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Reputation is the Single Most Important Element to a Small Business Owner

Pinterest, the social media, virtual bulletin-board website with more than 40 million registered users, announced in March that it will begin offering paid "pins" to allow businesses to promote their goods and services to those most likely to be interested in their offerings. Like Facebook ads, the new paid pins will give businesses of all sizes an opportunity to get their marketing message in front of site users. Until now, businesses looking to use Pinterest for marketing had to work within the context of the site, posting bulletin boards of things like ways to use their product or recipes to promote their company's wares.

Unlike Facebook ads, which are largely textual, Pinterest aims to make their promotional ads as visually interesting as their content, according to the company's new advertising chief, Joanne Bradford. The proposed Pinterest ads will closely resemble the site's unpaid content, with a small disclaimer at the bottom of the image that identifies the post as a paid pin. Pricing for the new paid pins has yet to be announced.

About Pinterest

It's difficult to believe that Pinterest is just four years old. The fastest growing social media site of all time exploded on the scene in 2010 and has intrigued users ever since. Unlike sites such as Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest appeals to a specific demographic. More than 68 percent of its 40 million registered users are women, 50 percent are mothers, 28 percent have a household income over $100,000 and 55 percent are over the age of 30, according to a study by Modea.

If you're unfamiliar with Pinterest, users on the site create, pin items to and share virtual bulletin boards that are centered around topics like summer recipes, ways to decorate your patio or wedding shower favor ideas.

Does advertising on Pinterest make sense?

While pricing will certainly be a factor in determining whether paid pins make sense, the concept is intriguing, especially for companies with products and services that appeal to Pinterest's core (over 30 female) demographic. While Facebook ads are potentially seen by the site's more than 1 billion registered users, it's questionable how many users really take notice in the sea of information and marketing messages on that site. With Pinterest Ads, you are assured of already having targeted a specific demographic and thus aren't wasting time and money marketing your product to readers who are unlikely to be interested in it.

Opening Pinterest up to paid marketing syncs with the growing trend toward blurring the lines between personal and business posts on social media. However, what's particularly interesting with this social media phenomenon is that Pinterest is keeping true to its vision of images rather than text even as it encourages advertising. If your products or services appeal to the average Pinterest user, the advent of paid pins merits watching.

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