Pinterest: A social marketing tool or just a social vacuum?

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Pinterest, one of the fastest growing social networks (the fastest according to some reports), is an online vision board.

Pinterest may be considered a niche social network, but it continues to amass a huge number of followers. To suggest that Pinterest is only for creative folks is like saying that macs are only for graphic designers. And saying that, well.....is wrong.

This social photo sharing website launched in March of 2010 and has grown to an estimated 10.4 million users. That is a 145% increase in Pinterest users since it's start, according to Mashable. That's nothing to shrug at.

According to a few reports, Pinterest user base is 80% female. Some reports suggest that that number is closer to 97%. Over half of those women are between the ages of 25-44 who earn approximately $25-$75K a year. Those are some important numbers to acknowledge if you are planning on using Pinterest as a marketing strategy because women's consumer influence is critical.

How to sell products on Pinterest pinboards

Pinterest boards are divided into a variety of catagories. Categories may include, but are certainly not limited to: architecture, gardening, fashion, home décor, children's products and pets. Pinterest users are limited only by their imaginations.

Pin boards can be used by consumers and businesses, alike. For the consumer, Pinterest is a place to curate things that interest and inspire them.

Businesses on the other hand, can showcase their latest products. Both small, home-based businesses are reaching more buyers by pinning on Pinterest. Big name brands, like Southern Living and West Elm are also reaching out to this larger audience. By posting recipes or a new table accessory, both brands will potentially be pinned by thousands, re-pinned by thousands more and perhaps with a click have their product purchased.

Michael's craft store is integrating 'pin it' buttons to encourage their store visitors to share, as well.

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Still unsure how you can use Pinterest to promote your business? Social Media Examiner has offered 26 useful tips for newbie pinners:

This is an item that I am selling. Notice that I added a web address to my eBay account within the description.
This is an item that I am selling. Notice that I added a web address to my eBay account within the description. | Source

Add a Pin Price Tag.

You may or may not have noticed that there is a category called "Gifts" on Pinterest. While viewing the thousands of photos under the other categories may lead you to the store that sells the product you are interested in, it may take some time. By pinning a photo of your product with and without a pin price tag, it is likely, you will be showing more people your product. If you do add a pin price tag to only one image, it will let your Pinterest audience know that the item is for sale and for how much.

When you designate a monetary value to your image, your picture becomes more noticeable. To apply a pin price tag is very simple. Go to the description section of your pin, type a "$" and a value. A banner will appear at the corner of your photo with the price. That item will be grouped with other similarly-priced items shown on the "Gifts" page.

Notice that names will appear in the dropdown menu. I've blocked the names of my contacts for privacy, however, your contacts will appear clearly along with their profile photo.
Notice that names will appear in the dropdown menu. I've blocked the names of my contacts for privacy, however, your contacts will appear clearly along with their profile photo. | Source

Send a notification to specific friends.

In the description field, you can @mention a particular pinner or compnay. This is a great way to share images or products with people that you think would enjoy them.

When the @mention is used, that user will receive notification that you've mentioned them. Type the @ sign and begin typing the person's or user's name. Select it from the dropdown menu and create a link to their profile page. This works the same as when you tag a friend in Facebook and they are notified that you have done so.

Because Pinterest discourages blatant marketing tactics, you may need to be creative on what and how you pin. Whole Foods, for example, does not pin a photo of a product and it's selling price. Rather, Whole Foods sells an image, a lifestyle. Pottery Barn has been selling a certain lifestyle for years. You may have mistakenly thought they sold home décor items and comfy sofas and you may also have thought Whole Foods was just a grocer. Take a look:

Pinterest is a great way to create interest in, and drive more traffic to, your store, blog or website. Another valuable tool; Pinterest allows you to 'pin' videos from uTube.

6 Pinterest Tips To Help Achieve Online Brand Success

1. Be “pinteresting” by pinning frequently and keeping your pinboards current and entertaining. Like all other social media outlets you must be consistent.Your goal is to interact with Pinterest users and build brand loyalty through relationships of interest.

2. Be organized and select the best pins to share with users, and be sure that the pictures are of highest quality and aesthetically pleasing. Be sure your pins are visually appealing.

3. Be smart by linking your business’s website and other social media sites to your pins to drive online traffic. You want to be persistent, but not obnoxious when pinning. Also, pin about more than just your products or yourself; connect with other brands.

4. Be SEO proactive and add descriptions to all of your pins. These key words will help drive traffic to your pins, your Pinterest account, and your linked sites. Pinterest users may search key terms, so use this as an opportunity to achieve greater SEO.

5. Be friendly and follow! You should look for Pinterest users that have a huge following and follow them. More times than not, they will follow you back and this gets the ball rolling on your own Pinterest following. If the big names like you, then you have done something right. Yes, this can be percieved as a popularity contest, but it's part of being 'social'.

6. Be personal and connect with Pinterest users by being casual, conversational, and open about your company, your interests, your company's causes or brand personality. Pinterest is about engaging one another’s interests, so you will achieve the greatest success by showcasing a memorable personality and fostering personal connections.

Recently, Facebook made a few changes. You can add pins to your Facebook Timeline (some folks are excited about that) and when Facebook allows Timeline for businesses to show pins, that could be a game-changer.

Still unsure how you can use Pinterest if your not in the business of selling a tangible product? There are hundreds of groups promoting worthy causes on Pinterest. Spreading their message pin by pin. Take a look at this board trying to put a face on lung cancer.

And Yes, There's More...

Keep your clients close, keep your competition closer. Okay, that may not be the exact wording, but the idea is the same.I recommend that you know what your competition is doing to develop or increase their business. I also highly recommended that you continue to educate yourself so that you will always have a firm grip on your business. With so many other duties that require your attention, it's not possible to read all those business articles or learn about new technology. However, what you can do is use Pinterest to bookmark articles to read later, or check out what your competitor is pinning so that when you have time, you can take a peak.

Do you have a business partner? Use Pinterest to share and collaborate. Perhaps you have designers working for you. Use your boards to communicate ideas or share insightful blog posts.

There are many people sharing motivational quotes, tips and images on Pinterest. As a business owner or entrprentuer, you know that there are days when you need a small push. Create a board for yourself or to share with your team. Use Pinterest as a motivational tool.

According to reports, 80% of pins are re-pins...

...that's the good news. Your pins can generate more attention to your brand without any added efforts from you. However, Pinterest, at the time of this writing, has no privacy settings. I would highly recommend that you do not pin private photographs of any sort to your boards. Anyone can view your pictures and re-pin. Remember, 80% of pins are re-pins. That's also the bad news.

Give CREDIT Where CREDIT is Due...................

I suggest reviewing Pinterest etiquette to familiarize yourself with copyright infringement. Many folks make their living from the images that they post. There remains a fair amount of controversy regarding this subject. Some folks think the added exposure is good for them, their work and their brand, while others feel that allowing their images to be distributed without their control is wrong. This matter may never be completely resolved, but there are ways to make most people happy. If the image is yours' apply a watermark to it or disallow the image from being pinned. It you are sharing the image, It is best to site where the image originated from and the creator of the image. If you do not have that information, at least share what information you do have.

Follow Me on Pinterest; pinterest.com/grahamandgrey

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Pinterest remains in it's infancy. Although there have been some fairly major changes and improvement in the last few months, I'll be curious to learn how it develops over the coming years and if the male population will find it's way to this visual nirvana.

Until then, I've got my own pinning to tend to.

Pinterest secret boards - what to use them for:

Pinterest now allows users to keep secret boards, but what purpose could they serve? For businesses, secret boards are very useful.

1- Collaborate with your team:

Share ideas and concepts with remote team members. Organize your marketing materials and have group discussions. Perhaps you are planning for a trade show. Keep your groups ideas on this secret board and keep all your show elements, like, décor, color scheme and more, all in one place.

2- Curate content:

I have had so many of my clients ask how to save time using social media. My first answer:CURATE. You use valuable time finding content. That is really what takes so much of your time. If you continually curate content and keep it all in one location, you simply need to turn to your folder (or board) for relevant content to use.

3- Consumer/Competitor research:

Collect various reports, blog posts or anything that will help you to better understand both your customer and your competitors. Research the pins and re-pins that are taking place on the Pinterest feed and learn to recognize what effect, if any, those pins have on your business.

Are You Using Pinterest Yet?

How are you utilizing Pinterest?

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Get Pinning!

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See you on Pinterest 7 comments

srbhadran profile image

srbhadran 4 years ago from Thiruvananthapuram

Excellent Hub! The Tips are Very Useful for Pinterest Users. I like Your Best Descriptions, Strongly Supported by the Statistics. Thank You for Sharing the Information

with Us.

http://pinterest.com/srbhadran


alifeofdesign profile image

alifeofdesign 4 years ago from New Hamphire Author

Hello srbhadran, thank you for stopping by! Pinterest is an amazing tool. I'll certainly take a look at your boards...thank you, again.

Best Regards,


alifeofdesign profile image

alifeofdesign 4 years ago from New Hamphire Author

well, srbhadran, I can see that from a quick glance at your Pinterest boards I'm going to have to set aside more time to view......you have some wonderful pins and we share several interests. Happy Pinning!


srbhadran profile image

srbhadran 4 years ago from Thiruvananthapuram

Thank You Aifeodesign for the Compliments.


alifeofdesign profile image

alifeofdesign 4 years ago from New Hamphire Author

'tis my pleasure.


ytsenoh profile image

ytsenoh 4 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

First, I like your title. I think the answer to the question posed is a little bit of both. I use Pinterest for wedding cakes and my hubs. I think there's a huge wave going through Pinterest right now and it's always nice to see when those pins are shared. I do think everyone needs to be cautious in what they're pinning. I don't have a FB timeline, yet, but it's interesting to know you can post your pins on their now. Great hub of information. Thumbs up. Thanks.


alifeofdesign profile image

alifeofdesign 4 years ago from New Hamphire Author

ytsenoh, showcasing your wedding cakes and your Hubs is wise. I agree...Pinterest has an enormous audience and I think it will continue to grow and its' usefulness will evolve.Like all other social media outlets, I, too, think that people need to be cautious and have forethought in what they are pinning. As for FB Timeline, time will tell. I'll check out your pins! Thank you, kindly, for your comments!

Best Regards,

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