Eight ways to make the most of Pinterest
You may have heard about Pinterest, the latest social networking site that’s making waves online. But what can it do for your business? If you offer services or products in the wedding, home décor, craft, food, travel or fashion sectors, the answer is, quite a lot. Here are some tips to get you started.
Pinterest strolled onto the scene in January 2011, quietly amassing users. In just one year the social bookmarking site had clocked up over 10 million monthly subscribers; achieving that milestone faster than any independent site ever, according to TechCrunch. And just this month, Pinterest completed a funding round of USD100 million, valuing it at USD1.5 billion. But why all the interest in what is essentially a virtual scrapbook site?
What’s interesting about Pinterest?
Pinterest is an online pinboard. Users can ‘pin’ images/products/blogs they see on the web to their Pinterest boards using a downloadable ‘Pin It’ button on their browser. They can also ‘follow’ other pinners and their boards, trawl through the millions of pinned items on other users’ boards; re-pin them to their own boards, ‘like’ and comment on them.
All of this activity means users are spending a considerable amount of time on the site. According to comScore, Pinterest users spent an hour and a half on the site in January, compared to just three minutes on Google+, 17 minutes on LinkedIn and 21 minutes on Twitter. Not only that, in February, Pinterest overtook Twitter in terms of driving referral traffic, and stands below just Facebook, Yahoo and Stumble Upon, according to Shareaholic.
Is Pinterest right for my business?
Like any other social media platform, Pinterest will suit some businesses and not others. It’s predominantly image focused and appeals to a largely female demographic, and so far wedding, home décor, craft, food, travel and fashion websites are proving most popular with users. That’s not surprising, given that Pinterest boards are largely aspirational. When describing Pinterest to friends, I’ve often said it’s like creating a life you’d like to have: like an imaginary house in the country packed with the most amazing, quirky furniture or creating the wedding of your dreams.
Chances are if you’re selling angle grinders or PC cabling, then Pinterest is probably not for you, but take some time to have a look through the site, and particularly the “Popular” pins; this will give you a good idea of what users are most interested in.
You’ve decided Pinterest could work for you. What do you do now?
- Get your Pinterest bio right. Make sure to add a short summary of your business in your bio and add in your website link to direct people back to your site.
- Edit the default boards. Create boards specific to your products and your audience. You can change the title of your boards, add as many boards as you want and pin as many items in each board as you like. Don’t go too crazy though, take your time and only add boards if you think you can populate them with at least 10 pinned items.
- Be creative with your pins. Think aspirational. As noted above, bear in mind that Pinterest users are looking for products, recipes and ideas that conjure up a certain type of lifestyle. Tap into that mindset and pin items that complement each other.
- Don’t just pin up images of your products as this is likely to backfire against you. If pinners see that you’re just on the site to promote your business, they are less likely to follow your boards. Look for products that go together with your business, creating a complete package. So, for example, if you’re a wedding florist, think about creating a board with clever table arrangements you’ve seen, or the latest colour trends in bridesmaid dresses, etc.
- Add prices to your products pins. Do make sure to add prices to your product pins. For each pin, there is an area to make a comment, or describe the pin. Adding the price here means it will display along with the image and your product pin will automatically be added to the “Gifts” section of the Pinterest site, which groups pins by price range.
- Be active. Like with other social network sites, you can build up your profile by interacting with other pinners. Be sure to ‘like’ others’ pins and leave comments explaining why you like them. You can also re-pin other users’ pins onto your own boards, effectively promoting their content. This is a good way to build relationships. Consider regularly promoting pins from followers each week and adding them to a special “Favourite pins from followers” board.
- Invite followers to pin to your boards. Irish retail site Garrendenny Lane is a good example of how this can work. They have created a “Decorating Stories” board, and invited followers to participate by pinning up before and after images of home décor.
- Use the Pinterest buttons. Tell people you’re on Pinterest. Add the “Follow us on Pinterest” button to your site and make sure to add the “Pin It” button to your product pages so that people can pin your products to their Pinterest boards. Pinterest has made this really easy to do. Click here for more information.
There’s no doubting the incredible popularity of Pinterest right now. While this could very well wane over the coming months or years, it is currently one of the hottest sites on the web, generating valuable referral traffic and driving online revenues, and its popularity may well spread beyond its current core topics. In fact, marketing technology company Convertro has said that the site now represents 17.4 percent social media revenue for its e-commerce clients with that figure expected to rise to 40 percent by the end of the second quarter of 2012. For lifestyle businesses in particular, it’s these kinds of figures that make Pinterest impossible to ignore.
Are you using Pinterest for your business? Tell us your insights or first-hand experiences below.
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