Let me guess, you heard about Pinterest. Or more like, you can’t spend 15 minutes online without hearing about it…
And now you’re thinking, “should I jump on the wagon too?” or “another social network to keep up with?” and on top of that, everybody is talking about using it for marketing and getting tons of traffic and, you just don’t see it.
Alright, I hear you. I’ll give you everything you need to know about Pinterest and a bunch of resources so you can decide if you or your business are ready to join the hottest trend online.
Let’s start with what it is…
Pinterest is another way of collecting and organizing stuff (images) you find online. Think visual bookmarking, publicly and with a social network in it. Some see it as a vision board, some as a catalog and others as a great way to promote your products or generate traffic to your site/blog.
This content is organized in “Boards” that work as categories you create and the images you pin in them are called… yes, “Pins”. See how fast we’re moving here. Pins are like posts on a blog or a Tumblr and other people can “repin” them or comment on them, as well as like them or tweet them, of course.
You can follow people and they can follow you.
Some think the majority of the users are females, they’re right. According to data Ignite Social Media collected on Google Ad Planner, only 20% of Pinterest users are men. That’s pretty one-sided, don’t you think? This tendency gets started by how Pinterest presents itself to the market, which I personally think you should totally ignore.
But there are other interesting numbers in this data, for example that the biggest age groups are between 25 to 44, 60% of its users have some college and largest percentage of household income is between $25 to $75k. In case you see your target market waving at you here.
How big is Pinterest
I understand, you need to know if it’s worth putting some of your marketing energy into something before you jump in. Here goes, according to a study conducted by ComScore back in November, Pinterest had already joined the big leagues in Unique Visitors with 4,855 million right behind Google+ and it takes the 3rd spot on Time Spent on Site with 88.3 minutes only behind Facebook and Tumblr. That’s pretty impressive.
Then in December, Compete reports that Pinterest reached 7.2 million visitors in the US only. Experian Hitwise on the other hand, reported 11 million total visits during the week ending December 17.
But Pinterest is really rising eyebrows for becoming one of the highest referral traffic sources. I can tell you for personal experience, just so you don’t think this is only for brands and retail websites, that with just a couple of Pinning sessions, it has already started sending traffic to SocialMouths and in the last week, it’s actually in my top 20 traffic sources (overall).
Update Feb 3: Just ran a traffic report for this blog, Pinterest is the #7 traffic source in the last 2 days above StumbleUpon and LinkedIn. That’s not including traffic from “m.pinterest.com” (mobile), which is #30.
Update Feb 8: ComScore announces Pinterest just became the fastest standalone website EVER with 10 million Monthly Unique Visit, only in the US.
Just a couple of day ago, Shareaholic published a report on Referral Traffic from Social Networks, the big surprise: Pinterest is referring more traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube. Combined! And it’s now breathing on Twitter’s neck.
I’m adding an infographic at the end of this post for other related and fun facts.
How do you get in?
Pinterest is still on an “Invitation Only” stage. Some people have told me they have been waiting for a while so at this point you have better chances to get in if you ask a friend to share an invite with you.
How to use it to promote your business or website
You need to get passed the idea the site is only a collection of wedding gowns images to get creative on how to promote your business, website or blog. Chances are you can already find brands and competitors using the network, find them to see some examples and get inspired.
Here are a few ideas entrepreneurs and brands are already implementing and some of the benefits you can leverage from:
Promote your products
Create a specific board for your own products, each pin should link back to that product page on your website. When you add a price in your description, make sure to use the $ character because Pinterest generates a price label on your image.
It’s pretty obvious here that depending on your line of work or services, there is more or less potential to do this, a photographer or a cupcake ninja can really do something interesting here with portfolios.
This could also be good to integrate in you content marketing strategy and how you distribute blog content as well as creating exclusive Pinterest content. If you’re a chef, how about creating special recipes for the Pinning crowd.
Another form of content is “user-generated”. You can set a board to accept content from other users, meaning they can also add pins. Although it can be tricky and you’ll have to expect to run some kind of moderation, this can be fun for your followers.
This is probably one of my favorite things about how to use Pinterest. We all know content curation can be a very powerful way to build authority around a topic. Select a couple of topics related to your industry and create boards to curate all kinds of content around them.
If you are a heavy user of any of the other networks, chances are you already curate content at some level. Do a test and bring some of that content you already share on Twitter or Google+ and start dumping it into a board.
As soon as we talk about showcasing products on specific boards, the next step is pretty obvious, you can run exclusive contests and promotions for Pinners or you can use it to complement existing campaigns.
It’s nature also provides a great environment to conduct all kinds of market research for future products and services. Imagine the possibilities for crowdsourcing or focus groups.
Connect, comment, like and repin others, this is a s-o-c-i-a-l network after all. Interact with others as you do on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
You can also expand your reach by getting out and sharing Pins on other networks. Or promote specific boards. Pinterest is also ready for frictionless sharing on Facebook’s environment, in other words, you can set your pins to go automatically to your timeline.
Humanize your Brand
This is a great opportunity to humanize your brand or really take your personal brand to the next level. Think about how to add lifestyle to your brand, you can’t be strictly business all the time.
With the rise of visual-centric and timelines in the social web, we are presented with great potential for storytelling. Don’t miss this opportunity.
When you pin something, specially from your own site, make sure to leverage that description box below the image. Use it wisely to write a keyword-rich description. Think of it as the meta description on your blog post.
Smart use of images
The next time you are searching for a good image to use on your post, wherever you get your images from or if you create them yourself, think of how they will be posted on Pinterest to maximize its potential. Your images are becoming more and more important with this kind of image-centric bookmarking.
How to Pin Content
The easiest way to pin content is through the “Pin It” browser bookmarlet. You can just drag and drop the button provided here to your Bookmark bar.
Another way to create and add pins is through the iPhone app, where you can Repin, Like and comment on existing pins or you can use your camera and add location to your images.
You can stay tuned for news regarding other platforms on the Pinterest blog.
Good Examples of Pinterest Use
I’m adding a few examples here, of course I’m not showing Redbull, Whole Foods, and the rest of the usual suspects but rather smaller businesses and personal brands so you get to see real examples.
P.S. – I made this…
University of Pennsylvania
Integrate Pinterest into your Website
“Pin It” Button
Obviously one of the best ways to make your content “pinable” is to add the “Pin It” sharing button on your site or blog. This is as easy as choosing the kind of button you like and grabbing the code from the “Goodies” page.
If you use a sharing floating bar such as Sharebar or Digg Digg (now owned by the guys at BufferApp), you can add the button through the plugin (like mine). If you use the Thesis Framework on your WordPress blog, Derek Halpern has a great tutorial on how to add the Pin It button on their User’s Guide.
If you want to take it even further, you can also add the “Follow Me on Pinterest” button. Same thing, head over to the “Goodies” page and grab the code from there to place wherever you want on your site. I added mine here so you can see it:
This is clearly missing a shiny Infographic
The post couldn’t be complete without the shiny Infographic. And since I know you’re not going to read anything below it, I’ll add my closing before.
Over to You
It’ll be awesome if you participate in the comments by sharing how you are already using Pinterest or any new ideas you’re planning to implement as well as any questions you have.
If you want to connect with me on Pinterest, here is my profile: pinterest.com/francisco << Check out my profile URL, a clear sign of an early adopter (virtual high-fives!)
Happy Pinning evrybody!
Infographic courtesy of Monetate.