Since its launch in December 2011 Pinterest has become one of the ten biggest social media websites in the world, beating the likes of Google+ and LinkedIn. Pinterest is a burgeoning, interactive digital pin board for sharing photos and creating and managing theme-based image collections. The site has since caught the eye of many savvy marketing professionals seeking to advance their profile online.
Perhaps realising that they couldn't possibly compete with the big guys, and perhaps because the easier option for users is simply to log-in through pre-existing channels, the website's creators now allow newcomers to join via Facebook. Users are then able to attach “Pin it” buttons to pages on their own websites, where other users can choose to “Pin” an article, a photo, a video – anything they like – to their digital “board.”
Unlike just about every other social media platform that focuses solely on user interactions, Pinterest has catered mainly towards hobbyists, which makes it ideal for smaller businesses to reach a larger audience. Because users are encouraged to express themselves using the "Pin It" button, businesses can gain unparalleled access into the inner sanctum of their ideal customers, helping with market research. A start-up business can effectively build itself and, subsequently, its marketing approach, around the needs and interests of its fellow hobbyists.
April, an excellent photographer and cookery enthusiast who runs a blog called mamalovesfood.com, had been publishing photos and recipes for years before joining Pinterest. In under one month, viewing figures for her blog rose from 100,000 to 450,000 – a dramatic jump in visitors. One of the reasons for the sudden and unexpected interest in April's blog is that she has a niche. She loves what she does; the blog is her and her followers' little corner of the world. Indeed, probably the best strategy for catching the attention of potential customers is to assert yourself or your business as an authority for Pins about a specific subject or topic.
The website is for hobbyists but don't underestimate its pulling power. Conventional businesses, too, are getting in on the act. Oreck, a vacuum cleaner brand, of all things, is currently turning heads pinning photo upon photo of cats to its board of “Furry Friends.” Even General Electric (GE), who should lend some credibility to this whole enterprise, has taken to “#Pinning things that inspire us to build, power, move and cure the world” including a board of remarkable archive photos of products from throughout its 121 years in business. The fact that a global corporation with the marketing power of GE is taking Pinterest seriously should demonstrate the power that the site holds.
Clearly, Pinterest is a useful marketing tool both for hobbyists wanting to kick-start their business among like-minded individuals However, with clever application and understanding of the visual side of your business you can use it to promote your business is a stand out way to new markets.