What the Heck is Pinterest and Why Should You Care?

Quick. Take a stab at naming the top ten social sites.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn… these ones come easily to mind, but it may surprise you to learn that Pinterest also makes the cut. Coming in at #10, it’s clear that Pinterest is gaining traction fast. It may be time to sit up and notice it, if you haven’t already been lured by its slick and glossy look.

What the heck is it?

The name explains the essence of what it’s about: ‘Pin’ items of ‘interest’. It acts like a virtual pushpin board for things found around the web. Users can create multiple boards, each dedicated to something of interest to them. For example, a board for travel, a board for recipes, a board for home decor. You get the idea. It’s social bookmarking, revisited & refreshed.

Although still in invite-only mode, in just one week alone last December (2011) Pinterest is said to have attracted 11-million visits. It’s growing at an incredible rate, seeing a 4000% jump in traffic from just six months ago. Monthly visits are said to be averaging 3.2-million.

The website is most popular with women aged 25-44, accounting for 58% of the userbase in the past three months (Experian Hitwise). Here are some thoughts on why those who like it, like it a lot. Indeed it must be onto something when it starts spawning copycats.

So why should you care?

There is a business case for participating on Pinterest. It is reported that Real Simple magazine is getting more referral traffic from Pinterest, than from Facebook. From a business perspective, there are many opportunities for building a fan base, building awareness for products, and getting more traffic to your website, but you need to go about it the right way. Pinterest states very clearly there shall be no blatant promoting and marketing on the site. So what can you do? Some ideas are expanded on here, but I think one truth for gaining traction as a business on Pinterest is to have smoking hot photos of smoking hot products. This will inspire members to pin them on their boards, and thus increase the exposure of the business through the image. (Images link back to the original site)

So there you have it. Some pretty compelling reasons to consider Pinterest as a serious player in your ongoing online strategy.