’s get right into it!

2. Utilize different platforms
It seems like an obvious place to start, but it’s extremely effective to publish your content in different places. Try appealing to different audiences by publishing on a variety of platforms. You could publish a white paper for email promotion, tweet snippets of that paper, and even create video or SlideShare versions. Remember, old content can be reconfigured in various different ways – and that’s totally ok. Just make sure you consider the audience for each of the platforms where you place your content and tailor it accordingly. If you simply repost the same content verbatim across different platforms, you’ll be done quickly, but you’re unlikely to make a lot of friends.

Check out the online service Oktopost. It’s like a multi-limbed, multi-tasking social media sharing tool that helps you publish to multiple networks. At the same time, this social media management platform gives you control about how exactly you want to post the content to specific platforms. While Oktopost is predominantly geared towards businesses, platforms like Hootsuite and Buffer give you similar capabilities and truly simplify your management across multiple channels.  With these helpful tools, you can create comprehensive campaigns, and schedule automatic updates.

3. Collaborate and co-brand
If you’ve spent a lot of time and effort on a piece of content marketing, you want to make the most of it. For those kinds of situations, collaborating with another party can be a great path to joint success. Let’s say you’ve written a 25-page white paper and you’re struggling to get it out there. What often works well is to find an organization that would find it useful, co-brand the content, and collaborate to help both of you reach a whole host of new prospects. It’s a win-win for both parties, as both can access a brand new audience.

4. Influence is everything
What is an influencer in a content marketing sense? Simply speaking, it’s someone who blogs or talks in your space, has a following and ultimately holds influence. You may already know these people, or you may have to find them. A good way to go hunting for influencers is by using RightRelevance, Technorati or Buzzsumo. These tools allow you to search by keywords and give you a very clear idea who holds authority on a specific topic.

From there, reach out to these influencers and make sure they know you’re there. Connect with them, follow them and engage with them. Because they typically will have a lot of followers, they will not immediately know you’re there or who you are. That said, an influencer is an influencer because their content gets shared and discussed. If you regularly engage with them and their content by doing these two things, it matters a big deal to the influencer. Similarly, if the influencer writes content in their blog, engaging can be as easy as commenting on their blog and sharing it. An interesting comment that adds value can attract interest from others. There are loads of content communities out there with hungry audiences interested in high-quality, sector-specific content.

Many people spend a lot of time thinking about what content they’re going to create, but very little time thinking about how they’re actually going to promote it once it’s finished. Don’t fall into the same trap. Most importantly, make a plan and be consistent - stardom and followers and recognition don’t happen overnight. Not even in the world of content marketing and social media. So, instead of hoping for your content to go viral, work the plan you laid out and see your audience grow!

 
7 Sins of Twitter

Because how you represent yourself on Social Media is pretty much unrestricted, people sometimes get carried away. Twitter is an amazing platform, but you’ve got to admit it: sometimes it can be amazingly dumb too. This is not because of Twitter itself, of course, but because of how some people use it. Although the 280-character limit may seem restrictive, if you use it wisely, you will have more than enough space to express yourself.
Whether you’re using your Twitter account for business or personal purposes, here are the 7 deadly sins of Twitter you should definitely avoid if you don’t want people to cringe at your tweets:

1. Random-tweeting
Rule of thumb: think about what you want to achieve with your tweets and tailor your content accordingly. In essence, become your own editor and publish only what you want to be known for. Want to build your reputation in real estate? Great! Tweet helpful information for home-buyers and sellers or on specific sections of cities where you’re active. Want to build a fashion empire? Excellent! Show amazing or cringe-worthy fashion pictures of the week. Give 5-minute fashion tips. Build your Twitter persona by becoming a go-to person on a topic that matters to you and that you’re passionate about. Be consistent. That said, you don’t always just have to write only about fashion. Because you want to draw in audiences from adjacent areas as well, you could tweet about the impact of fashion on society or how different societies have different fashion styles etc. It’s related, but expands your topic a little bit. But whatever you do: don’t post about real estate if you want to be known for fashion.

2. Tweetstorms
Tweetstorms are a relatively new concept denoting a sudden boost in activity around a certain topic – usually around hot/breaking news or a controversial issue of some sort. It’s often created by one user who sends a message to their followers using a hashtag which can rapidly go viral. The tweet then spreads as people use the hashtag to tweet or retweet the message. The effect is overwhelming and unprofessional, so it’s best for you to avoid it.  

3. Recycling old tweets
Even if you think that tweet from two weeks ago was amazing, don’t recycle it just in case someone hasn’t seen it! It’s lame and people who have seen it will probably roll their eyes. Sometimes it’s better not to tweet at all! So keeping your content fresh and relevant is key. But that said, you should monitor the engagement for your content. And if you see that that post from 2015 with the meme about the cat and the puppy cuddling still gets strong engagement…then by all means recycle it and let people enjoy it.

4. Over-hashtagging
Well, we’ve all committed this sin at least once, especially when hashtags were still in their infancy. Before they were cool, that is. But, today, when you see too many hashtags in a 280-character long message, you can’t really focus on the meaning of the message. It looks distracting and takes away from your tweet. Best to keep it to 2-3 hashtags per message #keepitshortandsweet #overhashtagging #toomuchistoomuch #icantdecide #notcool 

5. Don’t repost verbatim
Some people have a habit of posting the same content across all their social media platforms. Don’t do that. It’s lazy and shows that you press on one big “post everywhere now!” button instead of taking the time to tailor your content to the different audiences, styles and interests that characterize each platform. Keep your social media accounts separate, because they’re made for separate purposes and audiences. Twitter is mostly for short, impactful messages while Facebook is more visually oriented and speaks to your friends and/or family. So the same messages don’t have the same impact across apps. It’s best to vary your posts between platforms and keep in mind which audience they’ll reach.

6. Twitter trolling
When a conversation turns into something spiteful and negative, it’s time to go away. It’s never good to be involved in online fights - after all, the Internet never forgets and you really can’t win. Even worse, if you get carried away by your emotions you could damage your reputation and come across as unprofessional.

7. Bad grammar
Last but not least, when you tweet, make sure your message is well-put and understandable. For example, many people think your and you’re are interchangeable. Trust me on this: their/they’re not [sic!]. Mistakes like this can make you seem inexperienced, careless and significantly lessen the relevance of your message, no matter how smart its content is. It’s always better to proofread your post before hitting that ‘enter’ button.