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As a marketer who has been put in charge of several client’s Pinterest accounts I have dove head first into the pinning world. Glamour, recipes, and crafts galore! In fact, I am a more stylish and handy chef than I ever was before the social media site existed.

However, not only have I become a craftier individual since endeavoring in the Pinterest world, I have also become a better person. Yes, this social media platform filled with visual stimulation and motivation has empowered me to live a better life. Curious on how my life has changed since I have begun pinning? Continue reading to check out the 4 lessons I have learned from this social media giant.

1. Never underestimate the power of planning ahead.

In life, spontaneity can be a good thing. However, there are also times when planning is necessary. For example, a rehearsed speech would have been a great idea when I was the maid of honor in a wedding. Not only could everyone in the room hear me swallow because it was so quiet (my jokes did NOT incite laughter) but my stage fright pit stains showed in every picture taken that night.

This same philosophy can be applied to Pinterest. When creating boards, be strategic. Anticipate what type of information your customers would enjoy and think before you pin. I promise that the results of a well thought out board with a solid theme will be more successful than one you just decided on a whim would be a good idea.

2. Always credit your sources.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “There is much difference between imitating a man and counterfeiting him.”

See what I just did there? Give credit, people… nobody likes a thief.

3. Connect with your community.

One of the best ways to gain more followers on Pinterest is by connecting with your fellow pinners. Not only will your audience increase but so will your repins. If you ask me, word of mouth marketing is the best approach and will only increase your like-ability. And isn’t this something we would all like in our personal life… to be liked?

4. Quit talking about yourself. 

We all have that dreaded friend who only talks about themselves. In fact, anytime you see their name on your cell phone caller ID you can’t help but roll your eyes. This involuntary reaction is a result of an annoying predictability that you friend presents. Don’t be THAT friend on Pinterest. Pin others away and I promise people will be engaged. In fact, some of my most interesting friends are those who tell great stories about OTHER people.

Have you gained any life lessons through Pinterest or other social media sites? We’d love to hear about them!

Some ways, behind basic analytics, including website visits, brand perception, customer engagement and profitability, why social media enhances the overall marketing program, from Econsultancy:

Search marketing:
Social media can be far more powerful in improving SEO than you might initially imagine. For example, a well-placed story / video / image on a site like Digg will generate a lot of traffic and a nice link from Digg itself, but the real win here is that it will generate a lot more interest beyond Digg.  The long tail, in action. 100 links means that your page might well wind up being placed highly on Google, resulting in lots of ongoing traffic. Remember too that you can use sites like Twitter and YouTube to claim valuable search rankings on your brand search terms.

Brand metrics:
Word of mouth and the viral factor (inherent in sites like Twitter, Facebook and Digg) can help shift the key brand metrics, both negatively and positively. These include brand favorability, brand awareness, brand recall, propensity to buy, etc. Traditional advertising is measured in this way, so it makes sense to apply these measures to social media applications. Positive brand associations via social media campaigns can help drive clicks on paid search ads and responses to other forms of advertising.

PR:
The nature of public relations has changed, forever. The distinct worlds of PR, customer service, and marketing are fusing.  Twitter means everybody has a blog these days and somewhere to shout about things to their friends (and beyond). Social media sites are the biggest echo chambers in the world! In any event, if you can measure PR (beyond adding up column inches and applying a random multiple to the equivalent size on the rate card!), then you can measure social media.

Customer engagement:
Given the prevalence of choice, and the ease with which consumers can switch from one brand to another, customer engagement is one of the most important of all metrics in today’s business environment. Engagement can take place offline and online, both on your website and on other sites, particularly social media sites. Customer engagement is key to improving satisfaction and loyalty rates, and revenue. By listening to customers, and letting them know that you are listening, you can improve your business, your products, and your levels of service. The alternative is to ignore customers, which sends out a terrible message. Our research found that an engaged customer will recommend your brand, convert more readily and purchase more often.

Retention:
A positive side effect of increased customer engagement – assuming certain other factors in play work in your favor – is an increase in customer retention. This is going to be a crucial factor in the success of your business in the years to come. Make no bones about it: we are moving into an age of optimization and retention. Watch your retention rates as you start participating in social media. Over time, all things remaining equal, they should rise. Zappos, which is a case study in how-to-do-Twitter (and active on MySpace, Facebook and Youtube), is closing in on $1bn of sales this year, and “75% of its orders are from repeat customers.”

Profits:
If you can reduce customer churn, and engage customers more often, the result will surely be that you’ll generate more business from your existing customer base (who in turn will recommend your business to their network of friends, family, and social media contacts). This reduces your reliance on vast customer acquisition budgets to maintain or grow profits. It makes for a far more profitable and more efficient organization. I really hope that more businesses will find a better balance between acquisition and retention, sooner rather than later, from a resourcing standpoint. Too many acquisition strategies appear to be ill-conceived, are not joined up (both in terms of marketing and also operations), and as such are ripe for optimization. Plug the leaky bucket and you won’t need to turn the tap so hard to top it up. And remember that old adage about it being cheaper to keep existing customers than to seek out new ones.

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Guest Relations Marketing
Transforming Prospects to Guests, and Guests to Zealots

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