This week in class, we explored and discussed different social media platforms. It was very interesting because, before this, I only knew about Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Some of these new platforms that I was not exposed to are, Pinterest, FourSquare, Instagram, and Podcasting. The booming popularity of these platforms is helping businesses to be successful. Businesses are reaching to these social media platforms as a tool for two main reasons:
1. To connect with their customers to satisfy their needs.
2. To advertise their goods and their services and improve their business.
One of the platforms that grabbed my attention is Pinterest. As a social media platform, Pinterest is outgrowing both Facebook and twitter month over month. Pinterest is a visual Pinboard that is basically a collection of photos from each user that can be shared between them. It allows different users that share similar ideas, habits, and hobbies to come together where they can exchange, or share photos of the same interests. The users can pin on the Pinboard their favorite things that inspire them in the form of pictures and images. In addition, users can re-pin images from other Pinboard to theirs, comment on it, or just like it.
Pinterest is very effective tool for business. In fact, Pinterest users show more shopping habits than twitter or Facebook and are more likely to make a purchase. Accordingly, businesses can take advantage of these facts and start to use this new platform. For example, they can advertise their products by pinning the photos of their products on the Pinboard and make promotion on their new products. The businesses can further use this to test popularity/acceptance of new products. For example an automotive company can put visuals of their proto-type idea cars in these platforms and see the reaction of users. This way the automotive company can eliminate bad product before it launches it into market and in the same time can identify winners and pursue them with confidence.
Businesses can use this platform as a magnet for window shopping for woman. Data shows that among the users of Pinterest, women make the largest portion. For example, a retailing store can show their new line up of products before the season starts and can have an immediate feedback on their merchandise.
Another Platform of interest is FourSquare. It is a fast growing business that saw user’s growth in two years 2009-2011, to 7 million. It is an application that helps the user interacts with his/her surrounding. The application basically shows points of interest to the user and allows him/her to comment on his/her experience. The more a subscriber uses this application the more credit he/she has. The makers of this platform divided this service between users and brands. Brands are for companies to update their followers on their news including nearby locations and offered products.
Businesses can take advantage of this platform in different ways. First, it can be used as a feedback from customers (using this platform) on their products/services. The business can then understand the need of its customers and try to improve, eliminate, and/or create new products or services. For example, a fast food company may receive multiple comments on the long wait time through its drive through lanes. The manager in that location can then address this issue.
Another way to take advantage of FourSquare is direct advertisement of the business products and services. Again, this can be made through small one line comments. For example, a coffee shop can advertise its new line of Ice Cappuccino or a return of one of its old products. It may also present promotions such as buy one get one free, etc… In addition, being a part of this platform helps the non-familiar user of the area get directed to the business.