Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

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What is Pinterest?

September 14, 2012

Mr. Frights

I have been using Pinterest for months now. I keep telling people about it and I keep seeing other people telling their friends about it, but I keep seeing these friends say things like “I don’t get it” or “I’m confused” and so on. I thought that since it’s been so helpful to me, that I would do a write up on the site, what it is, and why you should check it out at least. I’m going to try to stay in the confines of my own area of specialization, but it’s great for a lot of things, having something for everyone.

 

WHAT IS PINTEREST?

Pinterest, simply put, is social online bookmarking. It’s a website where you can bookmark things around the web for yourself like you would in your own browser, and share them with others. So, say you go to Martha Stewart Online and you find something there that you want to make or something you want to come back to like a recipe. Normally you would go to your “Bookmarks” button in your browser (i.e. Internet Explorer or Firefox) and you’d add a bookmark. Well, it’s the same thing! But on a website where others can check out your bookmarks or “pins”.

 

PINTEREST BOARDS & PINS

They call your bookmarks “pins” because it’s like a big cork board that you push pin things. You can re-pin things from people you follow. Pinterest also provides a toolbar button that you can click and drag from their page and place the button on your bookmark tool bar. This button lets you pin things from websites.

For example: If you go to the Martha Stewart Halloween page and you find a craft you like that you want to pin, then you just go to that page, click on the “PIN IT” button in your bookmark toolbar and suddenly a bunch of photos from the website pop up. You move your cursor over the image you want to pin and click the “PIN IT” button that comes up.

You can add a description with it (which I recommend) and then you can choose which board you want to pin it to of your own. I for one have a bunch of Martha’s Halloween tips in my Halloween Tips board.

You organize your pins in what they call “BOARDS”. You can make different boards for different themes. For example, I made a bunch of Halloween boards, but I wanted to separate them by Tips, Treats, and so on. So if you go to my page on Pinterest you find a bunch of different boards, and if you click on one of those boards it takes you to my pins. On these boards the pins are photos from the website you bookmarked. When you pin something, you usually use the photo that interests you most.

 

HOW TO USE PINTEREST

When you click on a pin, one of the photos you see in the boards, it should take you to the website that the photo belongs to. This is the bookmarking part. Sometimes this won’t work because it’s just a picture that was pinned (so you end up just going to that picture) and not a website. Also, sometimes you end up at the wrong place because someone pinned the front page of a blog instead of the actual blog post they were trying to pin. And of course, as with anything, since you have the ability to edit your pins, some people have changed a picture’s link to point to an inappropriate website or something that doesn’t match what the picture is.

You use PINTEREST to keep track of things you like. I’ve seen people have board for their favorite sports teams, Health & Beauty tips, cooking, decorating, music, videos, anything you are interested in. You can use Pinterest to plan events by making boards dedicated to a theme (i.e. Vampire Party). You can use Pinterest to get the word out about your blog. I post a new blog, I make sure I put photos into the post, then I PIN IT and use one of the photos to catch peoples interest (get it yet? Pin + Interest = Pinterest). This type of thing brings people to my blog. I can also use it to help promote other people by pinning their blogs or websites.

You can also “LIKE” a pin. Pinterest keeps track of your “Likes” and so you can go to your likes and look back on what you liked. This is good for people who don’t want to add a pin for something but want to still keep that pin on hand. For example… I might “LIKE” a cleaning tip, but because my pins are all about Halloween or Horror I don’t want to add something to the mix that is not part of that theme. I instead can “like” the pin and then go back to my likes to find it later.

 

OTHER STUFF

Pinterest also has some other cool features, so be sure if you sign up, go to ABOUT then go to the PIN IT button link and you’ll be taken to the GOODIES section. On the left side of the page you’ll see a bunch of things about Pinterest. One of those things will tell you a lot of what I just told you. They include tutorials and other things. On the Goodies page you’ll find ways to get other people to follow your boards, mobile apps, and other things to help make your Pinterest experience better for you.

One of the great things about Pinterest is that you can FOLLOW ALL to follow someone’s boards. BUT you can also UNFOLLOW specific boards. So if someone I follow is pinning a bunch of things I’m not interested in (i.e. a bunch of Sports team pictures) I can just go to that board and click the “unfollow” button. Alternatively, if you come across someone and look at their boards first, you can follow singular boards that interest you instead of clicking the “follow all” button.

 

THE DOWN SIDE

As with all things the site has some down sides to it. Like I said above, sometimes the pictures were pinned wrong. If you run into this, there IS a solution!! Open up a new window and go to Google, then go to their Image Search. Make sure you can see both windows so you can grab the picture you’re looking at and drag it to the Google search. Google will bring up websites where that image is located. You can usually find the original blog or website and then fix the link on the pin by clicking “Edit”.

The other thing I mentioned is that some pins might take you to an erroneous link, sometimes an inappropriate one. The best way to avoid this is just to check your pins before you re-pin someone elses’ stuff. If you run into this, just do the Google Image search thing, edit the pin so that it points to something else. Hopefully the real website where you want to go.

Another sticking point is that PINTEREST doesn’t have a privacy setting for making your pins or boards private to only you or only certain people. This shouldn’t be an issue, but if you’re concerned about that kind of thing for some reason, then keep it in mind when you’re pinning things. Someday this functionality might be available, so don’t let it stop you from enjoying Pinterest in the meantime.

I hope this helps you discover Pinterest and how it can help you with your personal interests as well as your social interests or even professional interests. If you have questions, I’m happy to help. You can also find a lot of help on the website itself just by checking out their ABOUT section. Now that they’ve opened it up to everyone, you don’t need an invitation anymore. So why not sign up and go try it out?! And be sure to follow me and my boards when you get there!!

 

– Happy Horrible Pinning

Mr. Frights

http://pinterest.com/mrfrights/

 

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Rules for having a great social media presence

January 13, 2012

Ok, so let me qualify this by saying first that I’m no expert. I could do things better than I do, some things I just don’t know about, the things I do know are from experience and I did attend a presentation or two on public relations/social networking for media. I’d also like to add that I am not always good at some of this stuff, but I have done everything on here and it is or was part of my personal plan for Mr. Frights.

Next, let me say that I might be taking my time at getting where I would like to be, but I am getting there and I have been very successful given my own goals.

Now, I’d like to share some of what I know because 1. it’s in my interest to do so. I see a lot of people in my circles making certain repeat faux pas and it bugs me a little and… 2. The people making these mistakes may be doing so unintentionally and end up looking bad for it (If it were me I’d want someone to let me know.) Knowledge is power and this is a very good example of that.

 

  • Make sure you have an account on all the major social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. If something new pops up at least give it a try and if something gets too old or doesn’t work well enough to be worth your time don’t be afraid to cancel your account. Good sense says to let people know before you do that though because you might have followers who only get to interact with you on that site (Myspace is a perfect example of this).

  • Make sure you use the most important of these accounts often enough to make sure people don’t stop following you or forget about you. With some sites you can find services that will automatically post messages for you in creative ways or use social connecting sites like GetGlue of Springform that will post to your Twitter and Facebook accounts when you use them. Something to look out for though would be to not use something that will over post and make sure your posts have something to do with what you’re there to talk about – don’t use games to make auto posts or only post from things like Get Glue for movies or games or topics that have to do with your work (i.e. I only post my horror check-ins from Get Glue even though I check into a lot of other things like Burn Notice).

  • This is a big one for me. If you are promoting yourself by connecting to other people, don’t connect to someone who will promote you and then unfriend or unsubscribe from them. I personally go through my Follow Friday list and remove anyone who has changed their user name, doesn’t exist anymore, or those who have stopped following me. I’m not being bitter, I’m just culling the list because it’s so expansive that I need to tweet only those who are willing to give me their time as well. After all I’m pushing people’s links on Twitter AND on Mr. Frights’ Facebook page and passing on people’s names to a lot of other people. If I’m passing on a name of a person who has lost interest in Mr. Frights then how do I benefit from that networking connection? Lots of other people do benefit from that, so I need to give them that attention.

    1. Also, don’t connect to someone just to promote yourself, connect to them with intent to interact with them. I get a lot of people following me who try to use me to get their projects out there but that’s all they are interested in. I don’t hear from them about their project, we don’t talk about what their goals are, and we don’t chit chat like friends might. It’s called SOCIAL networking for a reason… I expect some interaction when it’s appropriate. I understand people are busy, so if I only hear from you once a year that’s fine as long as it’s a “hey what’s up” and not a “here’s my new project post about it for me”.

 

  • Along with the major social networking sites, you should try to check out message boars type sites like HorrorPunks.com or Get Fanged.com. They are Ning network sites which are pretty popular right now. People make their own social networking site off of this and some of them are very successful and great sources for getting your messages out there and also for meeting new people. Meeting new people is VERY important because you never know if you’ll end up collaborating with them and helping yourself out a ton in the process of helping them out. With Mr. Frights stuff, I “live” off of getting people to promote their projects through me. It’s a win/win situation there.

  • Learn how to use the “audience” setting when posting on Facebook or whomever else uses that kind of thing. When you post updates it goes out to every person you’re friends with unless you make up lists of your friends (i.e. work friend, close friends, horror friends, family…) When I post on my personal Facebook page I am sure to only share specific things with each group of people so as not to bore other friends/followers of my updates. Not just that, but it’s a good way to keep certain information secure so that someone out there in the public doesn’t catch you saying you’re away at a game or concert and then take that as an opportunity to take advantage of that situation in a bad way. Personal stuff should stay personal for the most part and professional stuff can and should be shared with just about everyone.

  • Following that last thought… Don’t use Google+ for professional stuff unless you use your real name to do business. As of the last time I checked, they don’t allow people to use their professional names (i.e. Mr. Frights) as it goes against their naming policy. I was able to skirt the issue for a few months, but then my account got blocked until I submitted a name change (which I never did because it’s a ridiculous rule and goes against every freedom we are supposed to enjoy in this day and age… specifically being who you want to be). If you use Google+ for personal stuff, cool.

  • Use groups. There are a lot of sites that offer groups, such as Facebook, where people can join up on a certain topic (i.e. Domain of Horror) and you can use those groups (with active participation of course) to get some of your info out there. You can slyly (never blatantly – trust me, wait for the right time to do it, don’t just join and post a link right away) post about your site or post about an event your doing to get people’s attention there. That kind of group is all about what you’re into and so why wouldn’t others in that group want to know? You can even make your own group up, but PLEASE don’t just go around adding people against their wishes. Lots of people will not like that, so be sure to ask them first or send an invitation rather than just adding them.

  • Make sure you keep your information up to date. If you had a website but it was closed or moved then remember to update your link wherever it is posted. When someone follows me on Twitter I always check out their profile to see if they are someone I would like to follow back. I’m usually looking for a link to a website of some kind even if it’s just a Facebook page and when the link takes me to that “this website does not exist” thing it instantly puts me off. You’re out there to promote your work, personal or professional, and you couldn’t be bothered to update the link on your profile? Not a big confidence builder and I’m not likely to follow back. If it’s just temporary then update it to that or put something there to let people know.

  • If you have something you’re working on that you would like people to check out, no matter how big or small, you HAVE to let people know it’s there. You can not depend on others to do all the work for you. The best way to get people to know you’ve got something going on is to tell them about it. Post updates about your work, post links to where people can see your work – and not just once, post it multiple times across all your sites.

    Post on Twitter once a day for three different days (as in days you choose like Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) at three different times of the day to be sure to catch people in different time zones or people who check Twitter only once a day. Morning, Noon, and Night.

    The same goes for Facebook. If you have a page (not a profile but a page) then post there, and then get others to like or share the link. Then at another time, share the post on your personal profile (again, if it’s appropriate choose three times) so others who are not “fans” of your page are able to see or maybe someone who is a fan of your page but missed your post gets to see it if they are also a friend or just subscribed to your updates.

    Make sure you post at least once on all the message board sites you use (those Ning sites I talked about before) and of course don’t forget to post updates to your own website/blog/whatever when appropriate (not everything is worth an update).

    If you write for someone who has all these things locked down (their own website, their own FB page, their own Twitter, their own message boards they belong to…) make sure you are promoting as much as they are, and if they are not promoting the way I’m suggesting here then send them a message about it. It could be because they don’t know you presented something new to them. Trust me, it happens.

  • Lastly, make sure you keep track of your progress by using social media tracking sites like Klout.com. I don’t like to give out my secrets, but in this case I’ll put it out there. Using Klout I can see where I need to pick up the pace of my interactions and when I’m influential and where I’m influential. Using Klout helps me to connect to others I wouldn’t normally connect to, get on lists I wouldn’t normally be on, and it helps me to keep track of what topics I am hitting most. It’s a great way to make sure your on track with your message or goals.

 

Now that you know the basics of this stuff I hope I run into a lot less of these mistakes. Nothing erks me more than to have someone coming to me as a kindred soul and then to see them do something [to me especially] that puts me off. I have people who “follow” me, don’t talk to me at all, but then use my name in their posts as if I support their project. I don’t know anything about your project and I like to choose what I support because Mr. Frights has an image I like to maintain even if you’re not aware of it.

I choose the people I promote carefully and I choose the works I promote just as carefully. I choose those who post guest blogs here very carefully. I choose who I tell others to follow just as carefully, for my benefit as well as theirs and those whom I’m passing the names along to.

Marketing and promotion isn’t just a sloppy mess of spam and posting all willy-nilly. When it’s done properly it is done with strategy and careful planning and consistency for the sake of yourself, the people who follow you, the people who you follow, and those who are extensions of each person you interact with.

Final thoughts for you guys… I started with almost nothing as far as people having heard of me. I admit some folks out there knew who “J. Lewis” was from the time I spent making horror shorts with Tempered Zealot and I was able to use those connections to give Mr. Frights’ wheels moving a little. Still, I started with 0 fans, likes, or followers and no one knew what or who Mr. Frights was. I had no connections to any horror celebs at all. Still, I built up a healthy list of interviews with some of my favorite horror personalities, I currently have over 600 followers on Twitter and over 500 on Mr. Frights’ Facebook page. I’ve spent the majority of 2011 with mrfrights.com at the top of two horror website top 100 lists, and when I’m actively involved in Mr. Frights on a daily/weekly basis my Facebook stats are always going up. Also, for those who know what Klout is, I’ve pushed my way into the 50’s and they even sent me some free stuff because of the influence Mr. Frights has based on their calculations.

Those numbers might not be in the thousands like I’d like them to be and of course there is some crossover between the sites and people who follow Mr. Frights everywhere, but coming from nothing to where I am now is something I’m happy with. Also, don’t forget I mentioned at the beginning of this that I had some stuff to learn yet and once I do I expect things to get even better. Oh and even though my set of standards may be holding me back (i.e. not posting partially naked women or delving into the world of the ultra violent content – not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not the image I want for Mr. Frights right now) I’d rather have my set of standards that set me apart than to be a knockoff of someone else or be a part of the background noise that a lot of people end up becoming.

 

“You stay classy San Diego!”

 

– Mr. Frights

http://about.me

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