The virtual pin-boarding website, Pinterest, is one of the hottest social-sharing websites online today.
Based only on the sharing and saving of images, Pinterest is a personalized feed of product images, aspirational dream-life photos, e-cards, homemade arts and crafts.
In the last year alone, the site has witnessed substantial growth. Pinterest is now just after Twitter in 4th place, according to Hitwise.
Socially more popular than Google+, Pinterest is picking up steam and is in position to rival other generalized social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. 
Pinterest Drives Traffic
Like Google itself, traffic patterns indicate that pinterest acts as a link consolidator and drives traffic to other websites. For copyright reasons, Pinterest requires a link to the source of the image.
For some websites, Pinterest drives more traffic than LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube combined. 
Note: Of course, these factors change and we may see this drop as Pinterest gets better at retaining traffic. Newly popular sites often “leak” traffic until they start focusing on their longer term revenue.
Recent surveys have also shown that users are spending more time on Pinterest than most other social-sharing sites. 
Curated Content Provider for Facebook
By connecting their facebook and Pinterest accounts, many users of both services are “cross-pollinating” both services. Images found on Pinterest can be shared with facebook friends.
Not Just Shoppers, Buyers
Nearly 25% of consumers have reported purchasing a product or service after discovering it through Pinterest. Pinterest is an efficient showcase for products. 
According to one retailer, Pinterest users spend more money than facebook users ($180 vs. $85) per 50k visitors and spend less time browsing their site. 
This opinion is shared by users.
Nicole Dodge Macaluso, an event coordinator at Event Solutions in Houston, uses Pinterest about 30 minutes a day. The new mother of twin boys says it has essentially taken the place of her daily blog.
“This seems to be the best use of my time,” Macaluso says. “It’s so efficient. You get the best of both worlds – blogs and social media. It’s the visual stimulation that can only promote creativity.” 
Check the additional resources for more examples of larger brand use by Chobani Yogurt, Gap, and Home Decor leader West Elm.
Pinterest, Not Only For Women
Although the site was once considered to be dominated by women, males are becoming increasingly active. 
Demographic numbers from the UK show that 53% of Pinterest’s users are male. US share of men is still under 20%, but growing.
Striking photography, food, fine art, leisure products, DIY and home projects, architecture, and design can be of interest to all users of the service.
Studies show that an overwhelming majority of consumer decisions are affected, either directly or indirectly, by women.
Home is where the heart (and pocketbook) is.
Everyone knows Martha Stewart – her empire brings in around $900 million a year according to Forbes. But even former supermodel Kathy Ireland “is estimated to pocket $350 million off royalties and licensing rights”.
The female-driven market is a good match for products with a personality that can be personalized to match the owner. Similar to Ireland’s motto of “Finding solutions for families, especially busy moms”, your brand might create the same sense of “solution” to fashion-forward, home business running, young professional women with disposable income.
Inc. Magazine cites the following as the number one mistake advertisers make when considering women:
#1. Mistake: Thinking that women are a merely a niche.
Reality: Women are the primary consumers in the United States.
Women represent an economic powerhouse, making over 85% of the consumer purchases (in the United States) and influencing over 95% of total goods and services. Women’s consumer spending is $3.7 trillion and business spending is $1.5 trillion. Women also purchase 50% or better in traditional “male” categories like automobiles, consumer electronics, and PCs. 
Don’t underestimate the purchasing power of fashion-focused women. These are not women who dress in the latest styles, but rather, decorate their homes and home offices with stylish, fun and dependable products.
There is a reason that Target recently signed on design star Nate Berkus as their home collections designer. In today’s economy, the words “throwaway” and “disposable” are verboten… quality and adaptable are embraced by consumers across the spectrum. 
What Does This Mean For Your Website?
Some Business owners are increasingly recognizing that having a presence on Pinterest, if managed properly, will translate into sales. Who isn’t looking for new ways to market their product or service online?
Like anything else, however, it takes some effort to ensure that you are using Pinterest to its full potential.
Some Tips for using Pinterest:
Pin Your Blog Images
If you have a blog that is associated with your business, as every business owner should, get into the habit of pinning images from each of your blog posts.
This also means that you must give careful thought to the images you use on your blog. Be sure that the images are thought-provoking, engaging and visually stimulating.
When you pin the image, be sure to link it back to the related blog post.
You may already be using infographics as part of your marketing strategy, because online users love data in visual format.
Convert interesting company, industry or product data points into compelling infographic and pin them to your Pinterest board. You may be surprised by how much attention they receive.
Don’t Forget to Use Hashtags
Like Twitter, Pinterest supports the use of hashtags to make content more search-friendly. When you launch a new campaign, product or service, don’t be afraid to dedicate an entire pinboard to the subject and remember to tag it using the same hashtags you are already using on Twitter and Google Plus.
This will help sync your marketing efforts across varying social media platforms.
Create a Video Gallery
While most people think of Pinterest as a photo-sharing website, you can also pin videos. The website’s homepage even has a separate tab just for for videos.
Be sure to add any videos you currently have on your website or on your YouTube account to your Pinterest business page. Just like YouTube, be sure to add links back to your website for maximum results.
Be Mobile Friendly
Like facebook and most other social services, a substantial amount of Pinterest traffic is mobile, originating from it’s very popular iPhone and iPad apps, plus a very mobile-friendly adaptive web design.
Your visitors want to read more about your compelling image. Don’t make it too hard to do that.
Provide A Call To Action
Traffic without conversion opportunities are like no traffic at all. Adding a prominent “Buy Now”, “Learn More”, or “Contact Us” should be second nature, but is too often overlooked.
Measure Your Results
As you become more active on Pinterest, use your analytics tools to measure your performance and decide which Pinterest posts are working and which ones aren’t. Once you find successful patterns, expand on them in the future.
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 “The Six Costliest Mistakes You Can Make in Marketing to … – Inc.com.” 2003. 27 Jul. 2012 <http://www.inc.com/articles/2003/01/25019.html>
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