By now, everyone has heard of Pinterest, even though not everyone can use (at the time of this writing, Pinterest is an invitation-only site. You can visit the Pinterest home page and request an invite. Or leave a comment on this blog post including your email, and we’ll try to send you one!)
Why all the interest in Pinterest? It’s a fun, rather addictive and quickly growing site, and those that have Pinterest accounts log in and log in often. According to an article from WSJ Online, in January alone 11 million unique visitors visited the site, which is more than double the 4.9 million who visited in November 2011. Also according to the WSJ article, those who visited Pinterest spent 100 minutes on the site in January — quite impressive when compared to the 19 minutes spent by those visiting business social networking site LinkedIn.
So what is Pinterest? Similar to other social networking sites, a Pinterest user follows other people or companies “boards” or collections of images. Think of a Pinterest board as a virtual bulletin board that you can pin web images to. Popular boards include images collected by people planning a wedding, redecorating a bedroom, or a fashionista collecting her favorite spring accessories. When someone viewing a board clicks on a pin, they are then directed to the website where the image came from — or your company’s website. Therein lies the advantage for businesses: word of mouth marketing. When you sign up for a Pinterest account, you can create your own boards and pin images you find on websites to them (you can do this by inputting the link to the page the image is found on or installing a “pin it” button to your browser that allows you to easily pin an image). You can also upload an image from your phone or computer. There are many tutorials being written on how to use Pinterest, with a great one found HERE on MSNBC.com.
But once you or your company gets up and running, here are some tips on how to start to make Pinterest work for your business:
1). Create Great Images One of the most addictive parts about Pinterest is being able to create a board with a bunch of beautiful pictures on them and sharing it with your friends. Grab some great-looking images from your favorite sites, and you’ll have an awesome looking board in no time. But in creating some boards for TweeParties Pinterest account, I noticed that many websites have a poor selection of images to choose from, and some websites have NO images that are pinnable. The key for businesses here is to make sure your website has professional-looking, colorful, sharp images on them that are easy to pin (such as .jpg files). The more colorful and vivid, the better. Give Pinterest users a few good images, and you’ll be sure to land on a few good boards.
2.) Create Your Own Boards and Share Them Start on Pinterest by creating boards of anything you like: your spring collection, your award-winning products, or your favorite recipes and share links to your boards via Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or an email blast — you name it! You’ll not only gain Pinterest followers, but you’ll also find that other Pinterest users might “repin” or share your pins on their own boards and with their followers.
3). Add the ‘Pin It’ Button to Your Website or Blog Posts Make it easy for visitors to your website to pin your images by adding the official ‘Pin It’ Button from Pinterest (see the top of this post for an example). If you have a visitor to your site that’s not there on a pin hunt, but who is in fact a Pinterest user, you might inspire them to pin something when they see it. Click here to find the Pinterest button page.
4). Have a Pinterest Contest I’ve already seen a few businesses run Pinterest contests. It’s a great way to get people to explore your website as well as encourage them to pin your images and share information about your company. A business might ask that entrants create a board about a certain topic that includes a specific number of images from that company’s website. To enter, the user sends the company the link to their new board. The intended result is to get people pinning links to your site with the hope that their followers will see them and take an interest in checking it out. Prizes can be products, gift cards — you name it! But as with any contest, be sure to follow legal rules and draft up official rules before proceeding.
Good luck & happy pinning!