Pinterest: top 50, top potential
Pinterest, the 'pinboard'-style community network of user-curated images, has finally made it into the top 50 U.S. sites in terms of unique visitors.
Such phenomenal growth has made already made it a powerful traffic-generating factor for many website owners, and online retailers, in particular, are starting to show major interest in its potential.
For those still unfamiliar with the site, it functions as a 'virtual pinboard' which "lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web.... You can browse boards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests".
Typical uses include collecting and sharing images and videos on topics such as home decoration, fashion, recipe collections (and much else besides).
What this means for many site owners and retailers is that their content and products are organically disseminated via an ever-growing community of users.
Harnessing Pinterest's power
Since every image is linked back to its original source, Pinterest not only represents potential traffic, it also facilitates potential sales - particularly if the pinned content links back to a page where featured items can easily be purchased.
The team behind Pinterest are already showing interest in the site's ecommercial possibilities, having established, for example, a Gifts section that allows users to browse items by price.
But future opportunities seem far greater, particularly if the site's developers can seamlessly integrate processes through which users can acquire items discovered on the pinboards they peruse.
For now, however, it's up to website owners and retailers themselves to optimise content in line with the site's networking power.
Fashion, home decor, jewellery and arts and crafts are huge areas of interest, and although Pinterest members are adept at 'discovering' quality content and products for themselves, it's worth remembering that the site is, at heart, a visual showcase.
Beautiful images are key to the Pinterest experience, and website owners hoping to attract Pinterest users should certainly bear this in mind.
Become a Pinterest member. Setting up a personal board provides further opportunities to disseminate content, while site membership also allows for proactive engagement with members who repin your content.
Communication options are fairly limited - the only real option is to leave comments on a user's pin - but personal messages enhance experience of the site in general, and your content in particular.
Facilitate potential sales by remembering that Pinterest's images (should) link back to the page on which they were found. Website owners receiving Pinterest traffic thus need to ensure that information regarding purchase or related enquiries is easily accessible.
It's important, too, that the website 'matches' any expectation generated by the content itself: beautiful images attract Pinterest community interest, and they'll be expecting a beautiful, well-designed site to match.
No personal site? No problem.
Of course, many of the small retailers and designers so beloved by the Pinterest community may not have a personal site themselves, but showcase their work through online sales vehicles such as Etsy. Having content repinned from such pages (or pinning it yourself onto a personal Pinterest board) could actually be advantageous: interested users will click directly through to a page set up for sales.