Is Pinterest Really Useful for Business?

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    Everyone’s new favorite social network, Pinterest, has been creating front page news for a few months now.  The site has had an explosion of users and has garnered attention because of it.  And just as anyone who follows this sort of thing closely could predict, with the explosion of users came the marketing expert’s advice on how to use it for business.  There are hundreds of blog posts titled “X ways to use Pinterest for business” and “X has crazy, stupid success on Pinterest, and your business could too!”  Before you go jumping onto the bandwagon, there are a few important things to note.

    3 Things You Need to Know About Using Pinterest for Business

    #1 - Pinterest Links are No-Follow

    Any links that are created from images are given a no-follow tag.  If you’re not familiar, no-follow tags tell search engine bots to give no value to the site that is being linked, ultimately rendering the link useless for helping with SEO.  So, if you were planning on pinning a bunch of pictures of your products back to a page on your site, just to help with search rankings, spare yourself the trouble…it won’t help. 

    #2 - Pinterest is all About Being Visual

    People aren’t pinning and sharing business related marketing messages, so just sharing what you already have isn’t going to help.  Things that get pinned over and over again are clever images.  Trying to shoehorn your product or services into images may not be the easiest thing in the world, so proceed with caution.

    #3 - Some Topics Get Shared/Pinned Way More than Others

    At the moment, the majority of Pinterest users are women.  I hadn’t heard of the site until my girlfriend refused to give up the laptop for even one minute a few months ago.  She was hooked, and she wasn’t the only one.  My Facebook news feed filled up with content being shared from Pinterest…which was all being shared by women.  The only men that I know that utilize Pinterest can be classified as the “extremely plugged-in” type.   So, with the user-base being predominately women to begin with, it seems that some topics spread much more than others.  Initially, crafting ideas, recipes, fashion, decorating, animals, and funny quotes have dominated people's boards (just look at the homepage and see).  Not saying that every board is the same, or that everyone has the same interests, but these topics seem to be the highest topics of interest on Pinterest (say that 10x fast).  This may change in the future, but it is something to be aware of, if you’re trying to insert your business into people online lives.

    Should I Use Pinterest For My Business?

    I’m not saying that there is zero benefit for brands that utilize Pinterest.  Obviously, sharing content or interesting topics can help boost your brands identity and ultimately the bottom line.  There are some success stories of some businesses utilizing Pinterest to the fullest, but my warning is to proceed with caution.  For every “Look what Zappos did on Twitter” story, there are thousands who spend countless hours to receive nothing in return. 

    My general rule of thumb – don’t just join these sites because everyone else is.  Have a plan, analyze the data, and amend accordingly.  Also, have some realistic metrics in place.  None of these extremely popular sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) become this popular because of businesses joining.  People want to connect with people, so proceed with caution.

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