It may have a reputation for being full of pictures of cute kittens and cupcakes, but Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media sites. Already massive in the States, it’s now becoming a major player in the UK too.
According to Experian Hitwise, in the UK, Pinterest saw a 786% increase between September 2011 and September 2012 when it reached almost eight million users.
For businesses, it operates much like a shop window and is driving both referrals and sales more successfully for its users than sites such as Facebook.
So, should your business be on Pinterest?
Pinterest is a social sharing website where individuals and businesses can pin images on pin boards in order to share visual content with friends and followers.
Pinterest allows users to curate images from across the internet under different categories. If users like a particular photo, they can repin it onto their own board.
More and more businesses — especially retailers and manufacturers — are finding that Pinterest allows them to show off photogenic items and bring them to the attention of a wider audience.
Six top tips for businesses that want to succeed on Pinterest
1. Keep it light and friendly — don't do a hard sell. Use a picture of a person for your profile not a logo.
2. Choose inspiring names for your boards, not your own in-house descriptions for your product ranges. Make sure your photography is top-notch. Try taking shots of your products being used or in interesting settings.
3. When it comes to boards, less is more — it’s better to have fewer boards with more pictures than hundreds of different boards. If your business deals in facts and figures, create infographics and post them.
4. Don’t just pin your own stuff — pin other people's images and like them too. By commenting and sharing with others, you’ll grow a community of followers.
5. Follow other pinners. Businesses can follow other firms in their sector that are non-competitive. For instance, if you sell jewellery, you could follow clothes businesses that you like.
6. See how others are using Pinterest. If you type a company’s domain name (including your own) into the search box, you’ll find the content already pinned from those businesses.
With the early influence of arts and crafts on the site, it’s generally thought that women dominate on Pinterest. However, the latest research shows a changing picture, with men increasingly using the site, especially in the UK. The typical age group is older than some of the younger social media sites like Facebook but is growing across all ages.
Any category that has visual appeal does well on Pinterest. Retailers and manufacturers, in particular, are finding that Pinterest provides the ideal shop window for their wares. Popular categories include: interior décor, design, arts and crafts, food and drink, photography, beauty, fashion, fitness, jewellery and accessories. Infographics are also very popular on the site.
Pinterest creates a lot of online referral traffic — more than Facebook — so it’s great for attracting attention. And perhaps because it is smaller than the big social media sites, it can be easier to stand out from the crowd.
Pinterest is also a real sales driver, according to a survey by BizRate Insights. The 2012 research found that 70% of Pinterest users said they use the site to get inspiration on what to buy — that compares to 17% on Facebook. And 39% of Pinterest users look for special offers from retailers and brands.
Major retailers like Ikea, House of Fraser and ASOS are big Pinterest users. But small businesses are also finding ways to attract attention on Pinterest.
Pinterest has introduced Pinterest for Business, a resource showcasing best practices, case studies and creative solutions for companies.
Create a board on any subject that interests you and then browse the site and get pinning. In the Pinterest Goodies tab there is a Pin It button so you can drag and drop images into your favourites bar.
Pinterest allows you to follow others, like, comment on and repin what they post. As with all social networking sites, there are guidelines to follow — or Pin Etiquette.
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