Pinterest: Building Connections One Pin at a Time

Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media sites in history. Initially launched in March 2010, Pinterest has already garnered more than 12 million users in the U.S. and has generated more traffic to company websites and blogs than YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn combined*.

Pinterest’s success lies in its simplicity. Users create virtual pinboards where they pin interesting photos straight from the web onto their profile. People who follow the pinboards can then like, comment or repin the photos, sharing the content in typical social media fashion. Pinterest accounts can also be linked to users’ Twitter, Facebook and other accounts, exponentially expanding their sharing power. Just remember to link all content to the original source and follow the Pinterest terms and conditions.

With an already impressive Internet presence, it’s no surprise that companies have begun to join the site in an effort to market their brands. Many B2C companies in the fashion, home décor and food industries have experienced a wealth of success by pinning photos of their products. In addition to Pinterest’s consumer interaction strength, many B2B companies have joined the phenomenon. Rather than simply focus on the products they produce, companies are using Pinterest to promote their culture or become a resource for users.

So, how can you use Pinterest as a marketing tool?

  • Promotions — Many businesses are launching promotional campaigns utilizing Pinterest as the foundation. Encouraging consumers to pin or re-pin images to their boards for a chance to “win” something from your brand, such as product giveaways or discounts, has proven a successful strategy for many companies.
  • Make your website “pin-friendly” — Provide content that is shareable and encourage visitors to share it via Pinterest as well as other social media properties. Add a “Follow Me on Pinterest” button to your site. Also, adding the “Pin It” button to specific images or content makes it easy for your consumers to share that content instantly.
  • Enhance your brand — Avoid using Pinterest as strictly a platform for product promotion and instead pin items that evoke the personality of your brand by relating your product or service to a lifestyle closely associated with it. For example, if you are a travel agency, consider pinning appealing images of exotic vacation destinations.
  • Research — Pinterest allows users to share their likes, interests and passions. Take a look at those following your brand and what they are pinning, and then use that information to gain more insight into your consumer.

Pinterest is still a young platform, growing as its audience expands. Companies that can harness its potential may notice the benefits of social media’s rising star.

*According to a recent report from Cambridge, Mass.–based content-sharing site Shareaholic.