The kindness of strangers - marketing through recommendations

When it comes to social media, personal recommendations are a valuable commodity.   The power of ‘like', ‘share', ‘retweet' and +one is that these recommendations mean more when they come from others.  People outside the organisation can become our most powerful and influential advocates.The challenge for information professionals is that there are so many social media tools around.  Which ones should we focus on?  Do we really need a presence on Facebook, in Google+, on Twitter, in the blogosphere, on LinkedIn etc.  The answer is that we must be active on any tool where relevant conversations are happening.Sometimes relevant conversations can happen face to face.  Having heard about Pinterest first through a Facebook friend, and second at the recent NetIKX social media event, it was a real world conversation with Phil Bradley that alerted me to the value of this new social tool.   Pinterest provides social bookmarking with images.  Although still in beta form, information professionals should be alert to its potential - Pinterest is already driving more traffic to retail sites than Google+.On Pinterest, users create folders for images, describing their contents using freetext tagging.  This is something which information professionals are very good at.   You can use Pinterest to search images and to find experts and interested people.  It is also an excellent marketing tool, and can draw people onto your website.  It has enormous potential to market what it is that we do to a wide audience.So if someone invites you to join Pinterest, you should accept the invitation and explore its potential  as a potentially powerful marketing tool for library and information services.