Questions about Pinterest?
What is it?
Unless you’ve just returned from a six month stint living in a remote village in Greenland, you’ve got no excuse for not knowing about Pinterest. It’s a relatively new social networking tool for ‘collecting and organizing things you love’ (Pinterest website description), but it’s already outdoing some of the biggest sites out there. Put simply, it’s an online ‘pinboard’ allowing users to create image collages, and then share their interests with other Pinterest users.
Why do people like it?
It’s addictive; very, very addictive. Users can spend hours drawn in by the huge selection of images, boards, and inspiring ideas available on the site. It’s friendly, it’s fun, and above all, it’s very easy on the eye. It’s entirely image based, and the general vibe is positive- there’s no one moaning about their day on status updates like on Facebook, and there’s no challenges to fit the content of your mammoth lunch time sandwich in 140 characters- like on Twitter.
Who uses it?
Perhaps a more suitable question would be who doesn’t use it? Pinterest has nearly 12 million users and that number is constantly on the increase. They’re beating all other social networking sites when it comes to user activity; Pinterest’s members spend an average of 89 minutes a day browsing the site.
What do they use it for?
Why do users of any social media site use them? To interact, pass the time or find out what’s going on in the cyber world. Users specifically on Pinterest are often looking for something new; inspiration or ideas, something they don’t already know about which has been recommended by someone else. It’s completely different to platforms like Facebook and Twitter in the way that it’s all visual, and the saying ‘a picture says a thousand words’ has never rung so true. You don’t need to be ‘friends’ with people or ‘follow’ them to view their pins either, so the content is available to users is extremely vast compared to other sites.
Why should I use it?
Pinterest may look beautiful, but it’s not all fluffy animals and cute craft projects; it’s rapidly becoming a favorable marketing tool for a wide range of products and companies. It’s a fantastic way of demonstrating your passion and expertise in a particular area, and when your content engages people, they can like it or share it with a repin, which helps your content spread virally. We all know how powerful word of mouth is, so think of Pinterest’s spreading abilities as an image version of your neighbor telling his neighbour how great you are, and them telling their neighbour, who tells their neighbour and so on. Through this, you get to reach people you may never have had the chance of accessing.
How can it benefit me?
As an editor, author or contributor, you still have content worth sharing. Although your content isn’t going to be image based you can encourage interest by posting related themed images or images from your blog. As long as you regularly maintain a blog and include photos with each post, you can link them to Pinterest and, if they attract attention, people will click through to see where they originated.
Getting engaged with other authors or industry professionals can also benefit you. Social media users are discouraged by too much self-promotion, but promoting, or in this case ‘re-pinning’, the work of others will be appreciated by users. You’ll be giving your followers solid recommendations and broadening their knowledge; providing them with more content of interest, which they will value you for- great for building audience rapport.