Remember the old days where you would tack up a postcard, a few pictures of your friends and some inspirational or funny images you found in a magazine on a little board in your room? The board of inspiration to share with your friends and remind yourself what keeps you driven?
Pinterest – a fairly new social media platform takes this to a whole new level. Pinterest helps you aggregate your favourite content and share it on a virtual bulletin board. According to compete data between September and December 2011 Pinterest traffic increased more than fourfold and brought in 7.51 million UMVs in December. Interestingly the site (according to Experian Hitwise) is especially popular among women, accounting for 58% of Pinterest’s traffic. Is this just an indication of how women like to interact with content and the skew of female to male social application users or could this have deeper implications? Check out this infographic showing whether Pinterest is the next social commerce game changer: http://8.mshcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/pinterest-infographic.jpg
What I find so powerful about Pinterest is that it is content rich. The fact that you have to include an image in your posts helps drive people to think about how their message is received in a visual sense rather than slapping a slab of text down on the page and forcing people to come to their own unguided conclusions.
How it works for those of you who haven’t jumped ship (FYI – It is by invite only which adds to the exclusivity of it all, but side note- it is not very difficult to get an invitation!) is that you have the option to create multiple self-titled boards. This could range from “My favourite foods” to “Places to travel.” The idea is to get themes happening so people know what you are interested and there is more structure to your content. You can pin things on to your page by locating content as mentioned before OR scroll through other peoples content and re-pin it to your wall. This would be the Twitter equivalent of Re-Tweeting. You can also perform the standard social actions of liking, commenting, sharing it on your social platforms and saving the images. In my opinion, Pinterest is kind of like the point between Instagram and Tumblr
As a business tool, Pinterest would be a great way to share your brand’s products and services in a creative and virtual environment. Boards can be used as product categories and a way of engaging with people who would not normally see your products in a creative space.
This great summary by Mashable which explains the How To Guide for Pinterest and gives some great ideas of how the platform can be used for business. (See more here: http://mashable.com/2011/12/26/pinterest-beginners-guide/) Also check out the 21 Must Follow Pinterest Users: http://mashable.com/2012/01/29/pinterest-users-to-follow/
How can you use it for your business?
- You can create boards for types of products you sell.
- Add boards for “things we love this week” or “Sale items”
- Service providers can create boards for “Tips and Tricks”
- Create a public board where you can get input from your customers, such as “Top picks”
- Once Pinterest opens its doors to everyone (and no longer invitation only), consider offering a discount to just Pinterest subscribers – all they have to do is follow a specific board or like a specific pin.
- You can also tweet your pins.
- Add a Pin It button to your website, or specific product pages so you make it easier for others to share your products/company with others.
What else can you do on Pinterest?
- On a personal note, you can add it to your Facebook timeline, which you can’t do on any of the other social bookmarking sites yet.
- Curate lists on specific topics and share them, or keep them private. For example, maybe you are planning a wedding or redecorating your room in your home, you can create pins of your different ideas.
- Bloggers, you can add a pin to your blog or website to allow easy sharing of your content.
I would highly suggest checking it out even if it may not be right for your brand – rather to get a sense of where content sharing is moving and how visual and content rich platforms are quickly becoming a 2012 social trend.