Pinterest: Can it drive your business?

Pinterest: Can it drive your business?Is EVERYONE a photographer?

Pinterest! It’s the latest shooting star in the social world, and if you don’t know, it’s a place to post and share photos. REALLY GOOD photos. It’s basically Twitter if you throw out 90% of the users and keep only the serious photogs, then instead of a stream of text, display a wall of pics.

There’s only one problem: Have you seen the web recently? There’s a lot of bad photography and worse Photoshop, and we’ve accepted it. I admit, my idea of photography is to make sure I carry a phone around so I can take a quick shot of something cool. I always figured a lot of people were like me, ready to post a quick image to Facebook or some other social site without worrying about F-Stop, framing, lighting, and other technical minutiae.

As I browse Facebook and other social platforms, I see pretty much the same type of stuff: Here are the kids at the ballgame. Here’s our company picnic. Here we are at the beach. Few of my friends are serious photogs. I assume most people have a camera that takes decent shots, and they treat it like a serious piece of equipment, but they don’t lug it around all the time.

Not so, Pinterest.

Facebook Friends Wall Street: What Does this Mean for Its Users?

As early as today Facebook will announce it is going public. To most of us who use the social network as a means to communicate with friends and family we are wondering what the buzz is all about. So what if Mark Zuckerberg wants to file for an IPO (an initial public offering, if you were wondering, likely to be anywhere between $5 and $100 billion).

Being an end user and not someone who is considering buying stock in Facebook when it becomes available, I am curious how this will affect me. Here are some facts and opinions I have managed to scrounge up about that very topic.

The Center Of Attention: Email as a Primary Source of Content

What is The Future of Email Marketing?
By now you’ve heard the question: Is email a thing of the past? Social media is a major phenomenon in marketing, and the speculation abounds about how it will impact current online marketing methods.

Let’s answer this with a few questions of our own:

  • Has email made landing pages a thing of the past?
  • Have landing pages made websites a thing of the past?
  • Have websites made telephones a thing of the past?
  • Have telephones made storefronts a thing of the past?

You see where I’m going with this. We’ve all forecasted the decline of postcards, television ads, billboards, and every other type of advertising and marketing method based on what was new. Yet we still receive mail, drive past billboards, get phone calls, and dodge television ads every day. And every time, the new methods turned out to have drawbacks of their own that create new problems and opportunities.

The Social Conversation: It’s About Listening

Late last year, Dell computer opened its Social Media Listening Command Center at their headquarters outside of Austin, Texas. The listening room is just one of many social media marketing strategies that Dell is using. The company has a series of Facebook pages with user-generated content promoting its products; formal ways to incorporate customer-based suggestions into future product features; and a number of Twitter accounts they use to broadcast daily deals.

Other companies using social media sites like Twitter for business include Southwest Airlines who uses Twitter to inform their customers about deals, and Comcast who uses Twitter to resolve customer service issues.

Social Media for Business: 5 Signs You Are Ready

Does social media really matter to your business? How will you know?

Earlier this month, Ad Age Digital’s B.L. Ochman revealed that Less than half of the top 50 companies have social icons on their websites:

“Only 44% of the Fortune 50 have any social media icons on their home pages, and 60% hide their Twitter streams. Call Inspector Clouseau if you want to find the rest. Kind of amazing considering the prevalence of social buttons of all types all over the web.”

I’m stymied too. These market-making companies drive many commercial trends. What they do matters to you and me every day. They have an amazing opportunity to build relationships. Yet, you’d be surprised how few of them link to their social presence on their home pages.

General Electric probably helped you get ready for work this morning.  You pass hundreds of Ford cars, thousands of Goodyear tires  and dozens of Exxon/Mobil stations on your way there. You’ve got AT&T in your iPhoneHewlett-Packard in your office, and Bank of America in your wallet. These companies all have a social media presence. But from their front pages, you’d never know it. What are they waiting for?

Cindy’s Diner, where I go to get the best coffee on the planet, is a brisk walk down one of the back streets. Cindy knows she needs to gain an advantage any way she can. So she has a website with the icons on it. She invites me to ‘Like’ her Facebook page, right there on her handwritten specials chalkboard. She asks for my email address when I purchase a muffin. She even puts a QR Code on the receipt.

She’s not waiting.

To be fair, Cindy’s business is a lot more nimble than a Fortune 50 company. She can decide whether or not to start tweeting, sharing, and blogging about coffee, muffins, and her business. She and a few employees can make regular updates and keep current. If she has a website, Cindy can copy and paste social media icons into her site using a content management system and it’s live.

To be fair, Cindy doesn’t have a board of directors, an IT department, a web oversight team, a legal division, or a branding agency. A Fortune 50 company can’t simply slap up a few icons because the marketing folks think it’s cool. Still, I have to wonder if they plan to integrate their social strategy more fully, if they’re still thinking about it, or if they’ve reached the point where they’ve decided against it – until social media starts to matter to them.

And when’s that?

Many companies are waiting “for social media to matter” to their business, without realizing it is up to them to make it matter. A robust social presence may matter to you if:

  • Your customers often make spur-of-the-moment decisions based on impressions, and not just a painstaking deliberative process.
  • Your customers are impressed by your brand’s reach and engagement, not just portfolio holdings, valuation and strategic partnerships.
  • Your customers have a relationship with their favorite brands that goes beyond awareness or loyalty – they achieve inclusion.
  • Your customers seek out information and reviews about your products from places other than just your website.
  • Your company holds a unique viewpoint on industry and technology trends that is worth listening to.

If any of these are true, you will benefit from social media, even if all it does is make you more accessible. Even if all you are doing is keeping up with competitors, at least your customers see you working to reach them in new ways. They see the Try. And with social media, as in all relationship-building efforts, the Try is what matters.

Sending Social Emails Just Got Easier

Really, it’s a cinch:

Bottom line: when you create a mailing, use the Insert URL feature to place the social media tags you need where you want it in your email. Your readers click the tags and share the email’s permalink with the social media platform of their choice. It really is that simple!

Find out more about social media email sharing.

Social Media in your Email Campaigns? Of Course!

Net Atlantic brings you email marketing with built-in social media sharing tools.

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