For the past few months, everyone has been talking about Pinterest! No wonder : the hottest new thing in social media continues its rise and is gradually winning the heart of Internet users. Acording to a recent study by Shopify, Pinterest has become the third most important social media. An increasing amount of small and medium size businesses are digging their roots in Pinterest’s fertile grounds and are now reaping benefits. About two years ago, the general population invaded the platform, and now, brands have begun to show interest for it.
Of course, you wonder what use could there be for another social network in your daily routine where conversational platforms such as Facebook and Twitter already perfectly fill your needs. You’re probably thinking that there might be 19 million people pinning pretty pictures and sharing them with their subscribers, but that’s no reason for you to join the parade. Well perhaps you should reconsider your position. It seems that us ladies are in great number — according to Comscore, 68% of Pinterest users are women — to organize our lives with boards. Are they useful? Yes. Addictive? They sure are. Inspiring? Most definitely.
According to Comscore still, in January 2012, Pinterest users spent an average of more than 89 minutes on the site, which is more than on Twitter and Linkedin. For my part, I admit having spent countless hours there, renewing my wardrobe, shopping for antiques, or looking for cupcakes recipes, homerenovating tips and gardening ideas.
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What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a social platform that is similar to a scrapbook; for insiders, it could be described as a mix between Etsy, We Heart It, Polyvore and Tumblr. The service allows you to share your findings (images or videos gathered from other websites or blogs) by pinning them onto pinboards that are accessible to the community. Each pin shows a link that allows you to track back the original source, and each can also be commented. Your discoveries are categorized by themes and are found on the homepage where all community members can choose to share them, much like on Tumblr. The most popular topics are architecture, fashion and cooking; it’s up to you to explore the wide array of topics available.
Creating an account is done in a flash by connecting through your Facebook or Twitter account. Once your Pinterest account is created, all you need to do is add a Pin It button to your bookmark bar: this will help you regroup your favorite images from the Web into thematic collections. You can even upload images from your computer on the site. Other members can follow you, much like it is done on Twitter. It is also possible to discover content by exploring the themes, or by browsing the pins of members that you follow. You can like or comment your friends’ inspiring finds.
You can also link your Pinterest account to your Twitter account and automatically share your findings with your members on Twitter (be careful not to annoy them by posting too many pins). Pinterest also allows you to aggregate your activities on your Facebook account: this is a great way to dynamize your interactions with your Facebook friends.
Do not forget to customize your profile in the Settings section. And if you do not want your profile to appear in search engines, check out the Hide section.
Do you wish to find old friends? This can easily be done in the Find Friends section, with your email, Facebook, Gmail or Yahoo contact lists.
If you own an iPhone, you will find the Pinterest app to be quite convenient.
How can this be useful to you?
Pinterest can be used to plan vacations, manage projects (eg. to create mood boards to show your inspiration when redecorating your home). A pinboard can also be used as a shopping list or a list of products or gifts you wish to receive. Why not put your favorite recipes together on a pinboard? Pinterest offers endless possibilities: it is up to you to explore its potential!
A little netiquette
As on any content collection (curation) site, sources should always be cited on Pinterest. As its netiquette section suggests, it is preferable not to indulge in self-promotion, but rather focus on authenticity and respect towards others. You can read the Pinterest netiquette here.
And what else?
If I told you that 32% of online shoppers surveyed by bizrateinsights in March 2012 had made a purchase after visiting an image-sharing site such as Pinterest, would you consider using it as as a tool to increase your sales? In my next post, I will discuss how Pinterest can be used to optimize corporate presence. Until then, show us your pinboards and give us your opinion on this new platform by commenting this post.