Residential Lighting: What is Pinterest?
Beth Hayden: Pinterest  is a social networking site that allows you to create online collages of images and videos, and share those collages with your followers. It’s different from other social media sites because the content is entirely visual, and much of the content is “aspirational” — people create collages for food they would like to make, houses they would like to live in and trips they would like to take.
RL: We already have a website. What role is Pinterest going to play?
BH: Pinterest is driving an avalanche of traffic to websites and blogs. It drives more traffic than any other social networking site except Facebook, and drives more traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined. I tell my clients that Pinterest can be used to drive targeted traffic to their website and help them grow their e-mail list. It’s a fantastic tool for product and services businesses.
You can integrate Pinterest with your existing website by adding a PinIt button to every page and blog post on your site. You should also add a badge or button that advertises your own Pinterest presence. Get these tools at www.pinterest.com/about/goodies .
RL: Can it help us sell lighting?
BH: I think the opportunities for home furnishings businesses on Pinterest are enormous — definitely big education and promotional possibilities. There are also great opportunities for businesses in this industry to become trusted experts in their field by becoming great content curators. Pinterest is also a great way to network and engage with your target audience in a non-threatening, non-pushy way.
RL: How does Pinterest rank in value against other media?
BH: Facebook still drives a lot of traffic to websites and blogs. But the folks in charge of Facebook keep making it harder and harder for businesses to get new fans for their pages, and then connect with those fans who Like their pages. I’m telling people to see if their Facebook efforts are actually resulting in website traffic, mailing list sign-ups and sales. If not, I usually advise them to try something else.
Pinterest drives more traffic than Twitter at this point, and I’ve seen evidence that Pinterest users spend more time on my site than Twitter users do. For me, that’s enough evidence to put more time and energy on Pinterest and slightly less on Twitter. But it’s also a matter of figuring out whether your target audience is on Pinterest or Twitter.
RL: What are some do’s and don’ts?
BH: Do link to lots of websites and blogs when you’re pinning — not just your own. People want to see a variety of content — it will help you get more followers and help you gain trust.
-Do make sure you have a complete profile on Pinterest, including a photo or logo, a paragraph describing who you are, what you do and your website.
-Do consider creating (or converting to) a Pinterest business account if you want to use your account for marketing. More info at business.pinterest.com.
-Don’t over-promote! It’s a huge turn-off on Pinterest.
-Don’t pin in huge sessions or at oddball times of day. Pin a little bit every day and figure out the best
times to pin. They will differ from audience to audience, so test.
-Don’t neglect the possibilities of using Pinterest in creative ways and saying “yes” to collaborative boards. Both can build your following and reach your target audience.
Download a free Pinterest marketing guide at www.bethhayden.com .