AKRON (April 29, 2013) — With all the social media websites to choose from on the Internet, you may be asking yourself, "What's the deal with Pinterest?"
You also may be asking yourself how you can use it for business.
The truth is, Pinterest may be newer to the social media scene compared with other sites, but this pin-board-style site has shot through the ranks and is currently one of the top social media sites.
Don't believe me? According to Nielsen Co.'s 2012 Social Media Report, "While Facebook and Twitter continue to be among the most popular social networks, Pinterest emerged as one of the breakout stars in social media for 2012, boasting the largest year-over-year increase in both unique audience and time spent of any social network across PC, mobile web, and apps."
So first things first: What it is and how does it work? Pinterest is like a giant pin board where you can pin different ideas and projects you like. Each pin is represented by a picture — and when you click on the photo, you will be directed to the website it originally appeared on.
For instance, I have been trying to find ways to reuse items in an effort to be more sustainable. While I was clicking through boards — which is where you store all your pins — I found various pins about reusing tires. People reused tires for planters, as purses, belts, etc. While other industries, such as bakeries and clothing stores, may be more visually appealing than the tire industry, there is still a niche audience to be found.
Pinterest is dominated by females, so keep in mind that women influence up to 80 percent of all car purchases. Women also request 65 percent of the service work at dealerships and independent repair shops and spend more than $200 billion on new cars and mechanical servicing of vehicles each year, according to a 2010 report in Forbes magazine. So why not find a way to reach them in a format they are already using?
"Initially we ventured on to Pinterest as yet another way to reach our female clients in a medium in which they felt comfortable using and a way to promote ideas, fitments and applications of products," said Julie Serritella, marketing and design manager for Waukegan, Ill.-based Waukegan Tire & Supply Co. Inc., "and raise awareness of events, using it basically as an internet based bulletin board."
Pinterest is all about sharing and generating ideas. It does not have the proven return on investment that Facebook has. However, keep in mind that Pinterest only started having pages for business since last November, so it may take a little time for it to grow. If you are looking to only use one social media site, it may not be your best option, but it is definitely worth looking into.
"We anticipated an engaged female following of Pinterest because women are the largest group of users, but we didn't anticipate just as many businesses and group users such as auto interest groups," Ms. Serritella said.
"Pinned posts have enhanced our connections, which strengthened the Waukegan Tire brand as a 'go to' source for automotive services, specialty tire and wheel fitments, along with ties to our community involvement."
This is still a way to get the word out about your products and what you have to offer. Because the site is photo-dominated, you can create a board that has your new products and connect it right to your website.
"Pinterest is another application to showcase products and applications to our customers," Ms. Serritella said.
"When customers 'pin' likes to their page, their friends, followers and like-minded enthusiasts can see the pins on their Pinterest feed."
For instance, we are heading into the summer, so there are new summer tires coming out that people may be interested in. You can have a board titled, "New Summer Tires" and people can look through your board and be directed to your website if they are interested in a specific tire.
Ms. Serritella called Pinterest "a valuable tool for generating consumer interest in our offerings, whether it be a specialty tire and wheel fitment for their particular auto or upcoming events and promotions."
She added: "Instead of using a Web-based car configurator for viewing what their specific auto with a particular wheel and tire fitment looks like, many consumers search on Pinterest for inspiration."
One of the distinct features about Pinterest is that you can set up your page and boards exactly the way you want themt. For instance, Tire Business recently created a Pinterest page with information that may be relative to our readers. We have antique tire ads, ideas for inside and outside the home for using reused tires, tire-inspired food and clothing and some unique photos taken with tires. We also have a Tire News board where we connect stories that may be relevant to our readers.
The first thing I learned in journalism school is to remember whom you are writing for. I think this is a pretty wise approach when going into any social media site, especially Pinterest. People running across your page may be looking for products or just for some fun ideas.
One thing to consider — especially if you have holiday specials, for instance — is that holiday-themed items are big on Pinterest. You could set up your board with the caption "Memorial Day products" or something of that nature so that people know what you are offering. Since you can choose what the board covers, try to include the best visually appealing products.
Besides the pages linking back to your website, Pinterest also is easily linked to Facebook and Twitter accounts, so it's an easy site to add to your overall social media platform.
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