I finally got around to checking out Pinterest and seeing how it could be used for my business and professional interests. Check out my 'Open Health' Pinterest page http://pinterest.com/pjgroen/pins/
Pinterest is essentially a web-based platform that consists of a digital pin board with a social component. Individuals are able to "pin" images of items that they have interest in to a virtual pin board. You can use it to share images of things that interest you. It could be images of a person, place, or thing. The images you share could be pictures, videos, a logo for your blog or web site, ads for products you like, or…
From my perspective, Pinterest is simply another web-based social networking platform that allows users to share information about a wide range of products or services they find interesting. In reading through the top 15-20 recent articles about Pinterest that I selected from a quick search of Google News, certain points were made over and over. That about 65% of Pinterest users were women. That it was graphics oriented, primarily aimed at allowing you to post and share pictures of what you find interesting – for free.
It was also repeatedly pointed out that this was a great site for use by small businesses. In an article entitled "Pinterest: Understanding the Business Benefits" posted on Social Media Today, they mentioned that Pinterest is now either the 2nd or 3rd biggest social network, depending on which statistics you read. I've seen numbers about their users ranging from 10 million to 50 million customers and growing rapidly.
I finally went and looked at the site, signed up, created a group of virtual pin boards, and started to pin items to the boards – just to see how it worked and to try and figure out how it could be used for 'business' purposes. I'm one of those strange people who don't like to be overly social and share everything about my personal life that really ought to be kept private. But I do try to figure out and use social networking sites to further my business or causes I believe in.
I like Pinterest. I still don't know if it's worth the effort, but I am persevering in trying to use it effectively. I do see where it can help you build your 'brand', feature your bogging or web sites, can be used for marketing purposes, allows you to show and highlight particular products and services, may be a source for referral traffic to your business, reach out to potentially new clients, and more.
Using the site for small business promotion is a bit different from Facebook or Twitter because you work with images, rather than words. Thus it's often more enjoyable to a certain class of customers who are more visually oriented. It seems to be ideal for small businesses in the fashion industry, photography, hotel accommodations, or other businesses that rely on great images or pictures to attract customers.
There are a growing number of 'open source' and commercially licensed tools now being offered that you might want to use to further enhance your Pinterest experience such as:
- Pinstamatic: Use Pinstamatic to add quotations to your boards, share music that plays directly from your boards, add clickable maps, and more.
- Piqora: This company offers a more complete Pinterest dashboard that features analytics and options for pin scheduling, tracking and analyzing potential customers, and more.
- Pinpuff: Use it to gather data and calculate your Pinterest influence.
Let us know about your experience using Pinterest for business purposes. Let us know about any great free and open source Pinterest tools that we ought to know about.