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Rising social media star Pinterest significant for businesses

Just a few days ago I was visiting a client and we spent a good deal of time talking about social media strategy for their business. The usual suspects were discussed, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ and how an integrated social media strategy could help them build up their business network, positioning themselves as thought leaders in their industry and send increasing traffic, and in-turn potential clients, to their website.

I came back to my office and suddenly I started seeing mentions of Pinterest in all my own social media feeds. What was it and how could I have missed it until now?

Pinterest was launched in 2010 but burst onto the mainstream scene in 2011. Users can ‘pin’ interesting things they find on the web and use Pinterest to put this web content into ‘sticky-note’ sized blocks that users can organise onto virtual pinboards that fill the entire browser screen and share them with friends.

You can have as many pinboards as you like and you can pin as many images, videos, links, websites, pictures as you like to each pinboard.

 

How does it work?…

After installing it in your browser (takes less than a minute) the ‘pin it’ button lets you grab an image from any website and add it to one of your pinboards. When you pin from a site Pinterest automatically grabs the source link so they credit the original creator.

Once on your pinboard other Pinterest users have the ability to ‘like’, ‘repin’ to their own pinboards or ‘comment’. Each item pinned to your pinboard is linked to the original source and will take users to that source when they click on an item.  And much like Facebook your Pinterest pins can go viral.

Oh No! Not another social
media site I have to get
my head around
I hear you cry!

But to ignore Pinterest is to ignore considerable potential for your business.

Pinterest have been keeping quiet about their user numbers but there are plenty of internet studies that give us a clue as to its popularity and growth:-

  • A recent report from Shareaholic found it drives more traffic to websites than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined
  • The site registered more than 7 million unique visitors in December, up from 1.6 million in September
  • Currently with approximately 11.7 million unique monthly US visitors it has now crossed the 10 million mark faster than any other standalone site in history
Does it really work?…

Retail deal site www.ideeli.com has seen a 446% interest in web traffic from Pinterest and sales resulting from those visits have increased fivefold.

How could it work for your business?…

There are some drawbacks for businesses:-

  1. You could post images of your own products onto a Pinterest board and link them back to your website. BUT this is social media, people will not pay attention if your interaction is wholly self-serving – you should be contributing other content and sharing other user’s pins
  2. If you run a business that isn’t particularly visual you may find it difficult to pin suitable images
  3. There are no business categories on Pinterest currently

All that being said, the only way to know is to give it a go.

Lets say you run a hairdressing salon. You could pin pictures of hairstyles of famous people, work that you’ve done, products you use and recommend etc… You could then follow other Pinterest users that you find inspirational and pin some of their work. In time you could even develop your pinboards to feature promotional offers and giveaways.

As a free referral means (and it has to be said a fun, albeit slightly addictive, way to collate the things you love) the best suggestion would be to set it up and give it a try – pin things that are relevant to you business, not overtly promotional, and see how it goes.

 

To see and measure the potential benefit you should be using web analytics, and after month or two review your progress and make tweaks and adjustments where necessary.

I don’t have that kind of time…

If you don’t spend a lot of time on the web looking for inspiration, ideas, competitors, reading material, images etc… there is no doubt this will require some time to be dedicated to making it work. And, dare I mention yet another web based service for you to consider but for some Trapit could help. Trapit launched last November and does the searching for you, based on keywords having to do with your interests and helps you pin things to your virtual Pinterest pinboards.

However, if you’re like me, you’ll enjoy doing it the old fashioned way – see it, like it, ‘pin it’ and share it.

If you’d like an invite to start using Pinterest please let me know.

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