Pinning your way to key audiences via Pinterest
Budding bakers, wannabe fashionistas, do-it-yourself designers, and vacation dreamers are flocking to Pinterest – the latest social media craze.
Pinterest is different from other social media platforms. Rather than post messages, Pinterest users “pin” photos or videos which link to the website where the content came from. Users pin the photos to specific categories (e.g., recipes, books, clothing) so that they can easily look back at their pins. Essentially, Pinterest allows you to create visual collections of the things that you like and find on the Internet.
Although Pinterest users must receive an invitation to join, the social network has grown explosively in the past six months. As of November 2011, Pinterest had attracted nearly five million users, up from just 418,000 in May. Pinterest is surprisingly popular among Midwesterners, who are 102% more likely to join than the average U.S. Internet user, according to ComScore.
Many social media experts believe that Pinterest represents a shift in social networking toward “social content curation.” Rather than produce their own content on blogs, many social media users now prefer to collect and consume content in an organized manner, especially through images and graphics. Just like Twitter’s “retweet” feature, Pinterest’s “re-pin” button allows users to easily add a photo to their collection and share it with others. Repinning can create viral energy around a specific photo or video.
How businesses can take advantage of Pinterest
Pinterest is a great way for businesses to drive traffic to specific products, websites, and/or blog posts. In January 2012, Pinterest was responsible for 3.6% of Internet referral traffic, up from 0.17% in July 2011. Even though Pinterest is the “new kid” on the social media scene, it is already keeping pace with Twitter, which accounted for 3.61% of referral traffic in January.
Businesses can capitalize on Pinterest’s recent popularity by pinning pictures from their websites or blogs. This will automatically create a link to your website and can help you build exposure for your brand. Pinterest can be a free way to subtly advertise to millions of potential customers each day.
The retail industry has quickly embraced the power of Pinterest referrals. In fact, some clothing companies have posted their entire catalogs on the site to try to attract new customers. But Pinterest can also be useful to other businesses and nonprofit organizations that want to drive traffic to their websites, build exposure, showcase your company culture, or raise awareness about a specific cause. For example, an animal shelter could post photos of dogs or cats that are ready for adoption, or a business could post behind-the-scene photos of a commercial shoot.
While Pinterest is especially popular among women (70% of users are women age 25-44 years old), guys don’t need to feel left out. Two software designers recently launched Gentlemint, a site geared toward men that is home to mustache photos, eclectic products, and The Big Lebowski movie clips.
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