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Should your company jump on the Pinterest bandwagon?

By John Lorince

In this series of social media columns, we’ve focused on what I call the Big Four: LinkedIn , Facebook , Twitter  and YouTube . But there is a newer site I want to discuss here: Pinterest.

Pinterest features boards on which its followers can “pin” their favorite items—or in the case of a business or company, their best sellers, perhaps. Its popularity has soared over the past year or so.

But while you can find things to promote on Pinterest, will it be an effective sales tool? As with other social media sites, it will probably come down to who is following you on Pinterest. If it isn’t the right audience—or the right electrical contractor, in our case—it’s hard to see how it would be helpful.

Some people will have a better success rate on it than others. For companies in the electrical industry that want to show off lighting displays or something very visual, Pinterest does have some potential.

You can put up a number of visuals on Pinterest, but it can be a tough sell as far as finding the right audience or followers for it. We have a Pinterest page here at Leff Electric. But at this point we’re just making sure we have a presence there in case Pinterest gets bigger than it is now.

Think of how Facebook grew slowly at first but then morphed to the point that now it seems like everybody is on it. Not too long ago, there was no such thing as company-based fan pages on Facebook.

If you don’t put your foot in the water and see if there’s something in it for you, how will you know? So consider having your company “hang out” on Pinterest one day a week or so and see what develops.

Regardless of what you do on Pinterest—or any social media site—never forget the important thing is you want to drive people to your company’s website. That is the number one goal for any company’s social media efforts.

Another good way to draw people to your site is by blogging. It, too, has grown in popularity. You probably “blog” several times a day and not even realize it. You’re doing it over the phone, in conversation with customers and suppliers. If somebody calls and asks you a question to which you have a response…that response can be turned into a blog entry. You don’t have to write 20 paragraphs about it. You can just answer common questions that people may have for you.

But when you start blogging, you must determine what your voice is going to be and what topics you want to cover. It’s not realistic to have a blog that’s going to talk about everything under the sun. So try to target an area where you want to be known for your expertise.

Make your blog available on your website. This can move you to higher rankings on Google and other search engines. If you are commenting about any current business events, and that subject is trending, you will move up in your Google rankings.

And post links to your blog on all of your social media feeds. Let your followers on Facebook, Twitter, etc. hear about it. Over time, people will read your blog, see your information and turn to you on a consistent basis for information on that subject.

What makes social media so popular is that it’s not just a direct voice going out. It’s the customer participation in the conversation. People want to participate and be engaged with a company.

These columns will continue to run from time to time as I see new ideas and innovations in social media that I think merit your attention. But keep active. Post to Twitter, Facebook, etc. and follow pertinent companies and informative web sites. Share any ideas or thoughts with your colleagues on those sites. And remember to post those thoughts and ideas here on TedMag.com or on Twitter (@TEDMagazine) or tED’s Facebook page.

 Remember: it’s called “social” media for a reason.   

John Lorince is the marketing manager at Leff Electric, a wholesale electrical supply distributor headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. Contact him at jlorince@leffelectric.com

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