Pinterest: A Virtual Cornucopia Of Possibilities

Pinterest: I first heard about this site, and subsequent phenomena, a few months back. Apparently my sister-in-law and some friends of hers at work were hooked on this site. Once I put two and two together, I smelled a potential winner. At this time, we were still ramping up for the official roll out of our new business venture. In fact, this was about the same time that I was developing the in-house, IntraNet, HTML Jump page chock full of useful links in marketing and virtual tool categories for use in the upcoming venture.

The next day I finally got to the site, only to find out it wasn’t so easy to get in: you needed to apply, or have an invite. I ended up applying, and was approved within a day or so. Which is a far cry from the 1-3 weeks I’m hearing about now. Apparently, there’s a line outside akin to a trendy nightclub.

And why not? That, after all, is a well-worn marketing tactic unto itself. If everyone could get in on a whim, would it still hold the same mystique? Besides: At the time, it was working like a charm for Google+ (intentional or not).

Now, months later, I’m coming to understand that the weird issues I had with the site, once I was ‘in the door’ were probably kinks in an imperfect system. So it appears that while the restrictions were in place to work the system up to full capability, they served a second purpose. I have to believe that it was intentional because – well – it’s brilliant.

Not familiar with Pinterest? That’s all right – you will be. And soon, if the current success rate and scuttlebut are any indicators. Here’s what you need to know:

Pinterest allows you to add an interactive ‘Pin It!’ button to your browser. When you find something you like – anywhere on the web – you simply click the ‘Pin It!’ button. You are then presented with some visual choices, if any are available, to create the visual portion of ‘Pin’. Then, you are afforded the opportunity to categorize the Pin in either one, of a number of pre-loaded, generic, categories (defined as ‘boards’, in a manner akin to a bulletin board) that are supplied upon acceptance – OR – you can design your own categories (‘boards’). Finally, you are permitted to add a tagline/paragraph to the Pin, explaining your thoughts on it in as much or as little detail as you care to impar.

Wait: Did I actually use the word ‘scuttlebut’ above? What in the world is wrong with me this morning? Meh… Anyway…

Once the Pin is complete, it becomes a fixture on the respective Board that you have pinned it on for both yourself – and your ‘followers’ to see. It is also hyper-linked to the parent page from whence it came, should you or others wish to learn more about it, or revisit it.

Followers, you say? Yep! Pinterest allows you to ‘follow’ other Pinners, and for other Pinners to ‘follow’ you. So, hypothetically, you could develop a following, if your pins are unique enough to warrant it. in fact, users are permitted to ‘Re-Pin’ from your board to their own, if they find something they like. Based on the number of ‘re-pins’ I receive, I think it’s my writing style, and not the pin itself, that gets me re-pinned. I’ve only had about 30-40, which I can’t say seems like a lot in the grand scheme of things.

I’ll be honest, I don’t really get the draw. First, because FaceBook actually allows you to do many of the same things (And if you don’t know what I mean, try fooling around with all those choices under your profile photo some time). What it DOESN’T allow is the simplistic elegance that Pinterest provides. So that’s a definite point in Pinterest’s favor. As I follow the growth of the phenomena, I’m noticing a pattern in my personal circles. That pattern is this: Women, ages 21-35 seem to be the demographic that’s eating this up. I have a number of highly intelligent, female friends who fall into this category: They’re beyond addicted.

As a way to cover all of our bases, we asked all of our Digital Ninjas business partners to utilize this site when we happened upon it all those months ago. Why? Mostly for the reasons outlined below. Want to know what happened? My wife – the only woman in the group – loves it. And the remaining three guys – me included – don’t get it, don’t enjoy it, and don’t get much use out of it. In fact – in my case – I had to FORCE myself to build up at least a respectable site – all 85 pins worth. And even that was a tough pill to swallow, because every moment felt like… work. I still add something here and there, in the hopes that I will have a ‘Eureka!’ moment, and get hooked to a positive end. But – so far – nothing.

So where do you fit into all of this? Well, in fact, Pinterest may very well be (or become) an important part of your social media marketing package or campaigns. Let’s review a couple of relevant angles:

1. ) It’s free! And free stuff, while not always good (i.e. – soiled mattresses; advice from Weird Uncle Pete), should always be considered.

2. ) It has a cult following and – clearly it’s ascending in popularity. This means that if folks are spending time there, you might need to be at the party as well to rub elbows if you plan on making some new business connections of any sort.

3. ) It can humanize you, or your business. You can soft-solicit things you find intriguing, important, etc. and potentially connect with customers or potential customers in this way. Perhaps they share interests, like things that are green, or lascivious photos of Poodles. Whatever – it’s another avenue for folks to get to know you, without compromising too much personal information.

4. ) It can be a visual marketing tool. Your business could post ‘before and after’ shots, you could Pin (and cross-pin) your sites, or sites of allied vendors. You can show interesting hairstyles, products, and on and on – the possibilities are so myriad, that if you can’t think of fifty, then you really need to lay off the alcohol and, at the very least, switch to weed. *(I don’t condone illicit use of either – I’m being funny here: Work with me.)

5. ) It’s (currently) a chance for you to do your customers a favor. How? By letting them know that an invite from you is only a request away – who needs those long, unpredictable ‘lines’, anyway? And how trendy will that make you look! You’re hip, you’re in the know, you’re in the now, baby!

6. ) Try it out! Check out your competition – are they using it? If so, how? What ideas can you take away from their usage?

If you have a success story to share, I’d love to hear it – so speak up! Let’s converse er… type!


~ by digitalninjasmedia on December 20, 2011.

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