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How to Utilize Pinterest and LinkedIn Alongside Facebook and Twitter

Social NetworksFacebook and Twitter may be the best-known social media sites, but they’re not the only ones that can benefit small businesses. Among English-speaking social sites, LinkedIn sits at the number five spot, trailing behind Twitter, Trendstream’s GlobalWebIndex reports. Meanwhile, Pinterest ranks number seven. Both sites are growing quickly, with LinkedIn growing at 30 percent, and Pinterest at 20 percent, Jeff Bullas reports. For small businesses seeking cost-effective marketing methods, both these platforms represent untapped opportunities.

Pinterest

Socialbakers has found Facebook posts with photos generate more “Like”s, comments, and shares than any other type of post, constituting 93 percent of the most interactive posts. Pinterest leverages this visual appeal by enabling users to upload images and other media content as “Pins” and organize them on “boards” where others can see them.

Pins create a way to visually build your brand. You can pin images associated with your company logo. You can also post graphics that position your expertise or support your sales theme, such as quotes or infographics with statistics.

Pinterest can help generate leads. Your Pins can attract followers from within Pinterest. You can also link your Pinterest account to other sites to attract followers from there.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn boasts 200 million users, including 74 million from the United States, according to its site. It provides the business-oriented equivalent of Facebook, which can boost your brand in several ways.

Customizing your URL will distinguish your page from competitors and from others with similar names. Ideally, choose a URL consistent with a domain name representing your brand. Use a service such as WebHostingBlueBook.com to locate a good URL domain name.

Your profile’s headline field lets you describe what makes you and your products or services unique. Other fields establish credibility by citing your professional credentials and displaying references.

LinkedIn also provides promotional opportunities. You can network with other professionals in your field or your target market by using the site’s private messaging and groups features. Participating in group discussions and sharing content gives you a way to establish your expertise and build business relationships.

The above methods can also serve to drive traffic to your other social media platforms. For instance, you can include links in your profile. You can also share content of interest to groups you participate in, where appropriate.

Integrating Your Social Toolkit

Pinterest and LinkedIn work best when used in conjunction with your other social media tools as part of a single toolkit, rather than viewing them in competition with Facebook and Twitter. You can integrate your Pinterest account with your Facebook and Twitter accounts for cross-platform sharing. Likewise, you can use your LinkedIn profile to link to your Facebook or Twitter pages, and vice versa. You can also share content from these social media hubs with your LinkedIn networks.

You will get the most leverage out of using these social media tools if you track your results. Sprout Social provides one way to do this by integrating management of your LinkedIn page with your Facebook and Twitter activity and providing you with analytic feedback on the results of your campaigns.

Social Media Monday: 10 Questions You Need to Consider About Pinterest

Social Media Monday: 10 Questions You Need to Consider About PinterestGoing on Pinterest to expand your small business seems like an obvious thing to do, but it’s not always the right choice for everyone. If you’re thinking of covering Pinterest in your business’s marketing campaign, here are a few questions you’re going to want to ask beforehand:

1. What Are We Doing On Pinterest?

In other words: why are you on the site in the first place? There are a lot of social media outlets out there, so why Pinterest? Ideally, you should have a clear concept in mind before you so much as register your name on the site. It essentially comes down to this: what are you trying to convince people of with the pictures you post on Pinterest?

2. What Will Resonate With Your Ideal Customer?

Who are you trying to reach and how will you reach them without seeming pushy or spammy? This question may be trickier than you think.

3. Where Are Our Images Coming From?

Are you posting original content, artwork, comics, memes and macros, stock imagery Photoshopped up to suit your purpose? Consider how you’re going to get your content.

4. How Often Will We Post New Content?

Several new pictures a day can get very spammy very quickly, but if you update irregularly, people will lose interest. Figure out what sort of time-frame works for you and your best followers.

5. Can Others Contribute Content?

Some corporate Pinterest pages let others pin to their page. Is this for you, or do you want stricter control over your page?

6. How Will We Moderate?

How will you moderate, and who will moderate? You can’t let just anyone post whatever they like on your page, so how will you police your users?

7. Who Will We Follow?

Some corporate pinterest accounts follow a lot of other accounts, knowing that their attention can really pay off for both parties. Others strictly post their own original content. This is something to consider.

8. What Are The Most Common Mistakes?

The biggest blunder that people make on pinterest is posting exclusively corporate product images and the like. Social media is not about the “Sell sell sell!” mentality, social media is about sharing, giving and taking. Give your followers content they actually want to follow, not just a sales pitch every five minutes.

9. Will We Pin Videos?

Will you bother pinning videos, or will you keep it image-only? Images tend to get repinned more often, but videos can offer a different kind of content that you won’t get with still photos.

10. How Will I Engage Fellow Pinners?

Finally, this is the big one, how will you engage other pinners? You can’t simply post content and hope for the best, you have to fine-tune your content around what people like to repin and what you think will pay off. Focus on making your followers happy and it shouldn’t be hard to get repinned more often than not.

As long as you keep these questions in mind at all major points in the brainstorming process, you should have no trouble finding the audience you deserve on Pinterest.

Small Business Tips: What is Pinterest and can you use it to your advantage?

By Jason Feller, PowerSites Content & Community Manager

Late last year, just as Facebook and Twitter were in the midst of a massive expansion and Google was readying to launch Google+, another social network quietly took the world by storm.

Pinterest exploded in the mom blogging community and became a force to be reckoned with virtually overnight.pinterest

One key difference between Pinterest and the other social media networks is that you have to request an invitation to join via email. You can’t just sign up on your own.

While Pinterest is not appropriate for all small businesses, it can certainly help some and in this PowerSites small business tips blog post, I will go over which types of businesses can most benefit from Pinterest.

Let’s start with a basic overview of Pinterest in the site’s own words:

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

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This is an example of what a Pinterest board cover looks like, courtesy of PennySaverUSA.com.

Put more simply, Pinterest is a social media site that allows you to post about and organize your favorite images from the internet.

As for some of the small businesses that would be well served to join Pinterest and why, here is a rundown:

Florists

Seeing as how Pinterest is such an image driven medium, florists, especially ones with an e-commerce business, could benefit significantly from having an active Pinterest account.

Examples of the types of things florists can pin: Their new floral designs, creations they’ve made for special events, pictures of their store, images of gorgeous homes that have their flowers, etc.

Wedding/Event planners

The driving force behind Pinterest’s growth was brides. The platform is immensely popular with women who are getting married or love hosting events like kid’s birthday parties. This makes it a perfect social network for Wedding/Event planners.

Examples of the types of things event planners can pin: Examples of their most recent events, photos of their favorite vendors’ items, collages of their work and their target audience

Restaurants/Grocery stores

Perhaps the second-most popular topic on Pinterest to weddings is food. Restaurants or grocery stores, especially ones that have multiple locations or an e-commerce delivery business, are tailor-made for Pinterest.

Examples of the types of things restaurants/grocery stores can pin: Coupons, professional pictures of their food, recipes along with their dishes, images of the ingredients they use, photos of their establishment

Home services/Second-hand stores

Home decorating and vintage items are also immensely popular on Pinterest. Developing a series of boards around your home services products and merchandise could yield major dividends.

Examples of the types of things home services can pin: Examples of their work, testimonials from satisfied customers, vintage items they have on hand

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This is an example of what a Pinterest board looks like, courtesy of PennySaverUSA.com.

In Conclusion

As with all social networks, it is important to remember to maintain proper etiquette and best practices. These marketing channels need to be treated with more subtlety. They should be viewed as more of a partnership with potential customers than traditional ads.

Small businesses on Pinterest should also remember to pin ideas from partners or other sites with things in common with their business. This spreads goodwill and will draw broader interest to their Pinterest board.

One final point: Pinterest’s audience skews heavily female, so keep that in mind when developing your strategy.