Early last year Pinterest exploded onto the scene with it’s highly addictive collection and organizational social network. Pinterest is a social network that allows you to collect digital media from the internet and organize it into boards. I consider it the “Inspirational Board of the Digital Age.” Pinterest has became more popular among females but has continued to grow month after month since it’s launch.
Pinterest has became more of a magazine clipping binder where as many people simply clip posts, photos and inspiration and curate boards around subjects such as fitness, weddings, children, hair and more. There is a Pinterest board for everything. My wife enjoys Pinterest as it gives her a centralized place to find do-it-yourself projects she wants to try and a place to share her own projects. Some Pinterest users have became very popular in certain niche subjects and have created a voice for themselves on Pinterest that has extended to their own websites and other social networks.
To use Pinterest, you set up an account and start pinning. It’s simple. Many websites have Pin buttons installed which make it easy to Pin articles, photos and videos from their websites. You can also install browser plugins that make it easy for you to pin something from any website. You can create boards to organize your pins. Pinterest users can follow all of you, your boards, or only the boards they find interesting.
Since it’s rise in popularity in 2011, I have watched several businesses use Pinterest in very creative ways. Most users on Pinterest adhere to a sort of etiquette. You don’t find people self-promoting on Pinterest because it is considered rude. However there are ways of promoting yourself of your products while adding value. When there is value added, it is ok. Here is one of my favorite examples.
When Whole Foods Market started creating boards on Pinterest they decided not to post about all of their great products but to create inspiration that they knew their typical customer would enjoy. This led to them having over 100,000 followers on Pinterest and I can assure you that many of their followers don’t even have a Whole Foods Market near their home. They started boards such as: Super HOT Kitchens, Winter Entertainment, Our Favorite Books, Healthy in 2013, and the list goes on. They have 46 boards. Many of their pins link back to a blog post on their website, which is genius. Of course they also pin items from other websites which I am sure they are strategic about as well. Whole Foods Market is using Pinterest to extend their brand. They pin things that their average customer would like. Whether it be artisan recipes, fancy kitchens or staying healthy, their pin boards speak to their customer and help remind them that it’s time to go pick up some healthy foods from Whole Foods Market.
Curation and Inspiration
Style Me Pretty is a wedding inspiration blog that had some popularity before Pinterest but since joining Pinterest has blown up. One of the most popular board topics is weddings and wedding inspiration. Style Me Pretty has over 5.7 million followers on Pinterest. Style Me Pretty started out as a wedding inspiration blog showcasing photography from weddings and inspiration. Pinterest has allowed the sharing of these photos, articles and features to go viral.
So Why Should You Pin?
As a guy, it has been hard for me to remember to pin and make it a habit. Pinterest is largely a social network for women, which often discourages me because I am a guy, however that is not a good reason to write off Pinterest. I have some ideas brewing that I hope to be able to use Pinterest as a catalyst for growth. Regardless of your line of business, there are cool things happening and inspiration to be shared. The internet has allowed us to do one thing well and that is to see what others are doing in our industry. Even the most boring industries could benefit from Pinterest because there are always people getting excited about what they do or have an interest in, hence the name, Pinterest. Pin what you have an interest in.
Reasons Your Business Should Use Pinterest
- It’s Free and Huge – Pinterest is huge and continuously growing as a social network. It is easy to set up and sharing is considered caring on Pinterest. You know how you spend time looking for inspiration online? Start curating that inspiration into boards that others can see. There is a way to have a voice on Pinterest. Start one for yourself and your company.
- It’s Easy to Share – Since sharing is at the core of using Pinterest, it is common to share your Pins on Twitter and Facebook. Pinterest has this integrated already to make it easy if you choose to use it that way. Let your Pins automatically show up on Facebook and choose your best pins to post to Twitter. This will direct traffic to your Pinterest account and result in new followers on Pinterest.
- Linking – As I mentioned in the Whole Foods Market case study above, they pin from their own blog. It is ok to blog about something on your website and then pin it to Pinterest as long as it is not blatant self promotion. Links to your website are great for search engine ranking. My wife has a modest blog where she shares about life as a wife and mother of 2 boys. She also posts about projects that she does at home. One particular craft project receives over 600 unique views per day because of Pinterest. You can create your own images and video to share on Pinterest or you can “repin” the posts of others. Many of the most popular Pinterest users rarely create their own content but they are pros at curation of content that their followers love and repin. Pinterest provides a nice platform for sharing and on the internet, sharing is a must.
- Marketing – Images or video that you create can easily be shared on Pinterest. I have found that when you teach somebody how to do something interesting, it shares well on Pinterest. People use Pinterest to create their “some day” boards where they collect ideas and inspiration for the projects or events of their future. Whenever I post how-to articles on Photography on my website, I always Pin to my “Learn Photography” board so those who have Photography as an interest and follow me can learn from me as well. My most repined pins are from this board.
- Growth and Scaleable – Curation is easy, you browse the internet for amazing things and create collections (boards). It is also easy to share original content such as I explained with my Learn Photography board. It makes it easy for you to share the value you are providing. Of course you have to be adding value, always remember that. If you get greedy, people will smell it. Because it is so easy to collect and curate on Pinterest, people create boards for everything and that makes it an excellent platform for your information to be shared. An image from your blog article getting pinned could result in repins to other users boards and that could explode into something viral that results in tons of new traffic to your website. My goal is always to turn traffic back to my website.
Social networks come and go. When everybody was blogging inside of Myspace I discouraged it because I knew that Myspace would not be the cool place forever. Now people are pouring content into their Facebook pages, which I also believe is a mistake. Content should originate from your website, which is something you have total control over. Create content that is “Pin Worthy” and share it on Pinterest. Have your web developer install a tool that makes it easy for people to pin items from your website. I can’t think of one legitimate business that wouldn’t benefit from using Pinterest. Give it a try, start pinning and creating content worth pinning.