My Pinterest Is Better Than Yours

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Let me tell you a little secret about business school: they bring in as many guest speakers as possible. They do this for a variety of reasons–so all students can experience something they are interested in, so we can fill in any gaps in our classroom education, to expose us to different leadership styles and, well, the list could go on and on. In this blur of speakers, Nick Westergaard, the speaker for the Marketing Academy this past week, certainly stood out.

Nick grew up alongside his family’s advertising firm and never anticipated that his career would land him as Vice President and second-generation principle with the company. After graduating from University of Iowa, his career path led him to Buckle Down Publishing and ACT, Inc and into the arena of digital marketing. These roles sparked the fire that have made him a social marketing guru.

Nick shared his thoughts on the visualization of social media. Over the past few years, platforms like LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook have responded to studies that show graphics play a large role in user engagement. Websites like Pinterest exist because of the visual drive. One problem with this visualization is that companies don’t understand it and for that reason often underutilize it, or worse, use it in a way that detracts value from the brand. Lucky for us marketing MBA students, Nick had six suggestions on how to keep your company’s social media relevant:

  1. Basics do matter
  2. Have a plan
  3. Invest in photography
  4. Teach storytelling
  5. Understand pinning
  6. Make your past visual

As social media becomes more widely used by businesses, metrics on how successful the endeavor is are evolving. Facebook, for example, allows the company to evaluate their posts with its like counts, comments or shares. These metrics tie directly to the concept of maintaining the “human factor.” One of social media marketing’s strengths is that it gives corporations the ability to interact with customers on a person to  person basis, which to a direct marketer like myself seems like the holy grail of marketing.

For me, the point Nick really drove home is that social media marketing isn’t something that should be taken on by a company just to check off some box on a checklist or a task that should just be assigned to whoever is youngest in the office. Social media marketing, when done well, can work to build the brand name and connect on a personal level with the customer.

If Nick’s presentation was on Facebook, I’d go ahead and give it a like.


Follow Nick on Twitter (@NickWestergaard), on Facebook, or on his blog

Also announcing: Social Brand Forum 2012, Iowa’s Premier Social Media Marketing Event

October 17-18 | Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, Coralville, IA

Social Brand Forum 2012 brings national-level social media content to the Eastern Iowa Creative Corridor for a day and half of keynotes, panel discussions, and interactive sessions. Featuring speakers, authors, and thought leaders from the national stage, the event is designed to help marketers at organizations small and large build stronger brands through social media content, conversations, and community.


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