On November 14th, Pinterest announced a potentially game-changing addition to the three-year-old photo sharing social website. Businesses are now able to register accounts that have been designed with features for businesses, instead of for individual users. Companies that already have a Pinterest account can easily convert it into a new business account. “Thousands of businesses have become part of our community, giving great ideas, content and inspiration to people on Pinterest,” wrote Product Manager Cat Lee on Pinterest’s official blog. “Whether it’s Anthropologie sharing awesome clothes, Whole Foods sharing tasty recipes, the Smithsonian sharing fascinating collections, or Amazon making products easy to pin, many of us have been inspired on Pinterest by businesses. We want to help more businesses provide great content on Pinterest and make it easy to pin from their websites.”
If you’re unfamiliar with Pinterest, try to imagine what would happen if you gave an old-fashioned bulletin board with “SHARE ALL YOUR GOOD IDEAS!” written on it to Martha Stewart, then locked her inside an empty room. According to one study by Experian, Pinterest had 104 million visits in March, ranking it behind only Facebook and Twitter as the third most popular social media site. Time magazine had called it one of the “50 Best Websites of 2011,” but one of its drawbacks was a lack of functionality for business owners. Sure, visiting Pinterest had become an integral part of the day for many Facebook users and iPhone owners, but for those who wanted to harness its social media popularity as a marketing and promotional tool, it was less than ideal.
Now a business can link to its official website so it’s listed on its Pinterest profile. For example, K-Swiss can now verify that its Pinterest page is company-operated and linked to http://www.kswiss.com/ . A company can also add buttons on its own web pages to make it easier for visitors to “pin” items on Pinterest or follow their feeds on Pinterest.
Pinterest users (or “pinners”) have been praising the addition of business accounts. The move has been received as both an example of listening to user requests and as a shrewd tactic to keep growth strong for the social media channel. Other social media sites have differentiated between people and institutional users. In 2007, Facebook introduced pages for corporations, schools and sports teams that others could “like.”
The benefits of creating this social media presence for your business are numerous. First of all, it’s neither expensive nor very difficult. Second, now you can register pretty much any unusual business name (such as Se7entyse7en – and yes, I just made that one up) instead of just a first and last name combination. Third, more businesses using Pinterest means more content created, repinned and shared. This increases the user base and that increases the number of people your small business can subsequently reach!
Another cool feature was launched recently. On November 10th Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann e-mailed pinners worldwide to announce that a user can now create up to three “secret boards.” Items pinned to a secret board can be repinned to public boards, but the repin won’t link back to the secret board. Got that? As a simple example, a Pinterest user can now create a secret board to share pictures or designs in-house with co-workers, allowing easy communication with the rest of a project team. In many cases, this could make sharing parts of a project more simple than typing out e-mails and making sure all the right co-worker addresses are included.
tags: Pinterest, social media, business websites, idea sharing, Cat Lee, Ben Silbermann