What is Pinterest? And is it right for your business?

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The latest social media darling is Pinterest. But what is it? How is it different? And is it for you?

What is Pinterest?

Essentially Pinterest is a bulletin board where you can “pin” images that interest you. You create different pinboards for your pins – so you could have a board for “favourite places” and pin images of your travels. Or you could have a board for “cool electric guitars” and pin images of… well, cool electric guitars.

Your Pinterest profile is like a digital scrapbook you can share with the world. And other users can re-pin your pins. So there’s lots of potential for your image (or product!) to get shared.

Pinterest launched back in 2010 and initial growth was slow. Not any more. The site now gets more than 12 million visitors and is growing at a rapid rate. More importantly, a recent study by Shareaholic found that Pinterest drives more traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined. You read that right.

Mashable says that Pinterest is now the top driver of traffic for retailers but there is little data to show if this increased traffic is turning into sales. Another important stat: women make up 58% of Pinterest traffic.

How is it different?

It’s simple: just images with descriptive text and a link. But if you’re a business, you can add a price banner and a “buy this” link to the image. This means people can peruse your products and buy them through your existing e-commerce site.

How does it work?

Pinterest is a social photo sharing website. After creating an account (you first have to request an invite to join – mine took a week) you create a series of pinboards. Each board is dedicated to a different category/theme you choose (cats, dogs, palm trees, whatever). You can then save images on your boards and share them with other people.

You can upload your own images (from your computer or mobile device), re-pin other user’s images, or pin images you find on the internet.

So, if you’re looking for a new couch, you can pin images of styles you like – so you can remember them later. Your friends can weigh in on your design decisions too.

You can also follow other people and businesses. Their pins will appear on your main Pinterest page.

How can I use Pinterest for my business?

Think of Pinterest as a catalogue. You can post images of your products sorted by category. You can add a price, description and a link to where people can buy the product. Pinterest will be of use to anyone from photographers to department stores to craftspeople.

Are there any drawbacks?

The big one is copyright. Is Pinterest violating copyright when you post a link to someone else’s image? That could be up to the courts to decide. If the images are yours, then no problem – although you should definitely read Pinterest’s terms of use page about what THEY can do with YOUR images.

So, do I need to be on Pinterest?

It depends on you and your business. We suggest you have a look at what your competition is doing – and your customers, but there is no reason not to be on the site. Anything that drives traffic and has the potential to increase sales is a good thing.

If you’d like to know more, just get in touch.

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