I’m a consultant helping businesses adopt digital technologies for their businesses. My client base is heavily made up of senior executives, most who have little personal experience in social media. To say that they have little personal use for it would be an understatement. I understand, these are my people after all, but my other people -my family is heavily invested in social media, but personally and professionally. They have helped me to see the ‘light.’
I am on Facebook since 2008. I joined so I could understand the dynamics of the FB since I was recommending it to my clients as something they should be using in their integrated marketing mix. I might as well have been asking my clients, senior executives like myself, to strip naked and walk through the streets. Their kids might do it, but they certainly weren’t going to.
“Social Media for the Unsocial Person” – what a great tagline for understanding the intersection of senior execs and introverts – older ‘quiet’ people – ‘my people.’ I fashed one recent morning with that thought in my head and wrote it down. I thought that like myself, many don’t understand how they can use and have fun with social media. Not wanting to express themselves in words, or divulge ‘secrets’ about themselves, there was something that could work – and in fact was working for me.
Over the last several weeks I have discovered Pinterest. Like many of my ‘discoveries’ it came from my personal idea factory and digital brain trust – my family. I don’t know who was first to invite me to Pinterest, my eldest son or my wife. Both are huge on the net, and both have great writing and visual skill sets. I love visual things, and color. I dress with lots of color. Thank God, my wife checks me each day before I leave or I would have been arrested by the fashion police for some infraction of good taste.
What I did find is that I liked what I saw and I immediately got into looking at all of the visuals, first in the men’s clothing category. I started ‘repining’ and liking things…wow this is easy. Then I started finding that others commented on my ‘pins’ and ‘likes’…maybe I do have an eye for these things.
As a male, I feel a little funny about being excited about something that has been heavily adopted by women. About 82% of active users are female, but then women make up a majority of all social networking sites and spend 30% more time on sites than men according to Nielson. So why does it excite me – again I am a visual learner. I listen to audio books for pleasure, but always fiction, and mysteries and action are a majority of that. I have an extensive business library, but few business audio books – they just don’t sink in for me. This has been critical for my understanding of ‘me’ – give me images or go home.
Since Pinterest skews so heavily to a female audience as of now, what about a more manly version. There is a new sites that offers men their own versions – I’m waiting for the scratch and sniff version myself. These new sites is Manteresting and Gentlemint. Designed by men – we can now look at tool chests and bacon cheeseburgers among other interesting choices. I’m full right now, and one big tool chest is enough for me, so I don’t think I’ll be jumping on this macho bandwagon soon. This could be a real hard sell for men, so I think I’ll lurk for awhile and stick with Pinterest for now.
When you take a look at the female demographics – which are similar to other social media you might be scarred until you understand that women account for 85% of all consumer purchases – that includes everything from healthcare to autos. Wow, a nice tight audience for your goods and services, and it is proving successful for a number of businesses who have jumped in. Visuals sell products – my 30 years in the advertising field has been well spent – I finally learned something, and it has be reinforced.
What does all this mean – visuals excite, and visuals sell. It’s a great new niche for many businesses to help them in their marketing efforts. For those of us who really want to be ‘social’ it is painless and no need to bare our souls to others. Like something, pin it, and it to your boards and others can share. A great way to spend a few hours luring over goodies you would like to have, used to enjoy or didn’t know existed.
Pinterest is a great way for everyone, including those of us on the male side of the spectrum, to become ‘social’, now it’s time to check my Facebook page, though don’t expect any status updates – those I mainly keep to myself. Introversion runs deep and ‘quiet’, but I enjoy seeing and hearing of my friends exploits – check out my ‘pins’ and you’ll understand me better – that’s all you get from me. Social media for unsocial people – that certainly describes me, and my relationship to Pinterest. Check it out, especially all you shy people.