Will Pinterest actually help me grow my business?

Written by: Irina Lerner and Blair Mlotek

We all know how useful Pinterest is when you’re trying to decorate your living room or plan a big event, but is it useful to grow your brand?

Pinterest can be used to grow brand awareness, product sales and even leads for service-based businesses (did someone say organic web clicks?). What makes Pinterest so powerful is that over 367M+ users are already looking for ideas, products and business solutions–so when someone connects with your brand on Pinterest they are already (p)interested!

Pinners use the platform to inform their purchases, with 84% of weekly users using Pinterest as a research tool for shopping. If you want to be a part of a community that is actively searching for your products and services, Pinterest is just the place to make a name for your brand.

So, how do you do it?

1. Use keywords to appear in organic searches

If you’re not sure what keywords will help boost your pins, search for a similar brand or topic and use the suggested (see: often-searched) words that populate under the Pinterest search bar as your guide. Keywords can be included directly in your pin descriptions or titles, enabling them to do the SEO work behind the scenes. To double up on that power you can include relevant hashtags in your pin descriptions as well.

2. Create useful, visually appealing content

Similar to Instagram, Pinterest is a visually driven platform. Curation is key and it’s important to stick with your brand guidelines. Educational pins are a great value add to your brand since pinners are often looking to learn something new or find the perfect product to make their lives easier. Creating graphics (or adding graphics to existing images) on programs like Canva can also bring viewers to your pin while they scroll through their search results.

3. Repin with a strategy

A lot of your brand’s Pinterest presence is built on what you repin. The reason to repin is twofold: it’s a way to engage with others to create a community and it helps build your brand’s boards, keeping your account active and resulting in your pins being shown to more users.

But how do you know what to repin? Keep in mind your brand values and ensure that everything you’re pinning aligns with those. The pins should also be similar to your brand voice. For example, if your brand is very classic and chic, adding in a pin focused on humour may not make sense, even if it does make you laugh!

Just like all your content, you want to make sure that everything you’re adding to your boards, owned or repinned, adds value for your audience.

4. Keep the algorithm happy

It’s important that you consistently add new pins a few times a week, and try to repin daily if possible, since the Pinterest algorithm is more likely to pull up recent pins in a search result. Once visitors click on your pin, they may be led to click on your link or look through your boards to see what else they can find, and if they see you are consistently adding useful content, are more likely to follow you as well.

5. Consider putting some of your ad dollars towards the platform

The value of Pinterest ads come from the fact that they show up in the user’s search results. You can send already interested users directly to your website through a promoted pin. They’re already searching for something related to your ad, and now you’ve supplied it for them.

Irina Lerner and Blair Mlotek are longtime friends and creatives, and the co-founders of Cleo Social – an everything-social agency based in Toronto. Cleo is named after the original girl boss – Cleopatra. A woman with serious flair who wasn’t afraid to go after what she wanted: her desire to be heard and seen, and that’s exactly what Cleo will do for you: give your brand a distinct influential voice on the platforms that matter most. We are not a full service agency: we know what we’re good at and we only give you our best. We manage our clients’ social media platforms from strategy, to content, to execution and community management, ensuring they stay relevant on the channels that matter most to help them meet their goals.

4 Ways to Connect with Your Clients in a Human Voice

Written by: Tara MacIntosh

As business owners in these uncertain times, we have all had to re-create the way our products and services are packaged and sold. Communicating your newly minted offers with kindness and compassion is how you will remain connected to your valued clients and your community. Speaking from the heart, in a human voice, will allow your clients to see your efforts and solutions to accommodate their needs. It is not the time to be consumed with being perfectly polished; we are all in this together and are doing our best to work within the constraints of social distancing.

Follow these four ways to connect with your clients in a human voice:

#1 Speak with Kindness

It is impossible to understand what each valued client is going through. We will all experience self-isolation differently based on our coping skills and required lifestyle changes. As you offer new safe ways to engage with your products and services, communicate with kindness. People need to see the human side of the business, share how abrupt changes impacted your business, and how you were innovative with solutions to help your clients, and others in need. Offering solutions to a problem will allow you to show the value you are bringing to your community in this time of need.

#2 Create Content that will Educate and Inform

Knowing your niche as you do, use your content to help navigate issues that pertain to their specific situation. Now is the time to nurture your client base by catering to their niche needs. You may be able to deconstruct a concept in the news or a government directive that affects your industry, to help others understand how their niche clients can benefit. It is important to remember you are the expert, and your clients are looking to you to provide content that is relevant to your industry. Leadership requires you to take responsibility by stepping up to provide comfort in a time of uncertainty.

#3 Find Your Business Language of Love

Each business has a language of love. What’s yours? You may express love to your clients with discounts, value-add offers, no-charge webinars, community support, or free delivery. Showing your love and appreciation for their support will go a long way in connecting with your client base. If you can use your language of love to provide value to your niche, your content will be regarded as helpful, informative, and valuable. Providing answers in a world filled with uncertainty will elevate you as a leader in your community and your industry.

#4 Be Honest with Your Words

Being honest is always far superior to being perfect. There was no warning or manual for COVID-19; we are all doing the best we can with what we have. It is helpful to show how social distancing is presenting challenges and how your business has overcome those challenges. Sharing how you’ve managed to adapt your business to take care of your employees or revamp your offering will bring you closer to your client base by exposing your vulnerabilities. Perfect images are rarely respected as they create distance between the struggles of your clients and the solutions you are providing.

Connect with your clients through joy and heartbreak. Share your struggles and your success stories. As things change quickly, almost daily, there is no shortage of topics or information to share. Be generous when supporting your clients, and they will be generous when supporting you.

Tara MacIntosh is the Founder of The Writing Suite and Blog Bootcamp Workshops. Tara helps her clients understand language choices on a deeper level resulting in clear and concise messaging for their niche clients. Join Tara for Blog Bootcamp (new version launching in June!) to learn how to blog effectively and write impactful content by focusing and strengthening the messaging, language choice, and voice. Words motivate, inspire, and engage – choose wisely!

Tara MacIntosh is a professional writer, workshop leader, and speaker. She has been publishing work for over 20 years, including a recent piece on City MOGULS – MOGUL Mindset: City MOGULS Runway Show. She loves words and language and believes a brilliantly crafted message can change the world! For information on writing services or Blog Bootcamp Workshops contact Tara @thewritingsuite, www.thewritingsuite.com or 416-902-1319.

How to Build an Online Community in 6 Months

Written by: Vino Jeyapalan

In less than 6 months, Kabo Fresh Dog Food, built an active community of dog parents who love our brand – which also includes some notable Canadian celebrities.

Here are my top tips on how we built the community:

1. Listen to your community

It sounds a bit obvious, but, get obsessed with talking to your potential customers. We spent a year in dog parks from Toronto to Los Angeles understanding firsthand how other pet parents thought about dog food. That extension of listening applied to our online community as reviews started to indicate initial feedback.

2. Be a thought leader

As a part of listening you’ll soon realize that your community is facing a set of problems your initial offerings may not all address. We learned quickly dog parents had questions ranging from “How to foster a dog”to “Can my dog get COVID-19?” and used content to address their needs beyond just providing them with pet food.

3. Speak their language

Our team is all dog parents which helps us understand how to speak to our community in a language that they will understand through our messaging and creative. For us it means referring to the two legged beings in the house as hoomans and creating a pristine delivery experience.

4. Engage your community

Having a community requires a two-way dialogue. We built great relationships with our customers, which allows us to learn more about them and engage them with our brand. We worked with Shelby and her dog Maddy(a Kabo pupstomer) on informing our community. Your community likely wants to do more and engaging them allows you to build momentum.

5. Help your community

Telehealth for Pets on CP24

It’s evident that that coronavirus pandemic is devastating and as a brand you need to think about the impact this has on your community. In the beginning of March our team quickly learned that veterinary clinics and hospitals were only taking urgent care leaving the pet community worried during the beginning of the quarantine. We came together to build Kabo Health to help pet parents find an accredited veterinary practice that was offering telemedicine for their needs.

6. Have your community speak for you

The best way for your brand to grow, is by having your community advocate for you. If your product or service is truly adding value, your audience will want to share it with their community. During our contactless-delivery days, we have customers sharing their weekly routine with friends and family. Sometimes you find out those customers are Angry Appa from Kim’s Convenience.

Vino Jeyapalan is the CEO and Founder of Kabo Fresh Dog Food. ‍Kabo has delivered over 160,000+ human-grade, gently cooked fresh dog food Canada wide through contactless delivery. Vino started his career at Facebook in 2012 developing their ecommerce channel with brands, such as Procter & Gamble and Shopify. In 2016, he was awarded Top 30 Under 30 by Marketing Magazine for his work growing the direct-to-consumer channel at Facebook and Instagram.

5 Strategies to Pivot your Business

Written by: Victoria Marshman

What does this latest buzzword “pivot” actually mean? And how the heck can you pivot your business in such an uncertain time?

I wanted to do some digging myself as the word Pivot in my world is a jazz dance move (check-out a pivot turn if you want to learn a new dance move while you’re here).

According to the Founder’s Institute, pivoting in the startup world means to shift to a new strategy, often drastically changing several objectives and plans for the business.

But, what does “pivoting” aka a strategy shift look like during a pandemic? There’s no denying that every entrepreneur is in survival mode right now – figuring out this new way of living AND trying to keep their businesses alive. In the mentality of trying to swim, and not sink, I wanted to share strategies that have kept us afloat through the pandemic. A little more on us, in case this is the first time we’re meeting.
Photo by Ryan Emberley

We started City MOGULS in 2016 as a fundraising event to celebrate entrepreneurs, now known as The MOGUL Awards. Events are our roots and how we live out our mission: to connect and motivate entrepreneurs to inspire the great leaders.

In 2020, we launched two brand, new events, Talk The Walk and The MOGUL Retreat. Like many businesses, all the hard work and plans we had in place came crumbling down. My optimistic self was hopeful the first two weeks of social distancing, but my realistic self knew that the reality was this: our 2020 line-up of events might not happen in-person this year.

Knowing this, and that we still had an incredible community of entrepreneurs to support, here’s 5 strategies we used (and are still using) to pivot our business:

1. Act – FAST

ACT NOT REACT. Although my soul was going through an emotional rollercoaster, I knew the importance of acting fast, and doing everything I could to help our community get through this time.

We shifted the brand’s focus, like most businesses, to providing opportunities for the community digitally:

  • We expedited programs we were planning on doing later in the year, and converted them to a digital experience (check-out MOGUL Crews)
  • We provided free resources and ways for entrepreneurs to share what they were going through and any valuable information they had
  • I reached out to connect with community members that I know would be hit hard by the pandemic and offered any help I could

2. Be Honest with your Stakeholders

In one of our recent webinars, Michael Hyatt said, “This is not business as usual, this is war.” What is currently happening is completely out of our control – EVERYONE is struggling in some way. Keeping an open line of communication with your staff, stakeholders, investors and suppliers has never been so important. Empathize with what everyone else is going through and keep your awareness that we’re all in the same boat.

3. Ask for Help

As we like to say here at City MOGULS, your network is your net worth. Now is the time to call the favours and ask those around you for help.

Here’s an exercise we have been doing in our weekly sessions during MOGUL Crews.


Person 1 – I need advice on e-commerce platforms

Person 2 – You have a similar business model to mine, how are you strategizing to get through this time?

Person 3 – Can you connect me to your friend X who does X

Reach out to each of those people right now and follow-up with them in a few days if you don’t hear from them.

Tap into your existing resources. People are very open to sharing advice and supporting each other right now, and have the time to help. Remember, the fear of asking for what you want, results in not getting what you want.

4. Share what you do with the Community

You are amazing at what you do. Do not forget that. And sharing your skills/advice with others could literally save lives and businesses. Think about what you can offer to the community and how you can help others. Maybe it’s a free hour of training in your expertise. A free webinar where you can teach others a skill you have that could help them.

These selfless acts of generosity are what you (and your business) will be remembered for when this is all over.

5. Educate (and take care of) Yourself 🙂

And I don’t mean watching the news or binging on Tiger King to “educate” yourself on bobcats. Use the spare time you have to level up your skills and work on a skill that could help you as your business pivots. I’ve been focusing on mastering SEO through an online course on Udemy (if you found this blog on Google then I must have learnt something). My Co-Founder Dani Kagan has been working on her video editing skills, and we are both taking a Storytelling for Presenting course with Talk Boutique.

Often for entrepreneurs, self-care falls to the bottom of the to-do list. How are you supposed to help and support those around you if you aren’t feeling good? Set-up and stick to your self-care routines – it’s one thing you CAN control in your life right now. I’m a member of the 5 AM Club (worth a read if you struggle to find time in your day for YOU) but self care looks a little different for everyone.

Now get out there and PIVOT! Have you mastered the pivot turn since you started reading this blog post?

Three Ways to Position Your Business for Business Leadership, Impact and Growth

Written by: Nina Penner

You have an awesome start-up but the greatest health and financial crisis in history just hit together with a stark awakening to deep injustices in the world. Now what?

Maybe for you, “We’re all in this together” is cliché, but those 5 words contain the spirit we need, the hope we can embrace and immense opportunity to restart the right way with a thriving business.

Here are 3 strategies to incorporate now for increased exposure, impact and growth:

1. Diverse Workforce


Diversity is now where it should be; front and centre, with compelling reasons to get behind it. A BCC study found that companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues. McKinsey found that corporations with ethnically diverse executive teams are 33% more likely to financially outperform. Diverse workforces are proven to be more creative and innovative.


Get informed about the challenges, desires, motivations and aspirations of diverse groups. Importantly, seek help from experts and be ready to adjust and respond.

Here are Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2020

2. Engage Your People


Employees who are appreciated, inspired and challenged stay in their jobs. HubSpot found that 78% of employees said that being recognized motivates them and Gallup found 21% more profitability in companies with high engagement.


By now, you’ve likely heard of Dan Price who raised employee salaries to $70,000 and slashed his own 1.1 million salary to match. His company, Gravity then saw significant profit growth and a 30-40 percent productivity jump. His actions set off global debate in boardrooms, around water coolers and in political arenas. In appreciation of Dan’s leap of faith, his employees bought him a brand-new Tesla! Read about it here: https://www.inc.com/magazine/201511/paul-keegan/does-more-pay-mean-more-growth.html

We don’t need to be Dan Price, but we can learn from his actions:

  • Listening to his people
  • Putting himself in their shoes
  • Walking in the trenches with them
  • Honouring and celebrating their contributions
  • Not stopping when critics had their say

3. Corporate Social Responsibility

We’re all hearing more about Corporate Social Responsibility, but what is it?

BDC says: “A company’s commitment to manage the social, environmental and economic effects of its operations responsibly and in line with public expectations.”


The benefits are staggering and span the triple bottom line (profit, people, planet), including increased brand recognition and reputation, customer loyalty, financial performance, employee satisfaction and retention, access to financing and positive media attention. According to Forbes, more than 88% of consumers think companies should try to achieve their business goals while improving society and the environment.


Health technology company Philips was just included in Forbes list of top 10 largest public health companies and uniquely, features its social and environmental performance alongside its financial performance in reports. The first health technology company in the world to have its CO2 targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative, Philips is striving by 2020 to become carbon neutral, send zero waste to landfills, recycle 90% of operational waste and increase Green Revenues. By 2030, the company is committed to improving the lives of 400 million people a year in underserved healthcare communities.

Other companies who do this well:

Xerox Community Involvement Program:

Funding employees to volunteer for projects of their choosing 

Chipotle and Intermarché – The Inglorious Fruit and Vegetable

Selling “inglorious” produce at a discount

TOMS Shoes – One for One Campaign

Donating new shoes for children in need for every pair sold

Tentree Tree Planting

Planting 10 trees for every apparel item purchased

Twitter Fledgling Initiative

Donating all wine sales profits to children’s literacy

Find opportunities to travel, volunteer and get inspired to build your sustainable CSR model with UGO Impact and Planeterra Foundation.

There’s so much opportunity for you to show leadership, create impact and fuel significant growth for your business. Do the right thing and have fun!

Nina is the Founder of BluHelium Consulting where she is on a mission to empower leaders to reach their potential, make their greatest contribution and create extraordinary transformation.

A highly experienced executive development coach, facilitator and speaker, Nina has shared her expertise with thousands in Canada, the Philippines, India and Indonesia. With expert knowledge in emotional intelligence and behavioural styles, Nina supports leaders to up their game in areas such as coaching and performance, improving team effectiveness, transformative communication and presence and influence. She has led dozens of large-scale leadership development programs, worked with some of the largest corporations in the world and guided over 2000 leaders to achieve success. Clients praise Nina’s ability to connect the business realities of their organizations with the unique challenges of individual leaders. Nina believes there is room for us all to thrive and loves nothing more than to see her clients soar.

Nina would love to connect with you at www.linkedin.com/in/ninapenner or ninamariepenner@gmail.com