By Scott Thomas
We’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about Pinterest lately, but surprisingly little of it comes from within the Innkeeping community. I say it is surprising, because Pinterest seems almost as if it was made for innkeepers – it is easy to use (we jumped in for our Freeport Maine B&B, and were happily pinning away in minutes), plentiful graphics grab the attention of the visitor, and it is so addictive that users stay connected for a long time.
According to comScore, Pinterest ranks just behind Google+ in number of visitors, and third (behind Facebook and Tumblr) in the amount of time a visitor spends on the site. This is very impressive for a site that is not yet open to the public (you can join using a Facebook login, or you can request an invitation on the Pinterest home page).
So what is Pinterest?
Pinterest describes itself as a virtual pinboard, but we think it is being far too modest. From where we sit, Pinterest is a fantastic tool for sharing interests, or ideas, with others. It seems to be a combination of bookmarking sites (like StumbleUpon, Digg, or Reddit) with photo sharing sites (like Flickr, Panoramio, or Photobucket), with the added ability to comment, share, etc., that you find on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.
Why do people share?
The reasons for sharing seem as varied as the backgrounds of the people sharing. Some are sharing their own memories or activities, much like other sites. But since Pinterest allows (even encourages) sharing of sites you visit (they retain info attributing the original source), you can also share your interests, dreams, and ideas.
Why would an Innkeeper use Pinterest?
There are several reasons to use Pinterest. First, as Heather Allard notes, “If you had the opportunity to make your business part of someone’s vision board, would you do it?” Of course you would.
Second, you can use it to share not only information and photos about your B&B, but about the entire experience of a guest at your property (OK, maybe not the entire experience, but you get the idea). An excellent example is provided by Whole Foods. As noted in a recent ReviewPro article, Whole Foods isn’t just sharing the food, but the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. B&B’s can share the accommodations and the experience, as well.
Several other uses for innkeepers, as well as some basic ‘how to’ information about using Pinterest is shared by Heather Turner in her recent article on Pinterest.
Another benefit of using Pinterest is yet to be realized, but could be among the most valuable of all. According to SearchEngineLand, Pinterest’s traffic has grown 100% since August 2011, and now carries quite significant authority from the perspective of search engine SEO value. They note that every pin of your content is a link to your website. When a Pinterest user repins your content, you get more links. While the value is uncertain, social cues do impact rankings, so it is difficult to conceive of having more social links being a bad thing.
Ready to Pin?
As mentioned at the beginning, Pinterest is very easy to use. However, Heather Turner’s article has some quick steps to get started, and there is a very complete article from BlueGlass, called Everything You Need to Know About Pinterest.