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What in the World is Pinterest?

As you try to keep up with the ever-changing world of social media, you may be asking yourself, what in the world is Pinterest? This blog post is dedicated to Pinterest. We will walk you through the basics of the site and our thoughts around whether or not you should be using it to promote your business.

In the most basic sense, Pinterest is an online bulletin board. Imagine that Pinterest provides pins and you can now surf the web, find all of the cool things that you want to tack up on your bulletin board and Pinterest will keep it organized for you. You can “pin” things like recipes, shoes, photos, art, videos, products and more. According to Pinterest, “It lets you organize and share all of the beautiful things you find in your life.”

And sharing is what Pinterest (and really all social media) is all about.  You can share your “pins” or even entire boards with your friends. (Think of your boards like categories – you could have a board for Thanksgiving dinner, one for an upcoming trip and one of art that you like.) You can then find people on Pinterest and share your “pins” with them. Pinterest can now be linked with Facebook or Twitter so you can share your “pins” with everyone following your profile.

So, what does this do for businesses? Well, if you want people to be able to “pin” your products and share with others, you simply download the “pin it” button code from Pinterest and add it to your website. (Think of it this way: We could go on to PotteryBarn.com right now (they use Pinterest), find a photo of a table setting that we like, click on the “pin it” button that is next to the picture and it would be added as a “pin” on our Pinterest profile. Then all of the people following us would see the table setting picture.) Once you have added the “pin it” button to your website, you can then sign up for Pinalerts (www.pinalerts.com). Pinalerts will send you a notification when someone has pinned something from your website. If someone sees a “pin” that they like they can “repin” it to their own board. (It is basically the same as “liking” something on Facebook that someone else has “liked.”) And the sharing begins!

So, now you may be now asking yourself, should I be using this site for my business? Well, our feeling is that this is a pretty cool site but it is really only built for a specific type of business. We think that this site would be a great way to interact with customers if you ran a retail store or if you were an artist or photographer and wanted to sell your art. We also feel (just like with all other social media sites), you have to go where your customers are. If your customers are using Pinterest, then get on board! (The bulletin board, that is.) Keep in mind that currently Pinterest has a mostly female membership.

In case this does sound like a good fit for you and your company and you are interested in signing up for Pinterest, it is currently invite-only. You can either request an invitation directly from Pinterest or if you know someone who is using it, they can invite you to join.

Coming up next in our social media blog series we will be discussing ways to keep your social media efforts organized with Hoot Suite and Tweet Deck.

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