Growing your Pinterest
Pinterest.com was recently named to the Genius 60 Brands to watch in 2012 and 70 days ago, we wrote the ultimate guide to using Pinterest in business and most of us on staff are addicted to Pinterest.
The network allows users to share photos from across the web while maintaining a link to the original source, and site traffic grew 4,000 percent in the second half of 2011, and still remains invitation only. Admittedly, the social network is populated by far more women than men and most of the pictures are of home decor, recipes and crafts, a subtle shift is taking place as more men join the network and share their own special brand of photo sharing.
We are noticing that ideas are being shared more now than at launch and we’ve been using the service for many months and in January have noticed a massive groundswell behind the network. I have personally been shocked to see my little internet secret go mainstream overnight, even bigger than Twitter ever did. People I knew from high school and my first jobs are there, people from church, my family (even the ones I don’t talk to often), and even our hair stylist was telling us about her photo sharing boards on the site last week. The population of Pinterest is booming and it isn’t like other social networks where people get a profile and chat, there is actually something to do and boy, do people do it. “Addicted” is the most commonly used phrase in regards to Pinterest.
More than sharing house pictures
As the site goes mainstream, there is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to join in and to actually be useful without violating the culture of the personal coffee table chat feeling. By being useful, any user can gain influence and while that sounds disingenuous, it makes sense that if you devote any time in your day to a task that it has something to do with your job.
The best way to be useful is to start “Boards” (see this guide if you’re lost) that pertain to your career, not just the topics suggested by Pinterest. As you can see below, I strayed pretty far from the suggested Board topics (click to enlarge):
Below is a short and very incomplete list of some ideas for boards you can create to be useful (thus more likely to influence):
- Pictures of your clients as a “thank you” board. Pictures of friends on social networks that have made an impact on your life.
- If you are a Realtor, post pictures of homes you have sold or that are for sale (inside and out) – this is your chance to tell some back story and feature interesting photos (garden gnomes, cool knobs on cabinets).
- Start a board devoted to your area – landmarks, leaders, news, whatever, but be specific.
- Post pictures of your team, your office, your messy desk, your coffee maker, etc. to tell the back story of a day in the life at your office. Feel free to use a mascot or gnome as the traveling story teller.
- Post something of very specific interest – maybe a photo tour of all of the local coffee shops with your thoughts as comments, or as featured Yelp reviews as comments.
- Tell your own story – post photos of you as a baby all the way up to today. The more embarrassing, the better.
- Post pictures of ideas on how to use your product or services. Retailers, post pictures of people using your product and servicers, post pictures of sad people not using your services and happy people that do, with testimonials from your website below the happy people.
- Post pictures of all schools in the area and in the comments, put their current ratings and special features or programs and a link to the data (on your site, preferably).
- Publish pictures from your blog, but don’t overdo it. Ask a question or publish a board to solve a problem. One board I have is “ideas on how to save housing,” and I’ve seen some very creative idea boards that are useful as well.
Note that silly is good, it is a laid back group of users. So for #6, maybe a board of “Embarrassing Jeff Pics” or for #2, “Interior shots that didn’t make the cut” or for #5 “local hipster joints and the hipsters that conjoin in the joints.” Entertaining is more memorable and less salesy and dropping the sales pitch will get you a lot further here. When entertaining is not appropriate, be conversational. And like any social network, it is best to remember to comment on other people’s pins and boards and share their content as well – it’s easily overlooked common sense.
Pinterest has a great mobile site, is easy to use (especially with the help of some Chrome extensions), a burgeoning population and a helpful community of sharing users, so be useful to gain influence, it will get you much further than broadcasting junk or just repinning everyone else’s pins.