Tips for using Pinterest when your business is not visual

A clothing or homewares retailer posts a beautifully photographed outfit or expertly styled living space to Pinterest and it will make its way around the virtual pinboards of the 70+ million users, consequently driving traffic to their website.

But how can this social platform be of benefit to those non-visual brands like garages, energy companies or in our case, an online directory enquiries service?

1) Get creative

If posting photos of your products is not going to work in the way it would if you were a restaurant or an elegant hotel, you could start thinking about ways in which your products can be used. For example, an energy company may post images of anything from attractive light fittings to cool kitchens. On our Simunix Pinterest page, you’ll find vintage telephones, gadgets and impressive office spaces.

2) Infographics

People love looking at facts and figures. Create an infographic with some statistics you’ve collected about your customers or some fun facts about your industry. We created a comparison infographic that tracked the cost of our services compared with those of our competitors. Infographics are much more likely to be shared throughout social networks than something that is text-based.

3) Get your customers to do it for you

Pinterest allows you to create collaborative boards where you can either invite other people to pin to them or leave them open for anyone to contribute to. Alternatively, you could start a “Pin to Win” competition encouraging your customers to create pinboards full of images they think are relevant to your business or industry. Get them to name their boards after your business or include a hashtag relevant to your brand in order to drive interest to your products and services.

4) Become a collaborator yourself

Search for other pinboards relevant to your industry or see what your competitors are up to. Not only can you pick up some ideas, you may also find some collaborative boards that you can contribute to.

Why You Need To Get On The Electoral Roll

Are you able to vote in next year’s General Election? While most people are aware that you must be on the electoral roll in order to vote, here are some other reasons why it is important for you to register:

Credit rating

Failure to be listed on the electoral roll may affect your credit rating. Lenders use information from the electoral roll to confirm your name, address and residential history. Not being registered could cause delays when applying for credit while the lenders search for the information elsewhere and can even cause some applications to be refused.

Mortgage applications

If you are looking to take out a mortgage or any kind of loan, ensuring your electoral roll information is up to date is vital as banks and building societies need to know the information about you is current before they will agree to an offer.

It’s the law

You can be fined up to £1,000 for not registering to vote!

Ordnance Survey Map Changes

We use Google and Ordnance Survey maps, both to illustrate the locations of data results, and in a map viewer at www.ukphonebook.com/maps. The map viewer defaults to Google, but you may select Ordnance Survey. A “full screen” option is provided, to maximise the window.

We also use O.S. maps in zonesearch.com.

The Ordnance Survey 1:10000 scale maps offer the highest detail (the maximum zoom). When we uploaded the most recent version of this scale, we wrote a process to analyze the changes from an older version; one of the changes it found is shown below.

The left hand view shows the current map; the right hand is the former map. Note the changes to the west of King’s Cross station in London.

To view King’s Cross in our map viewer, follow this link. You can also switch to Google maps, and view the satellite and “street view” options too, of course.

Managing Social Networks

I might be late to the game but I’ve recently started using HootSuite after a colleague recommended I give it a try. Now I’m not sure how I managed without it! This post is by no means an advert for the service, it’s just something that I find really useful so felt the need to share.

In a nutshell, HootSuite is a dashboard for all your social networking activity. You can link all your social networking accounts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ etc.) to it and publish posts to all of the above from one place.

You can also link multiple accounts from the same platform. For example, I run the ukphonebook.com Twitter account as well as my own personal Simunix account (@laura_simunix) and also some partner accounts – I am able to post to all of these directly from HootSuite.

You can select which accounts you publish to on a post by post basis. So if I want to post something to the ukphonebook.com Twitter and Facebook accounts only, I can just select those from the list and type up my post. The input box even includes a helpful word count based on which social network you are posting to.

Another feature that I find extremely useful is the ability to schedule posts. If I know I will be out of the office for a few days, I can schedule posts to be published throughout my absence and it’s as if I never left!

You can add streams to your dashboard in order to keep up with hot topics on Twitter and can even keep abreast of conversations that apply to your interests or business by creating a stream based on certain keywords (“directory enquiries” in our case).

So there you have it! My advice for managing all of your social media networks.

Unusual UK Place Names

Cridling Stubbs

Near Knottingley, in West Yorkshire. Stubbs are criddled there each July.

Wetwang

Stop sniggering. It’s in East Yorkshire.

Brown Willy

Not a village or town but a hill, the highest point in Cornwall. For some reason, some want to change its name.

Brown Willy, Cornwall

Haselbury Plucknett

In Somerset. Our research department was unable to discover the name used by the locals (after an exhaustive 3 minute Google session).

Twatt

Don’t whatever you do confuse Twatt in Shetland with Twatt in Orkney, or anything else for that matter.

EIRCODE – Postcodes come to The Republic of Ireland (at last!)

Did you know that Ireland does not have postcodes? However, this is all to change in spring 2015 when 2.2 million households across the country will receive letters with details of their new postcodes or Eircodes as they will be known.

Simunix has registered several .ie web domains with the intention of delivering online solutions to help ROI residents quickly adopt use of the Eircode.

Unlike our postcodes in the UK which can cover entire streets, there will be a unique seven-character code for each address. Each Eircode will have two parts – a 3-character Routing Key to help with mail sorting, and a 4-character Unique Identifier that identifies the exact address.

The Minister for Communications in Ireland, Pat Rabbitte has said that the new system will make postal deliveries faster and more efficient as well as making it easier for various community and business services to locate households.