The title says it all: Pinterest has come along and changed the social media landscape. Okay, that may be a little dramatic, but Pinterest is definitely an innovative social networking site. Actually, it’s hardly a social network at all… it’s more of an online creativity and inspiration hub. At least, that’s how I view it. I use Pinterest for a variety of reasons and they all seem to have a similar theme: I want to be inspired. I turn to Pinterest to find new things I want to try, express my personality or simply find something I might not discover otherwise.
Before we go deeper into this new social network I’ll let the folks at ReadWriteWeb explain Pinterest:
Pinterest is a visual pin board where you can collect images you find on the Web and arrange them in categories with links back to the original site. It’s been described as being like a binder or folder that you use to store everything you clip from magazines and newspapers, but you have the added advantage of seeing what all of the people you are connected to have been clipping and saving.
Even the above description sounds intriguing and different. Having access to the creative “binders” of everyone you’re connected to (and basically anyone on Pinterest) makes it easy to find things that interest you and expand your creativity. The fact that all the images link back to the original site makes it a great traffic-driving social network. I experienced this first-hand when I posted a photo of Buddy the Elf from my blog. I saw a significant spike in unique visits to my site and I have pinned images of my site since then. Pinterest is now the No. 6 referrer to my site. For a retailer, especially a small business with creative/handmade merchandise, Pinterest makes it easy to publicly display product and find new customers.
Pinterest is now referring more traffic to retail sites than Google+ and is a top contender in the Hitwise Social Networking & Forums category. For these two reasons alone, Pinterest is now a critical component for marketers in the retail industry. With Pinterest being such a new social network how can marketers and social media managers tap in to this new medium? I think the answer here is simple. Just as you should research other social networks before creating a strategy you should for Pinterest too. Look at what your competitors are doing. Look at what your customers are doing. Get to know the social network and what type of pins get the most repins and likes. A little monitoring and research goes a long way. Keep in mind Pinterest may not be ideal for every company.
Though Pinterest has just become popular in the past couple months the site has been around for nearly two years. I only joined about six weeks ago and already have more than 450 pins and have created 23 boards. Yes, Pinterest is addicting. I think the main reason behind the success of Pinterest is it allows users to express their personality. If you are not yet on Pinterest be careful. It is addicting (that’s my second warning).
Are you on Pinterest? What has been your experience so far? Please share your thoughts in the comments below or send me a tweet: @eric_wheeler. Please feel free to follow my pins: http://pinterest.com/eric_wheeler/.