Two blog posts in a short period of time on this blog, what is up with that? I don’t try to keep a schedule with posts, I just try to post when I think I have something interesting…
Pinterest, the new social networking site that crushes Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter even, second in traffic only to Facebook, is apparently the fastest growing website in the history of the Internet.
It is basically a really cool Facebook app that perfectly leveraged Facebook’s existing userbase for rapid growth, it also currently has the Eric Cartman, Gmail, marketing system (you’re not invited) in place to, supposedly, moderate new growth, and yet it is still skyrocketing.
Pay attention people, unlike Facebook which is about people and relationships, Pinterest is about things, and places, and links, lots of links, in fact it is nothing more than a giant bookmarking service, call it Del.icio.us 2.0, but with an interface (think pretty pictures) more suitable for mobile browsing and for the soccer moms of the world. In fact, from what I heard, 90% of the users are women from rural and urban areas, probably just because of who the first adopters were. It is such a simple thing, so brilliantly executed, and so sure to make a few new billionaires, I wish I had invented it. I’m sure we all do.
I’ve already noticed a deluge of referrals coming from the service to certain sites of mine, especially my garden blog. I’m unsure how big of an impact this new massive link engine will have on SEO since much, though not all, would appear to be hard for Google’s crawlers to find, Google definitely finds some of it though, it will be an area to watch. How long will it be before “Pin It” widgets are as ubiquitous as the Facebook likes? Not long at all, considering I would think them to be more useful to site owners as the potential for viral traffic seems higher with Pinterest than with Facebook likes (since pins get more prominent placements on Pinterest boards than likes on Facebook walls).
The most interesting thing to me is that when you sign up with Pinterest they ask you for your interests and they make you auto-follow some other Pinterest users. Who are these people? Early adopters heavily active on the site. One person I was automatically following has over 2.5 million followers. These people will be the next taste makers of society, the influence they will have will be enormous, this is so much more powerful than twitter. 140 characters (of normally nonsense) cannot compete with pictures that can basically be advertisements for a brand or product. If you can put a picture of a new product in front of 5 million eyeballs, you have power, and there is certainly money to be made. In the not too distant future I predict people might just start Pinterest boards, not blogs, and try to build an audience, in fact, I bet you some people are doing that right now. Should you? Maybe.
If I were a budding Internet entrepreneur instead of already very successful (not trying to brag, just saying I don’t have the time), I would try to jump on this bandwagon. Leverage whatever audience you already have on a site or blog and try to build a definitive Pinterest board for some industry or niche. It won’t work for everything, the site revolves around pictures so topics like accounting aren’t a good fit. If you wait much longer I believe the train will have left the station, in fact it is pulling away right now. Even if you don’t get millions of followers with the influence (and thus money making potential) that goes along with that, if you got just a few thousand that would be an audience that you could leverage to promote new content or products in your niche, and remember, the site works virally.
What if you, like me, don’t think you have the time to pursue becoming an influence baron? You should still leverage this new link and traffic machine. The first thing you should do is to take (or legally buy) more photos for use in your content, and make them good photos. The more attractive a photo, the more likely it will be pinned and re-pinned. The second thing of course would be to start adding Pinterest widgets to your sites next to all the Facebook like buttons.