Pinterest Workshop in Devon at Deer Park November 2017

On Wednesday 8th November, the fabulous Kate Cullen and I ran our first ever live Pinterest Love workshop at the incredibly beautiful Deer Park Country House Hotel near Honiton, Devon. I had met Mark, the managing director, at an NAWP seminar I taught back in April and was immediately enamoured with his passion and enthusiasm for his business and so I was delighted when he offered to host the Pinterest Love workshop at Deer Park.

A group of 12 wonderful businesswomen and men met to learn all about how to use Pinterest for their businesses. We had wedding dress designers, stationery designers, cake makers, a wedding directory owner and photographers in our creative mix and it was super fun to go through a wide range of topics all to support them to grow their Pinterest following and attract a wider audience.

What was great to see was that all attendees had established businesses and weren’t here to learn how to drive much-needed sales but understood how beneficial it can be in getting sales using the techniques taught by myself and Kate.

I taught the morning session where I taught the attendees about target audience and why this mattered for social media and Pinterest in particular, how by understanding the benefits of their product and service they knew more about what to post on Pinterest and how to draw in their target audience. We talked specifically about how to bring in your current fans from other platforms, your customers, and also about what to do with your boards.

After a delicious buffet lunch put on by our hosts, Deer Park Hotel, eaten in their incredible Orangery (tropical leaves wallpaper right up our street, bloody love it) and a quick pose with one of the beautiful classic cars they have available at the hotel, we then had the afternoon session with Kate.

Kate was an early adopter to Pinterest back in 2011 when it was an invite-only situation. Her marketing strategy has always been focused on Pinterest and as such she has 29,000 followers. She walked through the process of what makes an engaging image, how to set up rich pins and the advantages of rich pins vs regular pins and how to actually make bookings through Pinterest.


Attendees commented that it was very meaty, that it made them think more closely about who it was they were trying to attract and that they left the workshop with plenty of ideas.

"I just wanted to thank you both for an excellent course yesterday. My head is still buzzing with all the information you kindly gave to us. To have me sitting and listening to every word spoken is a big credit to you. (And I don’t say that lightly). As soon as I have sent this email to you, I will be getting started! Thank you for a wonderful day, in wonderful surroundings." Sally, Aylin White Designs

All in all a great day! Huge thanks to Venetia Norrington Photography for snapping through the day and huge thanks to Deer Park Country House Hotel for looking after us so well.

If you're looking to increase your engagement through Pinterest and get those bookings in, then you can sign up to our next live Pinterest workshop in London. We'll also be releasing the details of the online Pinterest Love course very soon indeed so you can sign up to the mailing list here to be notified.

Maddy xo

How do I use hashtags (and why you want to)

This week I'm talking about hashtags specifically answering the question - How do I use hashtags, they’re a bit of a marmite subject, aren't they, you love them or you hate them, and you’re never quite sure where to use them or how to use them or when to use them!

I wanted to break it down in simple steps for you:

What are hashtags?

To the uninitiated, using a hashtag on whatever you're posting on a social media platform groups together what you say with everyone else who's used that hashtag. When you click on a hashtag, you can see who else is using that hashtag, nifty, huh?

Why is this useful to me?

We all want to feel connected, right? No more so than in running your own business and in wanting to join in conversations. You may have seen hashtags for particular news threads, for events, for topics, for scheduled conversations. By using the designated hashtag, you get to join in that conversation and add your tuppence worth. #ValuableFreeMarketing

How do I include hashtags in my updates?

You can either write a sentence for your update and then add hashtags afterwards like this:

I love cake so much. #cake #love

or include the hashtag in your sentence (but this can read poorly):

I #love #cake #so #much

If you want to add lots of hashtags, please make sure you delete the spaces between words. I cannot tell you how often I see wasted opportunities due to the spacing issue! e.g. #Marketing #SEO #YeahBaby

Notice I've deleted spaces between the words of multiple word hashtags e.g. #toomuchtodo (for 'too much to do')
and also make sure you add spaces after the final word before starting the next hashtag.

Should I be using hashtags? How?

That entirely depends on where you are. I've broken it down by social media platform to help:


Whilst Facebook confirms they technically help search results, the hashtags used aren't generally the terms searched and they're not actually clicked on or used to any large extent. I think the hashtag use on Facebook does help with branding (for example, with a particular campaign) or in a humorous way.

Verdict: No need to really use them on Facebook if you're looking to improve engagement this way. But using them humorously if you know your audience will enjoy them does work! Example below ;o)


With only 140 characters in each update, the power of the hashtag can be used here to group your tweet with other tweets talking about the same topic. When you click on a hashtag, you see who else is using that hashtag. You may want to connect with these people by retweeting them or favouriting them. If you and others who are geographically near you all use the same hashtag then you can make it start trending, which essentially means it appears more in your feed, and the feeds of those who are also geographically near you or otherwise follow a lot of the people who are using that hashtag (for example, I get trending hashtags about wedding discussions that I'm not necessarily a part of).

Verdict: Yes, use them! But sparingly - one or two maximum.


Instagram, how I love thee. The hashtag here is gold. You can use up to 30 hashtags, so just stick them in the description box along with your caption.

Verdict: You should be using these! But which ones? Scroll down to get the freebie list of hashtags for your business.


In 2018, Pinterest made hashtags useful. After years of people using them anyway, they weren't actually clickable until spring 2018. So, use them sparingly but as they're so new, they'll be a popular new tool for sure!


You can of course use hashtags anywhere you like, like I've done throughout the this blog post, but they won't work anywhere other than social media if you want to join your conversation to the masses. Sorry!


Just for you, I'm offering a free copy of the Shine 10 Golden Rules of Using Hashtags if you sign up to my mailing list right here. You'll also have the opportunity to download hashtags of the category of your choice, but you'll only be able to see those from a link I'll send you in an email.

Have a fabulous rest of your week!

Muchos love
Maddy & Team Shine xo

P.S. Awesome video about hashtags right here ;o)