Pinterest – the new social network

Pinterest is fast becoming a social media phenomenon with an increasing number of brands using it to engage with consumers online. So what is it?

Have you ever come across truly stunning images of places you’d like to visit, beautiful living spaces you’d like to take inspiration from or food recipes you’d like to try? Did you then forget what they were and where you found them because you have no central place to keep them all? Well, now you do.

It’s the simplest ideas that have the biggest impact and Pinterest is no exception. With over 1.4 million registered users using the site for an average of 15 minutes a day, in less than two years the online virtual pin board has burst into the social networking space and become one of the fastest growing social sites.

Launched in March 2010, Pinterest provides users with a beautiful platform for personal expression, a chance to escape and craft a visually perfect world of everything you believe in, aspire to be and desire in life.

The picture-sharing social networking site allows users to create their own individual online profile. Users can then ‘pin’ various images or videos of their ‘interests’ and products they love onto their profile’s virtual, categorised pin boards, which are then shared with the rest of the Pinterest community. For instance, the pin boards on my profile consist of home décor, places to visit, food and drink, modes of transport, film, books and apparel.

Just like Twitter, you can follow users who share your interests to see their latest pins as well as see what all other users are pinning, all of which are categorised so you can easily browse what you’re looking for. You can then like and repin posts onto your own pin boards. Likewise, users can do the same with your pins, allowing you to quickly and easily share your posts.

Pinterest allows you to connect your profile with Facebook and Twitter, and the iPhone app also means you can pin on the go!

Although there is something for everyone on the site, 58 per cent of users are female, aged between 25 and 44 so it’s no surprise that pins are dominated by home décor, crafts, fashion and food.

But it’s not just individuals that are using it. Each image or video pinned links back to its original source online and in January alone, Pinterest generated more referral traffic to websites than YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn combined! Currently, over 100 brands are proactively using the social networking site to promote their products and services across a wide variety of sectors such as GAPWhole Foods Market and Unicef, and this is set to increase at a rapid speed.

So how can brands be utilising Pinterest to engage with communities online?

Some great tips can be found on this blog but here’s a few:

  • Connect your account with Facebook and Twitter to help you gain followers. Social media icons will be added to your Pinterest profile.
  • Add your website URL and a description about your brand.
  • Tag other Pinterest users in your pin using the @username in the description box to build your network of followers.
  • Comment on and ‘like’ other people’s pin to engage with users.
  • In the same way as Facebook and Twitter, don’t over-promote yourself. Remember you need to be engaging with your online audience.
  • Create themed or seasonal boards that relate to your brand.
  • Track who’s pinning your stuff and use this to shape your content strategy.
  • Above all, make your boards visually interesting so your brand is personally appealing.

 

For individuals, you now have somewhere to keep all the inspirational things you see – but don’t forget its good practice to credit the brand or source of the images and videos.

I won’t lie, it’s easy to get carried away and hours can pass whilst you procrastinate looking at things you might never be able to afford, do or be. But, we can dream. I confess, I am a Pinterest addict.

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