Pinterest and the Madness that is Social Media

Red Pinterest logo

Red Pinterest logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First there was MySpace.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

twitter logo map 09

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.

Español: Logo Vectorial de YouTube

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.

Consumers More Likely to Use Businesses Active on Social Media | Inc.com

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Inc Magazine is a great source for Entraprenuars

This article from Inc. Magazine (or Inc.com) is from October 2010 but it’s still the most decided and clear study I’ve read about the effects of on-line social media marketing.

Let me give you just a small taste: Seven out of 10 consumers are more likely to use a local business if it has information available on a social media site!

Sooooo…how’s that Facebookpage of your’s looking NOW?

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

And what exactly have you Tweeted lately? Better get on it. Complaining that it’s a “time sucker” is no longer a good excuse. It’s like saying, “I could get a lot more accomplished if all these customers didn’t keep interrupting me.”

It’s a good read. Click and check it out.

Consumers More Likely to Use Businesses Active on Social Media | Inc.com.

Here is just one more little, personal bit of advice. My six year old website, www.totalbroadcasting.com, never had more visitors to it than the very first week I was on Twitter. And after that initial peak its number of visitors has never dipped down to the low levels it had consistently before that time.

So get busy on Facebook, LinkedIn, Biznik, Twitter, etc.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Word of Mouth needs a hand.

This article was originally written and published in October 2010. It has been edited and made current.- M Schuett

Michael and his OLD computer

Get to know the internet

I’m going to make a statement that will send shivers down the spine of long time business people. It’ll cause concern and disagreement and it will do so primarily because it will cause all business people to rethink and renew how they go about maintaining their business.Word of mouth advertising doesn’t work any more. At least it doesn’t work without a little help. But fortunately help is available.

Many longtime business owners have always relied on word of mouth advertising as their vehicle to drive home to them new clients. They worked hard to provide good service and a good product and relied on customers to tell others of how wonderful they were. Word of mouth advertising was the best marketing conversion tool they had.

For many or most of these businesses recent years have seen a drop in business. We’re in a national recession (or technically, WERE) so a drop in business can be expected, right? In the mind of the old-time business person all they need to do is hang on and keep providing good service and the economy will bounce back and things will be good as new. But as we emerge from this significant economic slow down anyone who relies only on word of mouth advertising is going to be disappointed to find out that their business may never bounce back to where it was and may eventually suffer enough lack of new business that the business as a whole will fail.

When a referral for a business service comes my way more often than not I’m given little more than a person or companies name and maybe a phone number or a location of business. In determining whether I use this referral my first step is to look them up…on the internet. If out and about my Galaxy Tab tablet computer gives me instant internet access and I punch in what info I have into a Google search

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

. If it can wait until I’m home (or if I’m there already) I do the same. I take the referral information I have and conduct a Google search for the business or service referred.

Now pretend with me for a moment what happens when that business or service cannot be seen or found in my Google search results.

1. Do I call that business anyway?

2. Do I conduct another search using keywords I think might bring the referred business to Google’s attention?

3. Or do I click on a link to another business who has caught my eye in the Google search results?

Option number 1 happens seldom. Option 2 occurs with more frequency. But when it does I’m often still left unsatisfied. Option 3, in which I begin the process of taking my business elsewhere happens more often than the others and with increasing frequency. This process is repeated by normal Americans everyday. And every day business with no internet presence lose that business to those who have an internet presence.

Word of mouth needs a hand because the process I just described is so easy for everyone. Google searches at home or at the office and now out and about on your smart phone or tablet allow all of us to quickly check on all referrals to determine their validity and whether we want to take the next step and call them.

Websites can be the answer to your lack of search engine results. Even a small and undistinguished website can be found by Google. But if you don’t have the time or money to develop or maintain a website, or if your site doesn’t come up first in a Google search the above stated scenario can be repeated.

Word of mouth advertising needs a hand.

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

When you open a YouTube account for a company profile video, or a Facebook Fan Page, or a Blog on WordPress or similar site, or you Post a profile page on LinkedIn.com

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

you can spend zero dollars and only a small amount of time. But the results are instantaneous and the problem of having zero internet presence is solved immediately.

Besides the business and social media sites mentioned above, there are an ever increasing number of directories on the internet that may already have some information on your business. But a lot of that information may be wrong and may be minuscule. Sites like Citysearch, Manta, Merchant Circle and others are out their with your information; but unless you claim them and expand on that information they are not likely to appear high in a Google search result. Claim them, and even if you have little else on the internet you can at least count on being found on a first page Google search when someone types in your specific name.

So here is what you do to help your word of mouth advertising. Get a presence on the internet. Start by conducting a Google search for yourself or your business or both. Visit every link in which your information appears; and don’t stop on the first or even the second page. Claim the pages you find with your basic business information. Usually its little more than a name an address and a phone number. Claim it by clicking on the link on the page that reads “Business Owner?” or “Is this your business?” or something similar. Then follow the steps to fill in the information it asks. If it allows you to upload photos, then upload photos. If it allows you to upload video…you’ve struck GOLDUpload a video. No video? Get one.

Fill out all the information completely and thoroughly. Then move on to the next search result, and repeat the process.

Lastly, if typing your name and business produces nothing on a first or even second page Google search result. Do nothing else until you have opened a Fan Page on Facebook, a Google email account and business profile, and a free LinkedIn and Biznik account.

Now you’ve done THE MINIMUM. Now you’ve given word of mouth a fighting chance.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

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