Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending April 21

Over the week we go through a lot of content - news and blog posts, how tos and conceptual posts on the state of the internet.  Every Sunday we share some of our favourites with you.

Check out the links and let us know in the comments if you have any questions or if you read any great posts this week!



There was a lot of sadness this week, and the ability for social media to spread a message faster than ever before was very apparent. Karen and I were at a conference in Toronto listening to a speaker when we found out. I had a family member running in the marathon.  Within a very short amount of time people had posted on his Facebook wall that they had been in touch and he was fine. Finding out that quickly was an amazing relief and couldn’t have happened without social media - I had no connection to any of the people who ended up being my source of information.

While our feeds were full of sadness and anger, one of the things that struck me as hopeful and good were the positive messages that were also being shared.  Social media brings us the big news, and the little stories of hope all at the same time. 

On the business side, it’s hard to know what to do in the face of such a big tragedy.  Online many people got angry at others for not respectfully pausing all marketing messages.  But how long does one wait before resume to life as usual - it’s hard to know.

If you are going to talk about it, there are good (and funny) ways to do it (this is such a great example of storytelling) and bad ways to do it

But I would rather focus on the happy stories about good people.


We’ve been hearing how Pinterest trumps Facebook for traffic for a long time. It’s better for conversions, too. With the number of users still small, now is the time to build your audience there. 

Twitter is working hard to monetize its platform. They’ve completely revamped the business site where you can purchase advertising, and they’re giving more and more options to businesses that want to promote their business on Twitter, including keyword targeting in tweets.

Have you ever heard someone say that they prefer the term “return on influence” rather than “return on investment” as a way to measure the effectiveness of social media? It’s usually a way of saying that they don’t know how to measure or they truly see social media as being about creating brand awareness more than anything else. But, as this study shows, many are using social media for lead generation - not just branding.


Social Capital is quickly approaching (it’s May 31 and June 1). Join us this Thursday if you’re in Ottawa for our #socapott tweetup at 7pm at the Marriott Hotel.  We’ve also announced a lot of great speakers!


How to use Pinterest to create a community

Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending March 16

Over the week we go through a lot of content - news and blog posts, how tos and conceptual posts on the state of the internet.  Every Sunday we share some of our favourites with you.

Check out the links and let us know in the comments if you have any questions or if you read any great posts this week!


What’s the value of a like?  People work so hard to get Facebook likes, but we all need to remember that’s simply just the start.  The real value is in then building a relationship and not letting the last action that person ever takes with regards to your business having been to hit like.  This post by Martin Waxman on the value of a like is a good reminder of that.

Google reader is going away (see Karen’s reference to the news below) and Mitch Joel wrote an interesting post about blogging inspired by this news. I never thought blogs were in danger of going away but the way people find blogs has changed significantly just in the six years I’ve been blogging. I now only use RSS a handful of times a month to find content. While on Mitch’s blog, he’s got a post highlighting some amazing advertisements - they’re worth a watch.

This post by Daniel Sharkov gives some good tips on how to improve your side bar.

Ending on a fun note, if you have kids who watch Dora, check out the trailer for the new live-action web series by College Humor :)


Google made the announcement this week that they’re sunsetting Google Reader as of July 1, 2013 (The Next Web). Since I use this tool daily, I’m not super thrilled to have to look for a replacement (Lifehacker), but some of the alternatives are already experiencing the wave of success (The Next Web). 

While Google is killing off a beloved app, Pinterest is now even better with the addition of analytics (ReSoMe), which users have been requesting for a long time. Yay, Pinterest!

Your business has superfans, so here’s some advice for converting them to customer/client status (Spin Sucks). Also, aren’t superfans just the best thing to have? Nothing makes me feel better about what I do than getting a virtual high-five from one of them or sitting down to have a session with them. 

Are you looking for content ideas? Here’s a challenge for you from Christopher Penn. If you’re not a marketer, this still applies to you. Just substitute the word “marketer” for whatever terminology fits what you do. Find your own quotes and you’re ready to go! 

Here’s why it’s important to incorporate social media monitoring (Social Media Explorer). Proactive engagement has great value. So, hopefully you’re watching some keywords for your industry.

The Media Mesh

5 mistakes that will get your Facebook page deleted

Pump up the Volume: 2013 style

App of the Week

There isn’t an app in the world that can perfectly tell you how to use any social media platform, but I like using apps like Tweet Grader every once in a while to see what they tell me. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my grade had gone from 96-98 over the first several years I was on Twitter to 100 now. (Yay, Mom, I got an A+!) You can get a rough idea from a tool like this whether you might want to tweak your content. Nothing beats personal feedback, but this is a good solution if you want to know now

Leave us a comment and tell us what some of your favourite reads were this week!

Pinterest: How are businesses using it?

Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social networks. It’s a visual bookmarking site, allowing people to categorize bookmarks and share them with their networks. Most understand that Pinterest is eye candy and fun to spend hours browsing through, but don’t understand how it can be useful for business.

A few facts about Pinterest

1) Pinterest is an incredible driver of traffic to websites - more than Google+. Youtube and LinkedIn combined.

2) ~40% of people who click through to a site from Pinterest purchase the product they clicked on.

If Pinterest is driving that much traffic to sites, figuring out how your business can be a part of it is definitely worthwhile!

How should you start?

- Create boards that are related to what you do. 

- Share information of value to your customers; not all this information should be yours.

- Write enough information in the pin description for people to understand what they will be clicking through to, but not so much that they don’t need to click through.


Who is doing Pinterest well?

OprahOprah could never run out of things to share on Pinterest. A few notables include pins from her bookclub, about food, and quotes she loves.

KeurigCoffee sayings, coffee flavours and fun coffee mugs. I proved Pinterest works when I stopped writing this post to purchase a new flavour of K-cup I’d never heard of before :)

US Armysharing everything from celebrating veterans to army inspired food, the US Army Pinterest board is a feel good/community building space for the army.

Four Peaks Brewery: bringing together lovers of beer they have boards on kinds of beer, cooking with beer, beer gifts and of course, just fun pins about beer.

Petplan Pet InsurancePet owners love animals. Petplan shares tips on keeping your pet healthy, shares pet blogs with their community and lets people take a look inside their organization.

This is just a few examples of businesses using Pinterest in ways that create value for their followers, build community - and for some, even lead to sales.

What other notable Pinterest accounts do you follow?

Strategic Social: It starts with a plan!

Using social media to promote your business isn’t as simple as setting up a blog, a Facebook Page or a twitter account. Creating the right kind of content that is designed to achieve your specific business goals takes some forethought.

A social media plan gives you the opportunity to think through what you want to say and the direction to create content in bulk, eliminating the daily scramble for new content.

Here is a basic outline of what to put in a social media plan:

Who are you?

Write down exactly what it is that you do and why. Have you ever written it down concisely? If so, great, just use that! If not, take the time to write it down.

Who is your audience?

As tempting as it is to say “anyone who will pay me” here, don’t. Who are your primary target audiences? There can be more than one. Describe them as thoroughly as you can (age, gender, type of job, level of income, etc)

What are your key messages?

What do you want people to know about your business? You can have 3-4 and they can range from “we sell a great lightbulb” to “we are committed to the best customer service you can imagine” to “social media doesn’t need to be complicated.”

What are your goals?

Your goals for using social media can vary a lot. Pick 3-4 to focus on for the next 6 months. They can be about increasing sales, but they can also be things like “increase our web presence” “build  relationships with key online influencers”.


This is the real meat of the plan. How are you going to target your audiences with your key messages to achieve your goals?

Give yourself set tasks per week and then fill in an editorial calendar with them. 

Examples could be:

  • Write two blog posts a week.
  • Acquire two guest posts a month.
  • Post daily on Facebook.
  • Post three times a day on twitter.

You can then expand on those further:

  • Every Monday share a photo of ____ on Facebook and twitter
  • Every Tuesday promote a blog post
  • Every Wednesday share a useful tip on ______ on Facebook and twitter.
  • Every other Friday are guest posts on the blog.
  • Every Saturday share a post from the archives of your site.

Aside from your editorial calendar what else could you plan to do to attract your audience?

  • Write guest posts for other blogs.
  • Offer to be interviewed in podcasts
  • Build your newsletter list and commit to sending a monthly newsletter.
  • Hold bi-monthly tweetups

The sky is the limit for tactics. Just remember to be realistic and to think about what your audience wants and would find of value.


Based on your tactics and goals, what measurements should you be tracking over the next six months? What is a reasonable result to indicate success?

  • List a baseline and decide on a reasonable increase in twitter followers. (50 a month?)
  • Increase engagement on your Facebook page by 25% 50% 100% per month (pick something reasonable based on your current engagement levels).
  • Increase visits to your site by 20% over 6 months.
  • Increase sales by 20% over 6 months.
  • Have 6 guest posts published over 6 months.


Now take all the above information and put it down on paper. You’re more likely to commit to it and do it if it’s a proper and formal document. 

Then do the work. It doesn’t always pay off immediately, but growing your online presence slowly and authentically is the best way to do it. Ask someone to be an accountability partner if you think that will help. 

Knowing how to get where you want to go is always easier with a map. Your plan is that roadmap to the destination you’re trying to get to (your goals) - make sure you have one.

Leave a comment below giving us an example of one of your key messages, goals, or tactics.

5 Steps for Businesses to Increase Traffic Using Pinterest

We're very pleased to have Gwen Leron guest posting today with advice for you on using Pinterest for your business. 


Pinterest is the newest, the hottest and the most addictive social network on the block, but once you’ve created an account for your business, how can you convert your newest guilty pleasure into more traffic for your website?

  1. Set Your Profile Up Properly - Go into the settings for your account (click on your username in the top right hand corner and choose Settings from the drop down). Make sure to upload your logo, write a small bio and enter your website URL, Facebook and Twitter info so they become part of your Pinterest profile. Also, make sure the “Hide your Pinterest profile from search engines” option is set to “off”. The more ways you have for followers to get to you, the better.
  2. Make Your Pins As Much About Your Followers As It Is About Your Business - You know your customers best and you know what their interests most likely are... chances are that you have the same interests too. Take the time to create boards that will cater to your customers’ interests and what you think they would like to see. While it is important to stay on topic, it is OK to bend a little bit and show some of the personality behind the business. Enjoy your pinning time, Pinterest is supposed to be fun!
  3. Don’t Go Crazy With Pinning Your Own Content - No one wants to log into Pinterest to see pins upon pins from the same business promoting themselves....if they wanted to see everything you offered in one spot, they would go to your website, right? Balance is key. Pin a wide variety of interesting things, with a bit of your products sprinkled in. This is also a good way cater to a wider audience outside of your customer base and to gain new followers.
  4. Pin Properly - There are so many amazing pins that sadly link back to nothing. This will be frustrating for your followers, especially if it is done over and over again. Be sure that when you pin something, that you are linking back to the actual source from which it came. Before re-pinning something, be sure that you click on it first to see if it takes you to where it is supposed to. Also, when re-pinning, be sure that you make sure the description is accurate, brief, and to the point.
  5. Promote Your Pinterest Boards/Pins Through Other Channels - Get the word out that you are on Pinterest! Share pins on your Facebook page, on Twitter, on your blog, and in your newsletter. This will help you gain followers and hopefully help to drive more eyeballs to your website.

Are you using Pinterest for your business? What other advice would you give those who want to? (Be sure to share your Pinterest Profile in the comments!)


Gwen Leron is a writer, a web content manager and owner of Nayla Natural Care, an online store that specializes in carrying the best organic, natural and eco-friendly products. Keep up with what she is pinning by following Nayla Natural Care on Pinterest.