So, the world has finally discovered Pinterest, one of our favourite sites in the whole world (wide web), and we’re so glad for it.
I have to admit, with nearly 600 pins across 50+ boards, I’m shamefully addicted and have collated boards on everything from stained glass and staircases to cool geeky products I’ve stumbled across online and wise quotes I’d like to remember.
The first time I saw Pinterest, the hairs on my arm stood on edge and I just knew it was something special. The minute I logged on (having begged an invitation from somewhere), I was knocked out by its potential power, for both business and pleasure.
In the intervening months, I’ve used it for my own entertainment (a little too much, perhaps, but always in the name of research, of course!) and for business. In fact, I’ve used it A LOT for business and with great benefit to Watermelon Media’s clients, as well as in my various other business ventures.
So, what is Pinterset?
In theory, Pinterest is just another way to share images online, but that very simple explanation belies the site’s potential power.
It’s different from other image sharing sites because it’s about collecting images from across the web on myriad topics, not just your favourite family snaps or collections of other great photos from strangers. It’s about sharing images (and now video) that you like, for no reason other than you like it.
Images are shared on topic-based boards, and that can be anything from hairstyles you like to cool new foods. Over time these boards become crammed with, generally, the best images on the topic – and people with similar interests are compelled to follow them because they’re created by someone with similar interests and a similar eye and you’re keen to see what they’ll next stumble across and share.
It’s not even about the person behind your favourite Pinterest board, it’s about the board itself and what wondrous gem will be pinned to it next!
Again, it sounds simple, perhaps not even that compelling, but once you try it, there really is no going back, especially if you’re a visual person or someone who works in a creative field.
Business uses of Pinterest:
Perhaps the best use of Pinterest for business is the ability to drive traffic back to your site. One of my projects involves adding new products from a client on Pinterest with a URL back to the product’s advertising page. Traffic has increased to each of the pages on Pinterest significantly and in the most unexpected of ways as users share the images – of their own accord.
The trick is ensuring that what goes online is compelling, not just an advertisement, but something beautiful, because Pinterest is about gorgeous images – many of them ads – but beautiful images that can be shared on the boards of anyone thinking the image is beautiful enough to be pinned onto their relevant board.
Once they find a gorgeous image and pin it to their board, the link goes with it – and sticks with it whenever that image is shared unless the user changes it and, from my own experience, I rarely delete the original link.
Secondly, Watermelon Media uses Pinterest as virtual storyboards and colour boards for clients, allowing them to peruse ideas online and then collate and share them digitally, not unlike the way a designer or artist may create an inspiration board before embarking on a new creative venture.
Both sides of the equation, the client and Watermelon Media, get a much clearer vision of what is expected and desired – and it can be added to easily by the simple sharing of a new pin.
There are, however, two downsides to this wonderful tool:
1) All Pinterest boards are public. You can’t have private Pinterest boards (yet?), which is annoying because it would improve the site’s potential use in business a thousandfold. I know that for the clients we use Pinterest for, we have to set up nondescript usernames in order to keep projects confidential or at least out of the public eye. It’s frustrating because the power Pinterest holds for the business space. It’s inevitable that the feature will come, eventually.
2) I know I shouldn’t complain, especially given the app is free, but the site tends to buckle under the load and, more often than not, is unresponsive, which makes pinning a little unpredictable. It’s more frustrating than anything else, but it is, essentially, still a startup (it’s not even a year old), so as investors start pouring cash into it, I’m sure we’ll see the site stabilize.
Until then, sign up. You’ll love it. You can also check out my personal Pinterest board – http://pinterest.com/sam_amjadali/ – as well as Watermelon Media’s Pinterest board – http://pinterest.com/watermelonmedia/- but we’re keeping that on the down low for a little while! Oh, and if you’d like an invitation or have any questions, email me, Samantha (firstname.lastname@example.org).