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Pinteresting stuff for business

Kate vanderVoortHave you joined the latest social media kid on the block? Pinterest is a flashy new platform that allows users to create pinboards, share images and even sell products online. With more than 9000% growth in the last few months and boasting 18.7 million users (according to ComScore) Pinterest is now one of the top four social media platforms.

Is it just a place for brides to gush over and compare dresses, flowers and cakes or does it have tangible benefits for your business? This is the multi-million-dollar question.

The answer is both. And if you’re lucky enough to have brides as your target market, you’ve hit the jackpot! Although it appears this site has popped up overnight, it actually launched 2 years ago. So they’ve had some time to figure out what works and, since being thrust into the spotlight, they are making changes at a rapid rate. Many of these changes are to create appeal for businesses to use the site.

Pinterest is still in invite-only stage. This is a common strategy to remain exclusive and build hype, whilst also making sure you can cope with volume. It seems to be working!

Once you request an invite, it can take a couple of weeks depending on their volume, or you can find someone who is already using Pinterest.

With eCommerce providers like Big Commerce integrating Pinterest into their platforms, it is clear that this one is here to stay.

What can it do for your business?

I liken Pinterest to window-shopping. You have the opportunity to browse through attractive images that have been curated by others. It’s just like strolling down the street and looking in windows. If your business can be attractive to window shoppers then it is likely to be relatively easy to find some success on Pinterest. For those with not much to shove in a shop window, the task may require a little more work.

Social curation at its best

This really is the ultimate in social curation. I am fascinated at the Boards that people create and how they group visual images together. It is the ultimate scrapbook where users can include your images on their boards and, in the process, help to shape how others perceive and share your products, services and brand.

Easy endorsement

We all know by know that what others say about you on social media is far more important than what you say about yourself. People re-pin and share content on Pinterest based on their emotive response to an image. People are often unaware of the brand they are sharing or the website links attached to the image. By using attractive images, you can have your message shared far and wide, regardless of the message you are trying to share. It is a soft endorsement, but an endorsement none-the-less.

Convert browsing to sales

Unlike many other social platforms, Pinterest makes it easy and seamless to convert window shoppers to customers. If you include a price with a dollar symbol in your pins description, Pinterest identifies it as a product for sale. You can link the image directly through to the page for purchase. Pins that have a dollar value in them are automatically added to the ‘Gifts’ section on Pinterest. This is a great way to get your products seen by people looking to buy.

You might consider grouping your products by audience type. If all your products aimed at Mums or Dads (for example) are grouped together, it makes it easier for them to stay focused on your brand and find what they are looking for.

Showcase your services

Pinterest isn’t just for products. You can use it like a visual resumé of the services you provide. If you are a landscape gardener, showcase your best work. If you are a web designer, highlight your best designs. If you are an accountant… well, you’ll need to get creative! You could show images that represent financial success and then link them back to services on your website.

We show things like the Cover Images of our clients Facebook Pages or share images from our blog posts. You may just need to think outside the square. Every business should be able to create a visual display of their work.

Copyright caution

A word of caution: copyright is a big issue and a major concern for many using Pinterest. The responsibility for copyright breach lies with you, not Pinterest. So always make sure you acknowledge sources.

Happy Pinning! I hope to see you browsing through Pinterest soon.

Kate is a social media specialist and the founder and CEO of Social Mediology. She is passionate about using online technologies to connect businesses with the customers, communities and causes they care about. Social Mediology specialises in ‘from the ground up’ social media strategy, implementation and training for small and medium sized business and the not-for-profit sector.

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