Not just for planning your wedding
Pinterest is one of the hottest new social networks on the scene at the moment.
When you sign up to it, you can create boards based around your interests, and start ‘pinning‘ photos from website you discover, building up a virtual visual scrapbook of things you like and want to refer back to later.
Similar to Twitter, your Pinterest boards can be ‘followed’ by other users, who will see your latest posts on their homepage when they log in.
They can repin them on their own boards, comment on your pins, and – if you set up your boards to be open to other contributors – they can even add things they like to your boards.
Tight integration with Twitter and Facebook helps spread the reach of the network – and makes it easy for you and others to share the pins upon it.
Since it started in March 2010, Pinterest has had a strong female user base, who have used the network to collect material about weddings, craft projects, interior design and more.
It’s true to say that this view of the network is very much outdated (though it did give rise to this tongue-in-cheek Board of Man, an attempt to restore a little y-chromosone balance to Pinterest’s early days).
Pinterest for business
How then can you use Pinterest for your own business?
As with all social media networks, the first answer to that question should be ‘with care‘.
Users on Pinterest enjoy discovering and sharing things with their friends and followers. They are not there to be spammed or aggressively marketed at, and will likely take a dim view of anyone who does.
That said, if you are a business which sells a product, it can be a good idea to create a board for that. You can pin photos of your goods to this, and – if your product and photos are appealing enough – people may repin them to theirs. All good for increasing your social media spread and viral growth.
And if your goods are for sale online on an ecommerce platform such as Etsy, pinning a picture from the product’s for sale page will automatically add it to Pinterest’s gift section, where users can view pins of items for sale in a range of price brackets.
Even if you don’t have a physical product, there are likely topics within your industry and sector that have a strong visual appeal.
Create boards for these and pin away – every popular pin that’s shared will have a link back to your profile, which in turn will link to your own website. Second degree linking, perhaps, but still a good way of generating some extra clicks from a market segment you may not have been able to reach otherwise.
Pinterest is still in its early days. Having a presence there can be seen as being hip ‘n’ happening.
If that fits with your brand, it’s good for reputation and engagement – though, like blogs, if you’re going to use it, make sure you update your boards frequently. A board with one or two pins on it that haven’t been updated in weeks is worse than having none at all.
Above all, enjoy. Pinterest is fun, cool and social – and it’s a great way to meet new contacts, for business reasons or not.