(photo credit: REUTERS)
Just when you think there’s no new way to advertise yourself, something new
comes along that has the potential to change advertising like Facebook changed
That’s why I’ve scrapped the column that was supposed to go
in this week. Instead of that column, I’ve decided to give you a heads up on the
latest Internet craze on the social-media scene: a simple website called
While the site itself is not that new (it’s over two years old
already), recently it’s been growing by leaps and bounds, and it now has more
than 200 million users. Why is it so powerful? Because it uses word-of-mouth, the
most powerful force known to marketing.
It’s simple and easy to use, and
it doesn’t have a lot of settings and controls to learn.
Head over to the
site (www.pinterest.com) to look at it yourself, while I head straight to the
crux of the deal: how you can make Pinterest profitable for your business, by
sharing a story from my own experience.
My brother is in the middle of
building a new home.
So, when I saw a nifty power outlet that solved the
“bulky electrical octopus” challenge by combining two power outlets with two USB
power ports, I clicked the link, knowing it was the perfect gift for my brother.
It was something I wouldn’t have known to go looking for, but I found it on
Pinterest because other people “liked” it and shared it.
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The site the
Pinterest post linked to was sold out (surprise).
I have no idea if it
sold out because of Pinterest or simply because it was a good product. However,
it’s definitely fair to say that as Pinterest grows by leaps and bounds, this
will be more and more likely to happen to things that get shared (pinned) and
re-shared among users. That’s the word-of-mouth power I mentioned
Even though I couldn’t buy through that link once I knew about
the product, I could, and did, go to Amazon where it was in stock. In less than
five minutes I found a new, practical and trendy item that I purchased and gave
my brother. That’s the power of visibility and word-of-mouth! But how does
Pinterest make money? The invisible “aha!” of the Pinterest business model is
that there are no advertisements. Pinterest seems to have its business model
based on having invisible referral links to sites that offer them. So, for
example, if you purchase a product from Amazon that they linked to, they would
collect a commission from Amazon on that purchase.
If you sell a product
that is chic or different (be it a unique sort of art, a book or a new electric
tchotchke), you can monetize it by using Pinterest with these two strategies: 1)
Open an account on Pinterest (technically it is in beta, but invites are easily
had; if you e-mail me at email@example.com with the word Pinterest in the
subject line, I’ll gladly give you one) and create a pinboard showcasing your
products. Don’t pin them all, because then your pinboard will simply be
considered a spam catalog of your products.
But the unique novel items
that you sell, organized by topic, color, feeling or any other way you choose,
will give people following you and your pinboard eye candy. If they want more
information, they click in. If they like it and then click re-pin, suddenly you
are visible to a whole new circle of people and eyeballs.
2) The other
way Pinterest can be fascinating, and one which you need to be lucky enough to
be reading this column to really get, is to see Pinterest as the new social-media
platform it is. The early adopters on Pinterest who have already carved out a
name for themselves are the folks you should be following, on or off
Comment on their pins and re-pin their items if they are
eye-catching. They and others will notice and view your boards and share you and
your products/name with the world. (Essentially, a whole new spin and approach
to Pinterest based on the old public-relations technique of introducing yourself
and your products to celebrities; i.e., the Web 3.0 version.) And the final
question: How am I planning to make money off Pinterest? Well, besides that it
gives me something to write about and more cutting-edge information to present
at seminars, I’m also creating a product about Pinterest and how to monetize it.
(I’ve just purchased the name www.pinsecrets.com to sell it from.) Just another
way to package knowledge and make it profitable. And as for the column that was
supposed to be in this place? Watch for it next firstname.lastname@example.org
Issamar Ginzberg is a rabbi, businessman, public speaker and marketer.
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