The new social networking site known as Pinterest is a fun and fashionable alternative to the other social networking sites that have become so mundane these days. How Pinterest works is simple: users simply “pin their interests”. The main page is essentially a giant bulletin board and users are able to vote up posts and comment on posts as well as re-pin the posts on the board. For all you social media buffs, think of it as a more graphical/picturesque Tumblr with Digg or Reddit voting features. Users are able to create their own topics or, “boards” and then allow other users to post on them, as the primary goal is to have people connect other people to the topics and pages that they find interesting.
To begin on Pinterest, you must first request an invite from the site. If you know someone that is already on Pinterest, ask them for a beta invite. This will be a quicker process. Once on Pinterest, you can begin creating and pinning. One of the best things about Pinterest is the ability to allow users to pin subjects on their bulletin boards without being on the page. Pinterest has a “bookmarklet” toolbar that displays a “pin-it” button at the top of their web browser and this then allows users to directly post onto their board while not even being on the Pinterest page.
On a user’s Pinterest page, their profile picture will be displayed to the left of the page and above it will be how many people they are following and how many followers they have. (Yes, just like Twitter). Under the profile picture is where the small biography should be. Make sure to fill this out extensively so people see that you are actually active on the site and you will encourage more engagement. The categories of the boards are then created by you, and pages and images regarding the topic will be pinned to those boards. And despite claims that Pinterest is just for females, it is starting to trend for the men, too. There are pages and categories of Jordan basketball shoes and high end golf clubs, just to name a few.
To begin pinning, you will first have to start browsing the web to find a website that has a graphic that you would like to pin. When this happens, simply go over to the Pinterest bookmarklet and click “pin-it”. After clicking this, a window displaying all of the images on the page will show up, and you will need to click on the image that you want pinned and select which category you would like the image to be placed in. After doing this, you can add a description to the image that is selected as well as add tags to help others to find the pin. When you choose to follow certain people, you will then add all of their material to the main bulletin board that is displayed on the home page of your Pinterest, similar to the news feed feature on Facebook.
Pinterest is a big trend right now. Although very popular with females (recipes, clothes, fashion, shoes, etc), there is huge potential with men as well, and more importantly, with businesses. There have been some businesses that are using Pinterest in their social media strategy. Not to mention, each “pin” sends a link back to your website, which is instrumental on a search engine optimization (SEO) point of view as well.
How do you feel about Pinterest? How disruptive is Pinterest? Would you use it for personal use or for business? Both?
Tanner Mangum is a marketing director at the bamboo iphone wallet case startup outside Salt Lake City, Utah. He spends his time paintballing, traveling, and snowboarding.