What is Pinterest and Where have I been?

Day One: 5 Days of Pinterest

Introduction to Pinterest

Let’s go back to the beginning

As a business owner or consultant to a business, you are probably looking at Pinterest as a new medium for sales leads. And why wouldn’t you? We did this when Second Life came out. All the big companies hired staff to go and virtually engage members of this virtual world. Did it work? Some would say it did, but was it a lasting source of lead generation? I doubt it.

This may be your very first encouter with Pinterest, and that makes me happy because I can help you wade through the piles of material I have to keep on top of.

Don’t feel bad if you don’t know what Pinterest is, or haven’t “pinned” something to an online board. In fact, this may sound very foreign to you. It’s okay, because its meant to be fun. No pressure, no guilt. I will give you a chance to ease into it.

Pinterest is Number 4

Just the other day, Shareaholic.com published some interesting stats about Pinterest. Pinterest is now the fourth largest traffic source on the web. Its membership has a reach of 300 million people.

Pinterest is different than any other system, and is completely crowd-sourced (content is completely supplied by users). I will say this many times, but it is important to understand as business people, this community is growing every month, and the well over 200% a year. It is growing because it is based on discovery and enthusiasm, not organic traffic based on keywords.

Unlike Youtube and Facebook, both of which are passive, Pinterest is a community of enthusiastic, organized people who are passionate about a huge spectrum of concepts and ideas, that it is almost too vast at this point to say it is a community of any particular topic. Its like a very classy wikipedia, without all the boring bits.

Its All about Discovery

Pinterest is like a vast discovery centre, where millions of people have shared their greatest desires, clothes, goals, intimate details, and recipes for everyone to see. That may sound a bit creepy at first, but what this sharing does is it gives you ideas that you can borrow. Pinterest is also like a scrapbook of thousands of other image scrapbooks, where each image can be viewed, liked, commented on and “borrowed” by other people. There is a momentum that is very apparent when you are on Pinterest. Most people that borrow, also known as “repining” an image, do so with enthusiasm and purpose (important to note!).

Pinterest users are happy to share, and often repin the image onto a board that reflects their future goals. Such as, a new car they wish to buy, new household items, clothes, locations, or travel destinations.

These repins are shared between users, and often there is a viral effect, meaning it gets shared so much that it just takes off, ¬†that takes place. And again, unlike sites like Youtube and Facebook, this sharing is not a drag and drop motion, it is more deliberate. Pinterest users take pride in their pins and repins, otherwise it would just be busy work. There is a “method to the madness”!

The Framework

When you look at the Pinterest site, all of this creative activity can seem a bit chaotic, but its very simple, if you remember that Pinterest is comprised of five main components:

  • Your Account
  • Your “boards”
  • Your “Pins”
  • Your “repins, likes and comments”
  • Other people’s Accounts

All of these components work together to build this vast network. And this too, is very important to note!

This network is made up of thousands and thousands of images that link back to a website somewhere on the web. The image may be the author’s or one that was credited back to someone else:

Example of Pinned Images

Each image shows who originally pinned the image, how many likes, comments and repins the image has, and who was the last person to pin it, and where.

When a user types in a search keyword, Pinterest will present them with a collage of images from hundreds of people’s boards. This in itself instinctively creates a sense of discovery, and encourages users to pin and repin. The search criteria is based on the keywords that the author has associated with the image.

Notice the image of St. Paul’s Cathedral in the Collage above. It was last pinned by the Author, to his board called “My Photos”:

Example of a Pin Board

This image shows the Author’s Board, and all the images that have been pinned to it. I have highlighted where the image comes from and where you would find how many likes, repins and comments the image has. As an image, or Pin, gets more repins and likes, it gains more attention, which causes the image to surf around the network and be added to other people’s boards.

A Board author can have multiple boards associated with their Account, based on their tastes and goals. This is what gives Pinterest such a vibrant environment. In addition, this is why I said that your account is a vital component to the framework. You can view all of the boards a person has created, and you can follow one board, or all of them. Sort of like getting a graphical newsletter of their image postings.

Example of an account

When you initially log into Pinterest, you will be given a “news feed” that shows a selection of pins you have pinned, plus any comments or likes they were given, as well as a summary of repins and pins that were done by those people you are following.

When you drill down further into the Pinterest network, you learn more about specific people, or businesses, and the most important thing, what they are interested in. I will get into this further as the the week goes along, but if you look at the wording that many people use on their Pinterest Boards, it is often something that I call, “purchase-ready vocabulary”.

For example, if someone had a board with a title, “Clothes I like” they are most likely just showing their particular style, or getting some ideas. They may be ready to buy after they have really thought about it or looked around. However, if someone titles their board, “Clothes I am Buying” or “Clothes I am buying in the Fall”, they are using purchase-ready vocabulary.

So why is the Framework so important to my business?

I mention this framework, because it is what drives the whole process. As a business, you are looking for a way to tap into this growing community and ultimately provide valuable services or products to them. It is important to see how this community thinks, how they act and how they engage others. They speak through their boards and pins. There is great passion involved, and honestly, Pinterest users can smell a salesperson a mile away, so you need to prepare yourself.

In my next article, I will be discussing Why Pinterest is Important to your Business.

I welcome you to share this article with those that you know will find it valuable, and if you have any questions about Pinterest, social media marketing or Local business marketing, please make a comment below, or contact me through any of my channels.