I was so ready to start blogging about how little interest I had in Pinterest, the latest social media site generating buzz around the web, until I started actually using it. Needless to say, if you were looking for another way to be even less productive during your work day, then you’ve come to the right place. Before I knew it, I was ‘pinning’ photos up to my ‘boards’ and having so much fun doing it, particularly since I was getting notified that people were already ‘re-pinning’ my photos seconds after I had posted them. But who are these people? These people, unlike (some) of your Facebook friends are complete strangers. Not sure how any of this works? Not sure why you should bother with it? I felt the same way.
Here’s a brief rundown of how Pinterest works pulled right from their website:
Pinterest in a Virtual Pinboard
Virtual Pinboard? I don’t even know what an actual pinboard is, is that like a ‘cork-board’? Yes – Except my real pinboards usually have a few photos, receipts, travel itineraries and random sporting event or broadway show tickets - and nobody would want to look at it. Here's what Pinterest says about itself:
Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.
Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.
NOTE: f this all sounds a little ‘feminine’ to you, you’re right. 70% of the ‘pinners’ on Pinterest are women.
A few weeks back, I was invited to check out Pinterest by a client who happens to be female. She was raving about it and how great it is and yadda yadda so being that I write a blog about social media, design and entrepreneurship, checking it out seemed like the logical thing to do.
My first experience with it was kind of weird and confusing. Like a typical guy, I didn’t read the instruction manual first. I navigated my way around and learned that in order for me to “Pin” anything, I would have to create a “Board”. The set up assistant is very easy, it has a ton of default interests such as “Houses, Sports, Motorcycles and Cars, Food, Places You Want to Visit,” etc. etc. You begin by selecting which of those areas interest you. Then Pinterest creates boards for you based on your selections.
Since my original interest in Pinterest was solely focused on how I could monetize Pinterest from a brand perspective and get people “Pinterested” in my design company, the first board I created was for my company Peralta Design. The first photo that I pinned was my company logo. Then I disappeared. Literally, I didn’t know what else to do with Pinterest and was unpinterested (ok last time I’ll use that) and didn’t come back to the site for several weeks.
I just didn’t get it. Even today, after going back to it a second time, to really give it a shot before I completely slammed how pointless it was on my blog, I decided to start populating some of my boards with some REAL photos. Some photos of places I’ve traveled and golf courses I’ve played at, and even a couple of my French Bulldog. Going back and forth from my Photo album and the Pinterest user interface was very time consuming. I uploaded about 40 images and it took me a good hour to complete that process. Too much time to kill in my book. Even still, I began to understand that this was another unique way to connect with people. The 'aha' moment.
Thanks to my gigantic 27” iMac screen, I was able to keep an eye on my Mail inbox while I was “pinning” away like a madman. Almost immediately after each pin, I was getting notified that someone was ‘re-pinning’ or sharing my images. Again, the novelty with Pinterest is that these are complete strangers. I still haven’t dug deep enough into the inner workings to determine what privacy settings there are, if any. It also appears that this type of activity is best left for rather generic photos, and not anything too personal.
There are two options for pinning:
- Add a Pin
- Upload a Pin
When you “Add a Pin” you are asked to enter a URL (web address) and Pinterest will automatically pull all the images from that website. For example, I went to Callaway Golf’s website and pulled a photo of Phil Mickelson and titled it “Lefty”. This seems to be the more popular or common way that Pinterest is used. I spent way too much time uploading my photos of the Eiffel Tower and the Hogwart’s School in Orlando before realizing that it probably wasn’t the most efficient way to go about this. I was actually “Uploading Pins” instead of “Adding Pins”.
“Uploading Pins” allows you to choose and image from your hard drive or desktop right onto your Pinboard. Again, these photos are best left to be more on the generic side, because anyone can browse and share your photos. I had the most fun with Giants Superbowl photos because they were almost immediately ‘shared’ and ‘liked’ by other “Pinners”.
So what can Pinterest do for my business?
That’s the real question. Mashable recently posted an article called Pinterest for Brands: 5 Hot Tips by Lauren Drell.
Here’s a quick rundown and excerpts from that article:
1. Promote a Lifestyle
“…pin images that capture a lifestyle and/or the essence of your brand.” Check out what other brands are doing on Pinterest for example: Gap is one of the early-adopters. See what they are doing on Pinterest and get inspired.
2. Use it like a Focus Group “ Look at the pinners who follow your brand — see what they’re pinning and who else they’re following.”
3. Crowdsource “You can ask fans to pin pictures of themselves with their favorite product of yours and tag you, and then you can easily repin those photos onto a VIP board”
4 . Run Contests “Since the site is relatively new, there aren’t that many case studies, but one company recently did a particularly good job harnessing the power of Pinterest. From December 14 through 21, Land’s End Canvas‘s “Pin It To Win It” campaign asked users to create a Pin It To Win It pinboard (in the women’s or men’s apparel categories) and pin 10 to 20 images from the Land’s End site or repin them from the Land’s End Pinterest page.”
5. Inspire your Team “There are a lot of inspiring things on the web, and you can create a sort of mood board for your company, pinning things that are relevant, interesting or inspiring to you brand and your team.”
A few months back I wrote a blog encouraging businesses to get on Google+ , even though the majority of people are still on Facebook. I said it was like getting to the party early, getting familiar with the lay of the land, and making sure you have a good spot to hang out at. The same advice goes for Pinterest, its so early that you can get in and make mistakes and no one will be the wiser. I’m still trying to really figure it out myself and more importantly get to better understand the benefits from a branding perspective.
Stay tuned because as I learn more, I will share more. One thing is for sure, if you run a company that appeals to women, brides in particular, you better get on this up and coming social network because you’ll definitely have a captive audience.
Hopefully this has peaked your Pinterest!
Pinterest for Brands: 5 Hot Tips
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest Works Better Than Google+