Posted in on May 24, 2012

Pin Your Marketing Hopes on Strategy and Results, Not the New Shiny

Disclaimer: I am truly terrified to try Pinterest.

As a digital marketer at Creating Results, I should just leap on in, right? We counsel clients in senior living, travel and active adult housing on how to make the most of social media engagement. I should be excited to experiment, right?

Wrong. I’m terrified of the time- and energy-sucking possibilities this shiny new social platform presents. If I had to bet, many of the readers of this blog feel the same way.

Added to that fear is the pressure you might be getting from organizational stakeholders who storm in after reading our posts on Pinterest this week and shout “why isn’t our brand on Pinterest?!?”

Here’s why your brand should not be on Pinterest, or why you should at least look before you leap.

We all have only 24 hours in a day. That’s true for the marketing teams of companies and organizations  targeting 50 plus consumers and for the consumers themselves. DJ Waldow puts it this way (via Christopher S. Penn):  “Are the growing demands of social media/networks weighing you down? At some point (I think) you have to choose those you get the most juice out of.”

In other words, “Whoa, Nellie.”

CS Penn could have been reading the minds of Creating Results team members when he wrote:

“I take a page out of airline travel and aim for the hub and spoke model. I pick a few major places as my networks of choice where I’ll participate, listen, and share. These are the hub cities where you can get a flight to just about anywhere the airline goes. I’ve got presences on other networks but I don’t jump in as much there, minor destinations that you have to fly through a hub to get to. And there are a whole bunch of networks where I just don’t even show up at all, places where the airline just doesn’t go.”

More older adults use email as a tool for social sharing than Facebook or Pinterest.


(In that same post, Penn shares his straightforward and effective way to determine how to keep up with too many social networks. I encourage you to read and apply those steps as one part of your decision-making process.)

Continuing Penn’s airline metaphor, for marketers trying to reach baby boomers and seniors, here’s where the bulk of your prospects are traveling: email, Google search and Facebook.

Yes, there are tour groups checking out Pinterest. There are influencers regularly visiting Twitter. There are business travelers addicted to LinkedIn.

But for the most part statistics show that you’ll find the largest number of your older targets on email, Google search and Facebook. That’s where you’ll get the most juice.

Here’s another great perspective, from Mitch Joel:

“There’s no doubt about it. We’ve made a mess of things. Most brands have no cohesive brand narrative because they’re busy updating their websites with more pages, tweeting randomly on Twitter, working a Facebook page, experimenting on Pinterest, loading up videos on YouTube and more. They’re just throwing content at popular channels without looking at the holistic space and opportunity to extend a brand narrative.”

I’m not saying “don’t ever bother with Pinterest.” But first, get your foundations in place.

* Know what business results you need. Develop a strategy to achieve them. Prioritize profits over pins.

* Get real about where your 50+ customers and prospects are spending their time.

* Research what mature consumers expect out of each platform, how they like to engage on that network.

* Learn how to extend your brand narrative via those platforms on which the bulk of your audience relies.

Then you can experiment with confidence with whatever new shiny comes along AND enjoy greater success.

Are you faced with this type of challenge right now? Wondering where you should be or what you should be doing on each social platform to get the best ROI? Please let us know how we can help.



* Pinterest 101 – A primer for the uninitiated and the uninterested

* Are Baby Boomers and Seniors Interested in Pinterest?


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