I have to admit, the so-called ‘thought leaders’ in the Social Media space really do send out some contradictory advice at times. We tell companies to focus not on the social media tools themselves, but HOW our customers are using them. We tell companies to let their markets dictate if we should even be using social media, and how we need to approach social media as a whole as just another tool in our marketing belt.
And yet…every few months, another social media site gets ‘discovered’ by the social media bubble, and we hype the tool to the skies. Now, the same group that’s preached avoiding the Shiny Object Syndrome is telling every company that they MUST be on Pinterest. It’s too big to ignore, and will only get bigger.
Just like every company needs to be on Plus, and Quora, and Indenti.ca. The same ‘social media experts’ that were hyping their Quora profiles this time last year, are all over Pinterest doing the same.
Now, I will be the first to admit that I am nothing close to a Pinterest expert. I’ve only spent a few hours with the site, but I can see where the emphasis on visuals and pinning could definitely benefit SOME businesses. In fact, I feel like Pinterest has more potential for companies in general than most of the other Socnets Come Lately that the bubble likes to tout.
But as is always the case, as a company you should never let hype drive your social media strategy. Should Pinterest be a part of your social media strategy? That’s for you and your customers to decide, not the ‘expert’ that hypes every new social media site as a ‘must-be-on’ site for companies.
And BTW, in case another thinks I am slamming Pinterest, I gave the exact same advice when the hypefest was touting Google Plus as the site that all companies HAD to be on.
For now, my advice is to be aware of what Pinterest’s functionality is, and to monitor how your customers and competitors are using the site. If you see that your customers and competitors aren’t there, that’s a good sign that maybe its not the best place for you to spend your time. On the other hand, if your customers are there, it’s a very sharp sign that you probably should be as well.
Remember, don’t focus on the tools, focus on the connections that the tools help facilitate.
James Young says
I couldn’t agree more. Put some thought into a new social network, have a plan, try it out in a measurable but light way, and see if it works for you. Don’t just jump in because it’s new, but don’t discount it straight away because it’s new. I talk about this in the latest post on my blog (http://jameshavingfun.com) as well.
Kyle Webs says
In some similar news, but not so similar, a lot of celebrities on there are annoying..just pinning themselves. It’s probably not a good idea for companies to do that either.
Neicole Crepeau says
Couldn’t agree more, Mack. And the thing is, Pinterest probably isn’t that valuable for most businesses. Even in those cases where the client’s business does lend itself to visuals, the policies that Pinterest has around any original content you post makes it a non-starter for most of them. I expect the Pinterest hype will continue, though.
Yeah, I think it’s about time we classify Shiny Object Syndrome as a social disease. Too often companies lose sight of functionality in order to play with the brand new social media toy that simply everybody will be using this year. This is the sort of thing that makes it difficult to work in social media today. You can never focus on consistently maintaining one channel because the “world-changing” new one is always around the corner!
Alison Koop says
Thanks for that last-sentence summation in bold. A very quoatable quote!
Andrea West says
Couldn’t agree more! I’ve been on Pinterest for quite some time and hated to see it surrounded by all the hype because I am NOT ready for the noise of marketers jumping on the bandwagon. To me, Pinterest is more about others finding your brand and spreading the message for you… which, when you think of it, is the whole idea of social media marketing. Right?
Mack Collier says
Andrea I think you just hit on a big disconnect companies have with social media. Every few months a ‘hot’ new social media site pops up (and it’s always one that the core community has known about and loved for a while) and suddenly brands everywhere want to know how they can leverage their marketing to use this site.
What about asking ‘What can we learn from how our customers are using this site, in order to improve our marketing?’ Simply leveraging Pinterest as a marketing channel is brand-centric, I’d much rather brands try to understand WHY their customers are using Pinterest and maybe they can learn from that and improve their marketing as a result.
Peggy Keefe says
Just found your blog–great advice all around! I totally agree with this post. I’ve been using Pinterest personally for some time & love it. I think it is a perfect fit for some businesses (clothing, food, decor, crafts, to name a few) but definitely not all. And even if your industry is a good fit, you have to use it right. I’ve tried to think of ways to make it fit our marketing plan (I work on the local banking brand, Kasasa) since I have so much fun on the site, but it’s not the right move for us.
Anna Frewer says
Yeah.. I’ve heard so much about Pinterest… I would really be glad to navigate that site. Thanks for sharing!
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