Just as your marketing people were starting to figure out how to use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn effectively in business, along comes Pinterest. You may have read recently that Pinterest is now attracting more unique visits than Google+, hit 11 million unique visitor in the US, and increased its traffic by 68% in January alone - and Mark Zuckerberg has set up his own Pinterest page.
What does Pinterest look like? Click here
Now sit down, take a deep breath: it’s not really that scary. Pinterest is an online bulletin board for images found while trolling about the web. It has been described as “Twitter with pictures”, or the online equivalent of the fridge magnet collection. Do you need to immediately integrate it into your business marketing plans? Well, maybe not today. On Pinterest there is presently a preponderance of recipes, wedding dress ideas, travel, arts and crafts, and so on - just the sort of things you would expect to find in a virtual scrapbook. But that is not to say that we won’t soon see a transformation of the ways in which Pinterest is used. Already some businesses are scrambling to find ways to access all that web traffic.
For example, a marketing team responsible for boosting visitors to a city or state can set up a Pinterest page with gorgeous pictures of the location: ideal for that type of promotion. Pinterest has obvious applicability for companies selling lifestyle products and services. Mashable has a topic thread devoted to Pinterest, with a million and one ideas on how to use it.
Pinterest could also be about more than marketing. Lawyers and other service providers, especially in IP, might want to keep their own Pinterest account just to check on the activities of clients using the site. What are they doing with their brands? What reactions are they getting? For solo practitioners, it could also be a tool for networking with other lawyers, and with clients, since its main focus is sharing interesting information. Think office products, travel destinations, new restaurants...get creative. Everyone else is.
I've seen suggestions that an attorney firm might want to have its own page, with people shots, powerpoint slides, firm events and so on. But at this stage of Pinterest's evolution, keep it casual. Potential clients are unlikely to go to Pinterest to look for an attorney. Having said that, potential clients might like to know that you understand Pinterest, especially if they are in the IT or social media field themselves. And the site is becoming something of a search engine itself, so you never know where that will go.
And here’s something to ponder: Pinterest is said to be generating more traffic to websites than YouTube, Reddit, Google+, and LinkedIn combined. So merely for driving traffic to your website, Pinterest could be worth investigating. Here’s a Techcrunch article by Reggie Bradford with some smart techie ideas for leveraging Pinterest in your social media marketing strategy. As Reggie says:
“Content is king, and anything that makes it easier for your teams to identify and curate great content represents a competitive advantage. The Pinterest “Pin It” button works quite well for consumers. Unfortunately it wasn’t designed for marketers and is therefore missing some features that would let you include analytics tracking as a simple part of the “Pin It” process. This won’t last long, as tools to fill this gap are already under development.
Pinterest is still in its infancy, and time will tell if it continues its rapid growth or plateaus. But it certainly exhibits the potential to provide visually engaging experiences for consumers that marketers can weave into their social communities. Brands can start simple, then evaluate for effectiveness along the way. Being able to experiment with new and innovative platforms is part of the fun and excitement of social. And brands should start experimenting today.”