About ten months ago, I listened to Gary Vaynerchuck talk about this new site called Pinterest. He was really excited about it, though at first I didn't get it. "Get on Pinterest now!" Gary encouraged. I didn't listen, thinking, "Oh, dear, not another social network!" But Pinterest has proven to be anything but another social network. First off, its growth has been extraordinary. According to several reports, including a blog post shared on Mashable, from September 2011 to December 2011, unique visitors on Pinterest increased by 429 percent. That kind of growth has never been seen in a social network and while it's still early for Pinterest, we're seeing a lot of staying power, especially with established brands like Macy's, Land's End and magazines such as Real Simple -- which got more traffic from Pinterest in October 2011 than from Facebook.
For those of you who haven't been on Pinterest, the concept is almost deceptively simple. You sign up for an account (there's a waiting period right now as Pinterest tries to manage traffic and new accounts; once you sign up it should take about a week before you can get in). The site is a collection of boards, sort of like virtual bulletin boards that you name and add to your page. You can have as many boards as you want and name them whatever you want (though make sure to read through the Pinterest terms of service so you know you're not violating any of their regulations). The boards can describe your brand, book, message, or business. We'll look at some board ideas in a minute but for now, think bulletin board.
So, that said, how can you make the most of Pinterest? Like any social network, I recommend that you poke around, follow a few people in your industry and see what they are posting about. There are a lot of creative boards and a lot of companies using Pinterest as a unique brand extension. Check out Chobani's Pinterest page; they have all sorts of boards that tie into their brand including Chobani Champions, recipes, spoons, and sans yogurt which is a board about all things non-yogurt related.
Picking your Boards
If the idea of Pinterest is still intimidating, consider the following marketing ideas for your boards:
A Few Final Points
Be sure to add a catchy description to your profile and when you're setting up your Pinterest account, link it to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. This will help you gain followers, and add the icons to your profile page so you can direct people there, too.
Make sure to engage on Pinterest. Repin pins you love, comment on pins and since you can see pins on the site from folks you aren't even connected with, be sure to broaden your reach when networking. You never know where the next follower will come from.
Pinterest is a fun, if not highly addictive way, to start marketing. Still not sure what to do on Pinterest? Then get started by following others in your industry and get a sense of what they're doing. While the future of Pinterest is still uncertain, one thing we know is for sure. The site has grown at rates that no one expected and continues to do so. It's been the quickest site to monetize (to give you perspective, it took Twitter five years to monetize) and has already become a staple for many businesses.
Follow Penny C. Sansevieri on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bookgal