I am still enjoying my vacation in Denmark. And today we’ve been to Legoland. It’s been amazing, and I have been enjoying rollercoasters for 10 hours along with my kids.
I’d like to introduce you to Heather Green. She has written a guest post about Pinterest. Let’s discuss it in the comments.
Pinsanity seems to have gripped the Internets. Millions of users are “pinning” photos and videos from their favorite sites and creating virtual pin boards that reflect their personal style, offer inspiration, or serve as bookmark dumps for gifts they want to buy, outfits they want to create, or crafts they want to make. So what does any of that have to do with your business? Perhaps quite a lot.
How Pinterest Works
Pinterest is essentially an online scrapbooking site. Users install a toolbar, and if they see something that they like while they’re searching the Web, they click a button to “pin” it. They can organize their pins by themed boards. Some common themes might include “gifts” or “my style” or “inspiration.” Pinners may bookmark items that they think are neat or interesting. They may pin items that they want to create themselves. Or they might create a board that offers visual inspiration for a project or a goal.
Other pinners can choose to follow you (like Twitter) or can comment on your pins (like Facebook). They can also re-pin your pins, creating potential for an item to go viral.
Pinterest is still a young start-up, but it has been going through the mother of all growth spurts. According to Mashable, the authority on social media and Internet trends, Pinterest gained over 13 million users in just 10 months – and the site is still invitation only. Tech Crunch reported that the site had reached 11.7 million unique monthly U.S. visitors alone by early February, and that it had crossed the 10 million mark faster than any other standalone site in history. Google DoubleClick reports that it has 21 million unique monthly worldwide visitors.
Check out this infographic from Monetate for more information about the rapid growth that Pinterest has experienced since its inception.
Pinterest was named one of Time’s 50 Best Websites last year and was honored with a Crunchie award for Best New Startup. There is also a Pinterest app and a mobile version of the site.
Besides its enormous user base, Pinterest also boasts one of the best referral rates of any social media site. According to a Shareaholic Study, Pinterest drives more referral traffic than YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+ combined. Google and social media giants Twitter and Facebook still lead for referrals. (However, Google and Twitter generated only a fraction of a percentage more referrals than Pinterest.)
With such a large database of users and strong referral potential to leverage, Pinterest offers business another key outlet for marketing their brand or their products. Learning how to tap into that market is key to maintaining a successful social-networking strategy.
Businesses and Pinterest
Successfully leveraging Pinterest as a marketing platform requires more than just pinning your own products or articles about your services. In fact, such blatant self-promotion is often seen as tacky or even bad manners by the site’s users. However, there are many ways to engage users without trying to sell to them directly.
The key to using Pinterest successfully is to create a sense of your brand, whether you are directly promoting your own products and services or not. For example, Whole Foods has found great success by promoting other healthy products, sharing photos that inspire, and encouraging interaction with its charity. Retail businesses and companies that sell lifestyle products or services will have an easier time promoting their brand on the site.
Businesses that promote intellectual property, such as banks or consulting firms, may have a tougher time creating a brand on Pinterest. However, a little creative thinking can go a long way. For example, a bank could create an “inspiration” board for those who are looking to buy a home, including pictures of dream homes, families enjoying traditions together, or significant life events like marriages or births. Consulting firms can pin infographics or other articles of interest related to the types of services they provide. The key is to provide items of interest to your customers while also promoting the values and concepts that your brand encompasses.
Whether Pinterest is just another flash in the pan or is here to stay is yet to be seen. It could become one of the top social media players, perhaps even edging out competitors like Twitter. What is certain is that it is a key player on the scene now, and businesses need to find ways to leverage its influence to promote their brands and to stay relevant in the social-media network.
About the Author:
Heather Green is a freelance writer for several regional magazines in North Carolina as well as a resident blogger for onlinenursingdegrees.org. Her writing experience includes fashion, business, health, agriculture and a wide range of other topics. Heather has just completed research on online healthcare administration degree and online physical therapy assistant programs.