The internet is all aflutter with pins and pictures lately, and unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve probably heard of the latest social media craze: Pinterest. Pinterest is a social sharing site in which users create virtual scrapbooks (or pin boards) of images collected from all across the web.
What is Pinterest?
If you’re scratching your head thinking, “What is Pinterest?!”, don’t worry! It’s a very simple, fun, and powerful social media site. Pinterest has already become the third most popular social platform in the United States, and with over 160,000 Aussies visiting each the site each month, it’s quickly making its mark here, too.
Pinterest is a visual scrapbook of sorts. It’s a mix of bookmarking the best content on the web, compiling ideas through images, and sharing it all with your friends. Pool together ideas on a certain topic to reference back to, or guide visitors back to the website of origin to learn more about the pin. (If your wheels are starting to turn with how you can use Pinterest to get traffic on your own website, keep reading! Pinterest has massive potential for business.)
How Pinterest Works
Pinterest users can either upload images, link to images, or link to other websites to pull through images to their profiles. Users create collections of these images, called boards, which they share with their networks. Almost all the images on Pinterest are linked back to other websites (hello SEO!!), so it makes perfect sense that every “pinned” image on Pinterest is public by default. That means, you can browse other people’s visual collections (aka: boards) and follow content related to things you like.
If you sign up for Pinterest using your Facebook or Twitter account, like many users choose to, Pinterest will suggest users for you to follow based on people you know from other networks. As you’re connecting with other users on Pinterest, you can opt to follow all a user’s boards, or just select particular ones. For instance, you might be really interested in one user’s board on DIY Tips or Free eBooks, but maybe that same user has a board on cake recipes that you aren’t really interested in.
When you follow a particular user or board, you’re essentially subscribing to the new pins in that board, which will display in feed on your Pinterest homepage. Following boards relating to things you like (and that complement your business!) is a great way of finding new content. You can “like”, comment, or repin any pins you find on the site that you want to share with your audience.
Feel like you’re ready to get started? Let’s go!
Who’s Using it?
Just like you might check an RSVP list before committing yourself to attend a big banquet, it’s important to get an idea of the types of users who are on Pinterest, and before you launch your business into it, think about whether it’s a good fit for your target market. The “original” Pinterest users were predominantly women aged 20-50, but Pinterest’s audience has widely expanded in recent times. In Australia, roughly 57% of Pinterest users are female – which is my more balanced than in some countries where stats show as high as 80% female users.
Aside from the XX-factor, another important point of consideration in the “who” of Pinterest is what they’re interested in. Pinterest is all about sharing visual content, so if you want your content to get in front of the millions, it’s going to have to look good. Use a line or two of text with each pin to make it keyword rich (research suggests no more than 200 characters of descriptive text).
Much of the content that works best on Pinterest is still true to original style: artistic, inspirational, and homey are sure to win a big audience. Check out What’s Popular on Pinterest to get a feel for the type of content that gets the most traction.
Pinterest for Business
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that businesses of all sizes are clamouring to get their visual content in front of the masses. Pinterest has quickly become one of the top referral traffic generating sites in the world, so if your business has great visual content, there’s a great possibility for Pinterest to help you get traffic back to your website. (And we all know that more traffic online = more sales!)
Even the smallest of online businesses are already seeing huge success from Pinterest, particularly artisans who sell their products through Etsy or other microsites. Massive companies like Better Homes and Gardens are also using Pinterest, teasing features from their magazines and TV shows while illustrating their expertise in home advice.
Will it work for me?
So where does an Average Joe small business start? By creating an account! Whether you decide to use your own name or your business name (or a combination of the two) is entirely up to you – Pinterest doesn’t have hard-set rules on this.
Next, you’ll want to make sure your own website is “pinnable”. Add a “Pin It” button to your site to allow visitors to pin images from your website directly to their Pinterest boards, without ever leaving your site! If you’re a Web123 client, you would have noticed this has already been built in as an addition to the other social share buttons on your product and blog pages.
Start filling up your own Pinterest boards with pins you find from other users on Pinterest or by pulling in content from your website. You can find great pins by following other users or through the search option to find pins by keyword. You’ll be surprised how addictive it is!
While creating a board or two of items that directly link back to your business offerings is certainly important, you should also share content that doesn’t belong to you and has little or nothing to do with your business. Yes, really! Find and share pins from other businesses that will build up your business identity. You’ll earn big bonus points for creativity on this platform. Consider fun, peripherally-related boards like Dream Offices, Places We’ll Go when we win the Lotto, Stuff that Makes us LOL, etc.
Are you on Pinterest? Follow Web123 on Pinterest for more small business web advice!