Pinterest has become not only the fastest growing social media platform, but the fastest growing website of all time.
“In March the site registered 17.8 million users, according to Comscore, a 52% jump in just one month — and it isn’t even open to everyone (would-be “pinners” must still request an invitation to join).” – Fortune Magazine, April 9, 2012 issue
What is Pinterest?
Basically, Pinterest is a free online service that lets users collect and share images on digital pinboards. It’s so easy to to use (and addicting) that instead of early adopters popularizing the platform, the most passionate users are Midwestern scrapbookers who use it to plan weddings, save recipes, and share jokes or inspirational messages.
Instead of using written content as substance, it uses images and video. It allows users to “pin” images and video to a virtual bulletin board they create. They can be photos they took and uploaded, images found on other websites, videos they find online or videos they have created themselves.
A user then shares that pin with their friends, who can then like or repin it to their boards. The primary purpose is to share your interests with friends through images and video.
Some people “pin” random interesting things that they come across on the web. Others are more organized, creating pin groupings such as home decorating ideas, wedding ideas such as flowers, colors, dresses, etc., design inspirations for the graphic designer, or recipes that use chocolate.
To ensure a positive environment, Pinterest asks only that you
- Be nice
- Credit your sources
- Avoid self-promotion
- Report objectionable content
To get started or to just get a feel for how the platform works, Pinterest has an uber-easy “Getting Started” page.
But, how useful is it for a business?
Pinterest does not support advertising on its site, at least not yet. And, self-promotion is not allowed. Nevertheless, there are ways to generate leads and conversions from Pinterest.
For example, say a shoe business “pinned” a few pictures of their new spring products. As you pin an image, the url for the webpage gets pinned with it. So when a viewer clicks on the image from the Pinterest pinboard, they’re taken to the web page where they can get more product information. Now they’re on the website, can do more looking around, and hopefully make a purchase.
“In February Pinterest drove more traffic to websites than Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn (LNKD), and YouTube combined.” — Fortune Magazine, April 9, 2012 issue
Maybe Not For Everybody
Because Pinterest is a visual platform, if your business doesn’t have or use images or video as part of your marketing strategy, Pinterest is probably not a good marketing tool for you. However, you can get creative and probably find ways to present your business, products, or services in a visual way. How about “before” and “after” pictures? Pictures of last year’s fund raising event? Pictures of clients in training (with their permission) with you as their personal trainer? And, just like all of the other social media services, if you’re not going to be an active and engaged user, you will not recognize the benefit of Pinterest.
Where does it stack up with other social media?
Pinterest is its own, unique solution, but it meshes well with other social media tools. It has the potential to go viral through Likes and Shares. You can make readers aware of it from your Facebook, Twitter, or blog accounts. In-coming links from Pinterest to your website improve your SEO.
One Little Hitch
Right now, Pinterest is available by invitation only. This will likely change and open up to the general public in the future, but for now you can request an invite from Pinterest or you can be invited by someone who is already a part of Pinterest.
You might want to give it a try. “Pinning” might prove to be more effective (and more fun) for your business than writing, posting, or tweeting. But before you give up on those streams, make sure your readers and followers are aware of your pinboard. And, give your Pinterest account some time to get a foothold.
For additional reading, you might like:
- 30 Resources, Tips and Tricks for Marketing Your Business on Pinterest
- 7 Ways to Use Pinterest to Promote your Business – Plus Infographic
Tell us how you use Pinterest for your business, hobbies, or personal interest.