Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"Pretty" Social Media Raises the Bar

In late February, Bloomberg reported that some retailers have abandoned Facebook because ROI isn’t there. While some may argue that making money isn’t the purpose of Facebook, the deeper point here may not be the efficacy of Facebook, but the fact that this $6 billion IPO-ster doesn't quite “own the social space.”

Here are two recent developments that suggest consumers are still looking for their perfect socialscape.

Tumblr is a microblogging platform that lets users post content to a short-form site that’s rich with short posts, videos, links, and photos. Nowhere near Facebook proportions (yet), Tumblr may well be the future. The company isn’t new – it launched in April 2007 – but as of February 13, this little powerhouse had some 44.3 million bloggers. Six days later, on February 19, Tumblr had 45.1 million users and more than 17 billion total posts.

Popular with teens and college-age user segments, 50 percent of Tumblr’s visitor base is under the age of 25. Moreover, teenagers age 12-17 are about twice as likely as the average Internet user to visit Tumblr, while 18-24 year olds are nearly 2.5 times as likely. To stay in touch with Generations Y and Z, in October 2011 the Obama campaign launched a Tumblr experiment for 2012. [Note: Obama link format is how you find folks on tumblr; for example, I set up at nancyscott.tumblr.com].

Top celebrities on Tumblr include Val Kilmer, Lady Gaga, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, along with celebrity rip-offs like this paen to Ryan Gosling. Writing for 360 Digital connections, Matt Wurst suggests that Tumblr may be the answer to excessive options marred by short attention spans. “No one wants to sit through 1,000-word blog posts .. because words alone no longer tell the story.” Wurst calls Tumblr “a cross between a blog, a Twitter feed, and a Facebook profile.” Still not convinced? Well, maybe if it’s good enough for the New Yorker, it’s good enough for you. Check out newyorker.tumblr.com.

Pinterest went live as an invitation-only website in March 2010. By January 2012, the website was a darling of self-expression for some 12 million enthusiasts who can’t wait to share their idea of visual “cool” with the world. In December 2011, Pinterest made#5 in Hitwise’s list of top ten social networks, beating out Linked and Google+.

Pinterest helps users set up any number of “bulletin boards” to which they can “pin” (that is, embed) photo and film urls from all over the Internet, including their own desktop. Does Pintereest have a corporate application? Writing in AmEx Open Forum, Marketing Strategist Ivana Taylor called Pinerest a “big mover” in the social media space that offers a powerful branding opportunity. “Think of Pinterest as a virtual corkboard that says something about who you are and what interests you.”

For consumers who want to know something about “who you are” without an attached sales message, Pinterest has appeal. In addition, Taylor suggests Pinterest for inspiration, exposure, e-commerce and market research. Savvy Blogging suggests that Pinterest is an excellent way to promote a blog. “Add the ‘pin it’ button to every post and page on your site," Savvy says. "This will make it simple and easy for readers to pin your posts.”

Finally, check Hubspot for their free e-book, “How to Use Pinterest for Business.” This report notes that any business that relies on driving a high-volume of website traffic to increase sales should consider joining Pinterest. Early research indiciates that Pinterest is more effective at driving traffic that other social media sites, even Facebook.

Red Alert: Currently, a controversy surrounds whether or not Pinterest activity engages in copyright infringement. The Pinterest Terms of Service – particularly the Limits of Liability section – should be carefully studied and perhaps reviewed by an attorney before you engage in this new social media option. For more information, be sure to read Alyson Shonell’s February 28 posting on BusinessInsider.com.

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