by karen on October 11, 2013

I originally wrote this blog at the request of Bromley Hub website, an online local community magazine, who kindly published it on their site : and I thought it would be useful to repost a slightly edited version here for the benefit of my readers…

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is an internet-based site based on ‘pinboards’ and is the fastest growing social media network. Its ‘pinboards’ can be created by users and allow them to “pin” images, videos and other objects for others to see and share.

Who uses it?

With its origins in middle American handicrafts, Pinterest has rapidly expanded to become the fastest growing social networking site, with a wide audience for business and social use. Its user profile has developed from a bias towards middle aged American females to quite a different profile in the UK, where it has become particularly popular (but not exclusively so) with men and with the 25-34 age group.

Why would I want to use Pinterest?

Pinterest is particularly effective for anything arty, creative or visually impactful, although it is also used by wide-ranging individuals and organisations, from professional services and retail businesses, to voluntary organisations and lifestyle businesses. Some users use their pinboards to plan their wedding, or to gather inspiring ideas for decorating their home.

The following pin board has been inspired by gadgets:

This one by a great professional colleague on her passion for the colour purple:

And this one by gardens:

You can view the Pinterest site without being a user, so you can have a peek at it, without having to sign up:

Businesses on board

Businesses are using it to showcase their products and services, and to gather interesting or useful information relevant to their specialist fields. Some good Pinterest business examples are:

Etsy (online marketplace):

Aston Martin (cars):

Bedruthan Hotel & Spa (leisure):

ASOS (retail):

Do also take a look at how this Californian accountancy firm is using Pinterest creatively for its business:

However, at the time of writing, few local businesses have set up Pinterest boards, which means that you have the opportunity to make more of an impact in this area.

Ten Key Facts About Pinterest

Here are ten important things to know about Pinterest:

1. You can search for relevant keywords and categories of interest e.g. cars, fashion, gadgets, cakes, wine, photography, rugby etc

2. A pin is an image, with space for text and comments. A pin starts with an image or video you add. You can add a pin from a website or upload an image from your computer.

3. Any pin on Pinterest can be repinned, and all pins link back to their source.

4. You can create your own pin board based on a theme. Boards can be secret or public, and you can invite other people to any of your boards.

5. Pinterest allows you to ‘repin’ other people’s work on to your boards, to follow other people and to ‘like’ or comment on a pin.

6. You can add a ‘Pin it bookmarklet’ button to your internet browser toolbar, which allows you grab an image from any website and add it to one of your pinboards.

7. Your pins can be linked to your Twitter or Facebook account.

8. Your home feed is a collection of pins from pinners and boards you follow. It’s updated every time someone you follow adds a pin.

9. There is a Pinterest app for your mobile phone.

10. You can install a ‘Follow me on Pinterest’ button for your website, and register with Pinterest’s analytics to track traffic.

So how can Pinterest benefit me as a business?

An increasing number of adults, particularly those under 35 years of age, are using Pinterest for research purposes before making a purchase, an important trend for businesses. This is especially important when taking into account that the vast majority of adults trust peer group recommendations for products and services over those in commercial advertising campaigns.

It has emerged recently that buyers referred on from Pinterest boards are 10% more likely to buy something, and tend to spend 10% more on average than other social media users. All in all, this provides an appealing incentive for local businesses to explore this growing social network further to help to reach their target customers.

As a marketing and social media consultant, I use my own Pinterest boards to curate interesting information on social media, branding and engagement (in addition to logging my own global travel aspirations, which I did as a first stage exercise to see how well it worked) see:

Please feel free to follow me on Pinterest, or to repin any of the content on the boards. Happy Pinning!

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