I was joking about “Pinning like the wind” on Facebook, and a friend and fellow creative professional asked me to do a quick write-up on Pinterest, and how or why someone might want to get started on the social network.
Which brings up the bigger question: Why look beyond Facebook? After all, that’s where pretty much everybody is online. Well, campers, here are a few reasons why you might want to expand the scope of your social media efforts beyond Zuckerland. At least, if you have the time to do so.
1. The Kids Are Headed Elsewhere. Yeah, sure, Facebook is where everyone hangs out now. And that’s part of the problem. Teens don’t want to be on the same social network as their moms, grandmas and Aunt Mabels. Several recent studies indicate that teens are leaving Facebook in droves in favor of other networks including Twitter, Tumblr, and brand-spanking new things like SnapChat and WhatsApp.
If reaching the next generation is part of your marketing strategy, you should probably at least do some poking around on Tumblr.
Bonus value: Tumblr links are followed, and each reblog or like counts as a separate page with a followed link. If the SEO in you isn’t slobbering over that news, I don’t know what else to tell you.
2. Too much noise, too little signal. Yeah. Everybody is on Facebook. Including everyone you ever knew from high school, every business in your area, and every advertiser desperate to hold on to your attention when you shift your eyes from the TV screen to your laptop or mobile screen. Cluttered much, newsfeed? If you really want to make an impact on an audience, doing so on Facebook means you have to scream louder than the crowd already there. Which probably means paid ads. Which people generally ignore.
If getting your message heard clearly is part of your marketing strategy, or forging strong connections to an audience, you should probably explore Google+. Yes, it’s a little nerdy. No, there aren’t nearly as many people there. And that’s the point. If you use the tools they give you, like communities and circles, to zero in on the right people, G+ is an excellent, non-cluttered environment to speak directly to them.
Bonus: It’s Google. What do you think the odds are that your activity there doesn’t boost your SEO?
3. Your marketing content feels skeevy on Facebook. People get onto Facebook to share photos of their kids, talk about their relationships, and discuss their political and religious views. No matter how pretty the picture of your “cupcake of the day” is, it’s going to feel like you threw a sales pitch in the middle of their cocktail party. People are at best going to gloss over it most of the time, and at worst are going to feel like it’s spammy.
If your content strategy is centered around images, especially pictures of your products or business, you should consider Pinterest. Pinterest is almost nothing but pictures of people’s wish list for stuff they want to own. So if you have beautiful product shots, they’ll fit right in. If you’re a professional photographer, Pinterest makes a perfect social portfolio for your watermarked work. If you’re an author, creating “inspiration boards” of images of settings, characters and other visuals that represent your stories can be a great hook.
Bonus: Like Twitter, Pinterest allows hashtags, which can help your pins get found by keyword or topic. That means people who aren’t connected to you, but are searching for the topic of your pins can find them, increasing their viral potential. (Tumblr does, too, for that matter).
So if you’ve been beating your head against the Facebook marketing wall with little success, or are just looking for some new avenues to explore, I suggest you pick one of the above. Keep your goals in mind, and give it a consistent effort for a few weeks or months. You might be surprised at how much ROI these smaller networks can deliver.