New social networking platforms seem to pop up with regular frequency, but one that’s grabbing a lot of attention – and users — is Pinterest. Essentially an e-bulletin board, the site launched in 2009 and is currently still invite only (in Beta testing).
Pinning = Winning
Pinterest revolves around the idea of “pinning” images of your favorite items and sharing them with friends. The site saw explosive growth in the past year, and recently became one of the top 10 websites within the Hitwise Social Networking & Forums category, receiving nearly 11 million total visits during the week ending December 17, 2011 (via Experian Hitwise). Some reports claim that they already have 10 million registered users.
But what’s all the fuss about? Pinterest is a visual social discovery network that allows users to create online pinboards (like a bulletin board or vision board) for various categories (things like “craft projects,” “dream kitchen” or “recipes”), and pin photos or videos to it, with a caption. It’s a great way to organize your inspiration, share the things that you love and that inspire you, and to be inspired by those in your networks.
Three Ways to “Pin”
Here are the three ways that you “pin”:
- Upload an image or video directly to Pinterest from your phone (there’s a Pinterest app) or computer.
- Install the Pin It bookmarklet to your toolbar, which allows you to pin any image from any site on the web.
- Repin other pins from your friends’ or by browsing Pinterest’s categories.
Of the over 10 million users on Pinterest, approximately 70 percent are female, and they’re a highly engaged audience– logging more than 421 million page views. So, as a small business owner, how do you use Pinterest as a marketing tool?
First things first – set up your profile with Search Engine Optimization in mind. Search Engine Land published a great article that will walk you through the appropriate steps.
Second, know the rules. In “Pin Etiquette,” it says that Pinterest is not a place for self-promotion – yeah, right! According to this Mashable interview with Evan Sharp, Pinterest Designer and Co-Founder, a lot of brands use Pinterest to share the idea behind their company. Create boards that will resonate with your customers and potential customers. Share more than your product line; share things like the inspiration behind your brand, or similar products and places that support your brand that your customers would be interested in, complementary products and brands. Share the lifestyle, not the just your product and your personality.
Check out this article from American Express Open that gives a great round up of what some well-known brands are doing on Pinterest.
As a small business owner, Pinterest is a great tool to share ideas and inspiration. How will you use it? Let us know in the comments!