community engagement

How to Use Pinterest to Create a Community

Pinterest is a visual way to share, collect and curate information. You can bookmark, or pin, interesting content, how-to articles, quotes or even places you’d like to go. Pinterest isn’t just a great way to showcase your business, your products and your creativity, it’s also a great way to to share great ideas beyond the scope of your speciality with your audience. Finding interesting and relevant information and images for your audience and putting it together in one spot, not only helps to drive traffic to your website but it can also foster good relationships with other, complimentary businesses. And really, that’s what using social media effectively for business is all about: creating relationships.

Curating content on Pinterest means creating specific topic boards. It’s about pinning interesting and complementary information together in one spot for your audience to see. Here are two businesses we think use Pinterest exceptionally well, creating a whole visual story and really engaging with their audience:

Onya Baby

Even though Onya Baby sells baby carriers, they do a great job of building their community with boards that speak to their audience about a lot of different topics that are not directly related to baby carriers. Parents have learned that when they visit Onya Baby on Pinterest, they will always find interesting and relevant information, which, of course, keeps them coming back.

Notice that while only one of their boards focuses on their product, many others feature content that parents are likely to find interesting.

Mabel’s Labels

Another Pinner we think is pretty awesome is Mabel’s Labels. Like Onya Baby, they showcase their labels but also create a community where parents can find birthday party ideas, lunch ideas, recipes, pregnancy and parenting tips and ways to organize their homes.

While there are still many more ways to use Pinterest, what we want you to take away from this is that even when you think that it would be hard to draw in your audience with your products or services using beautiful and striking images, by creating a community that provides your audience with a place to go for tips, information and advice, you will ensure that they come back time and again to see

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption illustrates this point well.

Plus, as a bonus to creating your own community resource centre, you’ll be creating a business networking community that will, hopefully, share your Brand with their own audience, too.

What is your content worth to your audience?

How often do you like a page or follow a brand because a friend (or friend of a friend) has recommended/liked it? Or because you like to support local businesses? I do this a lot, as evidenced by the 1,007 likes I have on my personal Facebook profile. The same goes for businesses using Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. I connect with businesses on every platform.

However, I see that many businesses don’t understand how to engage or add value to their audience. Here are three ways to tell how your audience (potential customers!) will receive what you have to say.

1) The Value Test

Put yourself in their shoes : Imagine you are the customer and you are following your business. Would you want to read what you’re sharing? How is it solving a problem or offering helpful advice/tips? 

2) The Engagement Test

What is your call to action? Do you include some opening for your audience to respond? Is the content you’re sharing something your customer will want to share with friends/followers?

3) The Sell Test

Social media is about building relationships. By adding value and engaging, you begin to establish a rapport. That rapport leads to a relationship and can ultimately lead to referrals and sales. Start with a sales pitch and you’ll lose your audience fast.

The Bottom Line

Social media isn’t a magic bullet that will solve all your marketing worries. It takes time, effort and careful attention to get results. Put in the time and don’t resort to shortcuts.

What else would you say to a business whose content needs a value boost?

Crowdsourcing a logo

I’ve been wanting to get a formal logo for my consulting work for awhile, but have been putting off the arduous

Image representing 99designs as depicted in Cr... Image via CrunchBase

task of finding a designer and starting the process with them.

In the last two weeks flew across my screen twice and I realized it was the answer!

How it works

You decide what you want to have designed, how much you’re willing to pay, and you write a project brief describing what you’re looking for.  You pay 99designs and you submit the contest.

Designers then start submitting ideas, which you rate and give feedback on. I picked the cheapest logo package and on day 4 I was feeling very nervous with only a few submission.  I didn’t need to worry though because by day 6 I had a LOT to work with!

99designs is also built to easily let you create polls to ask people what they think (also easy to share via Facebook and Twitter).  This is a great way to get feedback on what you’re seeing and considering.  My project closes tomorrow (Wednesday) and I’m on poll #4 - would you like to weigh in on my choices?

What do I think

I think this has been an amazing experience.

- I got a lot of different people coming up with concepts giving me the choice of a lot of different styles and ideas. I can’t imagine I would have gotten this with just one designer AND I may never have gotten around to getting the logo designed because taking the time to find and make the commitment to one designer would have been put on the back burner.

- The poll option allowed me to get great feedback.  There were so many thoughts people had on logos that I never would have had, but once suggested to me I couldn’t forget. It had huge impact on my choices (although one logo that kept getting great reviews just wasn’t to my taste. I realized I needed to take it out of the equation).

Overall, I would highly recommend the service to anyone !  Now go vote on my logo!

Have you tried a service like this? What do you think?

Enhanced by Zemanta