I’ve heard of Pinterest, and I’ve seen plenty of friends jump on the Pinterest bandwagon. At first glance, it almost appears similar to Tumblr in that you can post content you like, create, or just want to share with the world. Then, this morning an article crossed my screen that discusses how Pinterest is becoming the next “big thing” in social media for businesses.
With that said, I needed to check it out. If there’s a bandwagon driving by, I need to see what all the fuss is about.
I first learned that I could not create an account without being invited. I signed up to be notified when I would be invited, and this happened relatively quickly – a matter of days. Great!
I then signed up for an account, quickly noticing that I need to link it to my Twitter or Facebook page. I opted for Facebook and noted that at the time of this writing, I could only link it to my personal profile, not our company page. I’m sure that will change in no time though. I did take a moment to email my boss to let her know that I was creating the account for the business so she wouldn’t think I was slacking off.
The first thing it asked is for me to check off some interests so it could suggest people to follow. I assumed that it would be similar to Facebook or even Google+ where it finds people you may want to connect with and then gives you the chance to do so. Not so much….not only did it automatically start following people for me, it also threw in 20 of my Facebook friends for good measure. I’m assuming, again, that these 20 friends also have Pinterest accounts. But what if I’d rather they not know I am on Pinterest? I could unfollow them – I just hope they don’t get notification that I’m following (or unfollowing) them. I don’t want any hurt feelings over this.
Because Pinterest took the liberty of following a lot of people for me, I suddenly felt very…exposed. And the pressure was on to create something! I surely didn’t want people to notice I’m following them, only to come visit my sad, blank space. But because I didn’t quite know what I was doing yet, I had nothing to pin. Word of caution: if you’re going to start a Pinterest account, take some time to check out others’ accounts to get ideas on what you want to do. Spend some time finding imagines, quotes, or anything else you may want to put on your boards to have ready to go as soon as the account is created.
Now it’s time to create some boards. What I’ve learned is that each board is a grouping of a theme. For example, brides to be can create a board for pictures of wedding dresses they like to get others’ feedback. Once boards are created, users can comment on or share things you’ve “pinned” and you can do the same with others’ boards. This will take some time, and as of this writing, I have failed at creating anything interesting. It will be a work in progress.
How does this benefit busiensses? If you have a business with tangible items, of course you’ll want to create boards around the items, and link back to your website to try to increase sales. To make your account more interesting, you will have to flesh it out with non-business related things, maybe including boards for staff hobbies and interests. If your business is intangible, or service related, you’ll have to get a little creative to create boards that represent your brand or industry. Think outside the box and make it fun so people will visit, interact, and become familiar with you and your brand on a more personal level. And, as with any social media site, you will need to engage with other Pinterest users to get the most out of the experience.
If you’re banging your head against the wall right now, trying to figure out how you will find time to build yet another social media site AND participate, don’t worry! As with any bandwagon, you want to take some time to look around, find friends who are on Pinterest, and see if it’s something your business may benefit from. It’s not for all businesses, and depending on your social media initiatives, you may want to wait before jumping in. Since the one demographic using Pinterest at this time is women and moms, it may be beneficial to look into Pinterest if your business caters to this group. Based on my limited experience with Pinterest, I would say it’s not something companies need to focus on heavily, if at all right now. If you’re just delving into the social media world for your business, this is not the first place to spend time with, though it may be something to consider down the road.
If you’re still curious about Pinterest, you can take a look at this case study that shows how one pediatric staffing firm has used Pinterest. You can also visit the website and poke around, just to see what’s out there.
Do you have experience with Pinterest, either on a personal or business level? If so, we’d love to hear about your experience with it! In the meantime, I’m going to create some boards and see what happens!