Reddit has been continually rising in popularity since first emerging on the scene back in 2006. Today, it is one of the most popular social news sites of its kind, proving to be a great alternative for those who have grown tired of competitors such as Digg and StumbleUpon. Reddit often calls itself the front page of the internet to play on its growing reputation as a digital newspaper of sorts. And just like newspapers have categories and sections, this site has something similar known as subreddits, a feature that can come in handy for the savvy social marketer.
A subreddit is essentially a category or subcategory that has a community of reddit users built around a specific topic or area of interest. These categories are finely targeted and can be set to either public or private by the creator. Examples of popular subreddits, as chosen by the user community include:
- World News
These examples represent broad general interests, of course, but the subcategories on reddit go much much deeper. For instance, you can find subreddits on specific topics such as World of Warcraft, Indie Gaming, and even presidential hopeful Ron Paul. While each area of interest has its own moderator, community members are able to contribute by submitting and rating content from around the web that is related to the topic at hand. For everyday users, subreddits provide an easy way to quickly access the content that matters most. For marketers, they provide a way to generate visibility and meet business objectives.
Benefitting From Your Own subreddits
Perhaps the best thing to like about subreddits is the fact that anyone can create them. There are numerous benefits to setting up your own, starting with the community aspect. If fellow redditors share your interest, it could easily lead to a situation where users are commenting, sharing, and engaging in other ways that keep the community alive with activity. The site has millions of active users, all interested in something. What this means is that unless your area is built around an obscure topic like “overhanded Bolivian bowling techniques”, there is a great chance that you will be able to attract others who share your passion.
The big payoff to having your own subreddits is increased traffic. All that activity combined with solid content means it is highly likely that people will want to pay a visit and learn more about what you have to offer. Make sure your newly created subcategory is listed on the subreddits page, pass the word along to your connections on the site, and the possibilities are endless.
Some observers have gone as far to say that subreddits are what have enabled reddit to surpass Digg in the social bookmarking arena. This is not as farfetched as it may sound considering it is one of the platform’s most important features. Whether it is streamlining content discovery or building a community around your own, social marketers can make great strides by putting this essential element to use.
Pinterest now boasts more than 11 million unique monthly visitors. According to comScore, the average Pinterest user spends 98 minutes per month on the site. The visual bookmarking website also has a higher rate of engagement than Twitter. What do all these staggering stats indicate? That Pinterest is all set to become a major player in the social media arena in the coming years. If your business is not leveraging this online platform yet, you might be missing on potential opportunities to engage your target audience.
Before we delve deep into how you can get your business up and pinning on Pinterest, let’s have a look at the top ten categories on this site.
1. Home (17.2%)
2. Arts and Crafts (12.4%)
3. Style/Fashion (11.7%)
4. Food (10.5%)
5. Inspiration/Education (9.0%)
6. Holidays/Seasonal (3.9%)
7. Humor (2.1%)
8. Products (2.1%)
9. Travel (1.9%)
10. Kids (1.8%)
If you want to create your business presence on Pinterest before it’s too late, given below are seven tips that you can use.
#1. Set Up Your Profile
To get started, you need to create a profile on Pinterest. Since the social media site is still in beta-invite only mode, you can ask a co-worker, colleague or friend of yours to send you an invite. Once you receive the invite, you can register on the site and complete your profile information. While filling out the profile, you should include links to your business website and social media pages. You can also include the link to the RSS feed.
Since you’re using Pinterest for business purpose, you should select the profile picture carefully. Choose a picture that represents your brand or company so that consumers can easily identify who you are.
#2. Create Boards
After you’ve completed the profile section, it’s time to start creating boards. While creating boards on Pinterest, you need to think what’s significant to your business. Depending on your specific requirements, you can create multiple boards and name them appropriately.
If you’re in an interior design business, you can create boards like ‘home décor ideas’, ‘ideas for home’, ‘dream bathroom’ and ‘kitchen makeover ideas’ among others.
#3. Upload Items (and Grow Them)
Next, you need to add images to each of the boards that you’ve created. Add at least 6-12 items (images or pins) to every board. Be careful to choose only those images that can quickly grab the attention of the user. You can also add videos.
#4. Learn the Pinterest Etiquette
Now that you’ve a business presence on Pinterest, it’s time to have a closer look at the Pinterest etiquette. Pinterest is a thriving social community and you should always remember to abide by the community guidelines. Pinterest doesn’t support blatant self-promotion. Be authentic and treat other community members with respect.
Read the Pin Etiquette now.
#5. Follow Other Pinterest Users
In order to grow your business presence on Pinterest, you also need to follow other users. Following other Pinterest users, re-pinning and liking their pins is vital to spread the word about your own brand. You can also choose to comment on other people’s pins as well as respond to those that are left by users on your own pins. Re-pinning and commenting on your followers’ pins is indicative of the fact that you don’t excessively self-promote.
#6. Add the Pin-It Button to Your Website
You may have added different social media buttons to your website already. Add one more – the ‘Pin it’ button (grab the code here). Placing this button on your site makes it easier for visitors to pin your visual content.
#7. Run a Contest on Pinterest
Launching a contest on Pinterest is an excellent way of creating awareness about your brand and drive social momentum among the audience. Several small businesses have already launched different types of contest on Pinterest in the past few months. If you’re sure it’s something you need, you too can announce a contest on Pinterest to fulfill your business goals.
Make sure you launch the right kind of contest (Best Pinboard, Most Repins, Sweeptakes Entries etc).
Is your business on Pinterest yet? Please feel free to share your views and opinions.
I’ve heard some people say they got into their online business, be it SEO or copywriting, so they could work from home and not have to interact with people. And every time I hear that, I can’t help but take a step back and think, “That’s stupid.” I mean, sure you may not be dealing face to face with people on a daily basis, but a large part of what you do involves client interaction. You absolutely have to know how to work with people in order to succeed.
Now having said that, I fully realize that some people who “retreat” to an online job in order to avoid social duties may require a little extra help in respect to client relations. If that describes you, here are a few tips on how to help you out. Follow them and you’ll be retaining clients and getting referrals in no time.
- Go the extra mile to fix your mistakes—I’m writing this post today because quite frankly it’s fresh on my mind. See, I did another post for this blog that I was supposed to schedule for 9 A.M. this morning. But I screwed up and it published overnight. Well, after thinking about it, I decided that it just wasn’t right for me to say “OOPS!” and move on. So instead, I decided to supply the blog with an extra post. And it just so happened to be fitting material. Would Gerald have let me keep posting to his blog if I had simply said “Sorry,” and moved on to next week? More than likely. But hey—I want to make sure I keep my business relationships moving in the right direction. I plan on working with him for a long time. So why not scratch his back?
- Deliver as promised (and don’t promise if you can’t deliver)—Sometimes I’m lucky and acquire a project that has a flexible deadline. But more often than not, if a client contacts me then they needed the piece written yesterday. So they ask when is the soonest I can finish for them. I’m always tempted to overcommit in order to secure the project. However, I’ve learned the hard way that it’s better to give them an honest answer than to promise and not deliver. Nothing makes a client unhappier than having to wait for work that should have already been completed.
- Keep communication lines open—Again, sometimes you get the low maintenance client that just wants you to send them the finished product and shut the hell up. But always go into a new relationship assuming your client needs his hand held. In other words, give him frequent updates. And ask him if he has any questions (and be ready to answer them). Bottom line—make him feel important.
Have you run into client issues before? What have you done to go the extra mile?nbsp;
If you are an entrepreneur who has been in business for more than a few years, you’ve likely encountered a situation where a client made the payment process painfully slow or didn’t pay at all.
Although this has only happened to me a couple of times during the last six years, a recent experience made it clear that this issue is still a big problem.
Before I give my perspective, I want to share opinions and insights from some of my good friends who are also entrepreneurs. Their specialties range from SEO to web design to copywriting:
If They Want You, They Should Pay Upfront
“I have had various clients throughout my 6-year career but honestly I have never had anyone fail to pay. In the majority of cases, I charge upfront. This way I am 100% secured. Sometimes I do allow paying for the completed order — but only when if I know the client personally, have good recommendations or have worked for them for some time already to build some trust.??It’s not that I am being too cautious. Most clients find me and want me to work for them (not vice versa), so they are glad to pay upfront.??However I can imagine the situation when the client won’t pay (for any reasons). It may depend on the project size but in most cases, I’d let it go, I think. It’s not my style to threaten or beg. I know it may be wrong but that’s how I work!”
from MyBlogGuest (a guest blogging community)
Get the Details in Writing
- “A detailed breakdown of exactly what each party will be contributing to the project?
- Deadlines by which things will be completed?
- Signatures from both of you with the date??
Also, in the contract make sure to put a clause stating where jurisdiction will fall if the client fails to pay for the completed work. You ideally want the jurisdiction to fall in the city and state where you are personally located, so the client will have to come to you if there is a problem or dispute over money and being paid.”
from Simple Weight Loss
You Deserve to Get Paid, So Be Persistent
“1. Have clients make 3 payments (50%, 25%, and the final payment). Getting them to pay more frequently helps you with your cash flow and it helps the client re-commit half way through the project. If they decide not to pay after you have collected 75% of the project it’s much better than not getting paid at all.
2. Bill clients in full if the project is less than a minimum that you set for yourself and your clients. For example if a project is less than $1,000 we like to have the project paid in full if the client agrees to it.
3. If they won’t pay… Be a pest. Call them, email them, show up at their office. Stalk them if you have to… Be annoying until they have to go borrow the money or get a part-time job to pay you… just don’t give up and let them get over on you.
4. Never, never, never, turn over finalized files to a client before they pay you in full.”
from Raxa Design
Avoid Troublesome Clients By Going with Your Gut
“Don’t let yourself be wooed by empty promises and big dollar signs, and always trust your instincts. I once had a client who was routinely very late on making payments, but every time I tried to end our relationship, he promised that it’d never happen again and he’d entice me by offering to pay more for my services. Of course, I had to keep chasing him down for payments every time, and I finally realized that I should have trusted my gut from the beginning and let him go as a client long ago. I would have saved myself a lot of unnecessary stress.”
A Smaller Payment is Better than $0
“In my experience, I always try to charge upfront, however that is not always possible, especially with larger organizations that have to submit invoices to an account department. So another option is to get a 1 months deposit upfront, so in case they don’t pay on-time, you can lean on that deposit to cover the internal costs for performing the work.
Another idea, that I am not particularly fond of but know of my companies that do this, is removing all of the on-page optimization that was done on the site. This will get your clients attention and realize that you are serious about timely payments.”
Tip from Smashing Magazine
I also think this tip from Smashing Magazine is quite interesting for web designers:
“Another route that some freelance Web developers opt for when they design websites for clients is to install a kind of CSS fail-safe, in order to have leverage if payment disputes come up. CSS Killswitch is a freelance coder’s dream come true. By simply linking to an external CSS style sheet, which can be activated with the simple click of a button, you can black out a website if the client refuses to pay — even if they have changed the password and locked you out of the back end, which is the only circumstance under which this should be done.”
I protect myself in two ways. First, I normally wait for payment in full before I start any work. Second, because I charge a setup and monthly fee, I’m usually paid a month in advance.
If this type of billing isn’t possible for you, try to get a full or partial payment in advance. Never start any work on a project if all you’re getting is “the check is in the mail” promise!
What to Do When You Don’t Get Your Payment in Full and the Client is Either Late or Refusing to Pay
First, let the client know you aren’t going to just forget about their bill and that you fully intend to collect. They may be avoiding payment as a test to see if they can get away with it. Solving the problem may be as simple as you letting them know you’re not going to forget about their bill.
Unfortunately, it’s not always going to be this easy, so you may have to take a few extra steps. In addition to calls and emails, you can use a service like Fresh Books to send them an invoice by snail mail, email or both. Because receiving an invoice in the mail makes it more tangible, this can be the nudge a client needs to make their payment.
Get a Contract in Writing
No matter what, the most important thing you can do is to have a signed contract in place. There may be times when you feel comfortable with someone and think, “Oh, I know Joe and he’s a reliable guy.” Unfortunately, this thought isn’t going to help you when Joe keeps “forgetting” about paying you. If a job is for more money than you are willing to not collect on, you need a written contract.
If you have your agreement in writing, you can always take legal or collection action against the client if it’s enough money to warrant the time and hassle. If the amount is less than $5000, it only costs around $50 to file a small claims lawsuit Hopefully, after the client sees you are not simply going to forget about their bill, they will do the right thing and pay up.
And now in the spirit of this post, a short clip from the classic movie Goodfellas…
Note:This video is NSFW and contains four letters words.
Have you ever had a client not pay on time or completely refuse to pay? How did you handle the situation? Let us know in the comments!