New outlets for getting the word out about your business become available all the time, but few gain enough traction to get noticed. While Google+, Twitter and Facebook continue to thrive as social media outlets for your business, another one has pinned itself to the scene as worthy of attention: Pinterest.
What’s the Point of Pinterest?
On one of the walls in my kitchen, we have a giant corkboard that used to hold our family calendar in four-month increments (before we went Google Apps, which is more efficient and immediate). Now, the corkboard holds coupons, free passes to the local aquatic park and skating rink for the kids, herbs in various stages of drying, photos, magazine articles, notes, random keys, one or two flash drives, and school papers. Occasionally, it gets cleaned off, but most of the time…not.
The main drawback of this corkboard is that while some of the stuff on it is for fun or for sharing, the material gets lost, in translation or literally. Pinterest, however, is all about visually interacting with others using virtual corkboards through this social media outlet.
Pinterest, by their own admission on the top of the web page, is “an online pinboard.” Just from looking around, I found photos of delectable dishes, inspirational quotes, beautiful examples of interior decorating, products for sale (think high-quality Etsy along with mainstream brands), animals, arts and crafts, books, tourist photos, a Channing Tatum photo that is quite easy on the eyes, storage solutions, hair styles, pets, fashion, health and fitness, gardening, children, and more. Your Pinterest account is a plate heaping with lush visual delicacies.
Interaction is the Key
The photo to the right is an example of a Pinterest post – there’s a photo of a very cute and cleaver Easter decoration for the little ones in your household. But look below the photo of the Goldfish carrots – do you see what I see?
Interaction! By way of likes, comments and repins, these “carrots” seem to have become quite popular. Pinterest seems to marry the best of Twitter and Facebook – short descriptions and visual representations that also allow for others to interact with you and what you post.
However, to be able to comment, like or repin, you must also be a member of Pinterest, the process of which I find a bit intriguing.
By Invitation Only
What makes signing up for Pinterest different is that it’s by invitation only. You can be invited by someone else, or you can request an invitation and receive a confirmation email that you are now on a waiting list. In the meantime, you can check out their Twitter page or explore other people’s Pins on their site.
Once You’re Accepted into Pinterest
Within 24 hours, I had received my confirmation email that I had been accepted into the Pinterest community. I could then start creating my Pinboards, which are “visual collections of things you love” put into categories of your choosing; for example, my Pinboards are Kid Stuff, Funny Stuff, Coupons, and Home Stuff (apparently, I like the word “stuff”).
I was happy to see that my new Pinterest account can link to existing Twitter and Facebook accounts, and once you connect through Facebook, you automatically follow those friends who have Pinterest accounts already. Pinning a photo is easy in that they provide a “Pin It” bookmarklet to put on your toolbar. In addition, when you “Pin” something, they automatically grab the source code to give credit to the creator so you don’t have to!
Sure, It’s Fun – But is it Right for My Business?
Pinterest isn’t only fun (and probably addicting), it’s a viable outlet to connect with your current and potential customers in the following ways:
It’s Easy to Use – Pinterest is intuitive and virtually error-free for new users, simply because – unlike Facebook with their constant changes – there are very few moving parts to manage. Basically, you Follow others, Pin visual items that interest you, Repin stuff you like, and Like or otherwise interact with those you follow.
The Personal Touch – This outlet gives current and potential customers a place to interact with you and build relationships with both you and your brand.
Find a New Audience – Those who have several Pinboards on Pinterest may not be into Twitter or Facebook for a variety of reasons. Being involved through Pinterest opens up potential new audiences for you and your brand.
Drive Traffic to your Website – Search engines love new content, which is why we encourage updating information and the blog on your website on a regular basis, which also drives more people to your website. One way to keep people visiting your blog is to remind them – through outlets like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and now Pinterest – that it’s regularly updated.
Attention to Products and Special Offers – Once you’ve been Pinning for awhile and interacting with others, it might be a good time to start introducing your products and services. Start a little at a time, beginning with a seasonal special offer or coupon to direct customers to your website.