Social media is always expanding and doing so at such a rapid rate that it seems nearly impossible to come up with new ideas that will actually catch on. Key words: nearly impossible. The recent development of Pinterest has provided social media fanatics with a truly original and exciting way to express themselves and connect with others online.
What is Pinterest? Pinterest is an invitation-only site used for uploading and sharing images and ideas that users find interesting, inspiring, funny, cool, heartwarming, useful, etc. These images, known as Pins, are placed onto Boards, which are categories determined by the user. These 100% customizable Boards can be given any theme imaginable at the creative disposal of the user.
How can this possibly be considered social media? Pinterest is not simply a way of bookmarking images and keeping track of ideas. There is also an important interactive component. In the footsteps of Twitter, Pinterest allows users to follow other accounts, freely comment on images, mention other users using the @ technique, and re-pin images onto their own Boards (similar to re-tweeting). In essence, Pinterest is online community building because it helps users connect with those who have similar interests.
Could Pinterest be used professionally? Absolutely. With its rising popularity, Pinterest is a great way to interact with a wide audience. For example, by placing images of new products on Pinterest, consumers can comment directly on the photos providing immediate feedback and firsthand opinions. However, be careful when promoting on Pinterest. It can be considered tacky to spam your Boards with pictures of your own products or services. Instead, Pin images that show the ideas where your business finds inspiration, pictures of employees in action, images of philanthropic outreach, and interact directly with other users.
Why use Pinterest? There are many reasons, but here are just a few:
Access to a wide audience: although Pinterest is only about a year old, the number of users is growing at a rapid rate. Today there are about 4 million users, and the site attracts an average of 11 million visits each week.
It gives the audience what it wants: social media is such an integral part of life today that users are visiting outlets several times a day just to check in. What the audience doesn’t want is a text-heavy site that takes a long time to sift through. That’s why Pinterest’s focus on the visual is a huge advantage for attracting attention and frequent visits.
Humanization of your business: individuals use Pinterest as a means for self-expression. It can do the same for a business or organization by allowing you to show what you are made of and relate to users on a personal level.