When Google+ launched last year, there were whispers circulating around the social media marketing industry that this could be the platform which would allow Google to challenge Facebook’s dominance.
Yet, four months later it would appear the popularity of Google+ has failed to live up to the hype, both for individuals looking to take advantage of a new social networking platform and for businesses looking to expand their online marketing.
This theory is proven further when you look at the findings from a recent ComScore report, which shows despite Google CEO Larry Page claiming the site had 90 million users last month, the average time spent on Google+ was 3.3minutes – compared to 7.5 hours on Facebook.
Perhaps the biggest surprise from the ComScore report is that the newest social media platform to take flight, Pinterest, sees on average users spend 25 minutes on the site at any one time – despite Pinterest having relatively little media hype.
So is Pinterest the next big thing and should businesses be Pinterest-ed in the network if they want to expand their social media marketing; or is it another flash in the pan?
What is Pinterest?
Put simply, Pinterest is a virtual pin-board of images you like and want to share; whether they’re images you’ve drew yourself, pictures you’ve taken yourself or images you’ve found on the internet, any image can be shared on your virtual pin board.
Along with being able to share images of virtually anything and everything on your virtual pin-board, you can also create as many pin-boards as you want, tailored to various things of interest to you.
Once you pin an image to your pin-board, other users can comment on it, like it and share it on their boards, helping your images spread around the social network and beyond.
Pinterest themselves, say that their mission is to: “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.”
How Can Businesses Use Pinterest:
Whilst the site has been highly popular with individuals who want to share their images, it can also be beneficial to businesses looking to expand their social media marketing.
Some of the key areas in which the network can assist businesses looking to expand their online marketing, include:
Writing a company blog about your new product is all well and good as it allows people to get an understanding about what you’re selling and the benefits of the product; but sometimes the best form of promotion is showing the product.
Pinterest is the platform to do this, allowing you to group products in the same categories together to promote your full range to your target audience. The network also has a separate area for videos, giving you the opportunity to show your audience the product in action.
We’re not saying don’t write the blog about the product still, in-fact we would recommend that you both blog and use Pinterest and then link the two together, giving your clients the complete picture (pun intended!).
One of the best forms of promotion for your business and also one of the best ways to source feedback is via crowd-sourcing.
By asking your followers to post images of themselves with their favourite product from you, including your business name in the tag is a great way for you to get an honest reflection of what your audience likes. It also gives you the opportunity to re-pin the images and to reach a wider audience.
The key to all elements of social media for businesses and brands is to interact and engage with the audience.
Although Pinterest focuses on images it still allows for interaction and customer engagement.
For example if someone re-pins one of your images, comment on the image on their board and thank them, potentially go that one step further and ask what drew them to your image – fish for feedback.
You should also look to follow other users as this can help to build a buzz about your product / business, as more users become aware of it.
Another great way to build a buzz about your products, existing or new, is to hold a contest revolving around them; and Pinterest is a great social network to carry out such an activity, with the options available almost endless.
Not only does this help build a buzz, but it’ll also help build up an interaction between you and your clients.
Not only does Pinterest help with marketing, but it also offers some SEO benefits to businesses taking advantage of the platform.
A few SEO benefits including allowing “do follow links” within the pin description – allowing businesses to link back to their website, blog or other social networks.
Pinterest also supports the hash-tag function – popular with Twitter – and allows users to add keywords, helping images to be found easily and therefore helping to boost the likelihood of them being shared across the network.
So should your business be “Pinterest-ed”? This will depend on your industry, audience and what you want to achieve from social media marketing. So before you rush to sign up to the network, take your time to carry out some research to see if the platform can be beneficial to your business and whether your target audience can be reached via it.