Chasing the Hot New Service?

Every year, if not every week, it seems like another hot new social service hits the scene. After Facebook, it was Pinterest, and then Instagram, and now Vine. How do you decide which service(s) to use?

Remember that in business, and even more in social, it’s better to do one thing well rather than three things poorly. The goal is not to be everywhere. It’s to be fully engaged in the places that you choose to participate.

As such, there’s no need to chase after every hot new service, unless it’s a game changer for the specific demographic groups you’re targeting.

In 2011, a client asked me, “Should we be using Pinterest?” Here’s how I answer such questions.

First, look at the traffic stats using (free).

In 2011, Pinterest was indeed gaining traction with 7.2 million unique monthly visitors by year-end. Two months later, it had doubled again (16.2 million “uniques”) and it’s roughly doubled again since then. So at least in this case, using Compete to spot a trend is a reliable way to predict the future.

Next, “Who are these people?” To answer that question, I use (also free) to examine audience demographics. You may have to install the Alexa Toolbar to unlock this data.

According to Alexa, at the end of 2011, the people using Pinterest were disproportionately 25-34 year old females, better educated, and slight more likely to be at work than at home.

So should your business be using Pinterest?

If this data describes an important demographic for you, ‘yes’. If you are a car dealer or homebuilder, or if you sell dental plans, women are driving the purchase decisions. If you sell women’s clothing, wedding dresses, home décor, kitchen products, or kids clothes, then yes, you better have a Pinterest page.

But if you sell beer or power tools (not to be too stereotypical here), Pinterest doesn’t matter to you.

So which social services are important to your business? Use Compete and Alexa data to decide.

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