Aah, Pinterest...the addicting, time-evaporating, can’t look away from, new social network where users “pin” their interests on a virtual pinboard, has been catching on like wildfire. Many people are still wondering what it’s all about. According to Pinterest Etiquette, the goal is: “To connect everyone in the world through the 'things' they find interesting. We think that a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people."
Personally, I use Pinterest to create my own magazine of sorts...from style to recipes and home design ideas. In fact, if I’m stumped for new dinner ideas, Pinterest is the first place I now go to look. Pinterest helps you keep track of things you see all over the web, all in one place. And, it’s fascinating to see what your friends, and people you don’t even know, are inspired by. It’s the ultimate trendspotting game and helps you discover places, blogs, brands, products and people you may have not even known existed. And...It’s pretty darn fun.
How Can Pinterest Work for businesses? The social image bookmarking site is growing so fast that it jumped 4,000% in just six months, reaching over 4 million active users in the second half of 2011, according to The Next Web. Pinterest creates another social media marketing tool where businesses, from behemoth global brands to budding entrepreneurs, can organically connect with their ideal target audience. But, Pinterest states that it’s not to be blatantly used as a broadcast tool to promote your products or services. So, like all social media platforms, it must be approached with a specific usability, tact and audience in mind. Include a healthy mix of different types of content and ideas on your boards.
6 Ways that Businesses can Benefit from Pinterest
1. Create a company board. Create a mood board for your company capturing the lifestyle, sprit, ideals, colors, inspiration and style of your brand. Pinterest inspires a more holistic marketing approach. Think about how your products or services fit into people’s lives and paint a picture of all of the things that your customers would find useful or interesting. For example, a hotel can pin pictures of nearby attractions, restaurants and shopping destinations that make staying in that city, in that particular hotel, most attractive. A fashion brand can create different boards for trends, colors, textures and seasons. For inspiration, check out what companies such as Kate Spade and Whole Foods are doing on Pinterest.
2. Sell Your Goods. Although you can’t set up Pinterest exclusively as an etail store or sales tool, you can add a price to your pinned item, directing users to your website or etail shop. These pins will then be listed in the Pinterest Gifts section where people can search for gifts by price point from $1 to $500+. Use this feature to create boards highlighting seasonal items, specific trends or show off the best of what you have to offer. Like any other social networking platform, interact with your audience and offer them purposeful, beneficial content that will be inspirational or help them in other ways. For example, a beauty company can offer specific tips and techniques, ingredient information, how-to’s, makeovers or celebrity looks.
3. Add the “Pin It” widget to your site. Include the Pin It widget on your website or blog just you would any other social sharing sites. This allows readers to automatically share something they like on your site with their communities on Pinterest and other social networks. Etsy, the outrageously popular online marketplace, recently added the “Pin It” button to all of its product pages, allowing people to instantly “pin” anything they see on the site.
4. Create a contest or promotion. Find creative ways to create a campaign for your company that will encourage your community to promote the brand and contest for you. A good example is Lands End’s “Pin it to Win It” contest. Lands’ End asked fans to create boards with their favorite Lands’ End goods for the chance to win a $250 gift card. People were asked to pin 10 to 20 images from the Land’s End site or the Land’s End Pinterest page. Then all you had to do was email a URL of your pinboard to Land’s End to be entered. There were about 200 boards developed for the contest. The viral nature of Pinterest allowed these products to reach thousands of Pinterest users.
5. Monitor your Brand. Search for mentions and images of your brand or products. Simply do a quick search in the Pinterest search box to see what people are sharing. You can easily scope out what people pinned from your site by typing in your website address after the Pinterest home page URL such as: http://pinterest.com/source/yourwebsite.com. You can also see what’s being pinned the most from competitive companies and sites.
6. Track Trends. Pinterest is a free for all for trend spotting. The site lets you instantly “Explore” and search pins by anyone in categories like Art, Food & Drink, Hair & Beauty, Kids, and Technology. This helps you find what people are interested in throughout the categories that are most relevant to your brand.
Be careful...For information and new product junkies like me, it can easily become an obsession!
Is your company using Pinterest? We’d love to check out what you’re doing. Feel free to share your link or pins here!