Which side of the ‘digital divide’ are you on?
I suppose to answer that we need to define what that divide refers to.
For a number of years now, digital divide has referred to people with email addresses and Internet access and those without it. It had particular significance when planning communication policies and channels for businesses and organisations because if your audience or some of them are among the ‘have nots’, your communication efforts will suffer, not to mention issues of access and justice for particular organisations and government agencies.
With the NBN slowly rolling out to every home and business in Australia, the magnitude of the digital divide is set to diminish.
But just as one definition shows signs of coming to an end, another one arises.
I refer to the digital divide among business owners and leaders relating to those who are embracing new digital tools and services and those who are indifferent or paralysed by fear.
This was brought into focus during one of my Digital Enterprise workshops in Darwin last week (they’re free for small businesses and community organisations – you should enrol for 2013).
Amid our whirlwind day of discussing and playing with tools we will be able to fully exploit as the NBN arrives (for business systems, efficiencies, collaboration and marketing) we had an impromptu brainstorm around various uses for Pinterest that went a little outside the ordinary.
It was a powerful example of how ‘ordinary’ business operators and organisation representatives can be on the right side of the digital divide.
I want to share a couple of thoughts about their mindset and then share some of the ‘unconventional’ uses they improvised for a service that was new to many of them.
How a marketing mindset can help future proof your business
I really believe what we all experienced last week, was a display of pure marketing mindset.
In essence, a group of people had Pinterest demonstrated to them, were given a chance to play with it, and then started thinking about how it might be useful from their audiences’ perspectives. And their own!
This attitude will place these people at the forefront of their fields because they will have an openness to new ideas and methods of engaging with their markets, that will allow them to respond to changes and remain relevant to their clients or stakeholders with each new wave of technical and social change.
This doesn’t mean they will embrace everything, but it will mean they will make go or no go decisions based on a mindset that asks if there are ways each new tool or trend can bring them closer to their constituencies or help them manage their internal tasks better.
New things to try with your Pinterest account
If Pinterest has snuck by you, here is a brief overview.
Pinkest is a social network with approximately 12 million users users worldwide, of whom, 65 per cent are women.
Enthrallingly, it has 104 million visitors per month and visitors spend 405 minutes a month engaged on it – that last figure is equal to the king of engagement, Facebook.
When you join, you can create pin boards, which are like online scrapbooks. You then can load a pin mechanism to your web browser so that when you are on the web and see a photo you want to ‘pin’ to one of your collections, you click on it, add it to the correct board, and can later come back and see your curated images whoever you wish to. Of most importance is that the image is a link back to its original location on the web.
What’s more, other Pinterest users and Internet users can see your board and comment, like or follow your work.
Until now, the overwhelmingly typical uses of Pinterest have been personal pin boards of ideas for wedding dresses (and other aspects of wedding planning) by brides to be, and using Pinterest as an online recipe books by tech savvy cooks.
With Pinterest recently making memberships available for businesses, there is a lot of experimentation going on in the marketing community about how to exploit this.
But as our group got chatting, suggestions started flying. Here are just a few:
- If I create a secret board (hidden from the world), I could use it as an easy, quick-reference list of bookmarks to sites I need to visit regularly for my business
- If I create attractive PowerPoint slides for my presentations (like Steve Jobs used to), I could upload a presentation image by image into a specific pin board just for that one presentation – it would make my content more findable and each slide could point to a specific resource
- If I have a wide range of goods to sell, I could create themed pinboards on Pinterest and pin my own products into different boards to help my material get found by people passionate about certain items, ie, a home renovation company crafting pinboards for bathroom ideas, bedroom ideas, kitchen ideas, etc
What I think the participants will find most valuable is if they keep this open mind approach to all new technologies as they emerge, and question each technology from the perspective of their business or customers, they will be able to exploit new ways to make themselves available and relevant to their target markets, well ahead of their timid or apathetic competitors.
To get your creative juices flowing, I have whipped up a couple of Pinboards for Baker Marketing, using the images from our blog posts as eye candy. I have split the pins between Marketing blogs and WordPress blogs. I will monitor these for inbound traffic to our site to see if even creating a set-and-forget approach has some value.
You can visit the boards here:
What do you use Pinterest for?