Thirty-two percent of surveyed consumers have made a purchase after seeing an image on a social image-sharing site.

Is Pinterest Really Leading To Product Purchases

 eMarketer article May 31, 2012

The name Pinterest is no longer new to most of us. Although still a relatively new (March 2010) social networking site, its growth has been quite phenomenal, particularly since being named one of the “50 best websites of 2011” by Time Magazine last August.

It’s described by it’s creators as an online or virtual pinboard and by others as a visual social bookmarking or social photo sharing website.

A February 2012 article in Forbes magazine aptly described it this way:

It’s more like a craft fair where people go to exhibit their wares, check out other vendors’ offerings, or do a bit of both.

Why Pinterest Trumps Facebook at Social Commerce, For Now

Forbes Magazine, February 2012

Small business owners may be asking themselves “How can this possibly help my business?”. In part the answer is, with anywhere between 8 and 12 million users, depending on your source and the month in question, Pinterest is now considered to be one of the top social networking sites.

Forbes magazine reported the following on June 12, 2012:

A recent report by Experian revealed that Pinterest is now the third largest social media site based on the number of site visits in March 2012.

Pinterest Power: How to Use the Third Largest Social Networking Site to Promote Your Business

Forbes Magazine, June 2012

Shortly after signing up for Pinterest in January of this year, I quickly discovered why it holds a fascination for so many. There is an addictive quality to it. It’s primarily visual  – and, as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. There is also space at the bottom of each image to write a comment or note to go along with what you’re posting.

Images can be linked, and often are, to an external source like a website or specific webpage where one can obtain more information. A huge opportunity for small businesses and large alike!

In the recent eMarketer article “Is Pinterest Really Leading to Product Purchases?” Pinterest (at 47%) surpasses Facebook (at 33%)  and Twitter (at 31%) when it comes to the percentage of female social network users that have been influenced to make a purchase from site recommendations. Interestingly, blogs (at 61%) surpass Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter in this area.

Most of the active Pinterest users are women (March 2012: 72%) although the number of men using Pinterest is increasing (March 2012: 28% – up from 20% in January 2012). These statistics come from the Infographic ‘Interest in Pinterest‘ produced by TAMBA in the UK.

Several months into using Pinterest, I continue to discover new ways that this interesting and popular tool can work to help grow the brand of a small or larger business.

The personal applications are pretty well known among most users. What is not so obvious or well known (yet) are the significant opportunities available to businesses of all sizes.

Some of the more common uses now include wedding planners, destination vacation planners, home decorators, etc. Here are a few other areas where Pinterest could be hugely beneficial:

  • Events – post enticing images and information about your event then link it through to your website for more information.
  • Bloggers – posting an image tied to your blog, adding a comment and a link to the blog hosted on your site or elsewhere.
  • Bed & Breakfasts – post images of your rooms, views, meals, activities, etc. with links to your website and testimonials
  • Realtors – post listings to Pinterest with basic info about the property and link it through to your website where the rest of the details reside.
  • Service Professionals – post a photo of you dealing with an interesting/specific project along with a comment and link it through to a page on your website where more information can be found.
  • Bakeries, Delis, Restaurants – images of delicious looking food linked to your website where more information is available
  • Home Based Businesses  – post images of your products (homemade candles, cards, jams, woodwork, floral arrangements) link it through to where people can place an order or purchase.

The possibilities and opportunities are almost endless! It’s a matter of thinking through how one can use Pinterest for their business, and making sure the photos and images that are shared are interesting and appealing so that people want to find out more … and pin, repin, follow you (find a link to how to use Pinterest at the bottom of this article).

And, as you can see by the quote below, Pinterest is a trusted source of information.

According to February data from BlogHer, 81% of active female Pinterest users trusted the site for information and advice—even more so than Twitter and Facebook. Sites like Pinterest are also fostering a high degree of influence, which may affect product consideration and purchase decisions. The same BlogHer study indicated that 47% of female social network users in the US said a recommendation on Pinterest had influenced a purchase decision.

Is Pinterest Really Leading To Product Purchases

eMarketer article May 31, 2012

Of course, one needs to deliver on any business promises made or implied through posting on Pinterest or any other social networking site. If not, the power of negative word-of-mouth online advertising will work against you.

For a good overview on how to get started with Pinterest click here to view the article “Pinterest Power: How to Use the Third Largest Social Media Site to Promote Your Business” in Forbes Magazine.