How worried about Pinterest should you really be?

We admit it. We love our social media, for business and for pleasure. So what’s all this fuss about Pinterest.com, anyway? Where did it come from? Why are businesses scrambling to create “boards,” and how is any of this driving leads or sales growth?

A bit of history

Conceptualized in December 2009 and beta launched in March 2010, Pinterest took a little less than two years to achieve popular critical mass. By March 2012 it had grown “overnight” to become the third largest social media channel, second only to Facebook and Twitter.

Some impressive stats

  • Pinterest has more than 13 million registered users and counting
  • Pinterest already generates about 3.6% of all online referral traffic, just behind Twitter at 3.61%
  • More than a fifth of Facebook-connected users are also on Pinterest, about 2 million users and growing
  • Twenty-eight percent of Pinterest users are 35-44, a sweet spot for disposable income
  • One of those groovy Mashable fact graphics

What it actually does

Pinterest describes itself as “an online pinboard” for you to “organize and share things you love.” With a quick registration and some downloaded magic onto your computer, you can bookmark or pin anything that catches your eye online (sites, photos, videos) onto topic boards you have created. You can then share your boards online, curating and displaying your fine taste for collectible rock concert T-shirts, for instance. Once in, your friends can comment on those pins online.

A lot of the initial buzz came from the fact that early Pinterest users were primarily women, and they shared referrals and product recommendations. Whuuh? The advertising and marketing communities went wild and scrambled to get on board.

From Gary

My first experience with Pinterest was a little more than six months ago when I was working on a project for one of Dallas’ premier designers located here in our South Side on Lamar complex. As we were concepting ideas, someone in the room brought up this great social media tool targeted to women. I set up a Pinterest account, but I didn’t really do anything else with it other than poke around. However, over the last few months, I spent more and more time getting pulled in. And to my surprise I found a lot of great opportunities for businesses to develop their brand voices.

Since the initial rush, most major brands have dropped in whether the content is relevant to customers or not. Check out the 10 most followed brands on Pinterest. Even sports teams are leveraging Pinterest.

A Pinteresting future ahead

After the initial scramble, we all experienced Phase Two of Social Media Frenzy, otherwise known as the Avalanche of Free “Expert” Advice. There are several “how to get your business noticed on Pinterest” articles; most of them feel disingenuous with instructions written by people that have about 5 minutes more experience with it than you or I do.

OUR TAKE: Set up some accounts, surf around, start some boards, follow some boards and you’ll likely be able to visualize how Pinterest can extend your business communications: Pinning your business work, pinning inspiration, pinning industry or location trends and topics, adding Pinterest into your existing social media channels.

  • We are leveraging Pinterest for our own marketing communications; here’s one Imaginuity board on Pinterest.
  • Pinterest is a no-brainer tie in for our retail-focused clients and retail businesses.
  • It is extending the reach of some of our blogging programs for our B2B and B2C clients quite nicely.

Stay tuned for Phase Three: The Massively Overpriced Buyout.

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