July 24, 2015
Do you love scouring Pinterest for beautiful images and ideas as much as me? It's also a great place to discover items that I want to buy (hello new bedside table) and to create wishlists. Pinterest recently launched Buy It buttons on Pinterest where you can safely and securely buy products through the app.
As of the publishing of this post, the Buy It button is only available on Pinterest's iPhone and iPad apps in the United States. I'm excited that you can now shop Happy Cactus Designs' products via the Buy It button. An enormous percentage of my site traffic comes from Pinterest, so I'm hoping this will be a great new avenue for discovery and sales.
March 20, 2014
Do you follow Happy Cactus Designs on Pinterest? Two of my most popular and growing boards are both dedicated to small businesses.
The first board is Small Business Resources. On this board, you'll find interesting articles and tips I've coming across for more effectively running your small business.
The second is Small Business Social Media Resources. This board is dedicated to useful articles for more effectively and creatively using social media to promote and run your small business. You'll find tips about using Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms here.
Hope you find these boards helpful!
February 26, 2014
I love connecting with fans of Happy Cactus Designs across different social media platforms. You'll often find me tweeting small business articles, sharing sneak peeks of new products on Instagram, pinning inspirational images from the world of fashion and design on Pinterest, and offering exclusive promotions just for my Facebook fans.
January 24, 2014
As a small business owner invested in using social media platforms to share news about my company, I'm always trying to figure out the best way to share my content across the various channels.
It seems that many businesses lump all "social media" together and think that as long as you cross-post your blog post to your Facebook page, Twitter account, and Instagram feed, you've covered your bases. While this is one strategy, it ignores the fact that to be a more effective marketer and better engage followers, you need to tailor your content to each specific channel and its set of users. The way your followers use and interact with Twitter is probably different from how they use Instagram. And these days, users are savvy enough to tell when you've just hit the "Share to Facebook" button rather than taking a few moments to reconfigure the content for that particular audience.
Here's an example of how I might share a new Valentine's Day product:
On Pinterest: The image is king on Pinterest, so I make sure to pin the most compelling and vibrant image I have of the product on my site. I then craft a strong description using keywords so it's more likely to be discovered and re-pinned.
On Instagram: Again, the image is king. For product photos, I've found that having a vibrant background (a bright color or a texture) often helps a product stand out in the stream of photos. Hashtags are also helpful for guiding people to your content. You cannot hyperlink to URLs within an Instagram description, so I recommend adding "see link in profile" to direct followers to a particular site.
On Facebook: I make sure to upload an image that is the optimal size for Facebook. I can tweak the description I used on Pinterest and adapt it for my Facebook crowds by asking a question, asking followers to "like" or share the image, or including a link to my site where they can shop the product.
On Twitter: I try to provide the appropriate context, use a link shortener to maximize the number of characters I have available, and occasionally use hashtags to make my tweet more discoverable.
One final tip: Review your settings on each of your social media channels to see if you are auto-Tweeting when you Pin or automatically updating Facebook when you post a photo on Instagram. Nothing will drive your followers crazier than when you go on a Pinning spree and their Twitter stream is overloaded with tweets about your pins, so be careful about your settings.
September 25, 2013
Lately I've been seeing more and more news about the power of Pinterest to drive sales and boost brand awareness. There's no doubt that Pinterest has become a key tool in the social media marketer's toolbox. With over 70 million registered users and a growing audience in Europe, there's wonderful opportunities to harness Pinterest to raise brand awareness and increase the potential for sales.
According to recent research, 21% of Pinterest users go to the store to buy an item they liked or pinned, and nearly a quarter of socially-generated online sales these days comes from Pinterest. I didn't expect numbers this high! From a quick review of my own Google Analytics, the largest driver of traffic to my site from social sources is Pinterest - double the amount from Twitter and five times the number of visitors from Facebook.
Well-known companies are also becoming savvier about how they promote their brands on Pinterest. For example, J. Crew recently used the site to share sneak peeks of new items in their Fall collection. Many companies also aim to not overload their Pinterest boards with only pins of their own products. Rather, they create boards sharing other images that are inspiring and in line with their aesthetic and brand identity. Two such examples are West Elm's "Dream House of the Day" board and Poppin's color board. Etsy has "guest pinners" that create their own boards with products from the marketplace. Pinterest is impacting offline marketing as well. Nordstrom places tags with the Pinterest logo on products in-store to identify them as popular on Pinterest.
With Pinterest's continued growth, should small business owners spend less time focusing on Twitter and Facebook for social promotion and instead turn their attention to building a Pinterest audience to promote their brands? What strategies are you using to promote your brand on Pinterest?
Looking to learn more about using Pinterest for small business? Check out my tips here.
January 14, 2013
Many of you have likely already fallen down the Pinterest rabbit hole. I've confessed to my love for Pinterest on the blog before and find myself visiting the site at least once a day. Well, did you know that you can have secret Pinterest boards that are seen only by you and anyone you privately invite to pin with you on that board? When you pin an item to a secret board, it's only seen by you; it doesn't show up on Pinterest to any of your followers. Pinterest released this new feature a few months ago and I love it. I'm all for public boards, but there are times when you don't want your followers to see everything you pin.
I used secret pinboards to pin potential Christmas gifts for friends and family so they couldn't see what I was planning. It was an easy way for me to keep track of what I wanted to give people without saving bookmarks or worrying the recipients would find out. I've also been using secret pinboards to keep track of National Stationery Show related topics like inspiration for my booth and product ideas. I've even heard of retailers using secret pinboards to keep track of potential new products for their shelves.
To create a secret pinboard, go to your main Pinterest board profile page. Scroll all the way down to the very bottom of the page. You'll see a "Secret Board" section. Click on "Create a Secret Board" and there you go! As of now, you can only have three secret boards at a time, so choose your boards wisely and happy (secret) pinning!
December 20, 2012
As we wind down 2012, I thought I'd share a compilation of the small business related blog posts I shared on this blog over the year. I hope other small business owners have found these posts to be helpful. I'm planning even more small business related content for 2013!
Making Things Official
Making Things Work
Making Things Look Good
Making Things Social
September 13, 2012
One of the newest social media platforms to hit the scene, Pinterest has been growing by leaps and bounds since it launched a little over two years ago. Pinterest lets you create virtual pinboards for anything you come across on the web. It can also be a great place to share your work and find inspiration.
I use Pinterest as a way to replace bookmarking websites and saving images to my computer. I have pinboards for things like "Color Combos" that I come across and can refer to later. I've also started a board for "Small Business Resources" so I'm no longer having to remember good articles or sites I've discovered.
Don't be afraid to pin your own work, but don't go overboard. From time to time, I pin images of my own products, well aware that it would be annoying for people who follow my boards to only see images my own work or to pin it all at once. I make sure to use a descriptive caption that includes what the product is and my company name. The best part about Pinterest is that when you click-through on any pinned image it sends you to the original source, so if someone likes what they see, they'll be redirected to my site.
Post high quality images. What makes you re-pin someone else's pinned image? Usually it's because a) you like it and b) it's a great, clear image! People typically only see thumbnail-sized images on Pinterest before they click on them, so if you are going to pin your own work, pick great images where your product is front and center.
Do a little research. Want to know if other people are pinning directly from your website? Here's a trick - go to the URL http://pinterest.com/source/happycactusdesigns.com (enter your web address at the end in place of mine) and you can see who is pinning what. It's an interesting way to see what people are attracted to and what boards they are pinning your products to.
August 16, 2012
The first post in my small business series was all about doing your research and the first steps I took to launch my stationery company. I have many different topics in mind for future posts, but wanted to focus first on how you can strategically use social media tools to grow your small business. Prior to launching Happy Cactus Designs, I spent a number of years studying social media platforms in graduate school and implementing strategic plans using social media tools with a number of non-profits and foundations, so I hope I can share some of my wisdom.
These days, it's next to impossible to run a business without some sort of social media presence. With Happy Cactus Designs, I have found that using social media tools is an excellent way to build awareness about my brand, interact with potential and existing customers, and network with colleagues. Here's some of the social media tools/sites I can't live without.
Icons designed by carrieloves
- Facebook: With over 900 million active users, Facebook is obviously the dominant social media platform. The day I launched my company's website, I also launched a Facebook page and have watched the number of fans who "like" my page grow over the past eleven months.
- Twitter: Who knew 140-character messages could be so vital to effectively marketing a company? I've been using the @hapcactus Twitter handle since the day my company launched. I check in with my Twitter stream throughout the day and tweet about my work, communicate with others in the industry, catch up on news (...and the occasional celebrity gossip), and to track trends.
- Pinterest: While much younger than Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest has been growing by leaps and bounds since it launched a little over two years ago. Pinterest lets you create virtual pinboards for anything you come across on the web. It can be a great place to share your work and find inspiration.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is considered by many to be Facebook's boring little brother. The professional social networking site helps you connect with former and current colleagues and learn more about companies. LinkedIn hosts professional "groups" you can join on different topics related to your industry. These are great forums for asking questions and learning from key influencers in relevant industries.
I end up using each of these platforms at least once a day (and usually multiple times in any given day) to connect with others, share news, and learn. In the coming weeks, I'm going to focus on each platform in separate posts and share my tips for effectively using each to build your business. What social media tools do you use? Which tools are you curious about learning more about?