Should your small business be pinning on Pinterest?

If you have been living under a rock or just not online often you may not have heard of Pinterest. It’s the newest social network craze started over a year ago but with a big increase in users recently. From September to December 2011 they had a 429% increase! And it’s still in a beta stage. That means you cannot just sign up immediately. You either have to wait for an invite from a friend, or when you sign up, wait for them to invite you.

Pinterest is like a pin board that you may have at home or in your office. If you pin favorite photos, pictures of the kids or kid’s paintings, etc. That is what you can do on Pinterest online from websites. There is a pin clip that you must download onto your tool bar so you can begin to pin. You can pin things you like on boards that you name. You can have many boards and many pins on each board. You then can repin others pins and like other pins or leave comments on them. You can share your pins over on Facebook and Twitter.

The terms read: “You acknowledge and agree to that, to the maximum extent permitted by law, the entire risk arising out of your access to and use of the site, application, services and site content remains with you….”

As of February 2012 Pinterest has reached 11.1 million users. It was the fastest website to reach 10 million users ever. 82% of Pinterest users are women. Many users have become addicted to Pinterest spending an average of 89 minutes per month there. Only Facebook has more minutes spent per month than Pinterest for social networking websites.

Retailers were finding that Pinterest was driving traffic to their websites via the pins. I saw it first hand with our Fancy Scrubs website. Within a week it became in our top 8 referrals on our Google analytics. It really was amazing.

Everyone was raving about Pinterest until some lawyers got concerned about copyrights and the Pinterest terms came to light and users started to worry about being sued using their pinboards for business. A lawyer actually deleted all her pins in fear.

So what is a small business to do? Pin carefully. Pin your own images. Create more of your own images for your website or blog. Be very careful about what you repin. Only repin from sources you know and trust. Check the original source of the pin. You may like other pins and leave comments on them just like you would on Facebook to be social. That’s what the social networks are all about – being social and sharing whether as an individual or as a business. Follow your users and engage with your customers. Don’t just pin your own stuff either. You could look too promotional and your account may be shut down by Pinterest.

Many brands and companies are creating themes around their products or services. Whole Foods is a brand doing just that with some of their boards:

  • Who wants dinner?
  • Sweet Tooth
  • How Does Your Garden grow?
  • Go Go Gadgets
  • Super Hot Kitchens
  • Great Gifts
  • Keep Calm
  • Our Favorite Books

You can put a pin widget on your website or blog to have others follow you or come pin with you! If you have a website you can also have a pin share button. If you have images you do not want on Pinterest there are ways to do that if you do not want your images shared. Some artists and photographers have concerns about their works being re-used without a fee.

Pinreach is another measurement tools that takes into consideration how many pinboards you have along with the number of repins and likes, number of followers and number of comments. Their scoring system is from -25 to 100. What do these tools do for you? They help you find the most influential pinners on Pinterest. Companies love having high influencers pin their stuff and get the most reach via this social network.

Other popular brands on Pinterest include Etsy, Land’s End, Gap, AMC Theaters, Nordstrom and even the New England Patriots. Fans were repining their recipes, Tom Brady photos and more!

You can be very creative with your boards and start following others on Pinterest as you would on any other social network. You can do searches on Pinterest for categories or other users. Brands have had contests on Pinterest giving away product for the most creative pinboards surrounding their brand.

There are also social measurement tools for Pinterest. One is called Pinpuff. It measures your pinfluence. It measures your activity, monetary value of your pins, how many repins you have and how many likes you pin receive. The scores are from 1-100 with 32 being the average user’s score. Anything over 50 considered the sweet zone and a score over 70 is considered celebrity status on Pinterest. The other is called PinReach and at their website you do have to register. It measures influence and analytics of your Pinterest account.

If you are a small business and are wondering whether you should be on Pinterest remember 82% of the users are female. If your business has a high female clientele I suggest you do give it a look at the very least.

Happy pinning!


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