To pin or not to pin? That's the question businesses are asking about Pinterest, a newer social network that’s stealing headlines from the usual suspects. Kind of a cross between digital scrapbooking, recipe swapping, link sharing and vision boarding, Pinterest started out as an image-rich sharing space for domestic divas, crafters and artists. Now businesses are taking notice and wondering if they, too, should start pinning.
My friend Duong Sheahan recommended Pinterest to me months ago. She loves this alternative, visual social network and encouraged everyone to jump in last summer. But, I waited. I needed to think through strategy and decide how spending time and creative energy on Pinterest would fit into my digital footprint, both personally and professionally. As I enter this new [to me] social network, I'm sharing seven ways I think Pinterest will contribute to a business and the people inside it. What would you add?
How Pinterest Works for Business
1. New Beats Now
Like many business owners, the number one reason I waited to sign up for Pinterest was: it would take up too much time. But the truth is, I’m looking for something new. Could this be why Pinterest is taking off so fast? People get bored. Although we’re creatures of habit who type and shout in protest over Facebook's Timeline design change, that doesn’t mean we aren’t ready to exit now to test drive new.
Wondering if your customers are on Pinterest? Ask them. You always want to be where people can find you and interact with the people inside your brand. Add the Pinterest icon to your marketing and see who shows up.
2. Expands into the Consumer Come Back
As the economy starts to spring back, people are more willing to explore expanding their material acquisitions - and they need a place to look around and try things on. Pinterest is a perfect place for that.
Search to see how other companies, including your competition, is using Pinterest. How do they present their products and services? How do they interact with their community?
3. Takes You Home to the Comfort Zone
Even if you’re not homey, you may want to be. Personally, I love looking at arts and crafts projects I know I’ll never make. I can imagine how much fun a group of room moms would have searching Pinterest for class party projects over coffee on their iPads.
What kinds of comforts of home can you share?
4, Curates and Mutates Inspiration
How cool to carve your own swatch of life for everyone to see. If your business isn’t on the visual side, let’s say you’re a service company, find people to follow and then share what appeals to you. You can comment and repin/share images and videos you like.
How about starting a Pinterest collaborative network with other businesses where you share and comment on each other’s boards and pins?
5. Self-actualizes with Digital Visualization
One of the best, and maybe most overlooked, purposes for Pinterest is as a vision board that serves as your big idea list. As you sort through images that appeal and resonate, you may find yourself going down unpaved paths that connect you with intriguing people as your world expands.
What categories of collections can you share now?
6. Perks up Your Personality
Excuse me for yawning, but do you think your business is boring? Being part of the latest social network adds to your cool factor - as long as you do it well. Sharing visually from different perspectives adds dimension to your company's personality.
Need inspiration? Forget about your business for a few minutes and think about how you like to relax.
7. Opens the Door to Opportunity
Last on the list, but not least, is the opportunity to connect with customers. To get started, you'll need an invitation to join Pinterest. Following Pinterest etiquette and social networking protocol, being overly self promotional will only turn people away. But, I know you know that. When you get started, find your friends, including your customers. Being part of a community that you already engage with makes it that much easier to make connections.
Are you on Pinterest? Whose boards do you like to follow?
In researching how Pinterest benefits businesses, I came across so many helpful articles that I wanted to group them together as a collection. Using list.ly, I came up with 50 Pinterest for business resources. Feel free to share, embed, add more resources and comment on those listed.