What have you pinned lately?

Pinterest: The latest site climbing the social ladder

Earlier this year, I received an email from a friend inviting me to join Pinterest. At first I thought, “Great, one more social media site to keep track of”—but this was the same friend who invited me to join Facebook several years ago, and I decided to check it out. What I discovered was a treasure trove of information, ideas and possibilities.

What is Pinterest?

In his blog post “What is Pinterest? And should your brand climb aboard?”, Matt Wilson phrased it best when he said to think of Pinterest as the “reverse Twitter.”  He’s exactly right. Most people are visual learners and want to see pictures and videos, which is what makes Pinterest different from other social media websites through which content is shared mostly via text and links. Similar to Twitter, however, the best way to gain traction is to follow other users and interact. On Pinterest, users “pin” images and videos to organized “boards,” which are shared with their followers. (Check out a rather complicated infographic here illustrating how the pretty simple idea works.)

Should you be pinning?

Organizations reviewing their social-media plans should consider how, if at all, Pinterest could help them engage with their target audiences. For example, a furniture manufacturer could upload images of its products for designers to consider in future projects. An architect could post photos from their portfolio and ideas to share with potential clients or partners. As long as visuals are available, the options available through Pinterest become endless.

Pinterest currently includes a recommendation in its “Pin Etiquette” that users avoid blatant self-promotion—but more and more brands are jumping in.

Some of the early, and successful, business adopters to this new medium include Time Magazine, Nordstrom and Williams-Sonoma. They’ve each used Pinterest in similar, yet different, ways to introduce users to their brand. Time Magazine uses it to highlight writer profiles, covers and images, while Nordstrom shares the latest in fashion.

Pinterest creates an opportunity for brands to connect directly with end users and share the visuals they likely already possess. Although Pinterest currently draws mostly young and middle-aged women, don’t let it fool you. It is currently one of the fastest growing websites out there, and chances are by this time next year, several hundred brands will be sharing their products, services and causes via Pinterest.

Further reading:

Mashable: How Pinterest is changing website design forever
APM Marketplace: Pinterest is a rising star, driving tons of traffic
Fast Company: Chobani Yogurt tickles the tastes of Pinterest addicts, and so can your brand
LLsocial: Pinterest is quietly generating revenue by modifying user submitted pins
BlogWorld: Why I don’t mind Pinterest hijacking my links

Laura Barnard
February 16th, 2012

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