In my first post about Pinterest, I provided a basic overview of what Pinterest is and how to use it. In my second post in this series about Pinterest, I gave you some fundamental rules and a few general ideas of how you can use Pinterest to market your business. And last week, in a “hey, this is an interesting topic post,” I talked about ways to protect your content in Pinterest (and all social media, for that matter).

Today, as I complete this series on Pinterest, I want to start out by sharing something interesting that happened as a result of having posted this article series about Pinterest on Pinterest. One of my Pinterest pals asked me, “I have a sign shop and was thinking about doing some type of advertising on Pinterest but I definitely don’t want to turn people off. I’m going to read your pin but I’m just curious if you have some feedback for me.”

I wrote:

“The real key is the same for Pinterest as for all social media: focus on the community, not the advertisement. It’s not about flooding the site with a one-way broadcast, but about engaging in conversation with your audience.

What kinds of things do sign customers want to know? What can you teach them? Post in your blog on those topics. Best practices for signs, what makes a great sign, how to make your sign stand out, etc. Then pin the blog post and tweet about the pin.

I’d also recommend that you create a board dedicated solely to crazy signs. You could also run a contest asking people to create a board with your business name on their accounts and pin weird signs, the weirder the better. Weirdest sign wins…I don’t know, something awesome.”

One thing I really like about social media is that blog posting initially feels a little abstract or isolated…until someone comments and a conversation can begin. Blogging is only the start of the conversation. And sharing this blog post on Pinterest turned a general post into something quite specific. I love that! So I’d like to encourage you to think about how you can write blog posts for your business that can initiate a conversation, once you share the posts in social media, including Pinterest.

Look, Pinterest is cool. It’s fun. It’s addictive. But at the end of the day, it really is just like every other social media platform, in that the rules are the same across the board. Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, G+, and whatever else comes along, the rules are the same.

So whatever new platforms emerge, while there may be some sort of learning curve associated with the new technology and perhaps some fun and exciting new ways to leverage the specific platform for marketing, the rules of engagement probably won’t change. They won’t change because the rules for social media are the same rules we use in person, and those haven’t changed for eons. We’re talking about things like: When you’re in a room full of people, don’t talk about yourself exclusively. Ask people about themselves. Get to know people. Focus on them and not on you. Build your KLT Factor (know, like, and trust). Engage, converse, discuss. Don’t broadcast or advertise. Deliver value, bring something to the table. Be interesting, but more importantly, be interested.

Break these rules, and you’ll be perceived as obnoxious and your business will suffer. Follow these rules, and you’ll be a welcomed member of the community and you’ll see a return on your efforts. It’s really just that simple.

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