No, we don’t think Pinterest is going to be as successful as Facebook, but as Facebook’s IPO filing is only hours away it makes sense to look at this up-and-coming social networking site called Pinterest. More popular with women, Pinterest is quickly gaining in popularity and 2012 could be its year.
In her StartUpNation article, “Are you Pinterest-ed?”, Rachel Blaufeld explains the attraction to Pinterest.com:
Last summer, I was working with a client and she was bubbling over with excitement about Pinterest. While 6 months ago, Pinterest was relatively unknown to many people, as of last month it is now a TOP 10 social media network. That’s right – TOP 10. Pinterest is basically a visual bulletin board of what ‘pinners’ like… Users create ‘boards’ for individual categories (ex: home storage, yummy foods, books, cool products, funky restaurants) and ‘pin’ pictures of related items to the board. The pin then links to the original site where the photo was pinned from, so anyone interested can find the item/place/recipe/etc on the web. The possibilities are limitless. Think of a virtual thumbtack holding a picture of that latest and greatest item you adore to a web page so everyone that follows you can see that you give this item 2 thumbs up. Other users and followers can ‘repin’ your photos to their boards creating a snowball effect. Heavy influencers, who share their pins, which in turn results in their pins getting repinned and repinned, creating a spiraling effect and rush for particular items on the web.
Are you getting the picture, here? Yes, Pinterest is wildly fun, but the larger picture is that if products/places of business are being pinned/promoted/repinned, this can have a huge effect on start up businesses and products!
I asked, Rieva Lesonsky, former Editorial Director at Entrepreneur Magazine and current CEO of Grow Biz Media (and who recently followed me on Pinterest) for her take on Pinterest and Start Up Businesses. Rieva just started exploring Pinterest, and her thoughts are:
Retailers (both online and store owners) and restaurant owners could really benefit from Pinterest. Retailers should create boards featuring new products, sale items, special promotions and trends. Make sure you embed a link to your store’s location. Restaurant owners can pin specials, new menu items, and even share recipes.
The key though (which I truthfully have not conquered) is to remember this is social media. Don’t just pin your own goods, feature products from other places. You don’t want to promote a competitor, but a retailer could pin from a store in another state or country. Both retailers and restaurant owners could pin like-minded items from magazines.
Thanks to Rieva, and I agree with her last thought very strongly. Social media is about engaging, so do not make your pinning all about ME, ME, ME…but, promote someone in your referral network, another business in another state, or complementary products. For example, if you produce golf balls, endorsing gold clubs would be a natural choice.
Just like other social media networks have evolved from something very social and fun to a viable business tool, Pinterest lends itself really well to this.
If you want to learn more about actually using Pinterest, and the ins and outs of ‘pinning’ and ‘repinning,’ watch this: