First there was MySpace.
In 2004 Facebook was created and after a few years went cruising by MySpace like it was standing still. YouTube went online in 2005. And somewhere thereafter came a host of internet social media sites like LinkedIn, Biznik, and Twitter. Internet behemoth Google is trying desperately to make Google + a player. And they have the resources to do so. For now Facebook is the undisputed King of social media; and YouTube the number 1 challenger.
But a new player on the stage has surged past Google +, Twitter and all the others. Since its launch in March 2010 Pinterest has surpassed all but Facebook and YouTube in popularity on the internet. Pinterest is an online bulletin board in which members post pictures and videos of things that interest them. It’s supposed to be a non-business site, so don’t tell them what we’re doing there. And don’t tell what Coca Cola, Starbucks and a countless number of other large and small businesses are doing “pinning” the things that interest them, including coupons, discounts, and other incentives designed to get you to buy their products.
What’s all this mean for the overwhelmed small business owner who can barely comprehend the concept of marketing at all, let alone online or social media marketing? The answer will be different for every person. But if you’re a business owner or a commissioned sales person (in which case you are your own business owner whether you know it or not) it’s not wise to ignore the potential social media and Pinterest in particular may represent.
At this time in my life and for the previous eleven years teenage kids have been part of my life since before there was social media. So I’ve known of the concept of social media for 6-7 years. But I didn’t get started on it officially until May 8, 2008 when I opened an account on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Biznik.com all in the same day. I had attended a seminar at the Master Builders Association offices in Bellevue, WA conducted by two serious networkers I’d come to know. They enlightened me to the necessity for a smart business person, especially one engaged in networking, to be on Facebook and Biznik. Sadly, while they convinced me of the need to be on social media; they didn’t tell me what to do once I got there. So I languished.
My Facebook Timeline clearly confirms what I remember. I made no posts there from May 2008 until October 2008. And then I only made three posts all month. I had almost no Friends. Then one high school friend asked me to be friends, via Facebook notification email. I happily accepted. Within days I had close to 1-hundred friends. Let the posting begin. And did it ever. Very quickly Facebook became a daily must. My wife thought I was nuts. She only joined Facebook in 2010. Now she’s on more than me.
My company Facebook page, Total Broadcasting Service, didn’t come into existence until August 2009 when continuing my networking pursuits through Biznik, mostly, I continued to learn more and more on how to make social media work for my business. When Twitter became all the rage in 2009 and 2010 I resisted. Frankly, I hadn’t seen much direct business coming my way via these venues and was skeptical of Twitter’s capacity to help me grow my business. Finally in March 2010 I joined Twitter and posted on Facebook that I had done so. In the week that followed I’d never had so many visits to my company website. Another class in March 2011 taught me about @ and # on Twitter, and how to connect them all and once again the visits to my website spiked.
Now when I post anything to my company Facebook page it’s instantly re-posted on Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Biznik, and back on my Facebook personal profile Wall.
When I Like or Favorite or upload a video on YouTube a link to the video is immediately posted on Twitter and subsequently onto Facebook. Creating the Twitter link to all these sites makes it a lot easier to have each one regularly updated through a single post on a single site. It’s very convenient and very necessary to update your social media in order to maintain and grow your Likes, and Followers and with it your business.
After several years our efforts are starting to pay off for Total Broadcasting Service. We’re received more and more referrals and direct business from social media in the past six months than the rest of these years combined. In our dealings with customers, other business owners, I remain stunned at how few make any effort at all on social media. It’s a mistake they won’t realize fully until the economy gets up to full speed again, and those without a well established presence on the internet will be left in the dust.
Currently Pinterest membership is made up 85% by women. Of those women 77% are between the ages of 25-54. Early indications for business are than Pinterest drives more people to a company’s website than to its Facebook page. When you Pin something to your bulletin board you can attach your website to it. Then, whenever and however many times that Pin is “Re-Pinned” by others your website URL goes with it. Such spiderweb links are precisely what SEO experts will tell you are mandatory to improve your company website’s search engine results.
Pinterest still has some growing to do. You must be invited in order to join. And that can take a few days and there are some whose self-invitations are denied, for reasons that are left unexplained. Pinterest still has no mobile app for anything other than the iPhone. And I gotta tell ya, if you are not a woman…well…lets just say…I don’t get it yet. But….4 years ago I was saying the same thing about Facebook, and 2 years ago I was saying the same thing about Twitter. Maybe your interest will peak faster than mine. Then again, maybe you’re a woman.
Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.
- Pinterest nearly equals Twitter and Google in referral traffic (news.cnet.com)
- Be social: Is Pinterest of use to your business? The first steps… (marketing.yell.com)
- Making Pinterest Work For Your Small Business (ychange.com)