Today on the blog we have Amanda Johnson who runs VACT Ltd one of the UK and Europe’s leading Virtual Assistant Training Companies. She will be talking about how she uses Pinterest for her business.
Amanda is a military veteran. An, ex-Royal Navy Logistics Officer, her military career spanned 23 years and covered a wide range of secretarial, professional administrator and logistic duties. On her retirement from the military in 2012, she launched her own VA business, then in 2014, she bought the business she had trained with, VACT Ltd, and for a number of years ran her VA “doing” business alongside the training business – but eventually realised she did need to get some sleep so sold her doing business to focus purely on the training side of the business.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.
I work primarily with new and aspiring Virtual Assistants, to set up a VA business and then established Virtual Assistants to grow an awesome and authentic business. Having launched my own VA business after a personal tragedy caused me to re-evaluate life; I understand the drivers behind creating a business that is right for the individual rather than creating someone else’s idea of a business. I am well known, for my genuine, no-nonsense and straight talking advice and support.
I live on the south coast of the UK with my husband, Andrew (who runs his own business and is also a military veteran), our two young children, James and Jacob and really do live by my core values and ethos, which is to inspire, support and challenge those wanting an authentic and awesome Virtual Assistant business.
What else is there… I love nice champagne, Belgian beer and Belgian chocolate (as a result of living in Belgium during my military days!) and drink way too much fizzy pop!
How long have you been using Pinterest for your business?
Do you know what, I cannot remember the exact start date… I created my account back in 2013-2014 when my coach told me too, I put up 8 pins that weren’t optimised or posted to relevant boards. You see, I had the belief that Pinterest was a social media channel and was all about recipes, arts and crafts or house renovations, it was never going to help someone like me grow a VA business!
Why did you start using Pinterest?
In around 2017, someone said to me that I ought to consider using Pinterest – it would be great for my business as I had a lot of blogs on my site. I was like “yeah ok”, so I logged in, checked those 8 pins and there were several hundred views per month. Stop! This got my attention, so if 8 pins, with no keywords could deliver me several hundred views on my content per month, what could optimised pins do for my business and brand?
I was listening!
I then did lots of research, several courses and well here we are over a thousand pins later and lots of organic traffic!
What has been your experience with Pinterest for your business?
Pinterest is a little like business, you have to be in it for the long game – there are days / weeks when I think “sugar” I haven’t been on my Pinterest account for a little while, so I go in “do a bit” and then get excited by the stats, “do a bit more”, get excited and the circle continues.
However, in truth, it’s a tool that I have found to be a great visibility tool – I cannot say that someone has bought my training as a result of reading a pin but it’s definitely a place where potential clients can start their VA journey with me.
What do you think is the best about Pinterest for your business?
Longevity! A pin lives for so much longer than any other social media posts and I still get traffic from those early pins. But I love, now that I optimise my pins for Pinterest search, they are also getting picked up by the other search engines and so organically my website gets traffic and I get to connect with great people from around the world who are interested in becoming a Virtual Assistant.
I also love that Pinterest can inspire the topics of our blogs – I will often start typing phrases into the search bar of Pinterest to see what things people have searched for and this can ignite an idea for a blog or even a monthly training for the VA Membership.
What do you think is the most challenging aspect of Pinterest for your business?
I really don’t enjoy creating the graphics – there are some awesome tools and amazing templates available to help, but I still don’t enjoy that side of things. When I was first setting up – I had over 200 blogs that needed Pinterest images, so I outsourced their creation and that was amazing. Nowadays, we create the graphics as we upload each new blog and then schedule those to go out over a period of time.
What would you advise businesses who are not using Pinterest for their digital marketing strategy as yet?
Stop seeing Pinterest as a social media platform, see it for what it is – a visual search engine and a great way of getting visibility to your content. We all know in business we need to have a strategy for what we are trying to achieve, Pinterest is just one part of that strategy and if you are in business for the long game, you really ought to be using it. Oh how I wished I had listened to my VA Coach and Mentor when I had started out…
What do you love to do when you’re not working?
I don’t really have a great deal of spare time, my husband and I run 2 businesses, we have 2 children and life is often the juggle. But I wouldn’t have it any other way in all honesty. One of the lessons I learnt in the military was work hard, play hard and that lesson has carried on now that I am a civilian. So even on a weekend, you will find me supporting my VA clients as that could be the time when they are getting to work on their business.
As a family, we like to travel and I will be honest that is the one thing that I have missed in 2020 and cannot wait to start doing that again!
Tell us one thing you can tell us about you that not many people know?
23 years in the Royal Navy, and I suffer with sea sickness badly so will do pretty much anything to avoid being on the water!
I look forward to hearing from you.