Is Pinterest among the social media tools that you need to be using right now? Yeah or Nay. Among the likes of the leading social media tools out there that have become well-to do household names, comes Pinterest. By now, the name Pinterest has probably crossed paths with your ears in reference to a new social media tool, and it seems as though with every hour that goes by, Pinterest is exponentially gaining more members.
What is Pinterest? Pinterest can best be described as a virtual pinboard that members can compile & “pin” groupings of images or videos publically viewable by all visitors to the site. Much like Twitter, visitors can follow their favorite pinboards, and similar to the “forward” feature in Email Marketing, pinned images may be “re-pinned” onto a visitor’s own board.
Is Pinterest among the social media tools that small businesses need to be using right now? Maybe. Every day, there seems to be a new platform on the rise- a new social media tool claiming its name to fame. So, are businesses expected to jump on the bandwagon of every new cyber tool to join social media, right on arrival? Maybe. But before doing so, it is imperative to stop and study how any of these tools, whether Facebook, Twitter or most recently Pinterest, can specifically enhance your brand. Because, it’s not enough to simply start a Facebook account or to request a Pinterest invitation to join, but it takes extensive commitment and devotion of energy into posting, tweeting or pinning quality content intended to build solid relationships.
You may decide that one tool will work better for you than others and can make an informed decision on which avenue to pursue, or you may conclude that all the tools will benefit your business and you can delve right into all of them. Whatever your decision, you will need to carefully evaluate the reasons why and how you, as a small business, may benefit from any given tool before dipping your feet in, and not feel pressured to join simply because everyone else is doing so.
Knowing that social media can provide an advantage to most businesses, doesn’t mean that it actually does. A well-respected author and blogger, Mark Schaefer highlights the reasons it isn’t happening below.
• Small businesses are overwhelmed by the concept and don’t know where to start.
• Small businesses started a Facebook page and nobody “liked” them so they quit.
• Small businesses understand the concept but don’t have the time or resources to do anything consistent and meaningful.
• Small business marketing budgets are tied up in local newspaper and TV ads and they don’t have anything left for something new.
• When you bring it up, they stare you down and tell you they “Don’t need the Facebox or The Tweeter,” usually followed by ”Dammit.”
A Classic Paradigm of Quality vs. Quantity: It’s easy to get caught up with how many Facebook Fans you have, or how many “likes” you get on any given post, but be mindful of the somewhat superficial nature of these contacts you’ve complied. Take a second to think about your true social media friends and followers, those that add value to your business, those that you have exchanged valuable communication with, those that would go out of their way for you, that have something to offer you in return, as well.
These are the types of true, meaningful, “quantity” relationships that really matter and that you should strive to nurture and grow. Because it is these types of quality relationships that are on a deeper level, that are dependable and resourceful. And if you think any social media tool can potentially help you achieve this type of rich following, then you should commit to it for those reasons.
What does this mean for the small business owner? We’re going to use Pineterst as an example, since it’s the latest popular entrant in this arena. But this thought process applies to any and all social media platforms that small businesses are considering ascribing to.
Here are 3 reasons why Pinterest MAY NOT YET be ready to join the ranks of Email Marketing:
1. Blatant Self Promotion a No-No: Unlike emailing promotional content or special savings offers for building time-tested relationships with a direct targeted audience, you cannot pin images for a purely commercial purpose. Blatant self promotion is against pin etiquette, because the meaning behind pinboards is that they are to be used to organize and share images that you love or are proud of.
Translation for Small Businesses: Stick to email. It’s fast, affordable and direct to the people who look forward to hearing from you and trust you. They are the ones who are more likely to convert. With the day-in, day-out demands of small businesses, there may not be any extra time left over to then “pin” images for organizational purposes and in the hopes that someone may stumble upon such pinboard and re-pin in order to market your brand in this arms length way.
2. Cannot “Send” Promotional Material: With a Pinterest pinboard, your collection of images or videos is fashionably organized, though at the mercy of others pinning and re-pinning such images, as a way to get your name out there. By contrast, Email Marketing affords the optimum method, by comparison, more than any other social media tool, to actually “SEND” promotional content and all forms of communication to your list of contacts.
Translation for Small Businesses: Stick to email… it SENDS! You don’t have to wait for a visitor to stumble upon your Pinboard, or to catch your post among hundreds of other wall posts on Facebook, or to see a brief Twitter message. You can send now, send direct and send all you want, whether it’s an informative newsletter, or calendar of month-long events.
3. No “Real” Stats – Just a Scoreboard: The exponential growth Pinterest has had in the past couple months is monumentous and while we have no doubt that it will continue to grow and hone its tool to excellence, right now, there are no “real” stats- just a scoreboard of followers.
Translation for Small Businesses: Stick to email. Well to do Email Marketing companies have built-in tracking and stats in their software programs, making it easy to track in real-time results of email campaigns, including opens, click throughs, unsubscribes, bounces, etc. in order to asses specific campaign efficiency and most importantly, focused on increasing sales and conversion.