If you haven’t heard of Pinterest, you will soon. It’s the latest rage in social networking sites. But don’t rush to join it—it may be right for your business, or maybe not.
Pinterest had 1.2 million users in August 2010 and currently enjoys a community of over 4 million. It was named one of the top four sites to watch in 2012. The concept is definitely cool, especially if you’re a woman between the ages of 25 and 44. The site serves as a virtual pin board for users who want to collect online gems and display them under a certain theme. Great for planning weddings, remodels and lesson plans. Good for publishing? The jury is still out on that.
By now, you probably know that utilizing social media is an important marketing strategy. Social media can enhance your brand and extend your reach to hundreds or thousands of potential customers without costing you a lot of extra time, energy or money.
It is doubtful that social media will ever replace face-to-face connections and email marketing still shows more direct ROI than social media, but Linkedin, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest aren’t going anywhere—and you’ll soon be hearing about the next latest rage, and the next… So, why not capitalize on the fact that your employees AND your customers are social beings who crave interaction?
- Invites audiences to get to know you and your brand personally, with multi-directional interaction. It’s not merely selling your brand.
- Brings people together with particular interests and expertise, which spurs dialogue, connection and cross selling.
- Engages employees in their work in a way that is motivating, which boosts productivity and encourages clear communication of best practices.
- Provides you with information about your audience, which allows you to see what is driving your market—and meet its needs.
- Encourages viral distribution of your content.
Don’t Let Social Media Rule Your Life!
You don’t need to spend hours a day on social media to make it work for you, and you definitely don’t need to join every network out there even if it is the latest, hottest thing.
- Find out who is using a social network, before you join it. You want to connect with people who are interested in your content.
- Invest some initial time in a comprehensive, engaging business profile.
- Determine what your resources are for social media and commit to a plan that is realistic. Consider time, personnel and expertise.
Businesses that succeed with social media often use it as a supplement to their existing marketing practices and they use very specific tactics.
- Use email to get the ball rolling then encourage those contacts to share your information on their own social networking pages.
- Don’t just broadcast your content, engage your network. Create incentives and promos that are social network driven e.g., registration occurs via Facebook.
- Set up analytics to track what business comes to you from your social networking sites—and build on the results.
Your website can work well in partnership with social media tools and also include a workflow that enables social networking within your company to support efficiency and enthusiasm. Whichever social network you choose can easily be integrated—and when the next big social network comes along—the one that fits—you’ll be ready for it.