Pinterest – the hot new social media network – is starting to catch the eye of many small-business owners. And the reason is simple: It’s a great, new way to drive traffic to your website and create leads for your business.
In fact, the early read on Pinterest is that it’s more effective in some cases than Facebook. And growth on this social-sharing site, which is free to use, has been phenomenal. Pinterest has skyrocketed to become the fifth-biggest social site, ahead of Google+ and LinkedIn.
Pinterest is a highly visual site, based in large part on sharing images, along with other content. The platform lets users visually share things they’ve found online by “pinning” an image, article, video or other item to their own “pinboard.” Users often create collections of “pins” around a theme of some kind. They can either pin things they’ve found on the Web, or upload their own images. You’ll also see the Pinterest button showing up on websites as a way for visitors to quickly “pin” an item, which might also be a simple URL.
Some small businesses that rely heavily on website traffic to increase sales are reporting a surge of traffic now coming from Pinterest. Susan Lyne, CEO of the popular shopping site called Gilt.com, which offers designer goods at a discount, says her site has gotten a big boost from Pinterest. In part that’s because Gilt has lots of high-quality images of the items it sells, which is the kind of thing people like to pin on Pinterest.
Here are five tips and tactics for small-business success on Pinterest:
• Although it’s already become the fastest-growing social network of all-time, Pinterest is still technically in “beta” so when you go to sign up you must request an invitation to join. But don’t worry, it’s all but automatic that you’re in.
• Pinterest doesn’t yet provide a connection to Facebook business pages, so if your business is on Twitter, be sure to use the same email address you use for your business Twitter account to sign up for Pinterest.
• Write a detailed “About” description of your business, using appropriate keywords and geographic locations so you’ll show up in search.
• Link your Pinterest account to other social media and link it to your business website. But keep in mind that Pinterest was designed for individuals, not businesses, so there’s really no such thing yet as a Pinterest “business page.”
• Your main activity on Pinterest will be to set up various “pinboards.” You’ll gain traction for your business by organizing and naming them according to the types of products and services you sell. You should create these first, before you start trying to build your Pinterest following. •
Daniel Kehrer can be reached at