If you are social media savvy, you would have to be living on Mars not to have come into contact with the newest (well newer than the others; now that it’s been around since 2010) addition to the social media stable, Pinterest. What set the buzz going about Pinterest was its rapid growth; according to Complete, Pinterest increased its unique visitors to www.pinterest.com by 155% from December 2011 to January 2012 and the latest referral traffic and active user statistics as reported by Media Bistro claim that Pinterest has surpassed Linkedin as the 3rd most popular social media network in the world with an increase in daily users of 145% since January 2012. With 31 million visitors per month, Pinterest is reported to now drive more referral traffic than Google+ and Twitter.
Pinterest’s USP is that it uses pictures rather than words, as its users’ curate tool. Users can share and discover new interests by “pinning” (the obligatory unique specialized lingo required by social media platforms) images or videos to their own or others’ virtual mood boards or “Pinboards” in Pinterest speak. Pinboards are arranged by common themes and users can either upload things from their own computer or pin things they discover on the web using the Pinterest pin it button or the URL. The viral magic happens because users can browse other pin boards and repinning items they find to their boards or like them or leave a comment and then interact with other social media networks by sharing their “pins” on them.
Pinterest capitalizes on the visual, encouraging users to pin things they are attracted to and that represent their lifestyle or the lifestyle they aspire to. The focus is on finding like-minded people who share your taste and interests; which is much faster and easier to capitalize on using images as opposed to text, hence the popularity and rapid growth of the platform.
Until recently you had to wait for an invitation from an existing user and then for it to be accepted in order to join. However, Pinterest now allows anyone with a Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail account to join directly.
Rapid growth and rapid sharing are normally good performance indicators of traffic generation, therefore should busineses that are serious about driving traffic to their site using social media seriously consider joining Pinterest? The simple answer is it depends if your audience is there.
By far the largest users of Pinterest are women. Figures vary between the US and the UK but statistics suggest that the number is between 68.2 percent and 90 percent of Pinterest users. Consequently, this suggests that Pinterest will probably work best for businesses with products aimed at women.
The main purpose of this post is to look at how to use Pinterest to generate traffic, so I won’t go into detail about how to setup your Pinterest account. It is relatively straightforward and in addition to the site’s help files, there are numerous posts on the subject.
The biggest challenge for businesses seeking to use Pinterest to gain brand recognition and drive traffic to their websites is identifying visual content to pin that is directly related to their brand. This is a particular challenge to businesses that are in sectors that sell products or services that aren’t that visual. So here are some suggestions of what to pin to get started.
Captivating images from blog articles
Even without thought of using Pinterest, if you haven’t been using great visuals to illustrate your blog posts you’ve been missing a trick. Blogs which use great graphics get shared more frequently, so start using clear, engaging, appealing and even humorous images to illustrate your articles with the aim of pinning the images to your pin boards.
Images you already have but have overlooked.
Did anyone photograph your last office event, presentation or meeting? Have you taken any pictures with celebrities at networking events? If you have, you can create a Pin-board that showcases your company’s culture. You can even use your about page head shots to create a Pin-board about your business’ key personnel with links to their bios.
Infographics and data charts
I’ve talked previously about the power of infographics and how they are creating a storm across social media right now: Pinterest loves them. If you don’t have the graphic capability to produce your own; you can either commission some or if you have industry data that is of interest you can turn this into simple data graphics using Excel. Remember to label your information clearly so that it’s easy to interpret.
Document covers, e-book’s and presentations
Do you have covers of documents, e-book, or reports? It is easy to take a screenshot or photo of them and pin it to a relevant board. You can also pin stills from presentations. Basically start thinking how you can use your existing content in new visual ways on your pin boards.
Photos of customers
If you are already using visuals to support customers’ testimonials and feedback; here’s another source of material for pining. Happy contented customers make great visuals and create a positive feeling about your brand. Imagine how powerful a board of smiling faces will be for your brand – especially if it’s labelled customer feedback!
Although still images dominate Pinterest’s content, Pinterest supports pinning videos as well. Posting relevant and interesting videos can be a great way to garner engagement.
Repin and Comment, to Engage
Another great way to expand your content and engage with other Pinterest users and thus increase your reach is to repin and comment on other users Pinboards. Pinterest like other social media sites can be extremely time consuming so set aside a regular time to search the Pinterest site looking for material related to your business that you can repin or comment on, obviously giving credit to the original pinner.
Pinterest has the potential to be a great resource for your businesses, but like most things on the internet, it works better when it is integrated into a wider strategy. If you do decide Pinterest is right for your business, tie your Pinterest board in with e-mail marketing, other social media platforms and your company website. Moreover make sure that you monitor the impact you are having so that you quickly become aware of what pins get the best reactions, are most shared, etc. so you know where to target your efforts.