Marketing Monday: Pin it to Win it
When it comes to online marketing, social media can best be described (IMO) using examples from the Wild West, circa the late 1890s:
First there was the invention of Facebook, followed by the inevitable financial epiphany: “There’s gold in them thar hills!” which quickly spurred a sort of advertising Hail Mary (the football play, not the prayer), during which businesses from all over the globe–from Ma and Pop to Mr. Monopoly style moguls–began flocking to these new social media territories, hoping to stake a claim before each fresh new crop of users started to notice the fact that their new favorite social media platform was now saturated by lame advertisements from The Man. Eventually, the pioneers of new social media platforms (i.e. the Hipsters, who as we all know only admit to liking things when they’re obscure and mysterious) would become jaded and disenfranchised, pulling up stakes and moving on to the next top-secret social media craze like tumbleweeds with ironic moustaches.
It’s happened a thousand times before this, in a million different ways. Remember billboards? Remember when you actually read them? How about coupons in the newspaper? Sure, they’re still around, but how many people still spend hours sorting through stacks and stacks of laser-printed paper, searching for that one glorious gem of advertising relevance? Couponing is so rare nowadays, TLC made a show about it. But let’s use a more timely example, shall we? One word: MySpace.
I remember when you weren’t “cool” unless you had a MySpace page. Now, MySpace is ranked in the 300s in terms of web traffic. Sad. But that’s the way of the social media Gold Rush, children.
Now, if internet buzz is to be believed, the “Latest” of these untapped social media territories–or if not the latest, then certainly one of the most promising in terms of marketing potential–is the visually stimulating, easy to use (and therefore horribly addictive) website known as Pinterest. As someone who once solemnly vowed that I would never, ever create a Pinterest account, I can honestly tell you that if you haven’t heard of this site yet, RUN. RUN NOW. As far and as fast as your internet browser will take you. Just kidding. (Or am I?)
Obviously, there are pros and cons to joining Pinterest (Pro: over a billion pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch. Con: You might never see your family or friends again) but I won’t go into the whole list right now. Because the point of this post is to discuss ways in which YOU, THE AUTHOR might use Pinterest to beef up your online persona (i.e. your Author Platform.)
Here are some popular ways to pin your little heart out, and potentially profit:
1. Create boards inspired by each of your books, and fill them with tantalizing images which will pique the curiosity of even the most fickle Pinterest passerby.
2. Cross promote your other social media territories by linking your original pins (i.e. images and such that you personally upload to Pinterest) back to Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr, Facebook, etc.
3. Rename awesome pins you steal (I mean, repin) from other users with descriptions relating to your books or other online content. And don’t forget to include a link!
4. Use Pinterest to solidify your BRAND. I hope you’ve been listening, because I cannot stress this enough: EVERY SINGLE ONE of your online “properties” (or “territories,” for the sake of my Oregon Trail-inspired analogy) should support and personify your online author persona = YOUR BRAND.
5. If you’re an erotica author who writes steamy paranormal BDSM, your Pinterest boards should contain a fair number of sexy monster types. If all you’ve got are fuzzy bunnies and pictures of delicious sugar cookies, fans of your platform are going to feel out of place at best, or put off at worst. Feel free to make a separate Pinterest account for your own personal pins, or to create dedicated boards with titles like “Finger Licking Morsels” or “Sinfully Sexy Shoes,” but remember to match the tone of your platform with the tone of your site.
7. Limit your Pinterest time to an hour a day, if you can. Don’t let any of your social medias take over your life. Remember: as a writer, your #1 job is to write.
8. Have fun, don’t take yourself too seriously, and feel free to perv on pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch now and then. I’m pretty sure that’s good for your health, or something.
Here are some links for your Pinterest-related perusing pleasure:
And my personal favorite: Hilarious 2014 Social Media Predictions from the Wizards over at Forbes (note: That is NOT the title of the actual article.)