A Brief History of Pinterest

Unless you’ve been living on a desert island for the last couple of years, you’ll have heard the buzz about Pinterest. Originally launched in 2009, the image-based social bookmarking site stayed more or less under the radar until the second half of 2011.  Throughout 2012 Pinterest rapidly gained momentum and grew to become the 3rd most popular social network (in terms of unique monthly visitors) in the US.  In March this year a survey showed that Pinterest generated more sales than Facebook.

What Makes Pinterest Different?

Like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest is a social network.  But the main difference is that there is less conversation on Pinterest – it’s all about sharing beautiful images – and videos.  Yes, you can tag and message people, like and comment on pins – but that’s not the main focus of activity. Pinterest is purely image-based.  The fact that each image or video should link back to its source is what makes the platform so powerful for traffic generation. You’ve probably heard of the importance of backlinks in search engine optimisation – well, every time someone pins an image or video from your website or blog, a backlink is generated.  When you consider that you can include prices on your pinned images, it becomes very easy for someone to see something they like, click through to your website and buy immediately.

Should I Use Pinterest For My Business?

The simple answer is that virtually any business can use Pinterest successfully.  However, businesses that have a strong visual element will naturally find it easier to generate appropriate content. Traditionally, businesses around fashion, beauty, health, weddings, photography, travel, interior design etc have embraced Pinterest as a marketing tool.  However nowadays, more and more business types are finding ways to use Pinterest – basically, if you can find visual ways of representing your business and its ethos, you will see results.  Pinterest now offers its own analytics so you can actually see how it works for your business.

Personal or Business Account?

Originally, Pinterest only offered personal accounts although many businesses were actively using the platform.  In recognition of its great value as a marketing tool, Pinterest announced last November that it would now be offering business accounts too.  Users who already had a personal account could easily switch to a business account by adding a snippet of code to their website.  This ensures that the website is validated by Pinterest – you can distinguish a business account by the red tick mark against the website URL on the account’s Pinterest homepage.  When I switched from a personal to a business account, I immediately started to gain followers more rapidly than before!

Pinning Suggestions

I’m not going into the details of setting up an account – Pinterest walks you through the process once you sign up.  Once your account is set up, and your bio optimised (using appropriate keywords), you’re ready to start creating boards.  Pinterest gives you a few to start with, but you can edit or delete these as you see fit.  You’ll probably want a few based around your business, but I’d encourage you to create some to showcase your hobbies and interests, too.  Let people know there’s a human face behind the business!   You can also create group boards (allowing several people to  pin) – for example you could have one where staff members could collaborate on ideas for new products etc.  Or a testimonial board for client reviews or case studies.

What to Pin

Let’s look at ideas for images to pin.  (videos too of course)

  • Your products (with prices included)
  • Photos  of staff members
  • Photos of your office / workplace
  • Photos of the general area where you live or work
  • Photos around your hobbies and interests
  • Infographics related to your business niche
  • Photo or video tutorials or “how-tos”
  • Inspirational / motivational quotes

NB – the minimum size of a pinnable image is 80 x 80 pixels.  Pins in your “newsfeed” are 238 pixels wide,  expanding to 735 pixels when clicked on.  “Tall” pins (i.e. taller than wide) have been shown to get repinned more frequently.

Optimise Your Website For Pinterest

If you want to make the most of your Pinterest account, it’s not all about pinning – you need to consider your own website, and ways in which you can promote your Pinterest account.  Other Pinterest users should be able to pin your content easily, and your images should be of high enough quality to make it worthwhile. Here’s a few tips:

  • Include good quality, relevant images on all your web pages and in blog posts
  • Add “Pin It” buttons to all images on your website/blog
  • Add a “Follow me on Pinterest” link to all your web pages and blog posts
  • Include your Pinterest link on your business cards, leaflets and in your email signature
  • Link your Pinterest account to  Facebook and Twitter
  • Add a Pinterest tab to your Facebook page
  • Ask people to follow you on Pinterest

About Naomi Johnson

Naomi Johnson
I hope this has given you a few ideas and inspired you to get started, or to make more of your current Pinterest account! If you need further advice or help please feel free to contact me: info@purrfectlysocial.co.uk or take a look at my website www.purrfectlysocial.co.uk

And of course please do follow me on Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/PurrfectSocial

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