A few days ago I ‘requested an invite’ to join Pinterest, a relatively new (2010) social networking site. In August 2011 it was named by Time Magazine as one of the “50 Best Websites of 2011”.
Pinterest is described by it’s creators as a ‘Virtual Pinboard’, by others as a visual social bookmarking site and by Wikipedia as “vision board-styled social photo sharing website and app”.
Fortunately, it only took a few days for me to receive my ‘invite’ to join Pinterest and then the fun began. While still new to Pinterest I quickly discovered why it holds such fascination for many. There is an addictive quality to it, probably not that different from many social networking sites to some degree.
But Pinterest is different! It’s really all about the visual, the image you’re sharing, and this is what I found so compelling.
I signed up on the site more to learn about it first-hand and to discover how it might fit with the goals of a small business than for the joy of using it and connecting with others. But once I began using it, its hooks were in me and I found I wanted to share a variety of things.
I began sharing photos of my pets, interesting sayings in photos – most of the latter I found by checking out other ‘Pinners’. And I began to think about ‘pinning’ the photos of beautiful flowers from my garden and great pictures of my Mom (she passed away December 31) and on and on. Oh yes, you can pin videos too!
My experience on the site helped me to understand some of the buzz I’ve been hearing about Pinterest. You may have heard it too.
A January 2012 report from eMarketer stated “When it comes to time spent, Pinterest, a visual bookmarking site, saw an average of 72.1 minutes per worldwide user in October 2011, a 512% increase since May 2011, when comScore first started tracking the site. ” The report went on to share that “Pinterest was the seventh leading US social media site based on number of unique visitors in November 2011.”
Not bad for one of the new kids on the block!
To give you an idea of what this means I’ve included two graphs shared in the report by eMarketer.
The first graph (above right) shows Pinterest with the highest growth in time spent on their site for the month of October 2011.
The second graph (left) shows Pinterest as coming in 7th behind Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Google+ and Tumblr for the number of unique visitors to its site in November 2011. Pretty amazing considering the length of time they’ve been around and the league of players they are now included with.
Exactly how small business can leverage the growing interest in Pinterest is still developing. Here are three ways shared by Gini Dietrich of SpinSucks in her article ‘Three Ways to Use Pinterest for Business’.
- Hold a contest. Encourage people to visit your website and have them ‘pin’ photos of something on your site, such as a product or a service (it needs to be a photo or video of something). Have them share it with their Pinterest network. (And, as Gini Dietrich points out “Because Pinterest incorporates Facebook and Twitter, the sharing capability is automatic and the viral effect is large.”)
- Add the “Pin It” widget to your websites. Once you have your Pinterest account ready to go click on the ‘Goodies’ link on their homepage. Choose the icon you want to appear on your website and, the same as with other social media sites, a click on the icon will take people to the place where they can ‘follow’ you.
- Create a company board. Request an invite (or let me know if you want an invite). Once you are invited to join Pinterest you can set up branded boards. As Gini Dietrich points out “While you’re not allowed to blatantly promote your business, you can follow the lead of brands such as Nordstrom and Whole Foods.” Check out their Pinterest pages to get a sense of what can be done.
If you’re interested in a bit more reading on Pinterest check out the following articles:
Pinterest: A Beginner’s Guide to the Hot New Social Network
Pinterest: 13 Tips and Tricks for Cutting Edge User
5 Ways Brands Can Use Pinterest to Boost Consumer Engagement