Launched in 2010, Pinterest is the hot potato of social media sites – the others can’t touch it.
With more than 7 million unique visitors in December 2011, the online social pinning platform has grown exponentially, crossing the 10 million mark in the US – faster than any standalone site before it according to comScore.
Pinterest is even starting to rival Facebook and Tumblr for the amount of time users spend on site – currently around 1.5 hours compared to Tumblr’s 2.5 hours and Facebook’s 7 hours.
So what’s with the interest in Pinterest?
Pinterest allows you to create and share online image boards focused around various topics or categories i.e. Delicious Desserts, Tropical Island Getaways, Wedding Dresses, Things I Love, and much much more. You can ‘pin’ images of literally anything that catches your eye.
The social side of pinning your favourite pictures is that users who follow you can like, comment or re-pin your images to their own boards. People can browse through the multitude of images on the site, drawing ‘pin’spiration from likeminded people and even share the images they pin to other social sites like Facebook.
As a business tool, Pinterest could be an invaluable weapon in your social marketing arsenal, especially considering that Pinterest is driving more traffic to company and brand websites than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn put together, according to Shareaholic.
Why your business or brand needs a presence on Pinterest
If your company or brand is particularly visual, Pinterest is perfectly placed to create a digital catalogue of your images, linking back to your website and helping to generate increased referral traffic … BUT … the big deal about Pinterest is that it requires more from companies and brands than just a one-way push of products.
If you’re not being social and sharing other people’s pins too, you’re basically that kid in the school ground – the self-involved grandstander. You end up sitting by yourself on the seesaw because no-one wants to play with a show-off.
Socialising on Pinterest is a two-way street that requires you to really create a persona – by following other brands and people, pulling from other boards and sharing what you like or love, you’re interacting with users and content besides your own. People will come back to your boards because they like the content you curate, or find it useful, and if they happen to click back to your site and you can turn that lead into a sale, well that’s pretty cool too.
The benefits of a Pinterest persona
If you’re still not sold, did you know that Pinterest has become one of the top referral traffic generators for brands? It’s also proven surprisingly good at driving traffic to YouTube videos – turning video views into advertising opportunities. And if your target market is women (who account for the majority of consumer purchases), you’ll be glad to know that more than 80% of Pinterest users are women, and most of them are between the ages of 25 to 54.
An important selling point of the social site is that by interacting and engaging with users on the site, you can get a good feel for the individuals that make up your online community – helping you better understand your target market – their likes, their online behaviour…
Consider this: the time that Pinterest users spend browsing your pin boards and re-pinning your content is invaluable – and usually significantly higher than the time they would have spent on your website. Make sure they use that time wisely.