Move over, Facebook, Digg and Reddit. There is a new social bookmarking website growing fast in popularity over the last four months—Pinterest. The company has exploded from 1.2 million users in August 2011 to over 4 million in December 2011. During one week in December, the site received over 11 million visits.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Pictures can convey emotion, moods and evoke feelings in a much simpler and engaging way than words. That is the idea behind apps like Instagram, and now, Pinterest; a place to organize and share online images. The network calls these images Pins, which are placed on Boards for any topic imaginable, from cats to food to national monuments. Users can comment and “repin” images on their own boards, which can be shared via Facebook or Twitter. For now the Pinterest club is exclusive to those who are invited. You can sign up for invites via the website or ask a friend to send you an invite.
Pinterest is not just a place to share images—it can be a useful organization tool. For example, brides-to-be can replace wedding planner binders with a Pinterest account, organizing gifts, dresses and styles. Those redecorating their homes can create a Board for each room and pin decorating ideas to share with their family or roommates. Cooks can keep an online recipe “book” and artists can keep a Board of inspiring images. Crafty individuals and shoppers can bookmark tutorials and products they like. Foodies can collect their favorite food, restaurants and places to travel.
How can marketers benefit from Pinterest?
- Word of mouth: Pinterest is a great referral tool, in some cases better than Facebook, according to Shannon King, GM of digital for Real Simple magazine, who saw more traffic to their site from Pinterest in October. Promoting yourself is frowned upon on Pinterest, but you can make it very easy for people to share your images on their boards by creating a “pin it” button for your site.
- Build a community through engagement and research. To avoid simply promoting yourself, think creatively when making boards on Pinterest. Hotels and retailers can create a suggestion board for guests to pin renovation and product ideas. It’s a fun, collaborative way to get customers involved and conduct research on what they’re interested in.
How do you plan to use Pinterest in your marketing efforts? Feel free to make suggestions in the comments below!