[social_share/]When you think of how the world has changed over the last five years, the words that first jump to mind are usually “Facebook” and “Twitter”. Undoubtedly the way businesses conduct their business has had to evolve to accommodate for a social revolution unlike anything we’d ever seen. If you think that you are just beginning to grasp how this has changed the way you market to your consumers, brace yourself because the pace of change has not slowed down one bit. In fact, it’s just picked up a notch.

Enter Pinterest.

Combine the use of a pin board and the value of pinning something interesting and you have the product of a small team in Palo Alto, California, that has outgrown the pace of growth of Facebook and the like. The site registered more than 7 million unique visitors in December, up from 1.6 million in September and is driving more traffic to company websites and blogs than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined, according to a recent report from Cambridge, Mass sharing site Shareaholic.

What is Pinterest?

Through this new social media platform, users are able to organise images – be it a smoked turkey recipe or a brand new car concept –into virtual boards categorised to their liking. Imagine a room full of corkboards with pinned notes on it, only with a higher emphasis on visuals and the ability to search for what you want by category. Users can then comment on, like, or re-pin other user’s pins with the potential of their pins to go viral, just like on Facebook.

Today, Pinterest is being used by millions of people around the world who are simply one click away from sharing what they like on their Internet surfing adventures with their friends.

How did Pinterest grow so fast?

Early adopters of this technology were mostly women who spent time on their computers looking for arts, crafts, wedding dresses, remodeling ideas, or just about anything they wanted to note for later reference. Unlike other platforms that publicly launch their service and advertise in conventional ways, Pinterest evolved quietly and organically through the basic principle of providing value and filling a need that nobody else had. Not only does Pinterest help you organise your favourite Internet finds, it helps you find what you like even faster as you are able to re-pin what like-minded people (a.k.a. your friends) like as well.

How do businesses use it?

Perhaps the most useful business application is the ability to post images of your company’s products on your Pinterest board and link them back to your website. Think of it as an online product catalogue.

Examples of how businesses are using Pinterest for their social media strategies:

  • Whole Foods Market pins pictures of delicious-looking food, food art and images of recycled or reused products to inspire customers to be environmentally responsible.
  • GAP clothing store pins pictures of their collections and categorises them into popular items, type of fabric, special promotions, etc.
  • Pinterest can be used to drive sales by increasing traffic to your website. Case in point: In the last six months, the retail deal site ideeli.com has seen a 446 percent increase in web traffic from Pinterest and sales resulting from those visits have increased five-fold.
[image src=”http://anopenbox.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/PinterestShot.png” size=”one_fourth”]GAP’s Pinterest Board

Why should I care?

If you own a bookstore for instance, pin pictures of your book covers. If you operate an electronics store then pin pictures of your products, of your special promotion coupons, of your Mother’s Day ideas, etc. But don’t just stick to business. Pin your favourite quotes, things that relate to your values, pictures from your latest staff party, and maybe things that make you chuckle. Make it interesting, and people will re-pin it.

Just watch, in a matter of months the expression “I’ve re-pinned it” will be as commonly heard as the now colloquial “I’ve liked it”.

Are you ready? If this is too much for you to handle, we’d love to help. Give us a call and we’ll help you infuse this and other social media services in your communication strategy.

Source: Adapted from: Entrepreneur.com – How Pinterest Is Becoming the Next Big Thing in Social Media for Business