If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, it’s a social media site where users “pin” up pictures of stuff they’re interested in. Users have a “board” where they pin images that are all the same size. Although not as popular as Facebook or Twitter (yet), Pinterest is growing. According to Inc.com, the site had an estimated 3.3 million unique users in October, 2011. My sister uses it to look for home decorating ideas and to pin photos of her favorite “looks.” I have friends who use it to find and share recipes and others as a place to share fashion and design tips. My sister likes it because it’s more “visual” and less “social” than Facebook. It’s like flipping through a magazine on her iPad.
Pinterst may not be a fit for every business, but if your business falls within the “creative” category or lends itself to great visuals, you might want to consider it. Also, if your business caters to those who are actively using Pinterest, it might be a good place for you to be. For example, I read about a company that manufactures clothing labels and uses Pinterest to connect to fashion designers who are on the site. In the Bangor area, wedding planner Amber Small uses Pinterest to post photos from the weddings she’s planned and some of her favorite wedding ideas.
Those with more experience than I suggest that it makes sense to integrate it into your existing social media strategy. A T-shirt manufacturer uses Facebook to point people to his Pinterest posts. He also pins new T-shirt designs, which keeps his followers coming back for more, and they re-pin his pins to their boards. My sister loves horses and was re-pinning photos from a horse photographer to her board. The photographer commented on one of those photos and suggested she follow his Facebook page as well.
Like Facebook and Twitter, the great benefit for a business using Pinterest is that others may re-post or re-pin what you pin to your boards, thereby expanding your reach. When a user re-posts a pin, they are required to credit where the pin is from, and each pin is linked to your website. So if a user likes your picture and wants to know more about your business, it can take them directly to your site.
Similar to how you should not use Facebook solely to promote “your” products, Pinterest experts suggest posting other tips, pics and info to your boards that provide your followers with useful information and ideas related to your type of business to keep users coming back for more and re-pinning your pins.
I can see how Pinterest could be a great advantage to many small businesses, designers, artisans, retailers, photographers and more. So, in the interest of keeping up with the latest trends for ways to promote a business, I have in fact signed on to Pinterest, if for no other reason than to learn so I can teach. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. I’m pretty sure I will end up with another social media addiction. Oh well - at least I’ve still managed to avoid “Angry Birds” (for now)!