13th March 2012 0 comments

 

Image by Kmohman

 

If you follow developments in social media at all, you will be aware of the buzz around Pinterest, a visual bookmarking site that allows you to 'pin' content and share it with followers.

Visitors to the site have risen dramatically since December last year, and the site has become a major online referrer for businesses.

Although the service has been taken up more widely in the US, UK visitors are coming on board and providing a market for UK businesses too.

We've featured links to resources for businesses wanting to use the site in some recent round-up posts.

As a follow up to these posts, we thought it might be useful to offer some of our observations about Pinterest, specifically some advice on ways to approach the site, based on our reading and own presence on Pinterest (you can check out our profile here).

 

Growth in users via Hitwise Intelligence

 

1. Pick your subject(s)

As with every social media service, it is important to ask whether Pinterest is right for you.

If you have products or services that will provide a great deal of visual content, then chances are you will want to join.

However, even if you don't have products that you can directly post up and showcase on the site, that doesn't necessarily mean Pinterest won't apply to your business. if you can highlight your engagement with your sector through visual content, or if you know that people in your field are using it, then Pinterest could be useful to you.

Pinterest certainly features more content on some areas than others (food and design are easy to spot as big subjects), so it's worth doing some research - what can you see on the site and what kind of content is repeated, that is, repinned by other users.

 

2. Be Specific

At the same time, just because something is not already been bookmarked on Pinterest, doesn't mean that it's a dead end.

Drew Hawkins of Brain Wads addressed the lack of 'masculine' content.

(Pinterest has historically been dominated by women users - at one point 97% of users were women - though the number of men using the service is increasing) by creating an experimental 'board of man' last October.

The unique nature of the content being posted clearly caught the imagination of others and a week later the board had over 200 followers, a month later it had over 1000 followers and now there are over 240,000.

At the beginning of this year, the board of man caught the attention of media outlets as an example of a growing trend of men coming over to Pinterest and was featured on local television.

This is a great example of how being specific, and not necessarily offering the same things as everyone else, can work very well on Pinterest and lead to significant visibility.

 

3. Be Engaging.

This is advice that applies to all areas of social media, but we think that it bears repeating especially in relation to Pinterest.

The reason Drew Hawkins' Board of Man works so well is that it is fun and entertaining.

It isn't pushing anything and it is not only light-hearted and rather tongue-in-cheek but also a straightforward idea that can be communicated visually in a number of different ways.

Another thing that it does is work with the way social internet communities latch onto material and share it, allowing participation.

(Kevin Allocca's TED talk on why videos go viral suggests that participation & an element of surprise are the major pieces of the puzzle.)

Repinning is a form of participation, so you need to give people a reason to be involved in what you are sharing - content might be funny, useful or striking (it is a visual medium so eye-catching images are important).

Again, have a look at what is being shared most, and see if this information can feed into the kinds of things you share.

 

Over to You

If you have any comments on our advice, please let us know here on the blog or on Twitter or Facebook.

Are you on Pinterest already? We'd love to see what you're up to, so please share a link to your profile in the comments below.