Pinterest is a social network that's taken the web by storm, crossing the 10 million unique visitor mark faster than any standalone site in history, according to TechCrunch. Delivering extremely high engagement from its users, Pinterest also hits a demographic that businesses covet, namely, affluent women. Based on its explosive growth, Pinterest is a phenomenon that entrepreneurs should not ignore as they think about their overall social strategy.
Where did Pinterest come from?
Pinterest has actually been around since 2010 but it's growth the past year is staggering. On Pinterest, users create "Pinboards" that align with their interests and affinities (and other users can share or "repin" their finds.
Why businesses are excited about Pinterest
Social networks like Facebook and Pinterest monopolize the time of their users. Companies want to be where the interest is and Pinterest offers multiple opportunities to engage targeted groups around their interest.
With boards organized around what people love, Pinterest naturally helps marketers and brands zero in on receptive audiences. Are you repinning an organizing project? Then you might be interested in Company X's brand of shelf-liners. Food is one of the fastest growing categories on Pinterest, and the number of brands that can capitalize on that trend is truly staggering.
Further, Pinterest users reward the ingenuity of small businesses and entrepreneurial ideas. They are extremely receptive to a clever solution to a common problem. Perhaps that's why this bag holder contraption was one of the most popular Pins on Pinterest recently.
What trends Pinterest intersects with
Pinterest seems to pick up on a strong national trend that prizes personal creativitity and crafts. It's a "social" network, so users group together around a shared affinity and try to bring quality to the exchange through their "pins."
Pinterest also reveals a number of strong consumer aspirations (to live a simple life, have a cleaner house, bake a better cake) that clever businesses are paying attention and capitalizing on.
How you can use Pinterest to help along your entreprenurial activities
You and Facebook may be old friends. You might already Tweet up a storm. But have you thought about the ways Pinterest can support your business?
Drop in the term "statistics" "infographic" and the search term of your choice will pull up a wide array of interesting images for your perusal. This sort of search can help you with many business planning activities centered around demographic research.
You can also use Pinterest to research a product category you either occupy or are thinking about entering. Imagine you are thinking of buying a frozen yogurt franchise. Viewing Pinterest items grouped around "yogurt" might give you some ideas that will help reach this audience.
Connect with others who have the same goal
Because Pinterest is a "social" network, it has the same capacity as any of the others to connect you with like-minded counterparts in the same business sector. Friend and follow people who post items that relate to your business.
Market your business
Pinterest is terrific for marketing activities, especially for those who take the time to craft a clever approach.
And don't worry if your product isn't so photographable. Interesting brands on Pinterest have shown how you can use the network to create positive associations around their brands that stimulate participation and sharing. Consider Benjamin Moore paint for instance. This Pinboard of doors makes you think of the joys a new color of paint can bring, and it was simple to set up. Similarly, Oberlin College had some fun in collecting photos of iconic "womb" chairs that make their campus so unique. Think about a unique attribute of your product and use it to create an unusual Pinboard.