I have just started using Pinterest and have to admit that I absolutely love it.
If you’ve not yet discovered Pinterest, it is fast becoming an extremely addictive social media phenomenon. It was launched in March 2010, within only ten months reached its 10 millionth user and according to a report by Shareaholic (source article) , in January 2012 it reached 260 million unique visitors, driving more referral traffic than Google+, Linkedin, and YouTube combined. Staggering figures indeed.
So what exactly is it? I like to think of it as a modern-day scrapbook, a virtual image board. People ‘Pin’ photos (and videos) to boards which others can ‘like’, add comments to or ‘Re-pin’ to their own boards.
It’s a great way to visually share the things you like, whether your home decorating tips, photos of your favourite pet, or even your wedding shots!
Here’s a screen shot of some of the boards I have created for Work Your Way so far, which I obviously hope to grow over time.
As you can see, each board is effectively a mini photo album of various interests. Even if your intention is to advertise your business, start off by getting your name out there and becoming active with other members.
The best way to do this is by repinning images you like on other people’s boards and pin them to one of your own. You can have as many boards as you like. So do include fun, lighthearted ones as well as your business related ones.
Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Your boards should be a reflection of you as much as your business. The trick is to marry the two together.
Can you use Pinterest to promote your business?
Well some businesses lend themselves beautifully to this type of sharing – photographers, artists, designers (a word of caution – ensure your images are copyrighted/watermarked), magazines and similarly anything an easily be promoted visually.
Others, require a degree of creativity, but it is still possible. Here are just a couple of examples I particularly like for their creative use of Pinterest:
- Writer – WordCount on Writing: See how the author here shares images on a variety of topics related to writing, including what inspires her? There are many other writers who use Pinterest in this way.
- Poet – Andrew Dugas: I think this is simple yet effective. This particular poet writes a different Haiku each day, takes a photo of his writing and posts it to his board. If you’re a poet and not yet using Pinterest, check out other poets to see what they are pinning to their boards.
- Technology Blog – Mashable: Let’s face it, we all love Mashable. But I still think it’s worth pointing out how they use Pinterest. Not surprisingly, their boards are a fascinating mix of everything related to technology as well as some light-hearted humour thrown in for good measure.
- Non Profit Organisation: Woof Adopt a Dog Cute! It has a specific purpose in mind, of course, but who wouldn’t fall in love with these adorable pooches?
As with other social networking sites, the best way to use Pinterest is by sharing and engaging with others. Overt self-promotion is a no-no – so for example, you should ideally Pin from various sources and not just one specific (your own) site.
Do also re-pin from within the community to engage with others – to me, this is much like re-tweeting – and comment on others’ boards.
I love the visual appeal of Pinterest. This might explain its popularity among women, although it is increasingly being adopted by men now too.
What about you. Do you use Pinterest? Care to share what you love or hate about it?