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The Ultimate Guide to Pinterest

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It seems everyone can ' t enough of Pinterest, and for a social networking site which is still invite-only, it ' s managed to garner over 6 million monthly users, and receives millions of hits per week.

 

Whether you ' re just getting started with the site, or have been using it for a while, we ' ve put together the ultimate guide to all things Pinterest. We ' ve put together a list of all the basic things you need to know about the site, while also giving some power user tips for the more experienced users. Lastly, if you ' re still looking for new ways to get more out of Pinterest, we have a list of creative and practical uses for one of the hottest niche social networks out there today.

If you don ' t already have a Pinterest account, check out the end of this article to find out how you can get one right now.
Getting started with Pinterest

Create boards: If you ' re new to Pinterest, the first thing you ' ll want to do is create boards. Sit down and think about what kind of content you want to share, and save, on Pinterest and take it from there. If you ' re stumped, just take a look at the categories available when creating a new board.

The available options include Design, Film, Music & Books, Gardening, Fitness, People, Pets, Technology and more. If you ' re not sure where to start, just looking at the list of categories should be enough to get you inspired.

There ' s really no limit to the kinds of boards you can create. Here are a few ideas to get you going

    Recommend books, movies and music

    Save your favourite quotes


    Keep a list of countries or cities you ' ve visited or want to visit


    Keep a list of books, movies and music you plan to check out


    Create a wishlist – whether it ' s gadgets, home decor, fashion – whatever interests you


    Create a list of your favourite foods


    Create a board with lifehacks or organizational tools


    Create a showcase of the best typography or design the web has to offer


    Gift ideas

These suggestions are just scratching the surface of the kinds of boards that are currently posted on Pinterest, and checking out a few other users ' profiles to see how they ' re using the service should be enough to inspire you.

Grab the bookmarklet: Once you ' ve got your boards in place, it ' s time to add some content. While you can upload images directly from your computer, or copy and paste links, it ' s far easier to just use the Pinterest bookmarklet. Just drag the ‘Pin It ' button to your bookmarks bar and while you ' re browsing, hit the button, and it will automatically find any available images on that page.

Describe your pin, and add a price: When pinning an image, it has to be accompanied by a description. If you add a dollar price to your pin, the price will be displayed on the image, and your pin will also be listed in a special ‘Gifts ' section on the site.

Pinterest Gifts Everything you need to know about Pinterest [Invites]

Share your Pinterest posts on your other social networks: Now that you ' ve got your boards and pins in order, you need to decide whether or not you want to share your pins with your other social networks. While you can find and follow other users on Pinterest itself, you might also want to share your finds with your friends on other networks. Under settings, choose whether or not to automatically share your posts on your Facebook Timeline or on Twitter. You can also control whether or not you want your profile to be visible on search engines.

Use Pinterest as a social network: Like we said, Pinterest is a social network unto itself. There are several ways you can find and follow other users on the site. From the menu at the top of your home page, you can check all of the latest posts, the popular posts, or gifts. Posts shared by users you follow will show up in your home feed.

If you find someone who has a wide variety of interests, and you only want to follow some of their boards, you can do just that. Simply navigate to a user profile, and you can follow all of the user ' s boards by clicking ‘Follow All ' , underneath their profile photo, or go through their boards and follow only the individual ones that you ' re interested in.

When it comes to interacting with other users, you can comment on their pins, like them, or re-pin them to one of your own boards. Each pin will be accompanied by the profile photos of users who liked it or who re-pinned it.

While likes won ' t be displayed in your feed, or in the feed of users who follow you, they will be displayed in a dedicated section on your profile.

You can also find out if any of your Facebook friends are already using Pinterest by connecting your accounts.


Tips to become a power user

Once you have the basics of Pinterest down, there is far more that you can do to get the most out of Pinterest.

Find all the images shared from one specific website on Pinterest: When you open up any given image on Pinterest, you ' ll notice that you can view all the images that have been pinned by other users from the one site. For example, we shared an image on our own Pinterest account from one of our articles, showcasing beautiful examples of texture used in web design. When you open up that image, you ' ll find a small tab to the left of the image, with the heading, ‘Also from thenextweb.com ' .

Clicking on that will open up a grid of all of The Next Web ' s images that have been shared by all of Pinterest users. This feature makes it incredibly easy to use Pinterest as a useful discovery tool. While you can be sure to discover a lot of interesting and new ideas, photos and posts, just by following other users, Pinterest makes it easy to discover content from your favourite sites, in a unique and visual manner. This is also a great way to find more like-minded users to follow.

Use Pinterest to share videos: While Pinterest is best known as a way to share interesting images, in August Pinterest added the ability to share videos through the site. Using the Pinterest bookmarklet with videos wasn ' t successful in our experience, you can just manually add the link through Pinterest itself. Click the ‘Add ' button at the top of the page, and select ‘Add a pin ' . Paste the link to the video of your choice, and the process is no different from sharing an image on the site. At the moment, Pinterest only supports YouTube videos, so if there ' s something on Vimeo, or another video sharing site that you want to share with your followers, you ' re out of luck.

 

Use Pinterest as a team: Did you know that when you create a new board you can allow other users to contribute to it? You can manually add users to the board, using their Pinterest username or email address. This feature turns Pinterest into a pretty unique project collaboration tool. You can exchange ideas or collaborate on a research project turning Pinterest into the ultimate visual tool for teams.

Get a mobile app to take Pinterest with you on the go: iPhone users can just grab the official Pinterest app to access the site from their phones. The app gives users all of the features available on the site. You can browse pins, repin and like them, follow users and share photos directly from your phone. Photos can be shared that have been taken using your iPhone camera, or you can also follow the instructions in the app to install a Pinterest bookmarklet in mobile Safari.

While Android users don ' t have an official app, they can access Pinterest using a mobile browser to browse, repin and follow other users. If you want to upload images from your Android phone, you can download the free app, Photo to Pinterest. You can take a photo and upload it immediately, or upload photos saved to your camera roll.
Get creative with Pinterest

By its very nature, Pinterest is as creative a site as they come, and the site lends itself to unique uses. We ' ve put together a short list of ways you can use Pinterest, taking it beyond just a social network or sharing images.

Plan a trip or event: If you ' ve got a big trip coming up, or are planning an event, Pinterest is a great way to collect ideas as you ' re getting prepared. If you ' re planning a trip, you can use Pinterest to save places you want to visit once you get there, you can create a list of things you don ' t want to forget to take along with you – all the organization that goes into planning your journey can take place on Pinterest. If you ' re going on a family trip, using the collaborative feature is a great way to make sure that the whole family gets in on the planning process.

Showcase your own work: Whether you ' re a designer, photographer, visual artist, or even a writer, you can use Pinterest to showcase your own work, and reach an untapped, and extremely interactive audience. Choose the best of your work and create a board that showcases you at your finest. Writers can choose Creative Commons images that they feel best reflect the piece of writing that they want to share. ‘iPhoneographers ' can use Pinterest as a great way to take and upload photos straight from their iPhones to a board of their own.

Create a visual bucketlist: If you ' ve created a board with all the cities or countries you want to visit, you ' re already gotten started on a bucketlist of sorts. Why not expand on that and create a list of all the things that you want to do before you die. The board will serve as a great visual reminder of all the things you ' ve got planned. You can even create an accompanying board with photos of you accomplishing each item on the list.

Create a lookbook: If you ' re fashion conscious, Pinterest is a great way to collect and store photos of clothing, accessories or more, that you want to add to your own personal collection. You can create individual boards, categorising them either by item or by style. If you ' re planning to revamp your wardrobe, you ' ll want to create a board just for that.

Create an online shop: Because you can add a price to items on Pinterest, there ' s no reason you can ' t use the site as a marketplace of sorts. You can use Pinterest to sell your handmade crafts, digital copies or prints of your work, and more. You ' ll find that a lot of Etsy users are already doing that, as a means of marketing their online stores. If you don ' t already have an online store, make sure Pinterest users know how to get in touch with you if they want to purchase your items.

Share or collect tutorials: Because you can share videos on Pinterest, you could use the site as a way to share your online video tutorials with a new audience. If you don ' t have any of your own, a board of interesting and informative tutorials is bound to be popular.

Create a recipe book: Been looking for a place to save all of your favourite recipes? Pinterest couldn ' t be more suited to the task, with the ability to share the mouthwatering images of the food. As an added bonus, why not try to take the photos of your own culinary creations and share them on Pinterest?

Create a social media marketing campaign: As Pinterest becomes more popular, it is no doubt being added to many a social marketeer ' s arsenal of tools. We can imagine that there are a lot of hardcore fans of the site who aren ' t too happy with this, but depending on how you approach it, you can use Pinterest as a social media tool without coming across as extremely commercial. There ' s a huge audience on Pinterest, with the site receiving a staggering 11 million visits in just one week in December - that ' s a huge audience that can be reached.

There are a ton of different ways you can put Pinterest to work for you. You can create a social media campaign encouraging users to pin their favourite images or videos from your site. Or how about throwing QR codes into the mix, and creating special offers especially for your Pinterest followers?

Aside from specific social media campaigns, it certainly pays to have a presence on Pinterest. We ' ve already seen how some institutions and companies are putting Pinterest to work for them in our list of recommended users to follow.

A great example of that is Croft Global Travel, a web-based adventure travel company, which is using the site to share all-things travel related with its followers. CGT ' s personal and creative approach really showcases how company ' s can get the most out of Pinterest while staying true to the site ' s essence. Coming across as corporate and impersonal on Pinterest won ' t earn you any points.

We ' ll also be taking a closer look at how businesses can use Pinterest to market their products, generate a following, and stay true to what Pinterest is all about, so look out for that post.
So you want a Pinterest invite?

If you aren ' t already on Pinterest, the easiest way to get on there right now is to ask an existing member for an invite. If you don ' t know any users, the first 50 of you to leave a comment below, with your email address, will get one from us here at Studio Blue.

The Case for a Four-Day Work Week

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Here are six reasons to consider cutting your work week down a day while boosting company morale exponentially

Does this work?  Well, follow along now and see if you agree.

Obviously, if you have a large customer service component to your business or if you must be open for retail hours, it takes a bit of ingenuity and some scheduling prowess to adjust to this type of schedule. Perhaps after reading this blog post you will want to try a pilot version of the famous Slingshot SEO four-day work week in your business. If you do, I would love to hear how it goes or answer a question or two.

First, let me explain the 'why behind this concept by beginning with a very important aspect of the 'people portion of any business – the 'company culture. Believe it or not, many aspects of our culture are directly related to this special perk. Here are a few of the reasons for that statement and perhaps a few questions you should ask yourself as a business owner:

1.     How much more innovative and exciting would your business be if every single team member spent one full day each week devoted to research? What insights, new ideas and energy would be pumped into your business?

  2.  Such a perk is an amazing draw in the age of recruiting the best in talent to your team. Like a hit song, your HR department needs a 'hook to snag the cream of the crop. It will make an incredible difference!

3.    Tied into No. 2, your employee retention rate literally soars! Who would ever want to give up three days at home, only commuting four days a week and the cerebral exercise of weekly research?

3.    Even though the team is working 10-hour days, the sense of urgency brings a high level of energy, and, in my opinion, focused collaboration. It is a joy to watch and to be sucked up into.
  

5.  The extra time for research makes for a well-informed team and the realization they have something unique. (Plus, meeting a repairman on a Friday or planning numerous three-day getaways is never taken for granted …)
   

6.      In our case, Thursday nights after work become an even bigger chance for team socialization and fun. This also seems to be vital to retention rates. A recent study indicated the No. 1 reason for a person not to change jobs is based upon having a close friend at the same company. Sort of makes sense, right?

Add these six reasons along with three or four you likely came up with while reading this blog and you should come to the conclusion that the extra focus, energy, teamwork and dedication resulting from a four-day work week will drive your productivity skyward!  Not a bad outcome for a simple idea …

5 tips on website video from your phone

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Website Video From your Phone

 

mobile1As of late we are seeing many business owners move to conveying their message in video for their customers.  This is not a bad thing as the viewer can see and hear the the excitement and validation from the seller.  There are some things one must remember when film the video so the user isn't turned off by them.  The list below is just some of the major gotchas to keep an eye out for:

 

  • ASPECT RATIO

    Remember that the viewer is comfortable seeing video like a film on the big screen, so if you film with the aspect ratio in portrait instead of landscape it will feel weird to them. So film with your camera on its side so the feel is more like that 50" television in your living room
  • VIDEO QUALITY

    This is a big one because the viewer might correlate the quality of your product wit the quality of your video!!  That's right space fans the quality of your video matters.  If you can't get a good quality video out of your phone then borrow the dude next to you who has something other than a brick phone.  Most of the phone's today are decent quality and will work just fine

  • VIDEO SHAKE

    Ok so if your 80 and you have the shakes lean against a wall or a tree when filming so you achieve the maximum steadiness THROUGH OUT the video.  Many times we see videos sent in to us that start out steady and then the videographer either doesn't know what to point the camera at or just starts moving as the action happens.  You've seen them The subject in the video moves off camera for a second and the videographer jumps the camera over there to him and then realizes that the subject moved off camera to get out of the way of a passing car which is what you are now suppose to be filming so wejerk back over to the car.  You get the idea.  Smooth and steady...

  • AUDIO

    Choose right now or at least before you get the camera rolling to hear what is going on in the video.  If you are shooting a bit on puppies and there is a zoo of screaming kids in the background,  YOUR MESSAGE WON"T BE UNDERSTOOD.  People are so into audio now that most of the experts are telling us that it rivals the actual video for top persuader rights.  So if you are thinkin what I'm thinkin.....  place a lot of thought into what is heard as well as what is seen.

  • PERSUASION

    Video is used for many purposes.  If your goal is to get someone to purchase a product from you, then you must be sincere in the video and allow them to understand you product message in an easy way.  Here is what I mean.  I was watching a show the other night and I got up and went into the kitchen and missed the first 10 seconds of a commercial.  When I returned the guy was watching his kid on a bike and said "Isn't it great!"  I said "what?"  Isn't what great?  My girlfriend looks up from her laptop and says, I don't know I wasn't watching.  The point here folks is if you are planning on having the video on another platform other than your own website then it must have a clear cut message that people 'get'  without question.






Remember to move you finger out of the way when filming and good luck!!!

Wow: Online Ad Spending May Pass Traditional Marketing in 2012

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Direct-response advertising has dominated the online ad business ever since Google perfected search ads following its IPO in 2004. That has kept many brand advertisers from diverting much of their budgets from traditional media, in particular television, to the Web. This year, however, that may be about to change.

A new report from the advertising-focused Web site Digiday based on a survey of 450 ad executives finds that marketers will spend some 60% of their online budgets on brand ads this year, potentially more than direct-response ads for the first time in memory. The findings come as some analysts, such as J.P. Morgan ' s Doug Anmuth, also see a shift in growth prospects from search and other direct-response ads to branding or image ads. (Some even see a shift from TV to mobile and other channels.)

Among the other highlights of the report:

    * 64% of marketers say they ' ll up their online brand advertising budgets in 2012–some 22% by more than 20%.

    * 56% of marketers plan to raise online direct response advertising budgets, but only 15% will do so by more than 20%.

    * 60% of marketers said they will move money from direct response to brand advertising.

Projected spending increase by brands over 2011

A couple of notable caveats: The report was sponsored by Vizu, an ad technology company that touts its system for providing markets 'brand lift. And Vizu CEO Dan Beltramo admits that the growth predictions are 'optimistic and that 'more needs to be done in order to realize those numbers and make online the medium of choice for brand advertisers. (And a warning: If you register to see the full report, you ' ll probably get email pitches from Vizu.)

Nonetheless, the study is interesting because it ' s one more indication that, thanks to the success of new online ad channels such as Facebook, YouTube, and mobile phones, 2012 could be a year in which online advertising becomes a much more mainstream activity for brand advertisers for which TV remains far and away the medium of choice. Such a shift would have huge implications both for television and for the Web, which despite ad revenue growth among companies such as Google and Facebook has not seen revenues rise as fast as time spent online. And it may help not only companies such as Facebook go public, but also other brand-focused online companies such as Glam.

Growth projections by brands for various ad channels

So what will it take for brand advertisers to carry out these admittedly optimistic projections? According to the survey:

    * 68% said, 'Improved clarity around the actual return on brand advertising investment.

    * 56% also cited the 'Ability to verify my brand advertising created the desired result (e.g. increased awareness of my product).

    * 53% indicated the 'Ability to use the same metrics to evaluate brand advertising effectiveness online as are used offline.

For all that, there ' s still a disconnect between the ad measurement methods brand marketers want and what publishers are willing to provide:

    * Brand marketers clearly indicate by a wide margin (55%) that they ' d prefer to use 'the exact same metrics used in the offline medium, and a few additional metrics specific to the online medium.

    * Media sellers, however, by a large margin (77%), say that they ' re most likely to report only metrics related specifically to the online medium.

What is Web Analytics?

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What is Web Analytics?

 "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don ' t know which half." This popular saying is as true today as when it was coined by marketing pioneer John Wanamaker a century ago. That is, it ' s almost as true, because today online marketers have a powerful solution to this problem in Web analytics.

Analytics is defined by the Web Analytics Association as 'the objective tracking, collection, measurement, reporting and analysis of quantitative Internet data to optimize websites and marketing initiatives. In short, it ' s how you determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, gather the data you need to fine-tune your site and ultimately maximize your return on investment (ROI). Every single discipline of Internet marketing relies heavily on analytics.

Why Analytics Matters to You

Web analytics allows you to access valuable information undreamed of by pre-Internet marketers:

    Target Your Audience. See who your typical customers are and how they get to your site. Age, gender and other factors influence how people interact with your website.     Check Your Conversion Path. Measure the loss between any two steps on the way to conversion. You will need this data in order to perform Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO).     Maximize Your Return on Investment. Evaluate the effectiveness of your various marketing methods. Are your pay-per-click keywords paying off? Have you optimized your site for the right search terms? What kind of boost are you getting from your social media marketing strategy?

Web Analytics Tools

There are two basic methods for collecting analytics data:

    Log files: Your server already produces this data, which capture every detail of a user ' s interaction with your site. Various free and paid analytics services can interpret the data for you, or you can outsource it to an analytics company.     Page tagging: Also known as 'Web bugs, this method gathers data via the user ' s browser rather than your server. Page tagging requires signing up for an analytics service and adding JavaScript tags to each page on your site, and tends to be more accurate than log files.

Log files and page tagging each have distinct advantages and disadvantages for analytics strategies.

An Ongoing Process

The Internet changes quickly, so a successful Web analytics strategy must include a continuous improvement program (CIP) in order to stay ahead of your competition.

    Key Performance Indicators (KPI): Create a set of measurable factors you use to gauge your success so you can consistently chart your site ' s long-term performance.     Testing: Test changes to your site and use this data to make continuous improvements.     Consistency: Controlled testing will allow you to more accurately predict what effect changes will have on the site.

In this section, you ' ll find analytics tutorials and tools from analytics experts, as well as information on training and services offered by analytics professionals. Check our blog for regular updates on new developments in Web analytics.

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