What's the interest with Pinterest? close

Mel Thompson
16th February 2012
What's the interest with Pinterest?

If you follow any tech blogs, or any blogs in general really, you’ll probably have noticed that in the past few months people are increasingly talking about ‘Pinterest’. But what exactly is it and why has it suddenly become the topic of conversation online?

An introduction to Pinterest

Pinterest.com is a site that allows you to create your own virtual pinboard, share your pinboard with others and browse theirs for ideas. Once you have it installed in your browser Pinterest’s ‘Pin It” button allows you to save any photos and videos to your pinboard as you browse the web. Essentially you end up with a pinboard of images that you like, are of interest to you or you may want to reference at a later date. You can then share them with the rest of the online community, getting opinions and feedback on ideas. However, you must show Pinterest etiquette, promising not to use your pin board as a blatant self-promotion tool, be respectful and tasteful in your comments to others and to try and make all pins linkable to their original source, where they prove most useful.

Pinterest.com launched in 2010 and has done nothing but grow since it was mentioned in Time Magazines “50 best websites of 2011” column last August. Dubbed the “next Facebook” their visitors grew over 400% to 11.7 million unique users by January 2012, making it the fastest site in history to break through to 10 million mark.

Pinterest built their successful model learning from Facebook and Twitter users, highlighting the new evolving pattern of social networks. They notice how users are interacting with visuals more than text, images are quick and easier to view - there is less effort required. We want to know what others are doing and we can see this quickly in a photograph and comment on it if need be. Facebook recently introduced the cover photograph on users profile as well as making the viewing sizes of photos bigger, more like a photo album. Instagram is proving very popular by allowing users to place effects on photos taken on their phone and share them with the Instagram community as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Now Pinterest are following suit and allowing the users to use their favourite images to do all the talking.

Members use Pinterest for many different reasons, organising a wedding, saving recipes, sharing and saving photography, or even to find redecorating ideas for their home. The Pinterest community can help you find more creative inspiration and ideas that you can then pass on to others.

Until now, looking for visual inspiration has often meant a Google images search but its pot luck as to whether you get decent results and once you have there is little you can do with the image. Similarly when you have found something of interest online, your options have been to bookmark the page, post it on social networks or maybe print it out, but there hasn’t been anywhere for you to quickly and easily collect ‘things’.

Pinterest addresses these problems with a community of creative minds , sharing quality images and inspiration. You can search by keyword, see what your Facebook and Twitter fans are pinning follow specific users to see everything that they pin or follow a category to see everything tagged to that category.

Pinterest for Business

Pinterest links customers to brands and products quickly and efficiently so small and big brands alike are using Pinterest to showcase the different elements that represent who they are and reach out to new customers.

We spoke to an interior stylist who told us “I love using Pinterest as it’s a great way to keep track of things I discover online. For my work as a Photographic Stylist it’s a useful tool for gathering inspiration for my shoots, it's also a great place to discover new companies, makers, designers whose work I could feature in my editorial styling. Plus it’s another way to market myself, and for people to hear about me and my work. I currently have links to Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr via my blog all of which are useful; they are all linked so they kind of feed off each other. “ Selina Lake - http://pinterest.com/selinalake/
Burberry were one of the first large brands to pick up on the growing trend of users sharing images and unlocked a new way of connecting with their audience via Instagram and Pinterest. And with Pinterest now referring more ecommerce traffic then Google+, Youtube, Reddit, and LinkedIn combined there’s no denying that this is a good strategy.

You can see some examples of what brands are up to here: http://www.strategist.org.uk/internet-marketing/7-examples-of-brands-that-pop-on-pinterest/

Currently, Pinterest doesn’t have an API for third parties to build brand marketing management for the platform, however with a bit of creativity your brand can make use of this opportunity to get ahead of the curve and start interacting with new customers. The possibility of your brand being a hit on Pinterest is possible, with it being re-pinned (very similar to re-tweeting on Twitter) hundreds of times over, with users commenting on the images and keeping the link to your site active.

However, it is just not good enough to say that you are on Pinterest, and that you post a few images every so often, you need to share the Pinterest love with your audience and other brands alike, providing the correct, interesting content is key. Everything uploaded to your board should have a link to your product or service, it should be relevant and conversational, it should be passed around the community from pin to pin. Pinterest is designed for looking for lifestyle choices and interaction with others that have similar interests. Be creative with your approach, people have to be absorbed into your brands, believing it to be a lifestyle choice. 

What next?

As the site becomes even more popular it will be interesting to see if they come up against any image rights battles. After all the concept of the start-up is based almost entirely on using images without the owner’s permission. Although Pinterest have issued a statement this month stating that they were “developing an improved method for copyright holders to report infringing content” this is definitely a potential downfall especially in an age when people are suing each other for fun.

It will also be interesting to see whether Pinterest continues to develop into a business platform, heavily used by brands and products to drive traffic. Whether this results in it losing some of its appeal to users is a concern but, as with any social network trend it’s always worth asking yourself “should I be using it?”.