The Rise of Pinterest: Can It Benefit Businesses?

01.11.2012 | Holly Zuluaga

As communication professionals, it is our job to be savvy with the latest trends in social media. Beyond Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare, there are new social networking sites that are drawing a great deal of interest. Pinterest, a virtual bulletin board to share and organize images, is rapidly becoming one of the hottest social networking sites and one that we are paying close attention to. We thought it would be valuable to look at the site’s capabilities and how it can benefit businesses.

We first highlighted Pinterest in a blog post about 2012 trends, where we discussed how Pinterest provides a platform for contests and a tool for businesses to demonstrate thought leadership by sharing fresh images.

Additionally, Pinterest can help businesses drive traffic back to their sites by pinning content. In fact, Real Simple reports that Pinterest drives more traffic to its site than Facebook. Companies like HomeAway are using the site to influence trends, by displaying beautiful vacation properties in hopes of becoming part of a conversation.

Retailers, such as Nordstrom, have started embracing Pinterest, doing a nice job pinning fashion trends, accessories, shoes, etc. to different boards that users can share. For retailers such as Nordstrom, this is an excellent way to find out which trends resonate with consumers. Some companies are using Pinterest to launch new products and gauge reaction based on repins. Additionally, Pinterest allows users to track how many pins originate from a website. For example, by typing in pinterest.com/source/Nordstrom.com, you can find all the pins that originated from that site regardless of who pinned them.

Each image on Pinterest is a “pin” that can be placed onto a board and into themes. The pinboards are truly inspiration boards where you can create inspirations for food, fashion, home interior design, or wedding planning, and businesses are catching on. These boards allow a company with several different focuses or products to easily organize its products separately. Consumers can pick and choose which board to follow based on relevance and interest.

Currently, Pinterest is invite only. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, you can’t create an account immediately. You must receive or request an invite from a current member.

Pinterest is still fairly new and it may be too soon to see just how it can benefit your particular business. For retailers, many are already reaping the rewards. We’ll continue to keep a close eye on this site. In the meantime, there are a variety of articles that offer tips to help you get your feet wet such as, Mashable’s article, “Pinterest: 13 Tips and Tricks for Cutting Edge Users,” or “Pinterest: A Beginner’s Guide to the Hot New Social Network.”

But just be warned, like many other social media sites, it can be addicting!


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