And so is Facebook if you consider a recent survey that reveals almost half of Americans think it’s a “passing fad”. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t – it really doesn’t matter that much. Great content, easily shared, on the platforms everyone uses will always get you the results you want. Let’s look at the following example.

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My wife was recently browsing on Pinterest and showed me a photo of a shelf made out of industrial pipes.

I said, “Cool! Where is it from?”

She clicks through to where the craftsperson is selling these really unusual bookshelves. If you’ve never been to Etsy, it’s an online marketplace for craftspeople, and the best place to go for something out-of-the-ordinary.

Any way, I told my wife, “Buy that thing. It’s awesome!”

And just like that, I’ve got this great bookshelf in my office.

I’ve been a bit skeptical of the value of Pinterest. A lot of people ask me about this newcomer to the social networking universe, but I’ve withheld enthusiasm. They got all excited when this bright, shiny object caught on and thought it might be the next great thing on the heels of Facebook’s social network success.

My first Pinterest purchasing experience made me think about this social networking site as a possible marketing tool. The thing is, I didn’t buy the bookshelf off Pinterest. It was a conduit to Etsy, which wouldn’t have any bragging rights if it weren’t for the cool content posted there by someone else.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. The key to online success is content, content, and more content. Make it interesting, entertaining, informative, and noteworthy. It doesn’t have to be brilliant, but your content should be worth reading and you should be consistent in posting it. Get the word out there. Use posts, tweets, blogs, videos—whatever it takes to connect you with potential buyers who like what they see online.

Whether you’re a sales executive, marketing director, or other professional who is responsible for building interest in your products or services, you’re in the content creation business, aiming for building buzz. Places like Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter are platforms for your message. You still have to craft and deliver it to these places.

If that guy were just building his bookshelves in his basement and not posting it for sale on Etsy, his cool factor would be his own little secret.

Pinterest might actually be the next great thing. And Facebook might file an IPO and fizzle over time just like AOL. It doesn’t matter. You will have other platforms for distributing your content. As long as you have something postable, pinnable, tweetable, and shareable, you will be noticed.

New things come out every day. A new app for your mobile phone. A new website. A new social network. Google+ was supposed to be the next great thing. How’s that working? A report released by the market research firm ComScore in February 2012 said that Google+ users spend only three minutes per month on this site, as compared to those Facebook users who spend an average of 405 minutes per month on that site.

Any source can be useful if you choose to work them, but you have to ask yourself, what is the return on your time investment?

Don’t be so distracted by the latest, greatest, coolest social network that you forget that it is a channel. No matter what app or social networking tool that comes out, we need to focus on this objective: How can I use this to increase my business?

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