If you own a business today, it is hard to ignore how important social media has become in marketing your products or services. While it is difficult –and perhaps unwise– to try to embrace the wide variety of social media sites out there, some of these sites are definitely worth your time. Next to the well-known social networks like Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, a crop of new sites have appeared in the last two years, and they are now proving their worth in helping businesses to reach their target audience in an original manner. One of these sites is Pinterest.
Pinterest is the online equivalent of a bulletin board, on which you can virtually pin images of interesting or beautiful things that you have seen online. These “pins” are then shared automatically with people that follow you on the site. Your followers can show their appreciation for a pinned item by “liking” it or “re-pinning” it. This last action makes the pinned item appear on their own board. You can make several boards around different themes to create a visually pleasing whole.
Originally popular with women between the ages of 35 to 44, the spread of Pinterest’s popularity into Europe has resulted in a shift in demographic. According to recent figures, in the U.K. the site is just as popular with men as it is with women. Age-wise they are on average ten years younger than their American counterparts.
If this sounds like your target audience, you could do very well on Pinterest. You can use the site to increase your brand awareness, find ideas for new products or services, and learn more about your target audience. The beauty of social media websites is that they invite engagement from your followers. Get your followers to engage with your business on Pinterest by organizing a competition, asking them to pin an image of themselves using one of your products, or asking them to pin images that remind them of your brand on a special “mood board”.
Participation is key to success on social media websites. You get what you give, so you get busy by pinning some of your own products or services, pinning images that complement your brand, re-pinning or liking other people’s pins, reacting to other people’s pin, and following other Pinterest users (especially if they also follow you). If you want to know if Pinterest users are pinning images from your website on the social media network, go to pinterest.com/source/yourwebsitehere.com (for example pinterest.com/source/etsy.com), and you will see a list of all pins from your website.
Pinterest is a relatively young network, but the number of users continues to grow dramatically. Earlier this year the site was named the third largest social network in the U.S., and this summer the site was finally opened to all users. Invitations are no longer necessary. Mobile users also have access to the network. Pinterest iPad and Android applications were made available in April this year. Despite the large user base, you shouldn’t expect a dramatic increase in sales when you start using Pinterest. You can, however, see an increase in visitors to your website. That is how Pinterest fits into your marketing plan. It is an extra tool to help you to build and support your brand. It is an investment in the future of your business.