The growing social media site Pinterest is certainly proving that a picture can be worth a thousand words, as it grows and gains popularity. With over 10 million users, Pinterest is growing at a faster rate than either Facebook or Twitter did at the same point in their histories. Of course, this makes Pinterest a prime resource for both SEOs and small businesses looking for a little more online attention.
For anyone unfamiliar with Pinterest, the site allows users to take visual images of their favorite websites and create “pins,” each of which link back to the original site. Initially, these links were dofollow, meaning that SEOs started scrambling to take advantage of the free, valuable links. Of course, Pinterest eventually switched from dofollow to nofollow links in March 2012, and many of the SEOs who couldn’t wait to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon find themselves unable to cope with the fact that they can no longer get their easy links.
The best way to cope with Pinterest’s change to nofollow links is to get back to basics and remember what makes Pinterest such a unique and great social media site:
Now, we know that pretty much anyone can get a Pinterest account, but the fact that they make you request an invitation (if you don’t get invited by a friend) makes the site seem a lot more exclusive than it really is. The fact that site management makes would-be users wait a few days before logging in only heightens this feeling.
What does this mean for marketers? For one thing, it means that businesses get the benefit of greater trust on Pinterest than on other sites. One of the major downfalls of Facebook and Twitter (at least when it comes to marketing) is that users are trained to automatically distrust business pages because they have been spammed by shameless product pitches too many times. Since Pinterest maintains a feeling of exclusivity, users are more likely to assume that the content they are viewing is genuine and valuable. This gives businesses a great opportunity to market to a willing audience.
The adage that a picture is worth a thousand words really does prove true in the case of Pinterest; images are more able to communicate emotion, ideas, advice, sentiment, and desires than words. The crux of Pinterest’s appeal is that it is primarily visual. Users can simply post images that reflect their feelings, thoughts, and ideas instead of trying to communicate those feelings, thoughts and ideas through status updates.
Just as the visual aspect of Pinterest greatly simplifies the user’s experience, it can also greatly simplify the marketing experience. While statuses and tweets are typically hit and miss when it comes to connecting with your audience, visually interesting photos and images rarely fail to capture a user’s attention. If you are able to produce a genuinely interesting image, it is more likely to go viral, which will ultimately result in greater traffic to your site.
In the end, both of these traits make Pinterest unique and valuable for marketers, provided that marketers use the system correctly. SEOs need to be careful not to adopt the over-the-top focus on quantity over quality that is so prevalent in the online marketing world. If your focus is getting links, likes, and repins, you will not be maximizing the benefit that you can get from using Pinterest. All social media is about networking and connecting with your audience. This means that you can’t just create product pitches and mindless links and expect results; you must make sure that you are producing quality content, both on Pinterest and on your site.
If you do everything right, Pinterest can be a great tool to produce more buzz around your site, especially if you are a small business. If you produce a visually interesting pin, it is more likely to be circulated and go viral, which means more people see your pin. The more people see your pin, the more people will click through to your site. If you have relevant, interesting, quality content, those users are more likely to stick around your site, which means higher traffic and (hopefully) revenue. For sites that don’t have high search engine rankings, this is a huge deal. Potentially, businesses that tend to focus more on local online marketing can see serious boosts in rankings and nationwide traffic. Plus, users who like what they see will be more likely to share, tweet, bookmark, and link to your site, which is where your SEO benefits come in. And the best part about it is that it is natural, organic buzz around your site, which is more valuable and requires less work.
It’s time we face the music: Pinterest is a social media force to be reckoned with. The sooner we can figure out how to use it, the sooner we can get the most out of our online marketing efforts.