Pinterest: The Next Social Media Craze

“Pinterest?  What the heck is a Pinterest?”

That was my reaction when I heard its name for the first time.  I thought maybe it was a financial reward for remembering my bank account’s password code!  Suddenly, it seems I can’t go longer than a couple of hours without hearing that name.  So I decided to solve the mystery of Pinterest for myself!

Simply put, Pinterest is one of the newest social media platforms.  It is rapidly gaining in popularity as more and more people request an invitation to join – the only way you can gain entry right now.  My curiosity was especially piqued when I started hearing about its potential uses as a social media outlet for online marketing.

The concept behind Pinterest is pretty simple.  A person’s “profile” consists of a board (or multiple boards) upon which that person posts, or “pins,” pictures or videos that he/she wishes to share with the world.  The person categorizes the pinned media (as well as the board), comments about it, and can tag others with whom he/she has connected on the platform.  Comments from others can also be enabled, as can sharing across other people’s platforms. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.

Personal Sharing vs. Online Business Promotion

The creators of Pinterest specifically state that they wish for their new platform to remain a channel for personal connecting and sharing, as opposed to an outlet for promoting commerce.  Even so, there do exist some strategies for doing a little “soft” promoting.  For example, you can pin a picture that is included in your blog.  Those people who interact by liking or commenting on the picture will then be exposed to your blog post – and your website.  You can also configure a button which invites your website visitors to pin any pictures they may find appealing to their boards, thereby sharing your relevant business media with the Pinterest world and beyond.  In addition, there is a mechanism for posting prices on the pictures that you pin. The value of that is certainly self explanatory.  Furthermore, you can configure one or more of your boards to accept pins from the Pinterest community.  This is a great way to encourage interaction and reviews of your products/services, as well as to get a feel for the likes and preferences of those people who interact with your board(s).

For any merchant who wants to push the envelope a little, even though doing so risks the ire of the Pinterest community, there are more direct ways to use the platform to promote products and services.  Tracy Sestili recently listed a few more direct pointers in her blog, “How to Use Pinterest for Your Business.” Among them are:

  • You can create boards for types of products you sell.
  • Add boards for “things we love this week” or “Sale items”
  • Service providers can create boards for “Tips and Tricks”
  • Create a public board where you can get input from your customers, such as “Top picks”
  • Once Pinterest opens its doors to everyone (and no longer invitation only), consider offering a discount to just Pinterest subscribers – all they have to do is follow a specific board or like a specific pin.
  • You can also tweet your pins.

Brand new as it is, Pinterest is a social media platform that will continue to grow both in utility and popularity.  As it continues to evolve, and as more social media enthusiasts see its value on both personal and professional levels, I believe the platform will carve a bigger and bigger niche for itself in the world of social media interaction.

from a "random comedy" Pinterest board!

Are you using Pinterest yet?  How are YOU employing its features?  Please let us know in the comments section!


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