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If you’re like me the last thing you need is one more online community to monopolize your time and deplete the few free hours you have left each day.  Though I’ve been avoiding the hype, Pinterest has now officially sucked me in, but it’s not why you think.  Like most moms I have several interests and hobbies that fit like a perfect piece into the online jigsaw called Pinterest.  I am a crafter, novice interior decorator, self-proclaimed floral arranger and resident chef in my household.  Though Pinterest was initially launched as a photo sharing site in 2010, today it is most widely used for sharing ideas on topics like cooking, decorating, fashion, crafting and home improvements.

It wasn’t until I was sitting in a business meeting that I recognized the importance of understanding this online powerhouse and how to utilize it for my clients as a part of their social media strategy.  After all, if I wasn’t familiar with Pinterest and how it worked, how could I help my clients understand its effectiveness?  Today, Pinterest is being used by moms like me and high-level business executives to promote their products and services.

PINTEREST FOR YOU:

In January 2012, comScore reported that Pinterest had 11.7 million unique users making it the fastest site in history to break through the 10 million unique visitor mark.  97% of those site visitors are women.  Users suggest, share and organize images, called Pins on Boards that can be created for any topic from recipes to car repair.  The reason why Pinterest is unique is because users must be invited to participate.  This can be accomplished by requesting an invitation or receiving an invite from a current Pinterest user.

Pinterest users may upload as many photos as they wish and assign a Pin to a Board. Images can include descriptions, pricing, suggestions and review information.  Additionally, you may RePin” images that were posted by other users. Pinterest’s online community is enhanced by features that allow users to “like” images, “share” images, “RePin” images and comment on images.  After familiarizing yourself with Pinners (users), you may choose to follow their updates on Twitter, Facebook and the like. In addition to images, videos may also be shared on Pinterest. Tutorials, movie trailers and viral fads are just a few of the most common types of videos that are regularly posted.

PINTEREST FOR BUSINESS:

With the success of the online communities like Pinterest and Facebook, businesses had no choice but to get involved and experiment with this new interactive tool.   These social networking sites connect people to people, people to businesses and businesses to businesses in a remarkable new way, allowing companies to establish potential customers while solidifying relationships with brand loyal consumers.

It is important to note that social networking users have become savvy when it comes to the shameless promotion of products and corporate speak.  Like traditional marketing methods, your business’ Pinterest strategy should be creative, organically building brand loyalty by linking users that are naturally interested in your product or service.   Including a blend of ideas, products and newsworthy information on your board will establish credibility with your users.

CREATING YOUR BRAND’S PINTEREST BOARD:

When creating a corporate Board, the theme should be consistent with your company and product offering.  Colors, artwork, and messaging should reflect your brand and corporate philosophy.  Placing the Pinterest “Pin It” widget on your corporate website(s) will create a bond between your site and Pinterest allowing visitors to automatically share items on your site with their communities. Here’s a great example of a company utilizing Pinterest effectively with consistent messaging and a theme that meshes well with their corporate culture.

Kiyonna Clothing’s Pinterest Board

PINTEREST AS A TOOL:

Don’t forget to monitor your brand and your competition.  Utilizing the Pinterest search box will show you what visitors are saying and sharing about your brand and the competition.   Pinterest can also be used to track trends.  Keep in mind that though your Pinterest Board cannot be setup to function as a sales tool, prices, product information and a link to your website can be included.  Social networking sites like Pinterest and Facebook can be used creatively by establishing online contests or promotions.

Written by: Daniel Griffith on March 19, 2012

Daniel is an Author, Designer, and Entrepreneur. With over 10 years of industry experience, Daniel utilizes his unique blend of mathematics and poetry, engineering and creative thinking to solve both technical and business challenges.

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