What is Pinterest and Is it Right for My Small Business?

Pinterest is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing social media sites on the Web. Launched in 2008 Pinterest allows users to collect images and videos that they like and through a process known as “pinning” organize them into virtual “pin boards”.

Now, you may ask why should your small business care or take the time to get involved? If your business wants to have an Internet presence you need to be where the consumers are. You can’t just slap a Web site up and call it a day. People have to be able to find you even if they do not directly type your business’s Web address in the URL bar. You want to show up in Google and other major search engines. You do this through the use of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Part of this involves collecting inbound and outbound links from your website. The more links the more likely your business will show up when someone does a search using key words.

Now that I have bored you with those details let me tell you how Pinterest is involved in this. In last weeks post I told you how according to Shareaholic’s Referral Traffic Report, Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. Referral Traffic comes from those inbound and outbound links I was telling you about. It’s the path a user clicks from point “A” to get to point “B”. Based on the above fact, Pinterest is becoming a huge highway for referral traffic. Therefore if your business is looking for a way to boost SEO and referral traffic to your Website you need to think about using major traffic channels. Right now one of the biggest traffic channels is Pinterest.

Now before you starting “pinning” and loose hours lost in the world of Pinterest (and believe me you will, its addicting) lets talk about how you can evaluate if Pinterest is right for you and your small business. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again you have to be strategic when you use any social media platform. Not every social media site is going to be right for your business. You have to think about four things.

1. Who is your audience or target customer?

2. Is that audience or customer using that particular social media platform?

3. Do you have the time to invest in this particular social media platform?

4. What do you want to communicate?

So lets walk through those four evaluating questions.

Who is your target audience? If you are trying to market your product or services towards women then I would definetly recommend your small business should have a presence on Pinterest.

Question number two. Is your audience or customer using Pinterest? There are several reports that place the numbers somewhere between, 58 percent to 97 percent of Pinterest users as being female. So yes based on that information you would be using a social media platform that your target audience is using.

Question number three. Do you have the time to invest in this particular social media platform? I can not emphasize enough that using ANY social media platform requires time. You get out of it what you put in. Social media is all about being “social” and keeping a dialogue going. If you do not have the time to use social media and regularly interact with your customer online then there is no point in having a Pinterest account. If you do have a couple of hours a week to invest in your business’s Web presence then I encourage you to dive into the social media world or consider hiring someone to manage your social media presence.

Finally question number four. What do you want to communicate? Since Pinterest is all about sharing images and video you have to think how you will communicate  and what you want to say through images.Pinterest is all about building a virtual brand. You have to tell your business’s story through images. This can be done by pinning images and video of your product or things that inspire you to do what your business does.

I believe strongly that it is important to communicate who you are when interacting on any social media platform. After all, you are your business. When your a small business owner you put your heart and soul into what you do and you should share that with your customers. Those are the things that set you apart from your competitors and what makes your customers choose you. So what are you waiting for! Get pinning!

Next week I will tell you all about how to get started using Pinterest. As always please subscribe to the blog to get updates emailed directly to you and for more small business marketing and pr tips sign up to receive my monthly newsletter.

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