Facebook, Twitter and now Pinterest?
For the uninitiated, the newest social network craze works like a virtual pinboard. Users can add photos, videos and other content using a "Pin It" button, and then save, upload, sort or manage that content on personal pages. The social network has almost 12 million unique visitors a month, according to comScore.
But with a recent study saying nearly 40 percent of business owners are working harder–and 27 percent are struggling to keep their businesses afloat–is Pinterest worth your time?
Ellen Marchman of GetInk PR has several clients using Pinterest, and her firm has been monitoring the results.
"Small businesses are using Pinterest to create and engage with a community of followers," she says. "Through Pinterest, small businesses can tell their unique story through creative boards. Hospitality businesses such as hotels and restaurants can share design elements, recipes or local tips that speak directly to followers. Pinterest offers another level of relationship building with the community, while helping to drive traffic, create new customers and build brand loyalty."
Marchman cautions entrepreneurs who are not comfortable sharing ideas that are not necessarily about their own company or its products–and who do not have time to devote to doing Pinterest properly–may not want to get on board.
"Pinterest can be a real asset, but needs to be active to continually engage a target audience," she says. "It is about community, and businesses should feel comfortable pinning images, news, tips and even other products that aren’t from its company."
She advises using compelling visuals; they don't have to be professional, but they do have to be high-quality.
"Always credit your sources and be sure to regularly interact with others in your field or your area through repinning, likes and comments," she says.
Should you attach price tags to the products you pin? A new study from analytics startup Pinreach and Josh Yang, an MBA candidate at Harvard Business School, suggests absolutely not.
Their analysis of 2,588 pins across three major e-commerce sites showed followers were far less likely to repin images with price tags. According to Mashable, which reported the study, one site, which averaged 135.6 repins per pin, received just 54.6 repins on items with dollar signs. A major group-buying site fared much worse, averaging just 0.2 repins on pins marked with a dollar sign, versus 1.8 repins on those without.
“When Pinterest users see pins with dollar signs from brands, it feels very much like an advertisement to click-through and buy, and they are less likely to share advertisements, as it degrades their own social proof with their followers,” the study says.
Have you tried Pinterest? What has been the result?
Photo credit: Pinterest