Friday, February 24, 2012

Top Stories about Pinterest

By Juliette Rule

As I scan the Web daily, I often see great pieces about social media. This is a list of a few good pieces I saw this week on Pinterest, a topic I'm thinking about deeply as you might know from reading my last post, "What's of Interest with Pinterest?"

1. Why Pinterest Trumps Facebook at Social Commerce, For Now from Forbes.
2. A great Pinterest Board about Pinterest from the Wall Street Journal (Really, it's an awesome display of infographics and examples of how many use the platform.)
3. Interesting idea on a creative use of Pinterest boards, but it seems like it's a lot of work for one board. (And it's just so Mashable to even go there, am I right?)
4. Why is Pinterest Playing Dumb About Making Money from The Atlantic offers some keen insight every entrepreneur will appreciate.
5. List of facts from PRDaily, How Very Pinteresting compares platforms and user bases. (Hat tip: My colleague Steph - follow her at twitter.com/nanosmerk.)

So that's some interesting news on this crazy new platform.

What do you think? Is it a good fit for your business? Or do you just enjoy the browsing?

Monday, February 20, 2012

What's of Interest with Pinterest?

By Juliette Rule

You've probably heard of Pinterest by now. Just in case you don't know much about it, I'll tell you that it's recently blown web traffic records into digital outer space with its more than 11 million users and had a wee bit of controversy around its attempt at monetizing. It's the site that thrives on people sharing (called pinning) content from across the Web in a newly-minted behavior called social curating. (Still not clear? Check out the Pinterest Help Page, complete with how-tos.)


 It's a beautiful and delightfully simple user interface. So what's not to love?

Well, first there's this idea content creators are always anxious about: Just because it's on the Web doesn't mean you can just take it and post it on your own blog, your own Facebook or your own Tumblr. But that's exactly the behavior encouraged by Pinterest. (It's true that Pinterest has really promoted crediting the original source of the content, which is very cool.) Some of those images you're happily pinning, however, just happen to be copyrighted, and sites had no defense against that infringement.

Second, there was the monetization controversy, which is so two weeks ago. You pin something on Pinterest. I click on it ... and then I decide to buy it. Well, unbeknownst to you and me, when you pinned it, Pinterest stripped off part of the link, added its own code and when I bought that item, Pinterest made a commission. (It's called affiliate marketing.)

That was all true until today. Read more about that here and here.

In any case, I've been asked twice in the last week how valuable this platform could be for small businesses. I've done a lot of thinking about that, especially as brands seem to be joining Pinterest in droves. (Just today, Pier1 Imports announced its Pinterest presence on Facebook.)

Three things I love about Pinterest for small business:
1. You get exposure there you'd pay mucho bucks for in any other circumstance. (Don't worry about that affiliate marketing stuff. If Pinterest or anyone else were able to do that, you'd know it because you'd be managing an affiliate marketing program. And you'd know what a data feed was.)
2. You get to ride the wave of coolness. There's a lot of neat stuff on Pinterest, and to have your goods pinned and repinned in that space is really a nice honor. (Likes are OK, but the virality of Pinterest happens with the re-pinning.)
3. It's getting a ton of traffic, and while it's been called a site for chicks, I know more and more men who are jumping on board. (And one look at all the Pinterest categories tells you Pinterest has come a courtin' for the male audience, too.)

Did I say just three?  There's actually a fourth reason.

4. Pinterest has no metrics, no data, no nothin'. So there's really nothing to manage besides the content you're pinning from your own property. To that I say enjoy it while it lasts! Pinterest has high hopes of monetizing, and they know online marketing managers, affiliate program managers and social media types crave the numbers and they'll want to know what works.

For now, I'm suggesting you do three things, small business owners:

1. Plan to pin stuff from your site as often as you can. Maybe that's just five pins every Thursday. Fine. Just make sure it's good stuff, and be sure to fill in the description completely. (Oh, and know that if you add the cost of that item to your description, it will show up in a discrete diagonal banner across the image.) Supplement your pinning with repins of others' content to demonstrate you joined the platform to share, not just to be a heavy-handed marketer.
2. If you can, install Google Analytics on your web site and check referring traffic and see how much traffic Pinterest sends your way. You just might be surprised, and even if you're not, it's not like you're spending hours and hours creating the content exclusively for sharing on Pinterest, so anything extra you get is gravy, right?
3. Don't make the mistake of thinking that Pinterest is only for young women planning their weddings. There's a lot of great stuff for men, tech geeks and even motorcycle lovers. What do you sell? A service? Great. Figure out how to illustrate it with pictures, infographics and/or video and start pinning.