What is Pinterest?

Join #560chat on Twitter, on Tuesdays from 12pm – 1pm. This week, Tuesday, March 6 we will be discussing Pinterest.  The following article was written by:

Erik Freer, Research Assistant on the PSMRT (Parsons Social Media Research Team).

What is Pinterest you might ask?  In its simplest forms, Pinterest is a social network where users can share with the world collections of images they are inspired by, desire or simply enjoy with anyone.  You can create your own collection or look at others. Like Tumblr or Twitter, Pinterest is a micro blogging tool.  With Pinterest, users create what the site calls “pin boards” that they can use to pin up their favorite inspirations, recipes, designs etcetera.  With the “Pin-it” bookmark button, which anyone can install on their web browser from the Pinterest website, it is easy to capture images while browsing the web and post directly to your own board. Themed boards are searchable and can be followed by other users.  Searching other boards can expose users to new images and ideas from other user posted content.  From those boards, users can link to source content, and this is where the fashion market has found its stake.

To start new users Pinterest has a blog and a 101 page, which are both quite helpful!

An example from the Pinterest 101 page sets us off with is examples such as Tim, who “uses Pinterest to share his personal style. He pins clothing, shoes and accessories he finds while browsing stores and fashion blogs.” And this is just the beginning.

Pinterest has a list of rules, or etiquette, which they expect users to abide by.  They ask users to be polite with commenting, credit images and links back to their original sources,  avoid self promotion and refrain from posting objectionable hateful content.

So why use Pinterest for your company or products?

Visual Identity:

Like a Facebook profile or a blog bio, a Pinterest account allows viewers to get an idea of who you are and what you are interested in, very quickly, with a clear and visual representation.  A collection of your passions can now be easily visualized, adding a much stronger level of informative content immediately.  And because the object of pinning is to strengthen your collection, or compare collections, it becomes addictive.  Also, its so easy, many collections amass a distinctive viewpoint on the individual and their theme before they even realize it, which is a fantastic way, as a marketer, to tap into differing demographics, or expose new designs and ideas.

Visual Communication (and movement):

Because Pinterest is one of the most powerful referral sights available on the web, now many consumers and going from images seen on Pinterest to their source.  Pinterest is driving more traffic than Google+. Publishers now create pin boards of their own to show users what inspires them, displaying the sources they publish in their magazines.  Publishers are communicating with users through commenting and the dialogue here is allowing for new connections to be made and humanizing their brands.  This is also a great visual way to catalogue user interests.  Michael Thomas of socialmediatoday.com says “One of the primary advantages about Pinterest is the feature where you can extract images from your website and use them as links to content too. For brands that have succeeded, the linking feature has been a key driver in their increased activity and exposure.”