(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – Unless you’ve been unplugged from technology in the last few months, you’ve probably heard of Pinterest, the fastest growing social media network in US history. Earlier this year Pinterest had more than 17 million unique visitors and it continues to grow at a rapid pace (http://fox8.com/2012/03/23/pinterest-becomes-fastest-growing-website-ever/). While Pinterest started out as a way to organize home décor ideas and to collect and share pictures of recipes, Pinterest is now used for everything from sharing infographics and business resources to making book recommendations and software suggestions.
What exactly is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a “virtual pinboard” that allows you organize and share interesting things that you find on the web. You can “pin” images and videos and organize them into “boards,” each centered on a specific topic. For example, you can create boards where you share your favorite business books, testimonials from clients, pictures from a recent tech conference you attended or how-to instructional videos for the latest software program.
Pinterest is a bit different from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter because almost 70% of the site’s users are currently women. However, men are jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon at a growing pace (http://mashable.com/2012/02/25/pinterest-user-demographics/). In the UK, for example, more than half of Pinterest users are male (http://mashable.com/2012/02/14/pinterest-america-england-infographic/) and they use Pinterest to share news about venture capital and blogging resources. Compare that to the US where the most popular “pins” are crafts and gifts/special events, and you can see why Pinterest might not make sense for tech companies.
However, with a little out-of-the box thinking, you can use Pinterest to promote your latest tech products and services. Here are five tips to get you started with Pinterest:
- Install it! Install the “Pin It” button and the “Follow Me on Pinterest” button (both available at http://pinterest.com/about/goodies/) on your website and blog so that others can easily pin your content to their boards. With the quick click of a button you and your website visitors can easily pin your most recent blog posts, videos, products or services.
- Sign up! Even though Pinterest is still in invite-only mode, you can easily request an invite directly from Pinterest.com. Once you create your account, start creating boards that your target market would be interested in. Some examples include behind-the-scenes at your company, your favorite tech gadgets, recommended books or software, photos from a recent tech conference, testimonials from customers or relevant infographics. Once you create your boards, start following relevant people in your niche to build your following.
- Add it! Add images that are “pin-worthy” to your website and test your site to make sure that you have at least one pinnable image on each page, including your logo. If your website is not graphic-driven you can create infographics that share industry news and statistics or how-to’s relevant to your target market.
- Connect it! Once logged in, set up your account so that your Pinterest profile is connected with your Twitter and Facebook feed for increased engagement and exposure. Each time you pin an image or a video it will show up on your Facebook and Twitter feeds. This will drive more traffic and add more followers back to your Pinterest page.
- Start networking! While you can’t message users directly, there are a few ways you can network on Pinterest. One way to do it is to browse Pinterest’s “Most Popular” category to find popular pins in your niche. Leave comments on those pins to start a conversation with the original pinner. Another way is to use the @ symbol to tag relevant users. This is similar to using the @ symbol on Facebook and Twitter.
- Track it! There are a few ways to track the effectiveness of your efforts on Pinterest. One way is to check out what your followers like – what boards have the most followers and what pins are getting the most comments or likes. Another way is to check your analytics to see what kind of traffic is Pinterest driving back to your website. By keeping track of what’s working for you on Pinterest, you can make sure to create more of your most popular content and determine if Pinterest is worth your time.
And don’t believe the misconception that Pinterest is only for product-based businesses or for recipes, wedding planning and arts & crafts. There are many tech brands and service providers using Pinterest with great success! With a little planning and forward-thinking, your brand can become one of them!
Andreea Ayers is the author of Pinterest Advantage, the complete guide to using Pinetrest to grow your business. She currently blogs at www.LaunchGrowJoy.com on everything from getting media attention for your brand to using social media to get more customers. She currently lives in Boulder, CO.