What's the Big Deal About Pinterest?

I know what you’re thinking: not another social media platform! Just what we need!

But Pinterest, which had 10.4 million users in February 2012, is unlike any other social media tool. Rather than share updates with friends, you share images. It’s essentially a virtual visual board, where you can view what your friends have “pinned” (that means they like an image enough to keep a copy of it on their profiles), and you can repin what you like.

That’s all fun and games for people with time on their hands, but what does that have to do with your business?

Here’s the thing: Pinterest is a huge referrer of web traffic. As of January 2012, Pinterest’s referral traffic was 3.6%, rivaling Twitter (3.61%) and beating out LinkedIn (.20%) and Google + (.22%). Because a link is attached to a pinned image, people are clicking on the links and visiting blogs and company websites as a result.

How to Use Pinterest

Say for example you sell high-end dog  clothes. By setting up a Pinterest account, you can share images of your latest designs with your followers. When they like your images, they will repin them to their profiles. Then their friends see them and repin them as well. You might include info on the product and price in the comment box. Now anyone who’s interested can click the link and buy the product…all because they were wasting spending time on Pinterest!

But sharing your products isn’t the only way to get followers. In fact, mixing in your products with other images has proven to be more effective. Birchbox, a company that sells subscriptions for makeup samples, has more than 5,000 followers on Pinterest. In addition to pinning the products it offers, the company also pins media mentions of the brand, celebrity events, and fashion-inspired images. It’s all about sharing photos that appeal to your target audience.

Should You Dive In?

Pinterest isn’t for everyone. I’m still having trouble making the case for business services (or just services in general) getting much out of it, although there are blog posts with suggestions on doing so. If you sell visually appealing products, Pinterest is a shoe-in. Here are some tips for getting the most out of Pinterest:

  • Take high-quality images of your products
  • Link to the image so that your website link is included with the pin
  • Follow others who pin related images
  • Connect your Pinterest account to your Facebook account to increase exposure
  • Be creative! Create boards like “Inspiration” and pin visually engaging photos and designs

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s written two books: 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and has blogged for several sites, including The Marketing Eggspert Blog, as well as Mashable, Small Business Trends, FutureSimple, andLead411. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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