In the world of social media, it seems there’s a new flavor-of-the-month that lasts for about, well, a month. Outside of stalwarts Facebook and Twitter, other services have cropped up and mostly languished. But Pinterest seems to be bucking that trend.
Think of Pinterest as a virtual pin board, kind of like the one you may have had in your bedroom as a kid. Instead of pinning up photos from your last birthday party or your favorite rock star, you’re adding the websites of products, services, news clips, etc. that interest you. You can setup multiple virtual “boards” for any topics you wish, and then pin websites to them.
If you look at the upper right portion of my website, you’ll see that I’ve become a believer. I setup an account for my business and have found it to be an interesting way to share my portfolio and some web design related items that may be of interest to others.
One of the more fascinating aspects of Pinterest is that you will find that random people using the service will start following one of your boards or “repin” a website you’ve pinned (it works similarly to how others can “re-tweet” your posts on Twitter).
So, unlike a personal Facebook account, Pinterest encourages the sharing of ideas with people outside of your circle of friends. And, unlike a Facebook business page, people don’t necessarily have to “like” your account in order to stumble across your content. It’s a bit more random.
The one downside so far is that Pinterest generally works best when the website you’re pinning has a nice image to go along with it. As you can see from this screen shot, Pinterest grabs a graphic from the site and that’s how your content will be displayed:
If the site you’re trying to pin doesn’t have a nice image, the service will either not let you pin the site (if you’re using their bookmarklet tool) or allow you to upload your own image (if you’re pinning through your account’s control panel – I had to do this to create the board illustrated above). Often times this appears to be more of a programming issue with Pinterest than a problem with the website you are pinning.
On the plus side, the service does integrate nicely with Facebook and Twitter, and will allow you to share the items you pin there as well.
How does it relate to business?
Pinterest is really just another nice avenue to promote your business. And, you don’t necessarily have to pin things only from your own company. It’s a great way to share other interesting items with your potential customers.
Restaurants may want to point out the website of a great new wine they’re serving. A retailer could pin a link to a charitable cause they support. The point is, you can provide more to customers than just “Gee, we’re great!” posts.
Not sure you’re ready to get your business on Pinterest? Consider creating a personal account first to learn the ropes.
As with just about anything in social media, a little effort can go a long way for your business.