Social Media

So what’s Pinterest and how can it help my business?

Posted by | Marketing, Social Media | No Comments
PinterestOne of the fastest growing social media sites is Pinterest. Think of a digital corkboard or pinboard, where you pin up images you upload or find around the internet that are of interest to you. You may think you don't need yet another social media distraction, but Pinterest could really work for your company to boost your Search Engine rankings. I've been reading a blog post by Jeff Bullas which delves into how this could work for you. Remember right now that external links and keywords are your best friends for SEO ranking. And that Pinterest is the perfect tool to use both very simply. Jeff's article looks at ways to use links, including guest blogging and guest posting. Now if you're a solo flyer who works with others on different projects this is a fantastic opportunity to cross-post and help each other. Commenting on others' 'pins' with a link back to your own site is an obvious way of drawing traffic. Jeff likes the idea of giving away a product or two (if your business is product-related) as interest in your giveaway will expose you to a wide new crowd of potential buyers. And finally by using the source feature of Pinterest you can cross-check on what your competitors are up to on Pinterest. What sort of business would really flourish with a Pinterest account? I'm thinking designers and photographers in particular - website, fashion, graphic, industrial, furniture and so on - could really get their businesses soaring. Designers, photographers and stylists use visuals in everything they do; visuals are the backbone of their businesses. So what better place than Pinterest to go to town? Wedding planners, event managers, travel companies and agents: Pinterest is definitely for you, too. Anyone in the beauty industry should be on Pinterest too. And that's just after thinking about who Pinterest could help for oh, say, two minutes. Give me an hour and I'll give you a blog post as big as War and Peace. And if you make products that are available for sale on your website, you have no excuse. Get on Pinterest now and plug your goodies. Sell the dream. Don't just post pics of your products, find pics that help people imagine more about the products and where they could use them. For example, if you make skin creams, pin images of foreign places, of tropical islands where your skin cream will soothe, of Paris in the snow where your skin cream will nourish skin affected by the cold. Getting it yet? Social media doesn't have to take over your business day, but it does need regular feeding and attention. If you think Pinterest is going to be utterly addictive, set yourself a time limit on a daily basis. Ten minutes a day to do a quick search of what you can pin and pins by others you can comment on. Get into a routine, perhaps set a different item each day to research. At the very least you'll make interesting new contact who could help your business grow. Find out more about Pinterest for businesses right here. Now, go and sign up, because it's free, and start pinning!

Why websites are still relevant as a means to advertise your company

Posted by | Marketing, Services, Social Media, Websites | No Comments
I read a great article on the Smart Company website this morning. Author Craig Reardon argued the case for the ongoing existence of websites as marketing tools amid the wash of social media and sexy apps. Websites, he said, provided excellent opportunities for promoting a call to action within a marketing campaign. And unlike social media sites, where you are constrained by the design confines provided by those sites, on your own website you can do as you wish with the size of your advertising campaign images and the associated copy. Yes, social media is undoubtedly a necessary tool for most businesses these days, especially if you are engaging Gen X and young adults. But don't discount the value of your website, and keeping it up to date and relevant. Don't throw all your advertising into social media and leave your website looking stale. So, think about this. How can you use your website better? Can you offer your clients an online booking service via your website? Can you offer your clients something special if they jump onto your site after finding you on social media? (For example, you have a special landing page for these visitors and you might offer them something for nothing or a 5% or 10% discount on your services only available by visiting that page.) If you sell products via a traditional shop, why not also put a shopfront on your website so people who can't make it to your shop can buy from your site? It's not expensive in the big scheme of things - we can develop and integrate a shopfront from as little as $500 on top of your ordinary website, and that includes your SSL certificate - and your business then becomes national or international... wherever you want to take it, essentially. Websites will stay an integral part of marketing for years to come; they can provide a more in-depth look at what you do than social media does, but both options work hand in hand to promote your business. Chat to us about how we can help you promote an integrated look and feel across your social media and website, and how campaigns could work for you.
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Publicising your blog post via pings, rss and social media

Posted by | Marketing, Services, Social Media, Writing and Editing | No Comments
Now you've written your post you need to publicise it using pings,rss and social media.


WordPress settings can automatically send your blog posts to a list of sites including Google, Feedburner, Technorati, Yahoo and more. Users can add these sites under Settings | Writing. I set all my clients up with a long list of sites in this section, starting with PingOMatic, so their blog posts have a wide reach. There has been comment about WordPress causing 'ping spam' in that every time you update an already published post, a new ping of that post is sent to the ping services and search engines. Unless you are a compulsive editor who insists on making changes several times when a post is published, this shouldn't affect you. One or two edits are fine. Ideally though, keep your blog posts in draft mode and use the Preview button until you are completely satisfied with your post. There is a plugin for WordPress users which lets you control when and how you ping your posts, but I have read mixed reviews about it and at this stage have not installed it for my clients.


I enable RSS feeds for all my client sites - again this helps with SEO and allows visitors to subscribe to those feeds and get the blog posts in their email inbox. For some of us this may be a bit of an old-fashioned way to do things as social media is now a more savvy way to spread your word. But again, it helps with SEO.

Social Media

Ideally this element is a blog post in itself! Firstly I am not a social media coach, so I won't be giving you a strategy on how to use social media for your blog or business. Everybody's business is different so social media channels that work for you may not work for someone else. Having said that, you are likely to have a Twitter account and Facebook page and probably Google+, or at least one of those. If you have Twitter and Facebook, it's easy enough to set your blog posts to send directly to Twitter and have Twitter post them on your Facebook page. There are plugins which do this on WordPress sites - and on other software too. An obvious tip for your Facebook page: once you've posted your blog post to your Page, do go back to your personal account and share it with your friends too! This gives you the opportunity to tag people in your status update to encourage them to look at your post - something you can't do with an automated post. You may like to consider using Hootsuite to manage all your social media networks, saving you time and effort. This could be a real time-saver if you regularly use more than two or three social media channels. There is a cost involved in using Hootsuite after a 30 day free trial. (soon to be Seesmic) is another tool to integrate your blog posts with your social media accounts. LinkedIn gives you options for feeding your WordPress posts and your Twitter feeds to your LinkedIn profile. Networked Blogs provides social media sharing options and the option for syndication. If you are a prolific blogger and post at least two articles a week, then syndication is a must. Obviously you want your visitors to share posts they like on your site, so it's important to give them some sharing options on each post. I include a sharing plugin for each of my clients so visitors can share posts through a number of social media channels. An example of these is showing at the bottom of this post. I hope this post has provided a basic explanation of ways to publicise your blog. The more it gets 'out there' the higher your search engine ranking will be. Do have some ideas or strategies you'd like to share? Leave a comment below and let's get chatting about it.  

Nasty little Twitterbuggers

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I manage several Twitter accounts for clients and during the last week have seen a number of messages from other Twitter users inviting me to click on a link to 'see what nasty things people are saying about you'. In some cases, the wording is 'nasy things people are saying about you'. If you are a Twitter user and receive one of these messages, even from a very trusted source, do not, under any circumstances, click on it. It's a hacker virus, and your account will be compromised if your firewall doesn't stop the link activating. You will need to change your Twitter password immediately. Because of the very viral nature of Twitter this virus spreads like wildfire, and even reporting to Twitter the person who sent it to you will probably be useless, unless you are in direct contact with the original hacker. Or ARE the original hacker. Be vigilant. Don't click on any links that sound a bit dodgy or don't sound like the real voice of regular and trusted contacts. Happy tweeting!

Monitoring your social media channels

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How much time each day should you spend monitoring your social media channels and seeing what people are saying about you or your business? An hour? Two? It sounds too hard, doesn't it? What about ten minutes a day? While you're sipping your morning cuppa. I found an excellent resource on Hubspot which explains how social media works to market your company, in case you're unsure or sceptical, and also how to monitor what people are saying about you and how to measure the impact on your business, i.e. what percentages turn to leads. This is a slideshow and while it unashamedly plugs Hubspot at the end, the information supplied is valid and relevant. If you're spending too much time monitoring your social media and wondering what to make of it, I suggest you view the show and enjoy your next morning cuppa. Here it is:

Google+ for business – grab your page now

Posted by | News, Social Media, Websites | No Comments
Google+Google announced this week that it had extended Google+ to allow users to create pages for their company or organisation. Get in quick, particularly if you have a business name that could be confused with someone else's. Why should you? It's an extra SEO boost for your company, as you can link your own website with your Google+ page. Andrew Cherwenka of The Huffington Post explains it rather nicely in this article. We know that Google wants its new service to not only rival Facebook but knock it out of the water. Google+ is a cloud service whose file-sharing abilities are a boon for organisations as it works hand in glove with Google Docs - and we know that Facebook doesn't have an equivalent. Picture a group of contractors, all working on the same project, sharing their files in real time on Google+. They are all in the same 'circle' and people outside that circle can't see or access the file. Rather than emailing files back and forth, files are checked in and out in real time. For small business, Andrew Cherwenka has a comment to gladden your heart: "Google Plus makes it pretty easy to sort followers into groups (they call them Circles) and send targeted, relevant messages to these smaller audiences. Brands can create robust content calendars with posts intended just for certain cities, ages, gender and languages. Imagine Pizza Hut sending a family dine-in update to 35-year-old mothers in Toronto and a take-out offer just to 22-year-old guys in Thunder Bay. To brands, that's gold." We're experimenting with the new business page for Google+ at the moment. It's superbly easy to set up. Within five minutes of setting the page up we had it linked to the sociables section on this website. Finding the contacts to go in circles is slightly harder. Unless your contacts fill in relevant information and add an image you can recognise, you may well be adding the wrong John or Jane Smith to your circles. We'll keep you posted.                  

Follow us on Facebook!

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Facebook logoArion Productions has (finally!) started a Facebook page where we'll be sharing our news, business news, web tips and more. You'll find us here so come along and hit the Like button. You won't be bombarded several times a day with stuff you don't want to read or can't be bothered reading, but I hope you'll find our content interesting and want to share it around. See you on Facebook! Cheers, Sabrina

Make my day. Here’s a pen.

Posted by | Lifestyle, Social Media | No Comments
old letterWith typewriter production all but dead (apparently it's struggling to hang onto the earth around the grave with one feeble hand on a tussock of grass), the MamaMia site posted an article todayabout the almost lost art of letter writing, by hand. With the rise of the internet and social media, the only people likely to write a letter by hand are those who don't own or operate a computer - ageing relatives, typically, who just can't get the hang of it or don't want to know about computers. Time was when receiving a personal letter was exciting, especially if it was from a friend in a far-flung place. There was the texture of the paper for starters - my aunt in Surrey used beautiful thick, creamy paper - and depending on the writer, handwriting that ranged from spider-crawled-out-of-an-inkwell to elegant pseudo-Copperplate. My grandmother was a prolific letter writer and kept her family and far-flung friends up to date with family happenings. I had a long-distance relationship for a couple of years in the 1980s with a guy who lived in Canada, and we'd send long letters full of our daily lives and photographs to each other. Our letters were stuffed too with newspaper and magazine clippings we thought the other may be interested in. Occasionally the letters would be just that, simple letters with no insertions, but I kept them and read them over and over; even the nasty bust-up ones that signalled the end. I binned the lot during a big life purge about five years ago, with some misgivings, but it was a cleansing feeling as far as those bust-up Dear Jane letters went. Treasured though are letters and cards from my long-gone father and grandparents. When I see their writing - each one individual and packed with their personalities - I can hear them speak the words on the paper. Their voices flood into my head and I can see their faces. That's something you just don't get with email or social media even when, as with Facebook, there's a face right in front of you. Then there's the postcards. Luckily we have friends and family who still send them, as it's nicer to get a picture and message we can stick on the fridge for a bit rather than read "OMG! In Barcelona! Does anyone know a good tapas bar?" on Twitter or Facebook - a message meant for as many readers as possible. The postcards are personalised for us alone. Nice. Being so used to using a computer for just about all correspondence these days, I find writing letters by hand quite difficult. My handwriting doesn't keep up with my brain, whereas my typing almost does. The joy of using a computer means you can edit and delete your work until you get something with which you're happy. I'm guilty of sending printed letters to family and friends as a result. Yes, the dreaded Christmas Newsletter! However I do personalise it and edit it for each person, usually older relatives. I did write by hand to my cousin Bruce last year (using, I might add, my fountain pen) but because I'm impatient didn't tell him half the news I would have in a word-processed letter.  And of course there's email and social media, and hitting the send button is far less work than walking down to the post office. When I write handwritten letters these days I actually draft it on the Mac and then copy it out when I'm happy with it. Daft? Maybe, but it's the way I organise my thoughts. Finding good writing paper these days is a challenge, too. There are some awful and twee stationery sets on eBay, but as for plain-printed linen paper, it's a hard call. I did have some thick parchment-coloured A4 paper put aside which I've guillotined down into a more personal size for handwritten letters. I'd like to think that the odd letters I write give their recipients something in the mail other than bills and junk advertising; certainly I enjoy the ones I receive. Here's a challenge: This week, write a letter to a friend or relative. Surprise them. Make them smile. Give them something that perhaps, in this throwaway and delete-button age, they may keep for at least a little while. (This post cross-posted from Caroline Sully's fiction)

When your TweetMeme goes 404 on a WordPress site, here are some tips

Posted by | Social Media, Websites | No Comments
I had the interesting dilemma of TweetMeme failing on one of the sites I manage over the weekend. If you're using the TweetMeme plugin on WordPress to send your posts to Twitter you may encounter this problem. You'll see a question mark instead of the number of tweets, and when you try and tweet a post using the TweetMeme button you'll be directed to a 404 page on TweetMeme's site. I did what anyone would do; reinstalled the plugin, updated it to the latest version. The problem still persisted so after hunting around to see if others had the problem and how they fixed it, I can offer this solution which will probably work for you. Firstly, check your .htaccess file via FTP and make sure that any links there are relative, not fixed. If you don't know much about .htaccess or FTP, ask your webmaster or hosting service for help.  If you're not using a huge range of plugins, this probably won't be the issue anyway. The real issue is more likely the permalinks on your posts. Permalinks, for those who don't understand the term, are the addresses of your post which show up in the address bar of your web browser. If you include punctuation marks such as apostrophes, or more than one dash in row, for example, you will force an error. Those extra dashes and in particular that apostrophe made TweetMeme throw a wobbly. The UTF-8 code behind those characters was something it didn't recognise. If that sounds like gobbledegook to you, don't worry about it, knowing the finer points of the theory aren't important. Knowing how to fix it is. If you're getting TweetMeme errors look at the permalinks on pages the errors are occurring, and get rid of commas, apostrophes, extra dashes, question marks, exclamation marks and other punctuation. Make sure the permalink doesn't end on a period or full stop.   Your permalink may now look a little odd grammatically but the improved code behind it will make it easier to tweet about and may assist some of your other plugins to work better too.

Why we don’t need the National Broadband Network (NBN)

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The National Broadband Network (NBN) is the subject of much controversy here in Australia. Great idea but too late. When it was first mooted the iPad and other devices which rely on mobile broadband access hadn't come onto the market. The growth in iPads, iPhones and other smartphones and tablets has been so enormous - and so fast - that it's clear wireless communication is the way of the future. In a couple of years mobile devices will be outselling traditional desktops and laptops in the consumer market. We don't need fixed broadband to our homes, particularly when we, the homeowners and taxpayers, will have to pay for our telecoms to be rewired to cope with the installation. The NBN won't be dirt cheap to use, either. And those of us who use mobile devices on the run will still have to pay for a wireless account to access our devices away from home. Wouldn't it be better to have one service, wireless, that users could hook into at home and while they're out and about? And what happens when we have natural disasters like the floods in Queensland last week? Look at the damage - infrastructure for power and water has been destroyed. In some places it will take in excess of three months to even get the power connected to houses again. If you had traditional broadband such as the NBN, you wouldn't have a connection right now. It would be washed away. But... wireless technology has brought the floods and the victims' plight to the world. People were taking footage on their smartphones and uploading it, using wireless technology. They were letting people know they were safe, using their smart phones to call family or post on Facebook. If the wireless technology is available, let's improve the service, make it strong and stable without dropouts, and replace the NBN idea with something people actually want and will use. Oh, and use the money that would have been spent digging up footpaths and gardens for the NBN to help the flood victims in Queensland. I tried wireless technology in its earlier days in Australia, using the Unwired system around ten years ago. I found it absolutely awful; the signal strength just wasn't there and I can vouch for the robust build of its modems as mine was thrown against the wall more than once when I was thoroughly frustrated with it constantly dropping out. Since then I understand Unwired has improved its product and service (it needed to!). I chose Unwired because I could, in theory, use it at my home office and at my clients'. If you're with me on No NBN, speak up! Write to the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Media, Senator Stephen Conroy, at