Your Cheat Sheet to Pinterest
Over the past few months, the Internet has been buzzing about a relatively young social media catalog called Pinterest—a site that serves as a virtual pin board in which users can "pin" items that they like. It's an image-based space that allows you to connect with other members by following them.
How Does It Work?
A quick background on how Pinterest works: Users can share or upload interesting images from their computer or the Internet. Pinterest comes with a browser extension that allows people to easily Pin images that they find on the web with a quick drag-and-drop function. These images, which are known as "Pins," can be tagged and categorized into Pinboards, making them easy to find and organize. Members can also "like" and comment on your Pins, which makes the site a good avenue for discussion.
Another great thing about Pinterest is that it allows users to Repin and share images via other social networks. This is where it becomes exciting, because if your image is interesting enough and gets Repined numerous times, you could potentially go viral.
And let's not forget the valuable SEO factor of Pinterest. At present, the social network uses DOFOLLOW tags, so anything that gets pinned is a followed link back to the website. SEO specialists should definitely take advantage of this feature (while it lasts). So if you have any interesting graphics in your site, be sure to Pin it.
Time to Jump In?
Pinterest is still in Beta mode, and new users can only join in if they receive an invite from existing members. However, this has not stopped the rapid growth of the site. According to Mashable, Pinterest's user base has climbed from 1.2 million in August to over 4 million today. The new social network has been receiving tons of media coverage, and it's clearly showing some impressive stats. Because of this, a lot of business owners and Internet marketers have jumped in as well. The question is should you be one of them?
The short answer is it depends. If you're thinking about tapping into Pinterest's growing user base, then the first thing you have to consider is the demographic of its members. A huge chunk of the site's 4 million users is composed of women. Brides-to-be, stay at home moms who are redesigning their homes, artists looking for inspiration and ideas—these are the main types of people that you'll find on the social site. Its concept greatly appeals to this particular demographic because it fulfills women's need to collect, organize, and share pretty things. So if your business or website is all about "cute" items and lovely things, then Pinterest would be like a goldmine.
Still though, this isn't to say that businesses that do not cater to women shouldn't get into Pinterest. Females may be the dominant gender in the site, but there's still a decent amount of members that use the service to bookmark images of gadgets, cars, infographics—basically anything that looks cool or interesting.
Pinterest can work for various types of individuals. Some authors use it to market their content by Pinning book covers, while people in the entertainment industry are using it to share movie posters or album covers. On the other hand, those in retail or ecommerce can use the service by pinning photos of their products.
Just Don't Forget to Socialize
Before you go on a Pinning spree of your products or content, keep in mind that Pinterest is still part of the social web. Don't over promote your products. Always remember that you also have to spend a fair amount of time Repinning and commenting on the Pins of other members.
Ready to start exploring Pinterest? Request an invite here.