By now, you’ve probably already heard of Pintrest. If you haven’t, you will soon. In just over a year Pintrest has grown to 45 million users. I predict this will be the 3rd leg of essential social media for business development (the other two being Facebook and Twitter). For some types of businesses it will be far more effective than either of the other two. And it will be interesting to watch what happens as more online users switch to mobile. Experts are predicting a decline in Facebook use if they don’t improve their mobile capability. It is possible that may be the Achilles heel of Facebook and there may be a day when Facebook is the new MySpace and Pintrest is the new Facebook.
So what is Pintrest? When I was a kid I had a big cork board where I would pin pictures I cut out of magazines, cards from friends and family, awards and ribbons I was proud of and anything I liked or found interesting. Pintrest is a virtual bulletin board that allows “Pinners” as Pintrest users are known, to “Pin” things they love from all over the internet. Pinners can create many different boards to create collections relating to their different interests. Using the Pintrest toolbar widget one can pin images and videos from anywhere online or Pinners can “repin” items others have posted to their Pintrest boards. According to the Pintrest mission statement, the site is all about “Connecting people from all over the world based on shared interests and tastes.”
What Could Pintrest Possibly Have to Do with My Business?
Some say Pintrest is just a bunch of women planning imaginary weddings, dressing non-existent children and decorating houses they can’t afford. That it’s all the Etsy and scrapbooking crowd. What could it possibly have to do with my business? Remember the number one law of business: Where the eyes and attention are, that’s where the money is. Right now online attention is shifting to Pintrest.
Retailers: Get On Board!
There will be a more direct correlation between Pintrest and the bottom line for some business than others. If you are a retailer with an online store and shippable general consumer products now is the time to get on board with Pintrest. Already the site drives 40% of social media purchase referrals. Facebook still drives 60%, however I expect very soon Pintrest will dominate. The experience of the site is that of a beautiful catalog, or online swanky mall. It puts users in the shopping mindset which is reflected in their purchasing behaviors. Pintrest referrals are 10% more likely to buy and tend to spend 10% more.
Pintrest developers are not only OK with retailers using the site to draw in sales, they have set up a system for it. When you include a dollar amount in the description of a pin a banner with the price appears across the left corner. This alerts Pinners that the item is available for sale and if they click through they will be taken to the site to make the purchase. Pintrest also includes pins with prices in a special “Gifts” list. They recommend taking the pin down when the item is sold. I recommend leaving the pin and removing the price from the description. Especially if you sell one of a kind items it is important to let people what they’ve missed in the past to create urgency to buy now. It also creates a balance of for sale and just interesting items on your board.
That’s Great for Shops, But What About Those of Us in Service Businesses?
Pintrest is like all social media, one more opportunity to connect with current and potential customers to create and build connection, community and relationship. Pintrest, with it’s direct links to the original site that stay with a pin no matter how far and wide it is shared creates a great opportunity to introduce your great content to new viewers. It is a little trickier for service rather than shippable goods, but Pintrest can still be a valuable source for building your brand. There are some special considerations for doing so in the Pintrest community. Since I’m in the service niche myself I’ve been experimenting and playing with this and will be sharing my secrets in upcoming posts.
One of the keys is to be a real person. Go ahead and set up your profile and create boards relating to both your personal and business passions. You’ll need a balance of both to effectively build your brand. Pay attention to the popular categories on Pintrest and think about you your business might relate. Start looking for ways to post related content on your website with compelling pictures. Stay tuned as I’ll be sharing everything I’m figuring out on this in future posts.
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