Have you started using Pinterest yet? It’s one of the fastest growing social networks at the moment, with an estimated 10 million users in the USA and rapidly growing in countries like the UK and India. Not bad for a social network that’s about a year old.
What is Pinterest? It’s a cross between a pinboard in your kitchen and a poster wall in your teenage bedroom. Stuff you like, photos you’ve taken, books you have read, cars you envy, holidays, shoes or boots you simply must have – and so on. Pinterest is especially popular with women and many have multiple streams of themed content on their profiles.
The social aspect of Pinterest is that you can ‘Re-Pin’ someone else’s photo, or old movie poster, vinyl record sleeve, D&G belt – whatever takes your eye. So if I dedicated a board to retro toys or TV shows, I can easily grab other Pinteresters’ content, or sift my own from Google searches. Whichever is easiest for me, depending on my mood.
It only takes a few seconds to share a photo, whether it’s something you have just spotted in the street, or a re-pin from your newsfeed. This is one of the reasons for its success – it is so immediate, so viral. I’m a newbie on Pinterest, but I really like it.
BRANDS HAVE A GREAT OPPORTUNITY
For brands and business users Pinterest is one to watch for three crucial reasons;
1. It lets you test products by measuring their immediate feedback – how many re-pins, comments, likes etc. If you are a small scale manufacturer or importer that’s valuable market research which could save you over-ordering the wrong items.
2. You can showcase products by category. For example wedding related services, gifts and so on, plus add links to your Facebook or web pages. Pinterest has already driven more traffic to some US e-tailers than Google+ although of course that’s not hard to do, as very few people are actually using Google+.
In SEO terms, Pinterest may well exceed Google+ LinkedIn and Twitter very soon in the UK as a genuine driver of BUYERS to your site, rather than just browsers – just my opinion, that’s all. For me, Google+ has no real product themed activity, LinkedIn is a deathly dull spamfest and Twitter generally drives debate, not traffic.
3. Unlike Twitter, Pinterest doesn’t have debate and conversation at the heart of its function. People are pinning stuff, showcasing, inviting approval and comments yes, but not engaging in real time conversations. Pinterest isn’t where your brand’s most vocal complaints might be found, that would be Twitter and Facebook perhaps. There’s a softer, more casual feel about Pinterest and for any company, that’s a good place to start spreading its core brand values.
If your brand sources goods from ethical suppliers, start a Pinboard showing those suppliers and how your business is transforming lives. If your brand supports charities, start a board. Pinterest allows brands to re-pin images of the people, causes, products, ideas or places that inspire the company.
You don’t have to go over the top, just be friendly and say thanks, because in business it’s always nice to be nice. Pinterest is perhaps the best place to share those values in 2012.