Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I made these flower girl rings as a gift to a bride. They were so simple to make and so adorable I just wanted to eat them!

I also made the bouquets...which turned out so lovely


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pinterest: Putting On Your Best Face

If you've not seen the latest update on the ability to set a cover photo for any given pin board, you should!  Now you can select a pin to permanently represent what the face of a board looks like, rather than the randomness of the last pinned item.

If you hover over any of your boards, an 'edit board cover' command pops up. There are two ways to do it. Click the pop-up command and it'll give you a little slide show to sift through to find the photo that best represents that particular board. Adjust the image up, down, or side to side for optimal display. Click, 'Set Cover', and you're done. 

  But, when you have 117 pins on a board, clicking through to find just the right one is tedious. I found the better way was to go into the board to browse, as you can also set board covers from there. It's much easier to select the best pin when viewing the board overall.

When selecting covers, or even creating them from scratch, I recommend images that are simpler and with large, recognizable aspects or color blocks, over busy, cluttered and complicated images. 

A larger visual expanse will keep your main page from looking like a busy hodgepodge that's confusing to the eye and a turn off. You want to invite people in to browse and possibly connect with you, not make them want to call the hoarders rescue team to clean up a mess. 

Example: Here's my main image for my board titled: 

Color: Tangerine Orange
In the overall scheme of my main page, it's a lot more eye catching than this: 

   Oh, and about that Tangerine Orange. Well, consider having a few well placed board covers with orange in them scattered throughout your main page to draw your viewer's eye through. It's the most visible color to the human eye and marketing agencies use it to bring your eye around an advertisement so that you see what they want you to see. 

If you have a brand color scheme already, or orange isn't your thing, consider a splash of yellow, red, green or bright blue to add some punctuation somewhere. 

 I'd also recommend selecting three main colors, if you don't already have a brand color. Select board covers from pins based primarily on those three colors and then add a few white, grey or black fillers. I selected blues, greens and yellow-to-oranges, with some white and grey board covers tossed in. Here's the result of my first two rows. Click for a full-size view, but also note the visibility of the colors in small size. You primarily see blues, greens and yellow-to-orange colors.

 After you've set the board covers, you can also rearrange the order of the boards. Keep an eye on how each one plays off the other visually, particularly on the two top rows - the rows that people see first. Put less effervescent covers next to more flamboyant covers to keep the flow going. Hence the white bunny between the blue boat and the yellow car. If that messes with your senses and makes you look twice, my job is done!

With Pinterest now the 3rd most popular social media platform, you'll want every advantage you can to capture someone's attention.

 Being primarily a visual platform, the end result of taking the time to select the best covers, colors and display of your content should result in more engagement and follows. 

  Granted, everyone's Pinterest will be different, as we all have different angles and agendas, but there is no reason not put on your 'best face'.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Rules to Live by on Pinterest

Getting Started: If you want to build followers, build your boards first, aka CONTENT. Few people follow empty boards. Basically, the first and only times people have a full look at you and your boards is when you first follow them. Use that wisely. 

Boards: Keep your boards well organized and interesting. Messy boards with everything from gazpacho to bicycle gears all thrown together on one board just have no flow. Group things by subject, type, style, even just color - like Tiffany Blue. These boards draw people in and make them want to follow and repin your content.

Repinning: When you repin, consistently repin things to the correct board. You can set up new boards very quickly if you find new content you want to start pinning, such as my board for 'Cool Cars'.  Personal project boards, like my quest to create an eclectic pendant chandelier collection over my dining table, don't have to matter to anyone but yourself, but still all the content is that one topic. Maybe someone else needs chandelier ideas. Apparently so, 228 people are following my personal project!

Naming: Name your own content appropriately. You need to state what’s in the picture if you want to be part of the search engine or even to just identify it. If you’re doing a color board, and you want people to find your pins based on that color, make sure every pin mentions it. Tiffany Blue flowers. Tiffany Blue sweater. Tiffany Blue nail polish. If it's an ice cream, is it vanilla, coconut or white chocolate? YUM just doesn't let someone know what they're looking at; it may not be self-evident.

Be specific. What is it? Don’t put ‘Wow’ on a pin you’re pinning. Wow what? Any idea how many people name their pins either Wow or just add a period for text? No search is going to find that pin. Are you just jumping on the bandwagon with the rest of your social media network? As an already too busy professional, you can ill-afford senseless work just to fill in spaces with people who already know you on 7 networks. Forget it. Take up cross stitch instead. You’ll have something to show for your hard work in the end. A fake Pinning score on Empire avenue isn’t going to garner you any real connections or business. Your genuine work, however, will reward you on on any platform.

  You want to create content, but also content that will increase your network by connecting people to your other passions that we don’t get across in our regular work-connected networks. Did you know I have a passion for metal work? Probably not, you just think I work with breast cancer, but I actually don’t do that, either! I work with breast surgery and I work with the healthy eating that gets people healed. Take some time to show your network who you really are through Pinterest, and you might find you’re heard a little more by the people you’re most wanting to connect with.  

Renaming: When repinning someone else’s pin, LOOK at the text in the pin first. Does it say, “My Aunt Bertha’s best crock-pot recipe!” Okay, she’s not your aunt and what is this recipe? How on Earth will anyone find this pin by searching and end up at YOUR content? They’ll only find you if they’re looking for Aunt Bertha.

Take a moment to rename it: Crock-pot Cheesecake. If the pin has no explanation and you’re not sure if it’s a DIY link or just a random photo, click on the pin and visit the source. Sometimes there is no decent content behind the picture at all, and it’s worthless, unless you’re just collecting that genre of photos. 

 Mind Your Brand:  When repinning, check for words or language that aren’t in line with your brand or persona. I would never repin any text that used foul language, and watch for misspelled or illiterate pins. FIX IT as you repin it. Also, if the pin has the name of the photographer or author, leave it, or add it on a new pin. Give them credit, particularly with the copyright issues flying around right now.

 Keeping Track:  When repinning a large number of pins off a particularly good board, click LIKE on the pin first, then pin it. Why? Well, you obviously like it, and I probably don’t need to teach you about the importance of liking stuff, but it will also act as a marker. That pin will show as ‘liked’ as you move through a large cool board, which can get a little overwhelming if you’re adding a lot of it to your own boards. You might forget if you repinned that fancy cupcake or not. Your ‘Like’ will stay, and alert you to the fact you’ve already pinned that one off that cool board.

Your Pins, Repinned:  When someone likes or repins your stuff, it’s a great time to go check out their boards. Since they liked or repinned it, they may have a treasure trove of truly cool stuff to add back to your board, as well as connect more with that person.

Connecting: Connecting on Pinterest, other than pins, isn’t like Twitter or Facebook. I feel Pinterest direct connectivity, person to person, is lacking, but it may improve. However, by commenting on a pin, I’ve connected directly with the person every time - they respond! You might expand your network by meeting someone new on Pinterest. Reach out.

Following: I read a post today from someone railing on about all cupcakes and hideous unconventional food she’s seeing on Pinterest.

 If you’re whining that you hate seeing cupcakes and crock-pot recipes on Pinterest, it’s your own fault. Choose who you follow carefully, and if necessary, only follow only a board or two from that person if they truly match your style, not the whole kitten cabooble. I would only do a ‘Follow all’ if ALL the boards were my interests, and yes, I’m open to new interests and I follow them as I find them!

  I won’t follow anyone just because I know them on Twitter, Facebook, or Empire Avenue. I’ll follow them because I’m genuinely interested in their content, because it helps build MY content. Why would I follow photography of the desert if I hate the desert? I don’t want to find dead cacti floating down my stream, thankyouverymuch.

 If Pinterest overall just has too many cupcakes, crock-pots or cacti  for you, then it’s your fault, again. Example - there aren't many pins on fly fishing lures. Despite not owning any, I actually love these 'little works of art' and would build a board of them, if people bothered to share their interest. The author of the cupcake and crock-pot rant never stated what HER interests really were. Focus on what you do want, not what you don’t want. (This applies not just to pins, but to life).

 What is it you’re interested in? PIN IT. Find others who share your interests, and by doing so, change the mainstream!  Maybe us cupcake/crock-pot lovin’ pinophiles will find a new passion beyond butter cream icing.

Don’t have any interests or passions, just want to be a sheep or find fault with everything? Doubtful, but if so, then Pinterest may not be in your best interests! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pinterest: Making Your Interests Matter

 photo credit iheartlinen@flickr

 A few words about Pinterest. Many Empire Avenue members are jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon. That's great. Except they're following people and boards with absolutely NO content of their own. Now, many people follow boards solely for their own interests, such as cooking, gardening, crochet and so forth, and that's great. That's the original purpose of Pinterest. But, I know that Empire Avenue users are seeing it as a way to gain followers and exposure for themselves. If you have no content or lame content and you're following scads of people, you've lost the follow back entirely.

  You had my attention for a moment, and I probably even know you, but I will not follow an empty or lame Pinterest account, and I will not use Pinterest disingenuously, and you shouldn't, either. I only pin and follow the things I am interested in personally and professionally, and I suggest you do the same.

  Pinning a mass of Empire Avenue graphics tells me you've missed the point, unless you're an EAv developer. No one is going to repin or share that for any other reason than to be another sheep in the EAv network. Now, if you pinned the portfolio photos and a link to the people you've invested in, that just might drive interest of other EAv users. 

  If you pin genuinely, then others who align with your real interests will follow those interests, and great if you're a social media expert, but is there any more to your life? Has it occurred to you that you might bring in more clients (or whatever it is you're after) if they shared an interest with you? Are you interested in boating, gardening or fashion? PIN IT. Let people see other facets of you other than the numbers you're feverishly trying to rack up and every short cut you're already trying to take. BE REAL.

  I'd recommend reading EVERY Pinterest article on the net you can get your hands on. Mashable is a good source. Look at what's working for others, and find a way to genuinely make Pinterest work for your business and personal interests. If you have an empty account and you want followers, DO NOT follow anyone until you've done some REAL content work yourself. Otherwise it will be useless and simply based on how many people you follow rather, than any real CONTENT you make worth following back. 

  Second, unlike Twitter and Facebook, and everywhere else you disingenuously follow people, don't do it on Pinterest.  Do you really want a stream filled with cupcakes and frilly toddler dresses, or do you want to connect with people who share your love of motorcycles or gardening and possibly the services, products or work you're offering? You're not going to find them in the sea of lace and sticky lollipops if you allow that into your stream.

  Believe it or not, there are people outside your EAv network, and you might just connect with them and expand your network for real, if you'll use Pinterest genuinely. There are no short cuts in Social Media networking on any platform, and those who are using them as such are simply wasting their time and ours by building houses of cards. 

  If you want a great example of professional and personal interests from a great EAv'er, check out Kimberly Reynolds. She has it done right. But branch out to unknown people too. If you're interested in great low carb food, check out the board of Paula Hovsepian. Or what about Angela Brown with her cool pins of 'I Should Try That', products she loves, her garden or my favorite, Yumminess! If my topics resonate with you, follow me for Food, Entertaining, Interior Design and Healthy Food that'll heal you after surgery, but don't follow me, or anyone, if you're not interested in the stuff they do. 

  If I see boards that resonates with my interests, I will follow back, but I may not follow all your boards. I won't follow blindly, emptily, or follow boards that I'm not interested in because I want to keep my stream focused on things that build my work and my personal interests.

  Make a conscious decision to be genuine and authentic in your work and life, and the things that matter to you will finally, magically and miraculously, matter to other people.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Rethinking Greatness


If you know that everyone you meet will learn something from you,

...and if you know that you will also learn something from everyone you meet.

If you can look beyond the obvious of what others have to teach you to see their true gifts.

If you can look beyond gender, race, creed or color.

If you don’t need to tell others how great you are.

If you don’t need to tell others how sought after or wanted you are.

If you never need to ask someone to tell you how great you are.

If you value yourself as important, but don’t think you’re more important than anyone else.

If you never state another person is stupid.

If you aren’t critical of everyone and everything.

If you know that everyone’s time matters, not just yours.

If you’ve taken everything you can into account before giving your advice or opinion.

If you can take a moment to truly put yourself in someone else's shoes first.

Rethinking Greatness

If you only think others have something to learn from you.

If you fail to look beyond the obvious of what others have to offer you.

If you pigeon hole people into their genders, races, creeds or colors.

If you have to keep telling others how great you are.

If you have to keep telling others how sought after or wanted you are.

If you have to ask others to tell you how great you are.

If you don't honor yourself, yet think you are more important than someone else.

If you continually state how stupid other people are.

If you are critical of everyone and everything.

If you think only your time matters.

If you haven’t inquired about how something is being done before giving your advice or opinion.

If you haven’t truly put yourself in another persons shoes first.

- Anni Bricca

Monday, September 19, 2011

Netflix: A Red Silk Purse or a Sows Ear?

Today Netflix's CEO Reed Hastings sent out a second long and disturbing letter to their customers. As a big Netflix fan, and as a long time community manager, I shuddered as I read it. I knew even before I finished reading it that there was a plethora of internet backlash building.

It's obvious they're shattering off the DVD brand. I think this is a huge mistake. They're diluting their brand and they've already alienated thousands of users. They'll hemorrhage even more with what appears to be the sale of their DVD brand along with us to another entity. Changing the name to Qwikster is absurd. Qwikflix was the natural progression. Just sayin'. 

 So, since I could really use a great community manager job, I re-wrote Reed Hastings letter. This is what would actually get Netflix customer's attention, rebuild their offerings and retain and attract new customers.  That is, of course, if they even care about their customer base. It's been very evident, even admitted in this latest letter that we're not taken into consideration at all.

  Please leave comments on my blog and Reed's Netflix blog which version of reality you'd prefer, his or mine.

Dear Netflix Customer,

   We’ve listened to you and we’ve got some exciting changes ahead.

 We’re upgrading our site to better showcase and differentiate between our two great services: Netflix DVD and Netflix Streaming.

    You’ll be able to access both sides via Netflix where you can select between DVD, streaming, or both and you’ll still get just one bill a month from Netflix.

  But now, when you select both of our two great services, you get a discount for being a ‘doubly loyal customer’.

   And whether you select DVDs, streaming, or both, you’re assured you’re still a part of the Netflix family with those fun red envelopes that you’ve put your trust and entertainment dollars into for the last 10 years.

But there’s more. Besides Blu-ray and adding Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 games, we’re going to start rolling out a variety of perks for your activity with us here at Netflix. Everything from popcorn perks to movie screening invites will be up for grabs. Now your movie ratings will count as well as creating lists, sharing movies, adding your friends and tweeting them out.  And, if you’d love a streaming ‘Hangout’ style viewing with your friends and family across the internet, get ready, it’s all coming soon.

  Thank you for being a part of the Netflix family. We wouldn’t be here without our loyal customers.

Anni Bricca
The Future Netflix Community Manager

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Goldilocks and the 3 Blogs

      Like most of us, I do large amounts of reading across many platforms to stay on top of as much news and information as I can for my organization.

   It's a case of time as well as finding the pieces that are 'just right' to keep our attention. But so many of the pieces I pass on might have been 'just right' had they not committed the following errors.

     1. Too Cluttered: Huge complicated graphics that required the visual acuity of a brain surgeon to dissect.  Please don't give me a headache at 9 am.

     2. Too Vague: The information didn't clearly and immediately point out what the title promised. After much blathering about the deep need to acquire what the mystery title was promoting, I still had only a vague idea of what was being offered two thirds down the page. BAH! Be clear and be upfront.

     3.  Too Confusing: As much as I wanted to understand and support a plea from someone who seemed deserving, I just couldn't understand what they wanted me to do. There were all sorts of instructions about what you must do and must not do if you wanted to be a part of what was being touted as an easy way to... hmm.

     4. Too Obtuse: One blog turned me off because I know first hand they're not practicing what they preach in some of those '7 secrets to success' points they make; one of which is to connect with your clients. They just don't realize they are not connecting with their clients, themselves. I know because I actually tried connecting.

     5. Too Inappropriate: I passed on an article because the profanity laced title was massively  offensive. The shock value didn't impress me. I didn't visit the link. If I want swearing I'll wait til the cat barfs all over my shoes.

     6. Too Annoying: Blaring music that commences the second I landed on the page. I can't click off of that stuff fast enough. Why do people assume it's alright to blare something like that in anyone's office? I wouldn't walk into their office with a boombox blaring on my shoulder, don't do it in mine.

     7. Too Lost: Some can't stop promoting long enough to follow up on the business they generate for themselves. I unfollowed one after she tweeted 8576 times how I would improve whatever angle it was she was offering. Why? Because despite my direct contact with her across several platforms, she never once recognized me as a follower, a shareholder and worse, a client. In fact she even sent me an invitation to buy her stock at Empire Avenue and promised as a new user I'd earn 2000e. I'm an established user and was maxed out in her stock. How can she advise my business if she can't manage her own business?

     The biggest issue affecting all these communications is they've failed to take their client into consideration, which equates to a loss of direct engagement.

     Do you feel businesses fail to make the necessary connections to sell their books, products and services because they simply don't understand the innately human aspects of Social Media? Do you think this is what separates the unsuccessful from those professionals who get it 'just right'?