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Market Your Business, Sell Your Product, and Build Your Brand on the World's Hottest Social Network
By JASON MILES, KAREN LACEY
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Copyright © 2013Jason Miles and Karen Lacey
All rights reserved.
The Astounding Interest in Pinterest
In the world of social media, a new star is on the horizon, capturing the imagination of millions. Pinterest.com is connecting us like never before. Its clever, ubervisual approach has propelled it into the fastest-growing website in the history of the Internet—faster even than Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter. Whereas it took Facebook 16 months to go from 50,000 to 17 million unique monthly visitors, and Twitter 22, Pinterest achieved this remarkable feat in only 9 months.
In the two years since Pinterest was launched, the phenomenon of "pinning" images onto virtual pinboards (the basic function on Pinterest) has gone viral. Pinterest has quickly captured the full spectrum of users from first-adopter teenagers to national outlets, such as Better Homes and Gardens, Vogue, Martha Stewart, and even the Smithsonian Institution. Real Simple recently became the first print magazine to top 100,000 Pinterest followers, attracted by its pinned images of recipes, childcare advice, and do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement tips (see Figure 1.1).
In March 2012, Pinterest became the third largest social media network in the world, trailing only Twitter and Facebook. It had 18.7 million registered users and over 100 million visitors in March alone. To put it into perspective, in the same month, LinkedIn had 86 million visits, Twitter 182 million, and the granddaddy of them all, Facebook, had a whopping 7 billion. When Pinterest's numbers are extrapolated, based on conservative estimates, it's easy to see Pinterest realizing over a hundred million registered users in the next few years.
What's in a Pin?
The Pinterest difference is that it's a site about visual discovery. Each time you log in, you're greeted by other users' pinboards filled with alluring images of gardening, food, fashion, home improvement, and crafts, rather than the traditional postings and text that you might see on Facebook. Its very visualness is what's striking and has led users to admit to an unusual dichotomy—they're relaxed by the Pinterest experience, but also inspired.
This is a key factor in what keeps users coming back for more. In the company's own words, "Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web."
The process of pinning images is fast and easy. Pins can be created from any website the user visits. When you see an image you like, a few clicks of the mouse is all it takes to pin it onto one of your pinboards. The image retains the link to the original website, and so anyone who views the pin can go to that website and purchase or learn more about the item.
This link to the original source is an interesting aspect of the Pinterest success story. A natural sales process is created that is both quick and intuitive. Sole proprietors, small-business owners, and major corporations alike are finding that Pinterest is a great way to make money.
Gayle Butler, editor-in-chief of the magazine Better Homes and Gardens, said this about the economic potential in Pinterest:
As a visual brand where images and ideas are so central to what we do, we are extremely excited about Pinterest. This is a tremendous complement.
Recent data show that more referral traffic is driven from Pinterest back to the sellers' websites than Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined. Members are tapping into massive new pools of potential customers, who are actively visiting their websites and blogs in return. Pinterest is no here-one-day-gone-the-next social media starlet. It's hip and hot, and it's altering the landscape of social media forever.
How People Are Benefiting from Pinterest
Basically, Pinterest is a place to share images of things you love. It's social because your friends (and potential customers) can see what you're up to, make comments, and share their own images. But you will also receive comments, repins, and ideas from users across the world.
This social media model makes it incredibly efficient as a place to store and sort your ideas. Let's say you want to remodel your kitchen. You can build a "Kitchen Remodeling" pinboard filled with ideas that you might otherwise lose or forget. Rather than having a file folder bulging with ripped-out magazine pages, you have a neat and tidy set of virtual pinboards. As you surf the web for ideas, you pin the ones you like.
As well, you can easily search other Pinterest users' kitchen remodeling ideas and repin them onto your own boards. In this process you're tapping into thousands of ideas, presorted and categorized for you. Search for kitchen sinks, tiles, light fixtures, stove tops, and whatever else specifically interests you. The pinboard format makes the process entertaining and just plain great to look at.
Maybe you're planning a wedding. You can create one board filled with wedding dress designs, another with cake pictures, and yet one more with flower and table arrangements. Not only is it a place to display and sort your ideas, but your friends and family can see and comment on what you're thinking.
Folks who are always on the hunt for a new recipe or craft idea love Pinterest. They're having a dinner party and need vegetarian appetizers, gluten-free desserts, or new ways to cook that same ol' chicken breast.
But the boundaries of Pinterest don't end in the land-of-everyday. One user, Susan, pins about women in planetary science. Another Pinterest user has a pinboard filled with nothing but bizarre and detailed maps of the world. Clearly, the only limits are within your own imagination. Pinterest supports it all through pinning, repinning, liking, and commenting.
Pinterest and Your Small Business
Within this ever-increasing whirlwind of pinning and repinning, Pinterest has become an exceptional tool for increasing e-commerce sales. Because the images are easy to pin and they link back to the original websites, Pinterest is a natural for businesses.
In fact, Pinterest has fast become a social media leader in generating referral traffic back to the original website from which the image was pinned. Pinterest and e-commerce business have evolved into a natural fit.
Interestingly, many business owners have found increased referral traffic from Pinterest without even having a Pinterest profile. Pinterest users find their images and pin them on their boards, and then the images are repinned again and again. Each time the image is pinned or re-pinned, a link to the business owner's website is created.
Here's How It Works
The best way to understand the Pinterest difference is to experience it yourself. We will cover many more basic functions in Chapter 5, but this will get you up and running.
1. Joining Pinterest
Go to http://www.pinterest.com. The process couldn't be easier. While previously you had to go through an invitation-only system, now you simply click on Join Pinterest and follow along step-by-step (see Figure 1.2). If you already belong, this is where you will click on Login to bring up your personalized Pinterest boards and people you follow. You don't need to join to have a look at Pinterest and see if it's for you, but chances are you'll want to start building your own boards and collecting those things you find inspiring and interesting.
Currently, you must sign up through your Facebook or Twitter account. If you have business accounts in either of these, be sure to sign up through it rather than your personal account. Then be sure to pick
Excerpted from Pinterest POWER by JASON MILES, KAREN LACEY. Copyright © 2013 by Jason Miles and Karen Lacey. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
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