Pinterest: A Top-Tier Social Media Tool for Business

By Vallerie Malkin

If instead of posting quotes on Facebook, you’d rather share tapestries you found at the bazaar in India, or smiling sloths from your trip to Costa Rica, then you’ll love Pinterest. But did you know that in addition to providing the perfect platform for those who are more visual- than text-oriented, Pinterest can also help your business gain traffic and credibility?

For baby boomers, the act of “pinning” may still conjure up a fraternity engagement ceremony. But Pinterest is so on the edge of marketing platforms that even the aughts ought to know about. In fact, it’s one of the top three social media tools including Facebook and Twitter, according to Annie Colella of Discover Newport (gonewport.com), who presented a talk to NIM April 26.

So, what’s Pinterest?

Simply defined, Pinterest is a pinboard-style social photo sharing network about your personal and business interests. “Pinners” discover and post photos they love or are inspired by and organize them into a thematic pinboard. Then they share them, so that people they know and people they don’t know gain access and the ability to follow them. Think Facebook+Flickr+Twitter+Youtube. (Pinterest even accommodates video uploads for pinning, from Youtube and Vimeo.)

Colella, whose sunny personality, high profile position at gonewport.com, and visual bent make her the quintessential pinner, presented a Powerpoint rich in easy-to-understand tips for business promotion through the fun and surprisingly simple act of “pinning.” The pinning expert summed up Pinterest in one sentence: “It’s Like Fantasy Football for girls.”

Pinterest has cross-reach

While the 80/20 rule applies to Pinterest in terms of women (80) and men (20) are users, in time, Pinterest promises to level out once business people see its merits, Colella said. Those merits are numerous because Pinterest is integrated with Facebook and Twitter, so users can sign in through one or the other of their social networks, making cross-networking sharing easier. Pinners can pin their own, or, with attribution, re-pin somebody else’s image.

“Great boards promote the event and lifestyle of their demographic,” said Colella, underscoring why Pinterest is such a great tool for brand creation and development.

Generating traffic for your brand via Pinterest comes down to traditional SEO and link building, Colello told NIM. In addition to integration with other social media accounts, pinners can also bring new visitors to their associated websites, blogs and digitally published guest articles.

How does Pinterest stack up to other social?

Not sold yet? Pinterest outsmarts Facebook for time spent, according to mashable.com. And in October of 2011, the website of Tim, Inc’s Real Simple Magazine got more traffic from Pinterest than Facebook.

Pinterest has another advantage: most pinners re-pin rather than pin new items from the Web, and if they are linking back and crediting the way they should, that means Pinterest is a remarkable website traffic referral tool. This is true particularly for apparel retailers.

Another gleaming statistic is that Pinterest hit $10 million U.S. monthly unique visitors, faster than any independent site in history. Like Google, Pinterest also contains analytic tools for tracking traffic such as PinReach, which tracks interests, followers, boards and pins via analytics to measure the most popular boards by re-pin and who your influential followers are.

Now, NIM-ers are savvy marketers already, but so much new stuff comes onto the social media horizon that every new platform introduced can bring apprehension. To reinforce the power of Pinterest, Colello explained that Pinterest was the top social referrer for marthastewartweddings.com and marthastewart.com, sending more traffic to both properties than Facebook and Twitter combined. Pinterest generates more referral traffic to web sites than YouTube, Google+ and Linkedin combined.

You have to be invited

The only downside thus far, Colello said, is Pinterest is still a closed community, therefore users have to request an invite from existing users to join. So Colella promised to take names at the end of her talk so she could send out Pinterest invitations. She then invited guests to find her on Twitter if they had any more Pinterest questions. And that, folks, is the way social media should work!

After the talk, Portsmouth resident Cheryl Digennaro said she would consider using Pinterest in addition to Facebook to promote her reiki business. “I didn’t really know much about Pinterest before,” said Digennaro, “but now I plan on using Pinterest to post photos and quotes from my favorite authors, holistic practitioners, physicians and quantum physicists who support my message.”

Some of Annie’s hot Pinterest tips & takeaways:

  • Don’t be selfish; pin from sources other than your own site
  • Re-pin, “favorite” and comment on other users’ pins
  • Always provide linkbacks and credit your sources
  • Use keywords to make your pins easy to find
  • Be nice!
  • Include item price in description
  • Link back to your e-commerce site so the consumer can make a purchase
  • Use pleasing graphics, good inspirational images – a “wow” effect makes a good Pinterest board for users to follow
  • Don’t be over-promotional. Concentrate on great products, inspirations, corporate and social responsibility.

 

Photos by Ramon at www.smalltimevideo.com

DE/NIM would like to thank @anniecolellahttp://www.gonewport.com/@41northhttp://www.41north.com

Please stay tuned for the next meeting of NIM in June!

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