Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pinterest - the latest Social Media craze!

Mark Zuckerberg is now on Pinterest!

Yes, the Facebook CEO has joined the hottest social media startup of 2012, Pinterest, and has about 4368 (and growing) followers. According to comScore, the average Pinterest user spend 98 minutes per month on the site, compared to 2.5 hours on Tumblr, and 7 hours on Facebook. If you don’t count sites like Google+ or new Yahoo channels that have built in user bases, comScore’s data shows Pinterest would be the fastest site of any kind to hit 10 million monthly uniques in the U.S.

For Amy Larson, a special education teacher who uses the site for about two hours per day, the whole purpose is in finding interesting design ideas. She pins pictures to her Pinterest board, where she has a few dozen followers, as a reminder about what is cool and stylish. And, by the way, she does not use Facebook much at all, which is more about forming social connections.

Here are 5 great reasons your business should start using Pinterest for marketing now:
Visitors become buyers

What’s unique about Pinterest compared to most social media websites, is that it reduces the number of steps from discovery to conversion. This means that visitors from Pinterest convert into leads or sales faster than from other social media sources.

Take Twitter, for example. If a user sees a tweet regarding a product, it’s less likely that a user will buy that product from just one tweet -- unless maybe when it's celebrity-endorsed. Willing to fork over $10k for a Kim Kardashian-sponsored tweet? I didn’t think so.

Josh Davis of clearly explains the workings of Pinterest buying behavior:“For retailers, the path to purchase from a social network is no more direct than on Pinterest. ‘See it, like it, buy it’ happens frequently ... Even in cases where the path to purchase is not as direct, rarely do you have a social network where linking to for-sale items is done so frequently. You have clear social proof of the desire for the item, you see a picture of it, and you are only one or two clicks away from being on an ecommerce site.”

This is a dream come true for businesses. Pinterest helps increase conversion rates and reduce sales cycles. Who doesn’t love that?

Traffic Booster
Ten million unique views is not chump change. That’s a lot for any website, but it's especially noteworthy for one so new. If you rely on your website to fuel your sales and marketing, you need to generate traffic in order to increase leads or sales. Pinterest is a great tool for increasing links back to your website, thus driving more traffic. In fact, early research indicates that Pinterest is more effective at steering traffic back to a website compared to other social media sites, even Facebook. Josh Davis includes some interesting stats on his blog:

¨ Pinterest is now driving more traffic to the Real Simple website than Facebook is.

¨ Warbly Parker, the hip but inexpensive eye glass retailer, reports that 11% of its social traffic is coming from Pinterest. 18% is coming from Twitter.

¨ Like many early bloggers, Kate Bryan managed a blog that was based around her interests, but it never generated many readers. She blogged about her professions of hairstyling and jewelry making, and also her craft projects. Hairstyles are extremely popular pins on

Pinterest. Kate started pinning her own work and rapidly started generating traffic. In five months, she achieved over 14,000 new subscribers to her site as well as generating over one million page views from Pinterest.

We've even seen it at HubSpot. Pinterest is already driving more referral traffic than Google+, and we’ve only just begun using it.
Inbound Links

As marketers, we love it when people share our content and link back to us.

What’s awesome about Pinterest is that every pin includes a link, leading back to the source of the image. "Links built through images are some of the best links you can acquire when it comes to actual engagement," says John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing. About 95% of the images on Pinterest were either pinned or re-pinned from the web.

With Pinterest’s growing popularity, this could provide you with very valuable inbound links. While these are nofollow links, any link directing visitors back to your website is always beneficial.

Compelling User Engagement

I admit it: I’m addicted to Pinterest. It happened overnight, without warning. And this is coming from someone who, just a few weeks ago, didn’t think Pinterest was worth the time. And I’m not alone. I’ve heard the same from so many others. Even for those who deny it. Yes, I see your pins on Facebook! ;)

Pinterest users are far from passive. Case in point; I can’t not share stuff when I'm on Pinterest. John Jantsch states:

“Unlike many social sites, where the game is to get followers, Pinterest users seem very content to simply find stuff and share it with small groups. Pinterest users are keenly interested in what’s hot and what’s cool – a behavior that translates well into the kind of influencer marketers desire to attract.”

This is a good sign for businesses and retailers, because it means your pins are more likely to be seen, touched, or better yet, go viral. I believe the main reason for such high engagement is that it's so easy to digest information on Pinterest merely because it’s visual. Scanning tons of images is easier and far more enjoyable than scanning hundreds of tweets, for example.

Connect With Your Website, Facebook and Twitter profile

What seems to be a critical factor to success for social media websites is connectivity. These sites can’t get away with being a silo, and Pinterest has identified that right out of the gate.

The site now connects with Facebook, according to a recent Open Graph announcement, enabling users to automatically post new pins to their Facebook news feed for others to see. This means more eyes from other channels get access to the images you post to Pinterest. That being said, for marketers, right now Pinterest only connects with Facebook profiles, not business pages, so there is no way for marketers to automatically share their pins to their Facebook pages. In order to do so, marketers must manually share the link to the pin on their business page.

However, if marketers sign up for Pinterest using the same email address used for their corporate Twitter account, they can automatically share the pins they post to their Twitter account.

Additionally, marketers can add a 'Pin It' button to their website and blog (similar to other social media sharing buttons). This makes pinning products or visual content for site visitors super easy.

Discover and Follow User Trends
Pinterest is a great place to discover trends. From marketing to fashion and beyond, you can discover what people love to share. You can follow your followers to see what inspires them. This gives you an opportunity to understand what’s hot today and use that information to position your own offers and products. I would imagine that, down the line, Pinterest will eventually make it easy to see trending data in specific categories.

As Pinterest evolves, I’m sure there will be even more great reasons to get started on this fast-growing social network. Businesses are already receiving first-mover advantage in their industries by leveraging the platform to drive traffic, leads and sales. Just yesterday, I purchased clothing I found from pins posted by a women’s golf apparel line, and I never would have discovered them if that business wasn’t using Pinterest.

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