Between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube, there’s so many social media pies that small business owners feel the pressure to get involved in. Daily commentary tells us constantly why it’s the best way to reach out to new customers and build relationships with current ones, and I don’t blame business owners for feeling slightly overwhelmed – after all, you’ve got a business to run in between all those tweets and likes!
And just to add more to your social media to-do list, the newest kid on the social media block is having a moment in the sun, posting some incredible growth figures. Pinterest, once a niche network loved by brides-to-be has just blown Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined out of the water for referral traffic in January.
Pinterest now accounts for 3.6% of total referral traffic to sites, just behind Twitter on 3.61% according to a Shareaholic study. That’s an incredible boost from 0.17% in the same survey back in July 2011.
So what the heck is Pinterest?
In short, it’s an online pin board, which allows users to collect their favourite images from around the web, organising them into boards. Hence why it quickly gained a following in the wedding industry – as brides found it an invaluable tool to collect inspiration and ideas for their wedding.
Interestingly, Pinterest was mentioned quite frequently at last year’s ProBlogger Training Day, where many (particularly design, photography and beauty sites) bloggers mentioned that it was starting to drive quite a bit of traffic to their website.
Which brings me to my original point. Why should your business pin?
Because it can drive plenty of traffic to your website.
The beauty of Pinterest lies in the fact that every time someone ‘pins’ an image to their board, it retains the original link back to its source. Including images that have been ‘repinned’ from other users’ boards (similar to a retweet for those Twitter fans!). So every time someone pins one of your image, they’re essentially creating a backlink to your website. Which, as our resident web dude will tell you is the aim of the SEO game.
What makes Pinterest stand out in an ever growing bag of social media options is that the benefits aren’t dependent on a user interacting with the brand, rather the nature of a user’s interactions continually promote your brand. Think of it this way. Every time you post on Facebook, you rely on your fans to engage and share it to promote it outside of your network. But with Pinterest, every time someone ‘pins’ one of your images they are inadvertently sharing your brand with their followers. In context with Facebook, it’s basically the same as people using the site just ‘like’ brand pages all day, every day.
The sky’s the limit in terms of using Pinterest, you simply need to create images that people want to share. For retailers, it’s perfect to share images of their products (and make sure you check out these top tips on creating great photos for your website in our Atlas forum). For service providers, you might need to be a little more creative – but opportunities are definitely there. One of the best examples I’ve seen recently is a design agency that have been creating swatch images of colour themes. They’ve produced them specifically for sharing on Pinterest, and they’re getting plenty of repins. With every ‘repin’ equally another back link, and another opportunity for people to find their website.
You can add ‘Pin It’ sharing buttons to your site, in the same way that you can include Facebook and Twitter sharing options, but I recommend that you get the ball rolling and kick start it yourself. Create an account, and share images from your website to your ‘boards’. Just don’t forget to be social – it’s not all about you! Create some other boards related to your interests or industry (for example, an IT provider might create a board of online infographics, or a gym/personal trainer might create a board of healthy meals), and follow and connect with interesting people.
Are you on Pinterest?