The online bulletin board – Pinterest has users pinning their interests really fast. Recent stats announce it to be the fastest growing web sites of all time. Tracking firms like Hitwise have listed Pinterest as one of the present day Top 10 social networks.
The Pinnacle of a Success Story
Pinterest was launched in May 2011 and in January 2012 hit 11.7 million unique monthly visitors in the U.S. This meant that it was the fastest independent American site to cross the 10 million mark. The figures of December 2011 were 7.5 million and rose up to 11.7 million in a month itself.
It’s Women Power Fueling the Growth
Web analysts all across the US agree that Pinterest's growth has been driven by women taking on to the site like never seen before. Women ages 18 to 34 from middle America form the biggest user base of Pinterest. States including the likes of Missouri, Kansas, Minnesota, and Mississippi located in the Central Southeast and the Midwest, are homes to the majority of Pinterest users.
So, what is Pinterest Actually?
This is how the website defines itself: "Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard. 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. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests."
In short, Pinterest is nothing but a virtual collage of things people like. It is a social platform allowing you to share whatever moves you. You put up images of your interests like- shopping, cooking, home décor, gadgets, book basically anything and everything. It is like a bulletin board wher you can "pin" your interest (images).
How Can Businesses Benefit From Pinterest?
As a business owner/webmaster you can get a lot of traffic to your site from the social platform. This is because your Pinterest board with images leading to your site, are visible to the 11.7 million (and growing) users. This will lead to increased traffic to your website and generate greater brand awareness, and ultimately lead to more sales!
Understanding the Pinterest Lingo
Pin: An image is called as a pin. You can add an image from your computer or can link to it from a site. With a pin (or image) you are required to write a description of the same, in other words you have to caption the image.
Board: A board is a virtual bulletin board that you create. This is where you ‘pin’ your interests or link your images. You can have as many boards as you like for different interests like- clothing, recipes or books.
Following: This is like Following you do in Twitter. So when you are “Following All” it means you'll have all of a user’s pins on all their boards showing up on your home page. Otherwise you can follow those with similar interests.
Repin: Repin is like ReTweet. If while browsing other boards, you like something, you can ‘Repin’ it on your board. Sounds like the way to make a link go viral? Well that’s what it is!
How To Use Pinterest?
1.) Getting Started, Baby Steps:
To get on to the site, you’ll need an invitation. So find someone already using Pinterest and ask them to invite you. After being invited, you must set up an account with your name, email, and website. The other option to get in is via your Facebook and Twitter accounts. This is faster as you will be able to connect with your Facebook and Twitter friends using Pinterest easily. So, if you are a brand, you can easily follow your connections on Pinterest too.
2.) Setting up your own boards:
The next step is to create your own virtual bulletin board to collect pins. You can have them in various categories right from “my life” to “products.” Choose the theme of the board, and start pinning your interests. You can add to, or delete, a board at any time.
3.) Creating Pins:
You communicate, share and draw interest with these ‘pins’ or images. So people willyou’re your board if you pin an interesting image of your new product or service. You can also have a board with pins of your employees there. Nothing works better on social than being genuinely social. People liking your pins will respond either by “repinning” them to their own boards, or “liking” them. This is what you want as the embedded links back to your site will take the users straight to your site and act as a valuable tool in building site traffic. You have to drag the ‘Pin It’ button into your Bookmarks toolbar to pin the link. After this is done, you can take an image from your site and save it as a “pin” to share on your boards. You can do the same for your other interest boards too. See how the Whole Foods Market uses its boards to pin its products and interests.
4.) Gathering followers:
It makes better sense to connect via Facebook or Twitter as this way you are already connected with those users. To be on a safer side, you can also post your Pinterest account link on their Facebook/Twitter accounts as well as share on your profile. Follow people of your industry as well as prospective target audience. Like their pins to have them notice you and like you back or follow you.
Like Facebook, and ‘@’ sign before any user’s name will add their name in a pin description. Do not promote yourself blatantly, infact take the more emotional/social/sharing approach for people to respond to you. However, do keep your board and pins up to date with your business news/products and other features. The platform has huge potential to generate sharing that leads to increased awareness, and potentially, sales. See the huge numbers of followers Etsy has gathered on Pinterest.
5.) Integrating your website with Pinterest:
You must add your website to your Pinterest profile. Additionally, you must link your site to Pinterest too. There is a Pinterest-provided code that you can paste on to your website to create a “follow me on Pinterest” button leading straight to your Pinterest profile and your boards. There is also a code offered by Pinterest where you can add a little ‘Pin It’ button next to all your product images, making it easier for people to share them. The more mentions you get, the more traffic to your site.
6.) Use boards for social-media marketing:
On Pinterest you can easily judge how people are responding to your pins. If there are ‘LIKES’ and ‘REPINS’ and comments, then you are doing good. This is what your motto has to be- To increase user engagement on your boards. Engage users with product usage/information/benefits/how to images.
Do not forget to link the Gifts pins directly to your site to close the sale. The gifts section allows users to search for items by dollar amount, so it is an important feature to milk.
Pinterest is a social platform that allows for easy sharing and contacting perspective customers. Get on to the platform and make the most of it now!