If you’re a business owner or Internet marketer that hasn’t heard of Pinterest by now, let me clue you in a bit. According to the über popular Pinterest.com, “Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.”
But Pinterest.com is far more than a “Virtual Pinboard.”
We’ve been keeping a close eye on Pinterest over the last year and can say with confidence that it is sure to become an important component to online brand management . In fact, the numbers alone should give you an idea of its impact since its March 2010 launch!
comScore reports that the visual bookmarking site saw an average of 72.1 minutes per worldwide user in October 2011. This is an astounding 512% increase since May 2011, when comScore first started tracking the site.
A month later, comScore reported that Pinterest was the 7th leading social media site in the US based on the number of unique visitors in November 2011. With a rising estimated value of $200 million, the site had 4.9 million unique visitors spending an average of 88.3 minutes on the site.
So what can Pinterest do for your business?
Like the other top social networking sites—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.—there are a variety of social media marketing benefits. Here are some of the more obvious ones that should get you excited about your brand’s potential on Pinterest:
- Brand Exposure – every “Pin,” “Repin,” & “Like” is shared across the category that it falls under, as well as the network of the user who “Pinned” the image
- Shopping Discovery – a shift from search to discovery of products and services; Pinterest allows users to find the products and services they never knew they wanted or needed (and instantly become an advocate)
- Brand Advocacy – as the images from your boards or website are shared throughout the Pinterest network, users are sharing their support for your product, service and brand with their personal network
- Link Building – every “Pin” and “Repin” creates a link back to the image source
- Brand Management in the SERPS – to boost your search engine optimization efforts, securing the URL www.pinterest.com/yourbrand will allow your Pinterest profile to show up for branded search results
How Pinterest Works
The first thing you need is an invite to join Pinterest. Yes, its invite-only similar to how Google+ was at launch. You can request an invite directly from the Pinterest.com, but you may end up waiting forever. Instead, comment on this post and we’ll send one over so you can join the ‘pinning’ craze in no time!
During the set-up process, you will be asked to specify a few things that you’re interested in and also to install the “Pin It” button to your browser’s toolbar. Based on the interests you select, Pinterest will choose a handful of the top users for you to follow—this will help you feel all cozy and at home as you learn the ins and outs of the site.
From Weddings & Events, DIY & Crafts, Food & Drink to Technology, Science & Nature, and Sports (just to name a few), Pinterest currently has 32 unique categories that each “Pin” can be found under. No matter your industry, there’s a place for you/your brand to share and interact on Pinterest.com. But like any content sharing network, there are some best practices you will need to follow. Here they are according to the ‘pinning’ site itself:
- Pin from the original source
- Pin from permalinks
- Give credit and include a thoughtful pin description
Additional tips for a strong Pinterest presence include:
- Pinning from various sources rather than one specific site; Pinterest flat-out states that they do not want any brands on Pinterest solely for self-promotion
- Repinning from within the site to engage with others – repinning is one of the most social activities on Pinterest and it’s how any user really builds their network of followers
- Creating at least a few boards that cover a broad range of interests, rather than maintaining a single board devoted to one topic
So what do you think about the Pinterest craze? Have you already incorporated the visual bookmarking site into your 2012 social media marketing strategy? Still skeptical? Need an invite? Share your thoughts in a comment below.