What is Pinterest? The network most likely to lead to a sale…

What is Pinterest? It’s the fastest growing social network and the one most likely to lead to a sale, that’s what. It is also massively female-dominated. It’s estimated that almost three-quarters of those using Pinterest are women.

How Pinterest works

In practical terms Pinterest is an online pinboard of images. You can create theme-based image and video collections around your interests or collections. You can also browse others’ pinboards for ideas and ‘re-pin’ images to your own collections or ‘like’ images and photos you see elsewhere.

As with all of those things, the best way to learn is to just dive in and get started. Pinterest is definitely easier to pick-up than to explain. But be careful, it can be strangely absorbing and mildly addictive!

You have to apply to join first, but approval usually comes through in around 24 hours. Then start to ‘pin’ your collection or portfolio onto Pinterest and let others share and re-pin your images. You can also embed Pinterest social media icons onto your own website, encouraging others’ to re-pin your images onto their pin-boards.  If someone else re-pins any of your images, then any clicks go back to wherever the image originated from: ideally your website!  As a result, Pinterest is proving to be the No.1 social media driver of sales: Pinterest users are more likely to spend and they spend much more than shoppers from other social media sites.

So, what kind of businesses can benefit from Pinterest?

#1 Pinterest is a ‘no brainer’ for visual businesses

Pinterest is fabulous for visual businesses: designers, artists, gardeners, builders, photographers, food businesses… anyone who creates. As well as promoting your services, you can use Pinterest as an aid to help clients develop their brief. It works well as a vision board for bringing together a ‘look’, for example: weddings, interior and garden design.

#2 Showcase products and trends

Pinterest is also great for product images of all kinds – so something to consider if you have a retail outlet or online shop. If you have photos of your stock, you may as well add pins to your site and post them on your Pinterest boards. You can also use Pinterest to create a buzz around your products. Just look at how ASOS creates trend boards, mixing their own stuff with other style inspirations to create must-follow boards for trendsters.

#3 Give services a visual angle

They say that ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’: in business there is no doubt that is true. Pictures and videos engage customers emotionally, something words take much more time and skill to do (and another reason why Pinterest is so absorbing). So take a fresh look at your business: do you have images of events or activities that could bring your business alive and create a sense of engagement or community? Could a leaflet or blog be better stated or reinforced in a video? If so, you could post the video on Pinterest as well as on your website. (Maybe it could go on Youtube too?)

#4 Show-off your knowledge

If your business is knowledge-based, then Pinterest could be a useful planning tool. Management consultants can use Pinterest to help clients to develop vision boards, underpin business plans or even to lay-out the business plan itself.

Teachers and trainers are stretching the Pinterest format to plan lessons, curate ideas and collaborate with others.

So that’s our low-down on what kind of businesses can use Pinterest. Pinterest is growing fast, but it’s still quite new, so please feel free to add your ideas or experiences of how businesses can make the most of it in the comments section at the end.

Putting Pinterest into Action

So now that you have some ideas about how Pinterest can help your business… how do you put it into action? In true Pinterest visual fashion, here are the top tips for using Pinterest for business, thanks to Socially Sorted.

(cake photo cc ShardsofBlue via Flickr)

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