“A pin a day keeps the crazy away”

The fastest growing social network in history… It’s not Facebook, nor Google+. Pinterest is the name of this site, that recently hit 10 million users. Pinterest is a “virtual pinboard”, launched as a closed beta in March 2010, but since time has passed, registration is now possible after an email request. The site really took off this winter and became a new hot topic in social media. In December it entered the top 10 social networks (hitwise.com) with 11 million total visits per week. A month later, Pinterest got in the top 100 most visited websites in the US and was named the best New start up of 2011 by TechCrunch (techcrunch.com). These facts made me curious, what is Pinterest?

“Our goal is to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting. We think that a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people. With millions of new pins added every week, Pinterest is connecting people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests.” – Pinterest, “Our Mission”.

As they state on their website: “Pinterest let you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web.” It is an online pinboard where users post pictures of ‘things’ they find on the Internet. Yes, that’s just it. These ‘things’ can be anything: food, decorated homes, fashion, crafts, and all the other random stuff that you can imagine. Because of the simple concept it is easy to engage in Pinterest, this could be only by scrolling through all the pictures or more actively by “re-pinning” the images, commenting on them and following other Pinterest users.

This seems a lot like ‘another website’ that people visit when they are: Procrastinating, ‘just surfing the web’, procrastinating, killing time, procrastinating, feel the need to share things with people they don’t even know, procrastinating or ‘want to make the world a happier place’. Or, as Pinterest describes it: “To discover new things in a fun way and get inspiration from people who share your interests”. But it gets more interesting, because there might be more to it.

When you ‘pin’ a picture on Pinterest, you can link this to your website, generating traffic in an easy manner. In January 2012, Pinterest drove more referral traffic to retailers than LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+! This implies there are new opportunities for companies when they would engage in Pinterest. The most used example of this is the story of hairstylist Kate, who started her own blog. In the first eight months, she had a total of seven readers… But after pinning a picture on Pinterest, half a year later she has had over 10 million page views! For the full story see: http://www.businessesgrow.com/2012/01/23/pinterest-drives-enormous-blog-and-business-success/.

Furthermore, since Pinterest is growing so fast, it might be smart for companies to explore what impact this new social media platform can have on their business. I’ve found a simple article about “reasons why your business should be on Pinterest” written by blogger Brian Gardner: http://www.briangardner.com/pinterest-for-business/.

So even though it is not clear yet what Pinterest has to offer, it is obvious that Pinterest has great potential, especially as a traffic driver. And of course just for the fun of sharing.

Sjanne Vlug.

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