Which Visual Social Media Should Small Business Use, and Why?
Last week, we took a brief foray into the history of the digital social media so that we could make better informed, supportable decisions on how to allocate our social media and content marketing dollars and efforts.
This week, we’ll dive a bit deeper into the “visual platforms” of Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram. I will explain why I’d recommend Instagram only at this time.
Tumblr came first.
Tumblr was pretty huge at the time it was first introduced. It offered the easiest user interface for blogging newbies: Intuitive and easy to learn just by playing around with it.
You didn’t need to navigate a WordPress-like open-source legacy framework and sort through forums, chat, and online code dictionaries to figure out how to post a thing — picture, video, quote, link, plain text, pretty text — and have it look halfway decent. (In this way — competition — WordPress finally became a ton easier to use. Look, Ma! I’m using it now!)
Lots of folks still use Tumblr. And not just for pron either. (Can I say porn here? Cosmo did.)
Upshot: If a well-meaning friend or client ever bugs you again about not being on Tumblr, clutch your pearls and before you huff away, tell them, “I most certainly do not run that kind of enterprise.”
Unless you do, then you should certainly consider an assertive Tumblr stance. So to speak. (Lingerie boutiques, adult toy stores, craft and artisanal adult beverage makers, er um, online muscle car parts suppliers. If your brand motto is sex sells, Tumblr’s your jam.)
Otherwise, that’s one less social medium for the rest of us to worry about. You’re welcome.
But, the real reason I’m dismissing Tumblr…
Yahoo owns Tumblr, bought in 2013 for just over $1.1 billion USD.
Remember when AOL used to send free disks to every mailing address “or current owner” to sell their services as an Internet portal? Remember when some people thought that THE Internet was accessible only through AOL? Seen any Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan movies?
Now, think hard about this, when was the last time you heard about AOL or AOL Instant Messenger? Yes, I’m comparing Yahoo to AOL. And dodo birds.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a paying Yahoo account holder since, gosh, the late-70s.
That’s how I’ve been able to watch them first hand/user-side as they’ve reacted very (relatively) slowly to the changing Internet landscape. They were Web 1.0. Insofar as we’re still in Web 2.0 — if we are? — Yahoo has had a hard time keeping up with the rest of us.
They seem to have been in catch-up mode since Google changed the way we live. I can’t overstate the impact of Google search, at least on my life. I remember first hearing about, and in short order becoming a regular user of, Google in the very early ’00s. Microsoft and Yahoo didn’t team up for Bing until 2009. Regardless of what the die-hard Bing fans say, they’re still tilting at windmills.
So, other than the porn “problems” — a safe-ish-for-work link — if you’re a small business owner making tough decisions about where to spend your marketing dime and time, Tumblr seems like betting on the slow pony. Or on Ginuwine’s Pony.
Between Pinterest and Instagram, Choose the Latter.
If you’re running around like your hair is on fire because you’re so busy running your business, and you are only just now getting into social media reluctantly because it’s finally become evident that you can’t keep ignoring it… pick Instagram. Here’s why.
Again, don’t get me wrong.
I love Pinterest. It’s fabulous. Big money agrees.
Last month, Financial Times interviewed co-founder, Ben Silbermann, found him to be a really swell guy. They also observed that his company, which is privately held, is be valued at $11 billion, a “result of being unashamedly commercial.”
Indeed, Pinterest rolled out ads just over two years ago. When I first saw that news, I was super excited to learn more.
Until I saw that the expected monthly commitment from an agency or advertiser was $150,000. As an opener. As my family says around a penny-ante game of poker, “That’s too rich for my blood.”
About two months ago, Pinterest finally opened their ad manager to us plebeians. Previously it had been in beta with a waiting list.
I’m an unabashed late adopter. I prefer to let the fools rush in and find kinks, the bugs and hiccups. By the time it becomes imperative for me to use it, if that time ever comes, best practices and methodologies are already in place and just a Google search away. Plus, I don’t have the funds to be an early adopter.
Since the dust hasn’t settled yet, I’m more than okay skipping it within my and my clients’ social media and content marketing strategies. Unless they’re already on it. Or selling on Etsy.
That brings us to Instagram. See you next week for the rest of the story!