Pinterest has become the third most widely used social network for women and is used by 15% of all U.S. adult web users. Twitter usage is only 1% higher at 16%. Needless to say, Pinterest is gaining traction in the social sphere, but is it right for marketing your business?

Is Pinterest Right for Marketing Your Business?

While every business should probably have a Google+ page, this is not necessarily the case for Pinterest. Pinterest is another great platform for engaging an audience online, but you should first ask yourself if Pinterest is a good fit for your business.

What is Pinterest?

If you haven’t heard, Pinterest is a pinboard-style social media site that allows users to organize and share images and videos.  Users can create themed boards with a collection of uploaded images called “pins.” People can then “like” and share pins from other pinners.

Pinterest for Business

Late in 2012, Pinterest launched pages specifically for businesses, which included a new terms of service, allowing you to use Pinterest commercially and specify your business name (instead of first name and last name).  Pinterest for business also includes a new set of tools including website verification, new buttons and widgets for pinner engagement and access to upcoming features. And just last week, Pinterest rolled out a web analytics tool for business profiles that have verify their website.

Pinterest targets young women

Pinterest users are over 70% female and 64% of users are under the age of 34. If your target audience is primarily men and above the age of 40, then Pinterest is probably not the best social media channel for your business. But if you target women, then Pinterest could be a great place to reach your audience.

Pinterest is visual

If your business sells a product or provides a service that is visually appealing, then Pinterest is a great avenue to showcase it. For example, many architecture and interior design companies use Pinterest to share their projects. Retail stores can also show their products and link them to their ecommerce site to help drive traffic.

The most popular topics on Pinterest have to do with food, arts and crafts, fashion, interior design, family-related content and photography, which all relate back to Pinterest being all about visuals. Be sure your company can create beautiful, engaging imagery before committing to this social media site.

Pinterest drives purchases

According to a BizRate, 70% of users say they are on Pinterest to get inspiration on what to buy, compared to only 17% that say they use Facebook for the same reason.

Pinterest is better at inspiring purchases than Facebook

This means that if your audience is on Pinterest, then they are more likely to visit your website and buy your product if they see it on Pinterest rather than Facebook. Having a Pinterest account can help drive more traffic to your website which hopefully would lead to more purchases.

Many bloggers use Pinterest to pin their work and drive traffic to their website. For example, blogger Kate Bryan started pinning her work and had more than 10 million page views and attracted 16,000 blog subscribers from joining Pinterest. However, her blog talks about hair, style, and beauty which all target women. Once again, be aware of your target audience to see if Pinterest would work for you.

Pinterest is time consuming

Like all social media sites, it takes time to create and share quality content on Pinterest. Be sure your business has enough time to create images suitable for Pinterest. You also need to be active in order to maximize your reach by pinning, sharing and liking pins.

Look at your competition and the industry leaders

A great way to find out if you should be on Pinterest is to see if any of your competitors are having success with it.  If many competitors are actively pinning, but do not have many followers or activity like repins and likes, then it may be a sign that your industry is not right for the Pinterest audience.

However, looking at industry leaders that may not be your direct competition could give you inspiration and guidance to build a great Pinterest profile.  Further, you can search through the Pinterest categories and see if your product or service fits in any of the categories. If it does, it may be worth it to give Pinterest a try.

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Pinterest is a great channel to showcase powerful visual imagery, foster brand affinity and increase sales conversion if you gather the right followers and stay active in the community. Like any social network, it is important to update regularly, cross promote between social media sites and stay active.  Pinterest has created great success for some pinners, so do your research and find out if Pinterest is right for your business.