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Pinterest is hot. The image-based social media site is used primarily by women (according to Mashable, 68.2 percent of Pinterest users are women), but it’s gaining traction with savvy brand marketing gurus and image-oriented companies because of its growing popularity.
Mashable also reports that Pinterest is logging an average of 1.36 million users daily. If you’re a visual artist or product-oriented entrepreneur, you should probably be on Pinterest.
So what is Pinterest? The concept behind Pinterest is simple. Much like Twitter and Facebook, it’s a social media site that enables people to share ideas, “follow” others, comment on and “like” posts, and repost content.
A few differences are that on Pinterest, “posts” are called “pins” and content is all image-based (although images may include text, such as infographics or inspirational messages). Pinterest users might load their own images or grab images from blogs or websites that inspire them. A handy downloadable “bookmarklet,” available from Pinterest, allows you to instantly pin an image to your Pinterest account.
Images are pinned to “boards,” which are collections of images organized by the user. You can also organize your board within one of 32 Pinterest categories, such as Food & Drink, Design, DIY & Crafts, Hair & Beauty, Technology or Photography, which makes it easier to search.
“You put it in your own context,” said Internet Marketing Course Director Kerry Gorgone. “So you might pin something for one reason. I can re-pin it in a completely different board on a different topic for my own reasons, and in that sense, put it in a whole new light for my audience. So
it’s very easy to share and to change the entire light in which you share something.”
Pinterest can be used in a variety of ways. Many people with hobbies or interests in design, crafts, fashion, cooking and architecture use it for visual inspiration.
“It makes it easier for people to share their content, to share ideas, inspiration, recipes – I love recipes; that’s my favorite part,” said Internet Marketing Course Director Timi Cornell. “It reminds me of email a little bit, but it makes it easier for people to share compared to email.”
The viral aspect of Pinterest is also not lost on savvy brand managers and marketers.
“A lot of brands are using it,” said Kerry Gorgone. “I was just reading about the top 20 brands on Pinterest in terms of followers and some of them or most of them are visual brands, like HGTV, for example, or Kate Spade New York because they’re visual brands with visual products. But Whole Foods, which you wouldn’t think of as a visual brand, is also gaining traction there… They have pin boards for recipes and organic living and things related to the lifestyle, so I think they’re just finding another way to serve their audience.”
“It’s just another way for companies and people to deliver content to the people and have it spread like wildfire,” added Internet Marketing Course Director Tiffany Bruss. “Maybe it’s just the image, or maybe it’s a motivational quote, but providing recipes or providing tips for whatever, companies can take advantage of that and then have that be re-pinned by all these people.”
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“Pinfluencers” like the Internet Marketing Course Directors also use it for collaboration. (Check out the official Full Sail IM Degrees pinboard: http://pinterest.com/amycloutier/full-sail-im-degrees/)
And in case you think it’s just for women looking for pictures of home décor or cake recipes, think again, says Internet Marketing Course Director Dan Gorgone.
“Probably 95 percent of the people who are connected to me are women and a whole bunch of them have fashion, style, dresses, recipes – all this crap that I don’t care about,” said Gorgone. The solution: simply “unfollow” categories in which you have no interest.
Ultimately, Pinterest can be about whatever you like, said Gorgone, who’s created boards about bad web design, infographics, home organizing ideas and ‘dream toys and gadgets.’
“You can spend your time and focus on personal things, professional things, academic things," said Gorgone, "whatever you want, it’s up to you.”
- Christine Janesko