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Pinterest, it’s the hottest new thing in social media, despite launching little over a year ago and still available by invitation only, has recently seen a phenomenal growth in popularity and usage; according to Quantcast, in March last year approximately 50,000 people in the US were signed up whereas in October that same year the figure was 600,000 and showed no sign of slowing.

The unique idea behind this social networking site is that users share images, rather than text, making the whole thing a very visual experience. You can quickly and easily share images from all over the Internet and categorise them by pinning them onto boards (think ‘albums’). It’s also a great way of encouraging consumers to make a note of products that they like so that they return later to buy them – whereas they might otherwise forget about that gorgeous lampshade you’re selling, with Pinterest they can pin it to one of their boards and see a visual reminder of it every time they log in. Plus, with no privacy options currently in place absolutely everything that is ‘pinned’ is then visible to the entire community – with a followed link back to the original web page it was found on – so you may find that just one pin leads to numerous sales.

Who uses it?

The majority of Pinterest users are female and, of course, drawn to great imagery. Top categories include bridal, home decor, hobbies and food. A quick flick through the most popular images will show you that users are drawn to anything stylish and unique in design.

It’s not just the general public using Pinterest though; from Whole Foods to Southwest Airlines a cross-section of companies are jumping on the bandwagon and promoting not only their products but also their brand as a whole. Southwest Airlines, for example, have boards such as Destinations (photos of places they’d like to visit), Vintage (old black-and-white photos of airports and aeroplanes) and Travel Style (comfortable, stylish travel wear). It’s a way of giving the brand a bit more personality and interacting with the customers in a way that’s friendlier and more sociable than pushy advertising. Plus the profile also links directly to the website so users inspired by the airline’s nostalgic or breathtaking imagery are but a click away from a site where they can buy their own holiday abroad.

Top 6 Tips for Companies on Pinterest

1. Pin Images and Videos

It sounds obvious, but the best way to generate interest in your brand on Pinterest is to upload as much content as possible. The more images that you have, the more often your profile will be found and viewed. Pinterest also allows video content and with fewer videos than images on the site this stands a good chance of being seen regularly, so if you have any great footage – educational tips, funny adverts, etc. – be sure to get it on there.

2. Install the Pin It Button

The ‘Pin It’ button works much like a Facebook ‘like’ or Twitter ‘tweet’ button. Get the html code from the website and add it to all of your products, to encourage your visitors to share the images that they like without even having to be on the Pinterest website.

3. Be Creative

However, avoid thinking of Pinterest as purely an advertising space. Boards upon boards of your own products is unlikely to get many users re-pinning – which shares the image and the link on their profile – so intersperse your own images with other high-quality and relevant pictures. Do you sell lighting for example? Try creating a board with ‘colourful lights’ and mix images of your coloured light-bulbs with eye-catching and artistic photos of fairy lights or disco lighting. This lets users see both the effect of coloured lighting and then if they are interested (which most likely they are if they clicked on your board in the first place), the products that will let them recreate it at home.

4. Add Prices

A quick but highly-beneficial tip is to write the price of products that you are pinning in the description. This will automatically add a little price tag to the image and cause it to show up in the Gifts category which is exactly where people will be looking if they intend to spend money!

5. Be Social

Pinterest is generally organised by ‘most recent first’ so once you’ve created your boards they’re not going to keep generating interest for very long. The key to making your venture into Pinterest a successful one is to interact with your target audience, just as you would on another social networking site such as Facebook.

Repin other users’ images onto your boards where relevant – they’ll receive a notification and will very likely browse through the rest of your board where their image has been shared. For best effect, do a little research and focus your efforts – a user is more likely to buy a chair from you for example if they have just posted a board entitled ‘Chairs I’d Love to Buy’. You can search boards as well as image titles. Don’t forget to make use of the commenting feature or to follow users either to incite them to follow you back.

6. Run Competitions

Pinterest works best when users are promoting your images, not you. Try running a competition where entry requires users to pin their favourite items from your website onto a board, or to repin images that you have already posted.

Overall, Pinterest is proving to be a very popular and extremely fast-growing new website that, thanks to its unique set-up, opens up a whole new range of possibilities and allows you to promote your brand in ways that you may never have tried before. It may just be another passing craze or, who knows, perhaps it will be the next Twitter. Either way, right now it’s an excellent platform and I would encourage any and all companies to jump on the bandwagon quickly to take advantage of the fact that right now there is very little business competition on there at all!


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