Pinterest—What is it?
Pinterest (pinterest.com) is a widely popular new social media site. Simply put, it’s a virtual pin-up board of images, videos and other content used to share and generate common interests among friends and fans. Users upload, sort, save and manage their content online on pages known as pinboards. They add content by “pinning” it to a “pinboard” and then sharing it with others that come across their content and find it interesting. Pinterest is essentially a window into all things that inspire someone every day. The visual board representation is fun and informative and can also be beautiful and provocative.
According to Pinterest Co-Founder Paul Sciarra, the idea for Pinterest was simple—“to make an Internet service where people can create and share collections of images — an online take on the time-honored tradition of collecting your favorite things in photo-albums, on refrigerators, in dog-eared stacks of clippings, or, of course, on physical cork-boards.” Pinterest is a highly visual social media service, which makes it more attractive, different and engaging than, yet extremely complimentary with, Twitter, for example, which serves mostly single-lined news feeds. It also works great with blogs and Facebook. Pinterest is surprisingly simple and easy to use. Once users collect things on their pinboards, they are passively shared with friends and fans. Others can “peek in” on anyone else’s Pinboards at any time. It’s fun to rip-off, or rather ‘browse, collect and pin,’ content you’ve found from other’s pinboards visited on the web, to represent and build your own. You can create several pinboard topics of choice and categorize them to further delineate and segment specific interests and facets of yourself and/or your business. Add as many ‘pins’ as you like to your pinboard. Friends and fans can then follow you or your specific pinboards getting notified when you add or edit that content. Furthermore, comments, links back to your website and/or blog can be made on pins, making it extremely viral and beneficial for a business.
Registering with Pinterest requires an invitation from the company (perhaps making it more desirable—I’ve learned, more so from my twin four-year-old children, that ‘we always want what we can’t immediately have’). You can request an invitation on Pinterest.com, receive one from a friend or create a Facebook or Twitter profile to create an account.
Why Should You be Pinterested?
Pinterest was launched in 2008, yet in the past year has experienced tremendous growth reaching over 12 million unique users per month. More importantly, Pinterest is extremely viral and has great networking potential. Shareaholic indicates in their January report that Pinterest continues to generate more referral traffic to websites than YouTube, Reddit, Google + and LinkedIn, combined! Pinterest’s current audience is mostly women (about 70%)—the more active social media gender—with interests in fashion, home, health and food. Although that is slowly changing as more men jump in to Pinterest, it’s helpful to understand this demographic target segment as women are the Chief Instigators in Charge, according Tom Peters, in most household buying decisions.
Is Pinterest Right for Your Business?
Pinterest is best served for businesses that have a story to tell and can do so through interesting images like hotels, restaurants, and contractors, to name a few. They can use it to share recipes, design elements, local tips and before/after images to engage an audience, build a following and generate new customers. If your business has products that can be presented visually, like a flower shop or jewelry business, it could also be well suited. Like most other social media services, even though Pinterest is a free service with tremendous potential to support key marketing and sales objectives, it does require an investment in time to manage, maintain and engage your target audience in order to get the most value out of it. In other words, don’t get started just yet unless you have these and can follow through.
Some Tips for Getting the Most Out of Pinterest for Your Small Business
Jason Fell in Entrepreneur magazine’s “What Magazines Can Teach You About Using Pinterest,” suggests the following tips learned from magazines (another business where Pinterest is perfectly suited) using Pinterest, to help your business get the most out of the service (http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/223213 ):
- Post images that best tell your story. A simple product might not be a full story yet a customer using your product or service could be. Think outside the box and as an advertising agency would when posting the right image for your business’ product or service.
- Use a multi-platform strategy. Be sure to extend the dialog across other integrated media as well as social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
- Engage users with a contest. Jason Fell cites the Better Homes & Gardens contest that encourages users to create their own Better Homes & Gardens board for a chance to win a prize.
Other helpful hints include:
– Follow pin etiquette. The company suggests the following:
- Be Respectful. Pinterest is a community of people. We know that individual tastes are personal, but please be respectful in your comments and conversations.
- Be Authentic. Pinterest is an expression of who you are. Being authentic to who you are is more important than winning lots of followers or fans.
- Credit Your Sources. Pins are the most useful when they have links back to the original source. If you notice that a pin is not sourced correctly, leave a comment so the original pinner can update the source.
- Some other good pin etiquette, can be found on this blog: http://kirstencan.typepad.com/kirstencan/2012/03/pinterest-etiquette-1.html
– Don’t be overly promotional. Like any social media site, the more self promoting you are, the more your customers will (eventually) see right through it
For a good example of a business site that does it right, in my opinion, check out www.pinterest.com/calypsostbarth. You will notice that they do not only show their products, sparingly, but the boards are mostly full of inspiring and colorful images. These images paint a clear vibe of the brand better than any copy could ever. It results in an interest in their products…
So what are you waiting for? Get started with Pinterest. Have some fun. Warning: it’s addicting!
About the Author
Angelo Biasi is General Manager of SMART Marketing Solutions, LLC, a leading full-service integrated marketing company in Florida and New York since 2001. He has helped create and execute marketing plans and integrated marketing solutions for companies such as Playtex, Bic, Rogaine, Tauck, and over 35 colleges and universities, to name a few. Angelo has an MBA in Marketing from the University of Connecticut and teaches Marketing at New York University where he has for over six years. He has been quoted and/or featured in USA Today, Mobile Marketer magazine, Mobile Commerce Daily, Luxury Marketing magazine, BNET TV and Business Currents magazine, to name a few. For more information or to learn more, email him at abiasismartmarketingllccom (abiasismartmarketingllccom) , visit www.smartmarketingllc.com, call him at 239.963.9396 and