Saturday, September 8, 2012

The elusive social media ROI - Pinteresting!

We are all trying to figure out how social can actually help drive business.  It is a problem on the tip of everyone's tongue and while people are often clamoring for the answer, they continue to blindly do the things they do because they now have to.

No one ignores the impact of social.   It is becoming impossible.   What is impossible is the human resistance to getting out of the box about how it applies to what you are doing.

In my last few posts I have spent a ton of time expanding what I am learning by bringing the concept of push and pull into the dialogue.  This realization that so much of this ROI discussion continues to be about creating content as opposed to learning from it something that I believe must stop soon.  Why?  Because without thinking about the picture in a total and complete way it is like trying to go from zero to 180 miles an hour in five second with a scooter as opposed to a Ducati.

Just like everyone, I am on the hunt for ways to apply social in a meaningful way.  A while ago I wrote a post about why we won't see the dotcom bust again (post here).  In this post, one of my key ideas is what the rise of twitter and facebook brought about the ability for individual nanocapitalists (what is a nanocapitalist?) to be able to easily and freely market oneself.  I got this idea from watching my sister.  She is a world class photographer who is continuing to successfully build her brand through the free marketing she does on social.  She was a wizard at drumming up new wedding clients using facebook.  She blogs consistently about what she does that is special and now...she has unlocked value from a place that everyone is struggling to understand.

What has she unlocked and been able to articulate...PINTEREST.

Yes...pinterest.  I have to say...and maybe it is a guy thing, but I don't get it.  I still don't get it and frankly one cannot get everything on social because we all innovate differently.  That being said, I recently read a post my sister wrote about pinterest and what blew me away is the actual ROI she is creating through it.

See her post here...(link to kristin chalmers photography blog post).

If you read this it will make total sense.  It did when I read it.  But let's dig into it a bit.

Firstly,  Kristin Chalmers uses pinterest to "communicate" with her clients.  She does this in a unique way.  Some of the greatest successes in business come from hybrid mash ups.  When a market research firm goes beyond survey's to actually bring unusual methods like video or social they have morphed.  When an innovation firm integrates technology based ways to understand the consumer quickly and more cheaply they own the space because they a ton more with less.  And when a photographer goes beyond simply taking orders and focusing simply on the what the customers wants and makes production partnership that forces her clients out of the box, you get wedding innovation.

See the excerpt below to see what I mean...

"Plan your wedding and let your vendors know your vision – This part is tricky and I have a love hate relationship with how Pinterest helps but can also make photographers and other vendors a little frustrated.  This is really the inspiration of my post and I will get to the bad stuff about the Wedding Boards and Pinterest issues a little later.

Here is why I love it!  – I love sharing ideas with my couples via Pinterest.  For example, I have a bride in December of this year who told me that she really loves pine cones.  So one night I searched around on the web for pine cone bouquets, center pieces and and even cake decor.  From there I pinned all kinds of beautiful images to my “wedding ideas” board and then “tagged” her so that these images on my board were sent to her board directly as well as sending her an email of the actual “pins” that I just put on my board. I know, that sounds a bit confusing but if you are a Pinner, you get it."

Here is one of the most innovative examples of my concept of PUSH and PULL (Post on subject here).  She has frigging figured out the balance of push and pull in social using pinterest for god sake.  Rather than simply sharing it, she actually gets value from it to help CONNECT with clients.

1.  She PULL directly from her client what they like. (PINECONES)

2.  She PULLS from THE CROWD to learn what is possible about PINECONES.

3.  Then she PUSHES content from what she PULLED to help them think (MORE PINECONES) about what they might like.

4.  They are now partnering quickly and effectively to decide which direction to take.

Why is there ROI?  Because through simple communication, my sister has figured out how to move clients from simply telling her what to do to engaging in a dialogue where they are collaborating with all the data in the world to come up with something better.  This creates tangible and innovative value from her service and over time methods like this will enable her to charge higher prices.

And here I am writing about it marketing her genius as an innovative wedding photographer to the social media community (the few that read this blog).

Innovation comes from all angles and social has opened the box on the ways we can come up with collaborative ideas to create, influence and learn...even at 41 a brother can still learn from his older sister.

Read the rest of her is mind blowing.  It is a novel fit in what is becoming a clearer puzzle in the quest to leverage social media for business.

Social media...its not just for breakfast anymore.  This clearly moves the clock up 5 minutes to 9:20.  I am getting hungry for lunch...maybe when people start to find balance in push and pull, will we get closer to social media high noon;  the minute those who are behind will be shot in the back.

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