Pinterest: The next big thing or just one more thing?

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

There has been an explosion of interest in Pinterest, an online bulletin board for your favorite images. However, to say it’s just an online bulletin board really doesn’t do it justice. The site allows you to organize images you like and, when you find a new image that’s appealing, you can add it to your “board.” (You can have multiple boards.) Your followers can see what you’ve “pinned” onto your board(s) and they can like it, comment on it or even re-pin it to their boards. Like all things in social media, there’s the potential that, if your images grab people’s attention, they can go viral. You’ll want to encourage followers as well as following some of the boards that you find interesting.

Sounds like fun. But is this just another social media site that is only good for, well, socializing? Not at all. There are some good business applications for it, if you’re willing to take the time to learn how to use it. Early users of Pinterest have reported dramatic spikes in their website traffic and increased sales.

Where do you start? First and foremost, think of Pinterest as a virtual catalogue for your products or services. When you add in the fact that those images can have a direct link back to your website, it becomes a bit more intriguing. However, just like a Facebook page, you don’t want it to be too commercial. Share what you find interesting on Pinterest or share things that relate to your business. For instance, if you own a restaurant, don’t just pin pictures of your entrées. Throw in some recipes you love or the latest styles you see among your clients.

I’ll be the first to admit that Pinterest is great if your product or service is visual. It takes a bit more creativity if your business isn’t particularly visual. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible; it’s just a bit more challenging.

The advent of a popular new social media site has led to some great internal discussions around our shop. Is it right for our clients? How will it help them further their PR and marketing goals? How long will Pinterest be “hot?” You can debate all your want but, for now, our viewpoint is that Pinterest is worth checking out.

What do you think? Have you used Pinterest for your business? What have been your results?