It seems that everybody’s talking about Pinterest these days, and you may be wondering whether it’s something you should be using in your business.
In case you’re not familiar with it, here’s how Pinterest describes itself:
Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.
You can almost think of Pinterest as an online bookmarking service, but instead of saving titles of blog posts and web pages that you like, you save an image from the page along with a note about it. Once pinned, the image retains a link back to the original website. You can pin images from any website, and you can even “repin” images that other users have pinned, whether you are following them or not.
Should you use Pinterest to market your VA business?
Whether Pinterest, or any other social media site, will benefit your business depends primarily on whether your target market is using it. You could spend a lot of time and money learning how to use it and actually using it, but if the people you’re trying to reach don’t see it, what would be the point?
According to Modea, here are some statistics about Pinterest users, as of February 2012:
- 68.2% are women
- 17.3% are between 18-24
- 27.4% are between 25-34
- 22.1% are between 35-44
- 17.9% are between 45-54
- 50% have children
- Average household income is over $100,000
If this sounds like your ideal client, you should definitely check it out!
One of the most popular categories on Pinterest is Home Décor, and because I work mainly with professional organizers, a lot of them are active users. I actually signed up for Pinterest in November, because one of my clients, who was already using it, asked me a question, and the easiest way for me to find out the answer was to try it for myself. At that point, I was using it strictly for personal reasons – mainly to keep track of dogs I was interested in on Petfinder. I really didn’t start using it for business until February, but already it’s become a fairly significant source of traffic to my websites.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest
- Pin stuff that will be of interest to your target market that is also relevant to your business or to you personally.
- Include pins to your own blog but be sure to include pins to other sites as well.
- As in any social media, the key is to focus on others, not yourself.
- Take time to engage with other users by following their boards, commenting on their pins, and repinning their pins to your own boards.
- Be authentic – don’t be afraid to show some personal stuff (within reason, of course).
Please check out my boards to see examples of how I’m using Pinterest.
How to Pin
You can add a bookmarklet to your browser which makes it easy to pin pictures from nearly any website. You can also click on the Add link at the top of the Pinterest screen to either upload a picture from your hard drive or enter the URL for the page where the picture appears.
There are major concerns about whether pinning an image from a website is a violation of copyright. On the one hand, you’re linking back to the source, but that may not always be sufficient. I know of people who were really into Pinterest but have deleted their accounts just to be on the safe side.
You should familiarize yourself with the Terms of Service before you start using Pinterest, but here are a few guidelines:
- Never pin an image from Google Images – always click through to the originating website.
- Before you repin something, click and make sure that it appears legitimate and doesn’t point to a spam site.
Are you on Pinterest? If so, please post your user name in the Comments section, and let us know how you’re using it!