When you post a comment on the Ranch Restaurant Facebook page, owner Andrew Edwards responds quickly. He owns not only the restaurant (and the saloon next door), but also Extron Electronics, which manufactures computer-video interfaces, switchers, configurable control systems, and more.
The three companies have similar addresses in the same multistory building in Anaheim, Calif. However, they don't seem to have the same strategy when it comes to social media and marketing.
Extron's Facebook page sits empty, and there's no mention of the company on LinkedIn, Google+, or Pinterest. No mentions of the Ranch Restaurant on Pinterest, either, except that Jill Smith, a Wisconsin transplant now living in Mission Viejo, Calif., pinned a picture of the restaurant last year to remind herself of local restaurants she would like to try.
Though Extron seems to be missing from Pinterest, other electronics companies and distributors have found their way on the site, including Digi-Key, Acer, Apple, Sony, and Hewlett-Packard. Lacking a social presence could prove a missed opportunity. Pinterest allows users to pin (share) images and videos of items that interest them on themed Pinboards. People follow one another in a way similar to Twitter.
In a PriceGrabber survey of 4,851 US online consumers conducted March 13-26, 21 percent of respondents with a Pinterest account said they purchased a product after seeing a picture on the site, which Internet Marketing estimates 10.4 million users visited in February 2012.
In January, the average user spent about 97.8 minutes on the site, compared with 36 minutes on Twitter, 17 minutes on LinkedIn, and 6 minutes on Google+, according to Internet Marketing. More than one-fifth of Facebook connected users (about 2 million) are also on Pinterest daily.
How can companies supporting the electronics components industry leverage Pinterest? Here are some ideas:
- Create brand associations that might not be apparent. Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) capitalized on associating its brand with a variety of laptops and desktop computer makers with the Intel Inside campaign.
- Build a poll, and share the results. A business-to-business medical company asked followers to answer five questions. After answering all five questions, the quiz referred people to a doctor.
- Build a hobbyist experience. Digi-Key Corp. does this with video on YouTube, but component manufacturers can create a similar experience by weaving in pictures of components that make up the product. Pinning them to Pinboards can help you create storyboards, like the ones the movie industry used in the old days of moviemaking. The consumer can click on the picture and be taken to the manufacturer's Website.
- Generate multiple Top 10 featured lists. The more, the merrier. Like the hobbyist experience, a list of top 10 components in multiple categories will draw attention to a variety of products. It works well for electronic component distributors, because of the wealth of product they carry, but it could also become a strategy for a manufacturer with multiple product lines.
- Find evangelists by answering questions for potential customers before they ask them. Identify and follow those who pin and re-pin similar product images. Not all messages about products and services resonate on social media. Through images pinned to boards, develop answers to questions that customers and prospects might have. Then share the boards on Twitter and Facebook, integrating other social marketing sites in the mix. Trying to convey detailed messages can become tricky for electronics companies, so remember to keep the themes consistent across all sites.