Pinterest screen shot
Pinterest screen shot

What the Heck Is Pinterest and Why Should You Care? Let Us Tell You.

A lot has been said lately about the social media world’s latest darling: Pinterest.

New tools and platforms come and go rather quickly in the social media world, but all the excitement surrounding Pinterest’s “coming of age” is not unwarranted. This is a new social network that’s actually worth paying attention to.

Why? Well, among other reasons, Pinterest hit 13 million users in just 10 short months, making it one of the fastest growing websites in history. And it’s already being used by more than 100 brands. In the U.S., users are overwhelmingly female (a fact that’s earned the site a bit of mocking), but in the U.K., they’re male. Either way, people who use Pinterest are a passionate, addicted bunch who just love talking about the site.

Need more? Check this out: Pinterest drives more web traffic to other sites than Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined. That’s right — combined.

So what is Pinterest?

Similar to Reddit or StumbleUpon, Pinterest is like a virtual bulletin or cork board that allows users to find and curate images and videos. Unlike other photo sharing sites, the emphasis here is on the discovery and curation of other people’s content, not storing your own.

This is certainly right on trend with social media’s continued emphasis on rich media — think of Twitter’s enhanced video and photo viewing as well as the recent changes to Facebook’s image viewer.

How does it work?

Pinterest allows you to use visual assets like photos or infographics as a type of social currency in their own right — garnering likes and “repins,” the equivalent of shares or retweets — instead supplementing web pages, blog posts, or other text-based media.

You can easily post images from other websites to your Pinterest account using the “Pin it” task bar button, or you can just browse the Pinterest platform to discover, like, or “repin” content others have already posted.

This visual aspect of the site is one reason why it’s captured the interest of so many businesses, from retailers to photographers and designers, who are using it as a portfolio or product catalog. Customers and clients can say which products they love (shoes, bottles of alcohol, furniture … you name it) and want to buy for themselves, and their friends can further the endorsement by pinning the pictures to their own walls.

How do you keep all your interests separate?

Under each Pinterest account, you can create and curate multiple boards. This is an interesting solution to the problem of having one social media account, but various interests.

For example, many people manage two Twitter accounts, one for business and one for pleasure. But on Pinterest, you can curate boards that are totally unrelated and it doesn’t unnecessarily clutter your followers’ streams.

That’s right, you follow people on Pinterest (like you follow people on Twitter) but you can choose to follow all of a user’s boards or just one — so that you can find the content that’s most relevant to your interests. This type of followship up-ends the Facebook model where content segmentation lies in the hands of the Page or Profile only, not the friend, fan, or member.

Can you control who can pin to your boards?

Yes. You can create boards that only the admin can pin to or boards that allow the admin and other specific people to pin. Or you can create a community board that anyone can pin to.

This multi-tiered curation model under a single profile is unique to the platform and one of the reasons why I believe Pinterest has captured the imagination of social media nerds (like me).

So what should a small business do with Pinterest?

You can join Pinterest as a business which gives you metrics to see what content from your website is most popular on Pinterest.

I recommend that you get comfortable with the platform as a user first, and then use that knowledge to work on your business presence.

One thing you can do now is use the site to get inspired: All that visual content will surely bring to mind ideas for marketing campaigns, photos, products, and other content. Sign up, browse around, and let the site help you brainstorm your own projects.

What’s next?

In the near future, another social media verb — “pin” — will likely be as commonly recognized in our lexicon as “tweet” and “Like.” This adoption was certainly helped by the inclusion of “pin” in the initial rollout of Facebook’s social actions.

Given Pinterest’s current growth rate, I expect that’s just the first of many ways this site will take over all of our lives.

Stuck for content ideas or think your business has no business being on Pinterest? Stay tuned for a follow up blog post with tons of easy content ideas that you can use for your business. In the meantime …

We want to know if you’re using Pinterest. Let us know in the comments section below. If you’re using it already, why not connect with Constant Contact?

Comments:

Leave a comment »
  1. I love it! Been on for a few months personally and started a account for our company. I actually called Constant Contact yesterday to find out when you were going to have the Pinterest icon that we can link to.. Our customers are already following our boards. We have the Pin It Button on our blog also.

    Reply
    • Going to sound ignorant here, Stephanie, but can you tell me: Do you have the Pin It Button right on your blog? I’m just now trying to figure that out. Any help much appreciated. Thanks.

      Reply
      • Love love love it.. Got the pin button on everything… refer to it in emails! Starting using it the first year they came out with it.. Glad CC got on board with it.. Now you need to get Instagram up and going with CC.. :) just saying…

        Reply
  2. [...] haven’t tried it out yet, I recommend it (though be prepared, it can be quite addicting).  Via blogs.constantcontact.com Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Posted by beingyourbrand [...]

    Reply
  3. Pinterest is driving clients to my services! Anxious for you to create a Pinterest button that I can add to my emails.

    Reply
    • Martin Lieberman •

      Hi Pam. So glad to hear that Pinterest is working for you and your business!

      We love the idea of adding a Pinterest button to our emails, so we’ll see what we can do. In the meantime, check this site out: http://pinterest.com/about/goodies/ There are lots of buttons there that you can add to your image library and use to link to your website.

      Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  4. We offer all the latest rhinestone embellished merchandise for all you gals out there.!

    Reply
  5. When my daughters first told me to join Pinterest I laughed and said it wasn’t of interest to me. NOW…. I check it regularly and have begun sharing some of MY interests. I too believe this will be a great marketing tool. Looking forward to your follow up blog.

    Peggy Sweeney
    http://journeysthrugrief.wordpress.com/

    Reply
  6. I am using it and love it!

    Reply
  7. customers from our last email that have started following us on pinterest is really up in just one day..

    Reply
  8. I have created some boards that others are following. I didn’t understand how to use it before reading this website.

    Reply
  9. I opened my personal Pinterest account in April last year and have roughly 1,000 items across 10 boards… I opened an account for our Luxury real estate business last week and have close to 300 items. Such a great way to connect with others and share inspiration with creative minds around the world!

    Reply
  10. Just starting to use it.

    Reply
  11. [...] everyone else was obsessing about Google+ and Pinterest, MySpace actually gained some ground last month. According to comScore, the all-but-forgotten [...]

    Reply
  12. The power of Pinterest is mind-boggling. I pinned away one night, adding both personal pins and our products for fun – the next day I had over 600 re-pins, I could not believe it!
    Now trying to figure out how we can do a ‘Pinning Contest’ to test that out too.
    My concern however, is that I’ve found many of my pins on other boards and the links and original source are NOT there. Can this be prevented? I can see this becoming a very real copyright issue if not. There must be a way, anyone know how to prevent this? Thx.
    BTW, I’m such a huge advocate for Constant Contact, we’re breaking all records by changing focus from traditional advertising to Social Media based using newsletters and contests to our advantage. Our locations clear across the Country are ALL experiencing this growth and a big part of that because of you, Constant Contact and the services you provide. (in 6 months we’re at 14,000 newsletter subscribers). Very impressed !!!

    Reply
    • Erica Ayotte •

      Debbie– thanks for your comment and for your kind words! It’s a good point you bring up–and one that Pinterest has recently been criticized for. A pin will link back to the website from where it was pinned. That being said, it’s always a best practice to refer to the original source. I’ll do this in the “say something about this pin” area.

      Reply
  13. [...] And believe it or not some businesses don’t want a boost in website traffic from Pinterest. [...]

    Reply
  14. [...] fans recently posted on our wall, asking for a Pinterest button in our Email Marketing product. (Pinterest is a fast-growing social network with more than 13 million users, where you can create “pinboards” of images you’ve found [...]

    Reply
  15. [...] retailers, artists, and other tastemakers have flocked to Pinterest as way to show off their products, their work, or their [...]

    Reply
  16. [...] you’re still wondering what the heck it is, or are actively using it, everyone is still wondering one thing about Pinterest: What’s it [...]

    Reply
  17. [...] Line: Pinterest is worth exploring for online retailers, especially those with products that have a strong visual element. As with any [...]

    Reply
  18. [...] What the Heck Is Pinterest and Why Should You Care? Let Us Tell You. (blogs.constantcontact.com) [...]

    Reply
  19. [...] What the Heck Is Pinterest and Why Should You Care? Let Us Tell You.(blogs.constantcontact.com) [...]

    Reply
  20. [...] What the Heck Is Pinterest and Why Should You Care? Let Us Tell You. (blogs.constantcontact.com) [...]

    Reply
  21. [...] you’re retail or art or graphic design – take a look at Pinterest. It’s getting a lot of buzz right now of course, but its driving a lot of traffic and a lot of [...]

    Reply
  22. [...] Bottom Line: Pinterest’s sudden popularity amongst retailers shouldn’t be a surprise. The site is not only surging in popularity, but its visual layout is perfect for the demands of the retail industry. If you’re a retailer who is just starting out on Pinterest, it may be worth rethinking the social media networks that you’re promoting with your emails and consider incorporating Pinterest into your marketing strategy. [...]

    Reply
  23. [...] What the Heck Is Pinterest and Why Should You Care? Let Us Tell You. (blogs.constantcontact.com) [...]

    Reply
  24. I am finding Pinterest great for my business. Firstly I work predominantly with women as I have a craft based business. Quite a bit of business comes via my blog, so by putting up pin-worthy photos of projects I get “pinned”… which leads more traffic to my blog. I would like to get better at this, and take advantage of it more, but it is still early days, and I am hoping this will grow.

    Reply
  25. shiv •

    I am an affiliate (individual not an organization)……how can I join pinterest as a normal account for join as a business.Please help

    Reply
  26. Thanks for this post. It clarifies many questions I had, in particular whether or not you could have multiple/unrelated boards attached to one account.

    Reply
  27. I’m a traditional media company. I publish a monthly, regional horse publication. We’ve lost much of our business to social media. The biggest asset we have is great content. How can we change our business model to take advantage of social media rather than lose our business to it. I do spend a great deal of time posting to all my social media channels but spend most of my time on Facebook. I use Constant Contact for my newsletters and love using it

    Reply
  28. […] Ayotte E, (n.d.) What the Heck is Pinterest and Why Should You Care? Let Us Tell You, retrieved on 3rd March 2014, retrieved from         http://blogs.constantcontact.com/product-blogs/social-media-marketing/what-the-heck-is-pinterest-and… […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply