Pinterest – Liz’s Perspective

Author: Jack Martin

Pinterest in its most general form is a graphical social bookmarking site. It is an online tool that neatly stores and categorizes all those images that you consume online. Instead of saving images to your desktop and later organizing into folders, on Pinterest each item you “pin” is immediately categorized by placing it on a labeled board. Since many of us are visual learners, this is a great way to store ideas for later use. Pinterest gets social by allowing users to view the pins of others in order to be inspired and share their visual knowledge. Others follow your boards and you follow them, creating a web of graphic interconnectedness. By linking with Facebook you can see which of your friends is on Pinterest and what they are posting. Above all, Pinterest is only as good as its users, contributing images to the site, everyone does their part in expanding Pinterest as an indepth resource.

I am a fan of Pinterest for its clean design and ease of use. I primarily use it to search for inspiration for projects. For example, by typing in the keywords “vintage posters,” I am presented with an archive of interesting images arranged in a much easier to consume format than a Google image search. I look at different layouts, type, and color palate and repin images on a mood board I create for each specific project. This helps me organize my thoughts and start to narrow down visual elements and style for the project. Though not much of a chef myself, I see that others enjoy using Pinterest for keeping track of recipes they like or want to try in the future. Others use it to record their favorite books and recommendations.

Pinterest is a social media platform that is only just starting to be utilized by companies to market their products and services because it takes a little inventiveness on their part to capture followers. It is not as easy as putting up a company Facebook page, but instead has the potential to open a direct visual interaction with consumers. Some examples I found of how companies are using Pinterest include:

Add a “Pin It” widget to their website. Giving consumers an easy way to post products to Pinterest gives companies even more exposure throughout the web which makes more people aware of their goods.
Create a company board. This gives consumers an idea of what a company is all about and what it stands for. This could translate into a lifestyle board and encompass what or where you can use the company’s products.
Use it as a focus group. See what is trending and what your consumer base is interested in.
Broadcast your latest news, sales, or tips. Pinterest is one of many social media devices that make it easy to get your company message out to a wide variety of consumers.

Michael’s Arts Crafts is an example of a company using Pinterest to its advantage. Michael’s engages shoppers by creating custom pin boards showing possible craft projects and tools. Also, they installed “Pin It” buttons near each of their products on their website to allow easy pinning.

Overall, I have to admit that Pinterest gets stereotyped as being a female dominant site. Images of fashion, small animals, and décor are abundant. However, I challenge all the naysayers to start pinning! By building the database of images, Pinterest can only get better and more inclusive to people of all interests. In a single week in December of 2011, Pinterest generated 11 million visits according to Experian Hitwise. Just imagine the visual library that all these people could build.

Below is an example of a moodboardI created in Pinterest for a project I’m working on for a girls’ summer camp. I collected images that demonstrate the colors and graphic style that I want to incorporate in my design.

Are you using Pinterest yet?

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