Is Pinterest the Next Big Thing or a Big Waste of Time?

Pinterest has taken the social networking world by storm. Debuting a little over a year ago the platform calls itself a social bulletin board, allowing users to “pin” images and other web-content to their account, thereby creating virtual bulletin boards or scrapbooks.

Other uses can then view that content and engage with it by liking it, “repinning” to their own profiles, or sharing it to other social networks, like Facebook or Twitter.

The point is to find and share beautiful, funny or otherwise interesting images with friends and the world. Users can “pin” just about anything they find online, regardless of the source—be they advertisements or personal photo galleries.

In the past three months Pinterest has seen an explosion in its use, with its average weekly number of visitors topping 21 million in one week in February. In its short time it has accumulated well over 10 million users, making it the third largest social media network.

Furthermore, the demographics and details about the users could potentially be very attractive to some businesses. According to web stats Pinterest has released, over 80% of their users are female who spend over 16 minutes on the site viewing images and photographs.

Additionally, 90% of their users are also using Facebook, and half of those users have connected their accounts and so share their content on different networks.

For some businesses this group could be exactly who they are trying to connect with. And it is certainly true that some businesses lend themselves more easily to an image-based social network like Pinterest than others do.

For either or all types of businesses, though, there are some things to keep in mind when considering using Pinterest to expand your online brand.

First of all remember that Pinterest is about what is beautiful, interesting, funny or otherwise entertaining. Like other networks it is not about advertising, so if you do advertise you will be quickly ignored.

Second, remember that the platform is based on the visual. Create images that tell a story about your brand. Make your products and services beautiful and engaging, and this can frequently be done using real customers in real situations, not models or staged photos.

Lastly, make your own content. With the exception of music piracy, copyright laws have not traditionally been enforced as rigorously online as they could be. However, as Pinterest grows you can be sure that brands will be looking out for proprietary content.

Pinterest’s own Terms of Use policy explicitly states that you and you alone are responsible for what you post, so the cost of any potential litigation falls on you. As an individual user this may not be that alarming, but small businesses owners need to be aware that they could be sued if they use content created by someone else.

The goal on any social media network should be to create brand awareness and interest in what you sell or provide (not necessarily to sell or provide it). If your customer demographic fits the user demographic of Pinterest, it provides a great opportunity to connect with potential customers in a fun and beautiful manner.

Word One Consulting
clint @
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Las Cruces, NM 88005