Tonight, I’ll be representing Pinterest in Social Media Club Knoxville’s Social Media Smackdown, a debate to determine which (of Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Google+) is the very best social network. Now you might be asking yourself, “How can something like Pinterest compete with tools like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter? Is there even marketing potential in Pinterest?” — and to that I answer, of course!
In case you’re not already aware, Pinterest is basically an online bulletin board of your favorite images and videos. It’s social bookmarking with a more visual element, allowing you to organize images — whether that be home decor, design, food, travel, wedding inspiration, the possibilities are really endless — into “pinboards” that you create and categorize. When you “pin” something new, your followers see it. They can then like, comment or re-pin it to their own boards…which means anything you pin has the potential to go viral.
Those of you that have used Pinterest know it’s easy to see how the tool can be awesome for personal use, but I’m here to tell you it as real business value too.
While it launched in 2010 in private beta, the unique new player in the social media space has seen the most extreme growth in recent months. In fact, in November, the site had reportedly seen a 2,000% increase in pageviews, according to comScore, and it attracted nearly 11 million unique visitors in mid-December. Now one of the top 10 social networking sites on the web, TechCrunch even named it the Best New Startup of 2011!
According to a recent study by Shareaholic, Pinterest is driving massive amounts of referral traffic to other sites as well. According to the study’s findings, which are based on data from more than 200,000 publishers, Pinterest now drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube COMBINED. Twitter, which has now been mainstream for years, only referred .01% more than Pinterest in January. Do I see a take-over coming soon? Even Google organic was only .02% higher!
So how can you harness this unique new social tool for your business? Here are 4 ways…
1. Create a corporate account, or a few.
If you’re pinning on behalf of your business, you need to first understand who your customer is. If you’re using Pinterest for business, it’s about building a lifestyle, not just pinning things your company puts out there, but rather things that lend themselves to the lifestyle your target consumers lead.