Will You Be Jumping on the Pinterest Craze?
Headlines from the Internet last week about Pinterest: “How Pinterest is Changing Website Design Forever” Mashable.com. “How Pinterest is Secretly Profiting From Your Links”
Venturebeat.com. “Holy SMOKE! Pinterest is the Fastest Growing Site Ever” Businessinsider.com. “Pinterest Hits 10 Million U.S. Monthly Uniques Faster Than Any Standalone Site Ever” Techcrunch.com. Gosh that’s a lot of headlines…
Know what my chosen headline would be? Pinterest Schminterest.
I have, so far, refused to get involved with Pinterest. I have a friend who is planning a wedding, and is using the site to create inspiration boards for ideas to implement in her big day. That’s swell, but I’m already married.
I am not at all interested in having another social media outlet-type-thing suck any more time away from my work time or non-work time. Plus, I hate shopping, and I feel like the way I would use Pinterest is to collect all the material things I want in the world in one great big shopping window.
If you are not familiar with Pinterest, here’s how it works. You apply for an invitation. I have no idea how long this takes. Note: I am still waiting for my invitation back from Contently.com.
Once you are given access, you start “pin”ing things on the web to collect as a sticky-note-type square on your Pinterest board. You can share it with friends, family members, whoever.
The interesting thing about Pinterest is that it’s a very simple website design, and people are copying it left and right. I personally love a clean website design with lots of white space—which is Pinterest to a tee. People organize their stuff on Pinterest not by chronological order (like Facebook or Twitter) but on different boards, lumping ideas together in a cohesive unit. Which makes it easy if you are gathering inspiration for something like, say, a wedding or the remodeling of your bedroom.
Pinterest and How We Work
But how is Pinterest changing the way we work? For a freelance writer, I’m not sure yet. But for a freelance photographer who loves creating inspiration board on things such as colors, nature, or…whatever, it might be useful to sign up for Pinterest. Graphic designers could probably get some use out of the site, too. Of course, what you pin on Pinterest isn’t necessarily your own work but inspiration you gleen from othrers. So while it might be a good way to organize your own thought processes, I still wonder what others will get from it.
If you are looking to build your brand, what you pin can be important. Anyone that visits you on Pinterst will see the sorts of things you associate with or think are cool. People like to do business and work with people that they share commonalities with.
Pinterest has also been hailed as a community building tool. It gives people the means for sharing their interest with other people. And the people who will follow you on Pinterest have the same interests. It’s a good way to gather demographic information, too, as you can find out the age groups of those following you.
What gets me is that Pinterest holds your followers at an arms reach. Unlike LinkedIn or Facebook, it’s not personal. The only way I can see to engage with your followers is to take time to ask questions or comment on other peoples’ pins. I don’t see a lot of engagement fostering here.
Here are some tips from Techcrunch.com on how brands can leverage Pinterest now:
1. Add Pinterest content to your existing Facebook presence.
2. Optimize your web priorities to draw people to your Pinterest content.
Put a “Follow Me on Pinterest” button on your website.
3. Tell your existing social audiences about what’s happening on Pinterest.
Make sure you periodically post Pinterest content to your Facebook, Twitter, and Google +.
4. Make your Pins work harder for you.
This means using a URL shortening and redirection strategy, preferably one that aggregates your Pinterest analytics (views, Repins, etc.) in a central location.
Right now, I’m not sure Pinterest is a hugely useful tool for most freelancers. The ones I really see using it to their advantage are wedding and event planners and photographers. For me, at least, I see it as a time sucker that keeps me from doing what I should be doing—my work. But I’m open to argument.
Do you use Pinterest? How is it helping your freelance career?