Pinterest addiction is sweeping across the world, and here at manage my website we've been swamped with enquiries about how to use it effectively for business. We've already created a profile and boards for Captain Fawcett's moustache wax with great success and that made us think it would be a good idea to invite a guest blogger to write about how Pinterest can help your business.
Tamara Sturtz, aka The Word Girl, is a journalist, blogger and social media addict. Having written for Vogue, Grazia, Elle, Marie Claire, Harpers Bazaar, Red, Guardian Weekend and Sunday Times Style, writing and spreading the word are her passion.
I have a new addiction. It’s not drinking, drugs or smoking, it’s not even the odd flutter on the horses. In fact, it couldn’t be further removed from any of these things. What happens is this. I lie in bed at night with my iPad, while the rest of the house is in sleepy darkness, indulging in my guilty pleasure, pinning onto Pinterest.
After a long and hectic day of work, meetings, entertaining a three-year-old, cleaning, tidying, cooking for the family and the foreign student, and more work, thanks to Pinterest I can transport myself to my interior-designed Scandinavian-style palatial house where I produce magnificent meals on a budget, dressed like a diva. I holiday in Provence or The Hamptons and have incredibly stylish parties under the trees in my garden every weekend. I even make my own bunting to colour co-ordinate with my cupcakes and I can make pretty much anything out of a paper doily!
And I’m not alone, with over 10.4 million users Pinterest is the fastest growing social media platform to date. But Pinterest is not purely about pleasure, it’s good for business too. With 97% of its fans being women, and bearing in mind the amount of time and money I spend shopping online, it’s a target market just waiting to be tapped into. If you sell a product that is particularly appealing visually, whether it’s fashion, jewellery, interiors or villas in Spain, Pinterest is the gallery of your dreams. It’s completely free and can reach as many people as you let it. The more you follow and interact with others, the more you get back. Follow the etiquette of Pinterest – credit pictures, websites and photographs if and when possible – and you can’t go wrong.
So what is Pinterest and how does it work? It’s a social networking site with a ‘virtual pinboard’ interface. Users collect photos and link to products they love, creating their own pinboards and following the pinboards of other people whom they find interesting. What better way to discover what your customers want? The beauty of Pinterest is that it is aspirational, and can give you a clear look at what your target market loves and is passionate about. Once you know what they are interested in, you can create boards for related topics, using magazines, websites, and blogs that appeal to your market.
Just like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest is a two-way relationship. You can follow, like, comment and link to your target market’s pins. Just like other social media platforms the key is to balance promoting your own business with engaging customers. Start a conversation and create a relationship with your potential customers, show an interest in order for people to find and follow you. Repin the posts you like, and comment on the ones that stand out to you.
However, it’s important to remember who you’re talking to, Pinterest is not the place to openly talk about your business all the time. Make sure that most of your boards are for your community’s enjoyment, not purely a hard sell. Creating really good boards, posting engaging images, and providing tips and advice to help customers become what they aspire to be is a simple way to increase brand awareness on Pinterest. The more you repin and comment – in addition to creating interesting boards – the more people will follow you back and engage with your content.
So apart from learning how to make 20 different things with a paper doily, what have I actually gained from Pinterest? I have recently set up a social media business, The Word Girl, aiming at a niche lifestyle market including fashion, beauty, interiors, travel and food. My Pinterest boards reflect who I am and what I like. If you were a van hire company, you would be able to tell straight away from my Pinterest page that I would not be the right person to promote your business, whereas if you were launching a fashion or beauty website, I could be just the person you’re looking for. My profile details what I do, so every new follower is made aware of the services I offer. Fantastic publicity, it costs me nothing and I love every minute of it.
Whoever said you can’t mix business with pleasure?