If you’re not already feeling overwhelmed by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and Flickr (just a few of the social media platforms out there and already in use by businesses and the public alike) there’s a new kid on the block that’s entered the social media arena and everyone’s talking about it… Pinterest.
What is it?
Pinterest describes itself as:
“a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. “
For ‘beautiful things’ read – photos, drawings, paintings, info-graphics, graphs, pie-charts, diagrams or other visuals.
A cross between a ‘picture-Twitter’ and bookmarking service Delicious, this image-sharing site allows users to bookmark and organise image content they find on the internet. Just as other parts of our lives are becoming digitalised, this abolishes the need for scrapbooks, notebooks and torn pages of magazines – now we can gather it all together on a ‘Board’ and share anything which we like or find inspirational with our followers and friends.
How does it work?
Once you are registered, you create your ‘Boards’ on which to ‘pin’ content. Your Boards can be public or private, and you can also set access so that only you can pin content on your Boards, or allow other Pinterest users to as well.
To add content (called a ‘Pin’), you can either:
- Enter a website URL and select the images you want,
- Upload a Pin from your computer files,
- Pin images from someone else’s ‘Board’ to yours,
- Add the ‘Pin It’ button to your browser toolbar and then Pin an image from websites as you browse
What content is popular?
Initially it was used by people to plan their weddings and holidays, make decisions on home improvements and find cheap ways to make and mend items. Thus arts & crafts, food and recipes, home and garden design, gift ideas, weddings and clothing dominated the site. But as the site has grown with more users, the content has diversified and people are using it to share business knowledge such as advertising campaigns and infographic data and content related to brands. The keyword for what works best on Pinterest is ‘lifestyle’.
How could I use it?
The following companies are already proving popular for their inventive use of the site. All you need is some imagination and a willingness to think outside of the box!
Whole Foods Market: This company created stunning recipes from their natural and organic products for people to cook. They’ve also created Boards that promote their ethical values.
General Electric: What might seem a boring subject has been given new life with archived images of their brand and stunning photography of what’s under the microscope.
Mashable: A social media news site that proves that Pinterest has expanded to a wider sector and there is opportunity for all businesses.
Baby Centre: A parenting network for mums with advice and support, their Boards are a pictorial expansion of the information and ideas they provide through their community website.
Amnesty International USA: NGO’s and charities are using Pinterest to educate and help people engage in causes by providing inspirational quotes, fair trade items and clothes, posters and books for all those interested in supporting a cause.
There is a ‘Gifts’ section, where you can add items for sale. Just include a price in dollars within the tag and when you upload the pin it will place it in this section for you. Remember to add UK pounds to your tag as well if you are a UK company.
Promotions & competitions
Brands like Outer Inner, Electrolux and Land’s End are already using promotions by asking users to ‘re-pin to win’. There are three popular entry options with this: create a Board, most Likes or re-pins and sweepstakes (where the winner is drawn from the pinned entries on the brand’s board).
Others are using images that feature coupons and special deals for Pinterest users while Syracuse University invited participants to share their vision on a modern ‘new librarian’ using Pinterest; a great example of how organisations are using contests to gauge people’s opinions about products and services.
Pinterest has made a big impact in its infancy and rather than become a one-hit wonder, has made its place amongst the bigger social networks. If you are not already considering Pinterest in your social media management and strategy, it’s certainly time to add it.