The Pinterest craze has officially hit, making it one of the most heavily visited and top 10 social media networks of 2011. As a “visual” person, I find Pinterest to be really fun, easy to use, and nearly as addicting as Dill Pickle Chips or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. But that is for a different blog…
Pinterest is a “virtual pinboard” or “image social bookmarking” tool so instead of using only tags or words to find and save what interests you, you just browse and pin images. Pinterest is kind of like a virtual marriage between Flickr and Delicious with an extra twist of creativity. Pinterest makes it easy to quickly scan photos (most that link back to DIY blogs) until something catches your eye. Plus it is functional – you can use it as a bookmarker and organize your pins into boards (your custom categories). For instance, some of my Pinterest boards are “Social Media Stuffs“, “Things Kids are Made of“, and “Eat Me”. When users (pinners) pin something, they can also choose to share it on their other social networks (Facebook and Twitter) at the same time which sets the sharing factor into overdrive.
You can search for all types of creative items on Pinterest and usually find oodles of fun things to look at. However, most of the items that get “pinned” on Pinterest are very “pretty” and have to do with style, décor, food, and crafts and link to a “how to” tutorial, recipe, or blog. So it is not a surprise that the majority of heavy users on Pinterest right now are females - brides to be, fashionistas, and artists of handmade crafts whether for a hobby or business (i.e. many sellers on the Etsy marketplace).
Before you decide that Pinterest is not for you, consider if and how your product, service or blog would be displayed on your customers’ “Products I Love” or “Gift Ideas” boards, as an example. If you have a product that displays beautifully in a photograph, Pinterest could be an opportunity to network with a creative community, drive traffic back to your website, and possibly create sales. In fact, I have had some of my Facebook friends comment that in addition to getting great DIY projects and recipes, they have made purchases or started following blogs, as a result of following Pinterest links.
Although Pinterest does not have pages specifically for brands yet, many brands are doing it well and fitting right in without being obtrusive. One nice feature of Pinterest is that users can follow specific boards from people, without following everything from people they follow, which helps create a unique user experience. There are many creative ways that you can use Pinterest for your business or personal brand (depending on what type of business you are in). Photographers, artists, retailers, interior designers, and graphic designers are just a few of the general areas where Pinterest could be a great fit. The possibilities are endless if you have an amazing idea or product, are good with a camera, and of course, a zest for social media.
- Request a Pinterest invitation from their website or a Pinterest friend (or email me!)
- Complete your Pinterest Profile- You will be able to display an avatar, bio, website, Facebook (will link to a personal profile only right now), and Twitter account on your profile which can help connect people to your brand and your other social networks.
- Link your Pinterest to your Facebook account so you can easily invite or be notified of when your Facebook friends join Pinterest.
- Search for items to Pin, Like and Comment and follow pinners that interest you personally or are related to your business or website’s niche.
- Start inviting people through your email list or Facebook. Pinterest is still invite only, so go ahead and invite your friends!
4 Ways to Pin Images
- Browse or search the images already in Pinterst and “Repin” or “Like” onto your boards.
- Upload images from your computer. In Pinterest, goto Add, then upload a pin. This is easy and fast, but one disadvantage is that you don’t get the link back to your website (unless you add it manually, and it is relevant to the pin).
- Make it easy to pin while searching the web: Download the “Pin it” Button into your browser to make your pinning easier.
- Download the Pinterest app for your iPhone, so you can easily take photos and pin your images, on-the-go.
4 Ways to Get Re-Pinned & Shared
- Take stunning photographs and add captions, @mentions, #tags, or $prices. When you @ mention a friend they will get notified, and when you add a $ price banner and it will automatically go in the gifts category.
- Organize your Pins into interesting and unique boards that will help you create your niche.
- Make it easy to be pinned: Add Pinterest follow buttons and promote your Pinterest profile on your blog to make it easy for your readers to share and connect with you.
- Engage with other pinners – follow, comment, re-pin and like their pins. Build relationships just like you would in other social network like Facebook or Twitter. Search out and recognize your customers and friends– for instance if you find a pin of your customer using your product or displaying your DIY project, repin it on your board with a comment, showing appreciation for the purchase or adaption.
Pinterest is fun, inspiring, and growing like crazy! You may find it is a great fit for your personal creative side, for your business/blog or both. Do some pinning and determine if your products have the niche (products that are pretty or cool and photograph well) and target market (currently 60% of Pinners are women ages 25-44) that melds nicely with Pinterest, and have fun.
If you have tried Pinterest, what did you think? How have you used it for personal or business use? Do you see potential for your business or blog?