Is Pinterest right for my brand?

So you run a small business and you’ve invested loads of valuable man hours developing social media profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Flickr, Tumblr and Youtube.

You were about to relax and then Google+ launched so you created another profile.

That was the easy part. You then started engaging with consumers, prospects, customers both satisfied and unsatisfied, suppliers, potential partners and so on. You posted images, retweeted articles, learned a lot and realised it is possible, all be it for only a few weeks, to run a business on three hours sleep a night.

And now, just as you’ve got into a rhythm, Pinterest has arrived with a label of ‘the next big thing in social media.’

Pinterest is an online pinboard that lets you post images, organise them and share them. It’s a digital scrapbook of images listed under themes such as wedding gifts, favourite foods, redecorating and so on.

The site looks and feels good, with clean lines, an easy to use model that reflects the short attention spans of today and frankly, it’s not very sophisticated, which is probably why it is so popular.

Pinterest, clean, neat look and feel

And popular it is. Launched in 2010, it has experienced phenomenal growth. The site had 1.6 million unique visitors in September 2011, 7 million in December and 11.7 million in January 2012. In six months, from July 2011 the time visitors spend on the site has risen from 38 minutes to 98 minutes. Crucially, Pinterest is reported to be driving more traffic to more company websites and blogs than Google+. Linkedin and Youtube combined.

Some companies such as jewelers, wedding planners, furniture stores, clothing retailers and food companies are reporting sensational sales spikes after joining Pinterest.

Currently most of the content is posted by women and it is very USA centric. But what is it about Pinterest that is seeing such rapid growth, is it sustainable and most important of all, should you invest more valuable resources in Pinterest?

Firstly I think the growth is like that of many social sites these days. Early adopters initiate the stampede and then, because of the global nature of the Internet, others follow quickly.

What is also key is that the decision making process for consumers is changing from one inspired by slick corporate messages aired accross mass media to information posted online by friends or associates with similar interests.

If for instance I’m a hiker and I’m looking for accessories for a hiking trip, Pinterest may offer a simple way of gathering information during the research stage of the buying process.

I could find a rucksack or tent etc on a friend’s Pinterest board and review the comments of other hikers to determine if the rucksack or tent is suitable for my needs. If I am going somewhere unusual or perhaps with some hostile terrain, I could look for comments from others who have used the rucksack/tent in the same location or somewhere similar.

I could use the same process if I wanted to go to a new destination and want to see images of the destination, not the hotel produced images but those of people like me.

Like all new social initiatives, no one knows if the growth is sustainable so I’ll avoid that one!

Creative people, and those looking for a job or a freelancer seeking employment are using Pinterest to share samples of my work.

So the final question is, should you invest your valuable time in Pinterest? Basically that depends on your product. If you have something that is visually intersting, unique even then it may be right for you.

It certainly doesn’t take much effort to set up an account and it is easy to create your own pinboard. It also has neat little apps like the ‘Pin it’ button that you can add to your website. Then, if a user likes something they see online, they can add it to their own website with one click.

Of course there may be some copyright issues and this link is to a very good article on the potential legal ramifications of using Pinterest.

Pinterest can also offer you inspiration by looking at images posted by others in your industry.

So my advice is yes, take the plunge, set up a Pinboard and say goodbye to that remaining hour of sleep.

If anyone in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore or Indonesia has set up a Pinterest page, let us know how you are getting on.


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