How to Get Started on Pinterest for Business

If you own a business that is looking to generate revenue from sales on Pinterest please feel free to contact me at jwojdylo@gmail.com. I offer several packages that will help any sized business make more money from a presence on Pinterest.

It was exactly what I wanted—black, plunging neckline, crocheted bodice….and out of stock. I scoured the Internet for this dress, but all I could find was cheap knock-offs, the wrong colors, and shady websites. After days, my friend found it on Pinterest for me. She sent me the pin through the Pinterest mobile app, which had the link and phone number in the description for a small boutique in St. Louis that carried this elusive dress. I called that day, and my dream dress was on its way to me. That is the power of Pinterest.

Table of Contents

What is Pinterest?

What is a Pin?

Getting Started

Boards for All

Home Base

Pinning on the Go

Pinterest for Business

What if your brand isn’t visual?

Pinterest Goodies

The Gift of GIFs

And You Thought Bing was the Next Best Thing

What Works for Pinterest

“Insights” of Its Own

Building Your Brand

Pinterest Business Updates

Messaging on Pinterest – August 2014

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a place for the stuff you love—to-die-for vegan cupcakes, artisan jewelry from Texas, or the best restaurant for fish tacos on the West Coast. These “visual bookmarks” get organized into boards, so that all the things you love can be categorized, sorted, and easily managed. There are boards for books, tattoos, fitness, shoes. You could plan a July 4th party or the style of your first apartment.

What is a Pin?

A pin is akin to saying to your followers, friends, and the Pinterest community, “I want that.” Because pins largely consist of products, the website has incredible advertising potential. A study at Georgia Tech found that the key difference between Pinterest and other social media sites is four words: ”use, look, want, and need.” In September of 2013, Pinterest announced its plans for “Promoted Pins,” running a small test group with brands like Old Navy, Kraft, Nestle, Expedia.com, and ABC Family. The test is live and is Pinterest’s first venture with paid advertising.

Getting Started

In Pinterest’s infancy, everyone required an exclusive invite from a member of Pinterest, but nowadays it’s as simple as entering an email address, or Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus login information. It’ll prompt you for gender and location to optimize your experience, and offers personalization for your new Pinterest page based on other sites you visit frequently. Like many other social media sites, Pinterest offers the option of joining as a business, a recent feature of the site. Simply go to http://business.pinterest.com/en/setup.

Either way, you’ll get a brief tour introducing the basic aspects of Pinterest—namely, pins—and then have options to start building boards. Pinterest has dozens of categories, from art and architecture to travel and food—but at this point, all that’s left to do explore and start pinning!

Boards for All

Boards are the way Pinterest junkies compartmentalize and organize the 25 billion plus pins currently available on Pinterest—and new pins are being created every day. You can choose a category for your board (“Food and Drink”), give it a catchy title (“Good Eats”), and search Pinterest, or the rest of the web, for pins to add to your board. The “repin” button appears as you hover over any pin on your home feed, which allows you to put someone else’s pin on your board. But this can be risky; you might find what I call “dead-end” pins. These pins are beautiful pictures of the bikini you’re dying to buy or the yoga pose you’re itching to try, but it leads to nothing more than that—a photo. The best pins will have information in description, such as a link to a blog or a store’s website, or will link you straight to the site.

Another option for boards are secret boards—which you can operate in two ways. Firstly, you can make them completely private, so that no other Pinterest user will be able to tell if you repin their pin to your secret board. Secondly, you can exclusively invite certain Pinterest users. Maybe you want a personal board full of tantric sex positions and sexy lingerie—and you’d rather not the entire Pinterest-sphere know these preferences. Share it with your partner, and the board stays between the two of you.

To collaborate through a public venture, give group boards a try. My sister and I have an exercise board titled “Move Me,” where we can pin yoga poses, stretches, quick workouts, or killer arm moves. This gives us a bank of great workouts to access any time. Another friend and I made a “Cupcakes” board pre-Valentine’s Day, so we had many options, clear recipes, and easy comparisons.

Another option for boards is a “Place Pin,” which can easily be collected on an existing or brand new board when you select the option to “add a map.” “Place Pins” are just that—pins with a location attached to them. Once you type in the name of the place and its location, a place will appear on a drop-down menu; simply select the correct one. This feature utilizes Foursquare, and also has connections with sites like CitySearch, Urbanspoon, and Booking.com.

Home Base

This is all for you! Every time a user or specific board you follow has a new pin, it will appear on your feed. You can choose to follow friends, other businesses, etc. It may include Pinterest’s new “Promoted Pins,” Pinterest’s first test for paid advertisements, or “Related Pins,” which are pins from boards that you have pinned other pins from. These might include users that you aren’t following or do not know.

pinterest-for-business

If you toggle your cursor over a pin, three buttons will appear—a “Pin It” button, a paper airplane to “Send,” and a heart to “like.” If you select the first option, you are “repining”; you must repin it to one of your unique boards. Then, you can either keep the original description (“Best recipe ever—my kids loved it!”) or type one of your own (“Can’t wait to try this out…”). If you have already pinned it to a board of yours, Pinterest will kindly alert you of the mishap.

Sending a pin is as easy as typing in a name (if already a part of the Pinterest community) or email address. You can also connect with Google Plus or Yahoo.

send-pin-to

Pinning on the Go:

I try to keep my iPhone as streamlined as possible, but the mobile app is a force to be reckoned with. My friends and fellow pinners describe it as “extremely user-friendly” and “great for when you’re bored.” And who doesn’t like to make an impulse purchase under the numbing cloak of boredom? It also features “Guided Search.” Say you want to cook dinner, but you’re not sure what you want, and you’re at the grocery store. You might search something like “healthy recipes.” The app then offers options to narrow your search with additions (similar to Boolean search’s AND) like “chicken” or “for picky eaters.”

pinterest-for-iphone

Another benefit (and potentially lucrative advertising method for businesses) is the ability to pin straight from your camera roll. If I eat an amazing burger at Al’s Burger Shack in Chapel Hill, I can snap a photo, upload it to Pinterest, and provide a link to the website (or Google Plus page, Pinterest page, Facebook, etc.) in about 30 seconds. Or, maybe I’m strolling down mainstreet and notice that the local boutique is having a week-long sale on sandals—by sending a pin, I can inform all my nearby friends. If this is the advertising potential created by consumers, imagine the possibilities as a business running its own account.

Pinterest for Business:

With huge web traffic, the “gifts” section, and prices attached to pins, Pinterest has great potential for businesses, large or small, to advertise—something that the site and companies worldwide are beginning to understand. By registering as a business, you receive automatic feedback on your products through the number of likes, pins, and repins. This allows you to get to know your customers favorite things without sending out bothersome surveys. Pinterest’s extensive business analytics allow you to monitor traffic, clicks, and tons of other statistics. Track the activity on certain pins and boards over time, and tailor your website and boards based on your most pinned products. Here is a quick walkthrough of Pinterest’s analytics: http://vimeo.com/61580880. Don’t forget—a business must be verified in order access its analytics! A recent review of a Chapel Hill business that could greatly benefit from Pinterest is available here: Sophie and Mollie’s Chapel Hill Reviews.

One local Pinterest innovator is Chapel Hill’s sweetshop Sugarland. During March Madness, the bakery ran a repinning promotion for the chance to win $100 giftcard. It allowed locals vote for their favorite cake and make a Cake-Off bracket. See below:

sugarland-cake-contest-pinterest

What if your brand isn’t visual?

As a site driven by photos (you also have the option to pin videos), it is necessary to find a way to make your brand visual. Infographics are extremely popular on Pinterest—a diagram of a 10-minute leg workout routine from local gym or a wine-cheese pairing chart for an event-planning company. Check out Chobani’s kitchen conversion chart and Nordic Track’s 10 benefits of running below:

chobani-pinterest

nordic-track-pinterest

Pinterest Goodies

The Pinterest app is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android. You can also add a “Pin it” button to your broswer’s toolbar, which is currently available for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. This allows you to pin any image on the Internet. Add a Pinterest widget to an article, product page, blog, recipe, etc. More goodies here: https://about.pinterest.com/en/goodies

For more tips on how to market via Pinterest, check out this video released by Pinterest, or Pinterest’s business page with success stories from Etsy, Four Seasons, Sony, and Sephora.

The Gift of GIFs

In January of 2014, Pinterest gave the world a present, and that was GIFs for all. Playable by a small button in the lower left-hand corner, GIFs for Pinterest meant crazy cats, dancing boy bands, DIY t-shirt cutting, and hula-hoop ab exercises. The majority of GIFs on Pinterest—like the majority of GIFs everywhere else on the Internet—are hilarious. Let’s take a look at typical GIFs that come up if you search “GIF” on Pinterest.

pinterest-gifs-how-to

Most are funny—GIFs of babies that have clever captions or Seinfeld’s Kramer making absurd gestures. Others include how to fold a polo shirt and another of Marilyn Monroe being fabulous. But how could this be valuable for a business? First of all, GIFs are incredibly popular in Internet searches and in general. Because they are relatively new to Pinterest, a GIF could really make your pin stand out, and have a greater chance of being repinned, which in turn gains you followers. So, even if the GIFs aren’t necessarily pertinent to your brand, they could still increase web traffic for your Pinterest page.

GIFs, while mostly ridiculous, can also be relevant, useful, and even instructional. A local gym could pin basic workout moves to their page, or a florist could post a quick GIF of how to put together an arrangement. To find out more on Pinterest and GIFs, head to their blog here: http://blog.pinterest.com/post/74295033496/a-gif-from-pinterest

Please note that Pinterest is not the only social network that has jumped on the GIF bandwagon. In June of 2014 Twitter announced GIFS that played in a stream. This comes after Google Plus has seen some of its most popular posts using GIFS. For more, please use this resource: Why Businesses Should Share GIFs on Social Media Sites.

And You Thought Bing was the Next Best Thing

In terms of searching, Pinterest might be more effective for certain topics than the web’s most popular search engines. While it may not be as extensive as Google search, the streamlined design allows you to quickly scroll through options and see the most important pieces of each—in the photo and in the description. If you search “gluten free recipes,” not only will you get an endless stream of options, you also have the choice to narrow down your search.

pinterest-search-for-recipes

On the left, you’ll have options for only viewing recipes that are vegetarian, paleo, vegan, etc. Also, many of the pins have descriptions detailing a personal experience with the recipe (“Mine burned after 20 minutes, so try 15!”), and some include more options once you follow the link.

If you are trying to make sure your pins are searchable, include both specific and general keywords in your description of the pin. Personally, I like to repin things that have a description with something like—“I tried this for a week and lost five pounds!” or “I made this last night, and the recipe is spot on.” While descriptions like this may not necessarily bump up your pin’s search rank, they could make it more likely to be “liked” or repinned—two things that do make your pin rank higher. Because you cannot control how many likes and repins a certain pin will get, make sure that the keywords you include your description are relevant. Pinterest caught on to those using popular keywords like “cute,” “fashion,” “girl,” etc., on a pin that of a completely unrelated image; thus, it has included in its search algorithm that a keyword should be found in the domain name. To further this, an image’s file name should also include a keyword or words.

Want to point out a faithful follower? Tag them in the description by using “@” with their name. Hashtags are also used on Pinterest, mostly because they are used on anything and everything nowadays. This is another good way to become more searchable, as long as you’re incorporating relevant keywords.

What Works for Pinterest

Why is Pinterest so effective at getting people to buy? First of all, it’s all about catering to your specific tastes. It’s things you love, “related pins” based on other things you’ve pinned. You follow people and companies of your same taste and at the same time can look for particular items you want. Another vital aspect of Pinterest is that you are saving content. Pinterest tracks the pins you “like,” but really the stuff you love is what you pin and repin, creating a massive catalogue tailored to you.

Also, the way that products are presented differ from how they are normally presented on a store’s website (usually…not always), but still link to the site so that you can buy the product. So, if you see an image of a girl, who might not be a model, wearing a colorful maxi dress on her vacation in the Bahamas, you might be more tempted to buy it than if you had just seen the dress on a plain white background on its website.

There are several other features of Pinterest that make it effective for business. Some pins include a price—so not only is that to-die-for top adorable, but it’s been placed into reality. They also have a comprehensive section for “gifts,” which is where all purchasable pins go. These “Product pins” always include prices, and usually have availability and where you can purchase the product. According to Pinterest’s business blog, “Product Pins” have a higher click-through rate than regular pins, and also pinners receive email notifications on pins they’ve saved when the pin’s price drops.

Pinterest is currently previewing a feature called “Explore Interests”; when I clicked on it, I was aghast at its accuracy. Pinterest already seems to automatically reveal consumers’ preferences, demographic information, etc. It could reveal where you went to school, if you’re planning on having kids, your relationship status, your eye color, your favorite shows and books, your sense of humor, and whether or not you will be interested in the products I have to sell. Here is what came up for me under “Explore Interests”:

explore-interests-on-pinterest

Lately, I have been searching for ways to decorate my new apartment (“small space decorating,” “dorm decorations”). Brussels sprouts are one of all-time favorite foods. I have an inexplicable love of Katy Perry (even though I haven’t pinned her in years) and am obsessed with bathing suits. In the past few days I’ve been searching for a lot of quick workouts (“one song workouts”), and that was mostly on the mobile app. The majority of the quotations I pin are spiritual in nature and I do love sangria. Pinterest pinned me to a tee. If that accuracy doesn’t motivate marketers, I’m not sure what will. For more on the online shopping phenomenon please read this article: How Women Shop and Buy on the Internet.

Another great by-product of Pinterest is pinning to win. Contests are very popular, especially for small businesses, on Pinterest. In some cases, pinners will be invited to pin their favorite shoe from a brand on a specific contest board, and the one with the most repins will win a $100 giftcard. When you bring hashtags and prizes into play, these contests can drum up some serious new traffic. It also encourages businesses to interact with their customers, making big businesses a little smaller and small businesses a little better.

“Insights” of Its Own

Now, in addition to their own analytics, Pinterest is allowing businesses to use third-party software to analyze their activity. These include the following: Salesforce (Exact Target Marketing Cloud), Hootsuite, Spredfast, Percolate, Piqora, Curalate and Tailwind. As with their “Promoted Pins,” Pinterest is working with a small test group of “MarTech” (marketing technology) developers on “Business Insights.” While this new API (application programming interface) doesn’t replace Pinterest’s existing analytics, the new MarTech developers are being challenged to find new features and alternative ways to interpret the data they receive.

One example of a new feature that Pinterest’s current analytics doesn’t offer is from Piqora, which would allow a business to compare its pin activity with other brands from the same category. This new project “values the company at 5 billion,” and with all the recent updates, it doesn’t sound like Pinterest will be slowing down anytime soon (http://techcrunch.com/2014/05/20/pinterest-rolls-out-a-new-business-insights-api-to-select-marketing-technology-companies/
). If you’re a MarTech developer or a business interested in “Insights”, you can sign up for Pinterest’s weekly business newsletter, or contact developers privately. To find out more, check out Pinterest’s business blog here: http://business.pinterest.com/en/news/more-ways-get-pinterest-insights-your-business

Building Your Brand

Small businesses and huge corporations alike have had success on Pinterest, and they have done so by creating a culture around their brand and making it visual via pins. For example, Whole Foods Market is the world’s leading grocery store for natural and organic foods, so it would be expected that their Pinterest would include tons of recipes. What you might not expect is a board on why living in Austin, TX, is great (the city where Whole Foods originated), which includes the #whyAustin. This will connect them to place boards for Austin, people from Austin, people who want to visit Austin, and more. Here is a shot of their “We’re Used to Reusing!” board, because they know that the people that buy organic food are also probably recyclers.

building-your-brand-on-pinterest

Other boards include a “Strength” board for fitness tips and boards about their “Whole Planet Foundation” and “Whole Kids Foundation.” Needless to say, it seems like Whole Foods has found its niche on Pinterest.

A residential designer in Oakland, CA, Heather Cleveland, has utilized Pinterest’s incredible ability to “pin” down her clients’ preferences, saving her huge amounts of time and money. She recognized the way Pinterest allowed clients that had difficulty expressing exactly what they wanted to visualize their precise desires. It also allowed for direct comparison of certain styles of design, and simple communication between the firm and its clients. To read more about Cleveland’s success, go to Pinterest’s business blog here: http://business.pinterest.com/en/success-stories/heather-cleveland-design.

Pinterest Business Updates

Since Pinterest has begun testing out new “Promoted Pins” with bigwigs like Ziploc, Gap, and Target, it has decided to allow small businesses in on the fun too. These do-it-yourself Promoted Pins are being tested with another small test group—vineyard vines, Nicole Miller, and Shutterfly, to name a few—but any business can join the waitlist to create its very own promoted pins. Here’s what the site for Promoted Pins looks like now:

pinterest-business-update

Pinterest’s hope is to make these pins available to any business account, and a Promoted Pin won’t cost anything unless a user clicks through to a company’s website. So, in the future, millions of users will not only see paid advertising from the Four Seasons and Kraft, but also local stores, boutiques, bakeries, and the like.

Also as of June 5th, Pinterest has updated its analytics due to customer demand. Not only can a business see the most-pinned pictures and products from its website, but also track how its boards, pins, and profile are performing in terms of clicks, repins, and impressions. For any business looking to improve web traffic, Pinterest is a must; based on its business blog, newsletter, and tools, it seems like Pinterest is more than ready and willing to work with businesses (large or small), get feedback, and well, make a lot of money.

Messaging on Pinterest – August 2014

In August 2014 Pinterest changed everything with messaging on Pinterest. This allows businesses and individuals to privately message each other. Prior to the August 2014 update the only way in which users and businesses could converse was to comment on a pin. This was clunky and obtrusive as most pinners did not want to carry on a conversation publicly. Now that private conversations are available it should help shoppers communicate with businesses without the world knowing what they are looking to buy.

Article by:

Additional information from Jesse Wojdylo.

When Will Promoted Pins Be Available to All Businesses?

At the end of 2013 a few social networks have jumped on the advertising bandwagon but in much different ways. Google announced Google Plus Post Ads in late December 2013. These ads allow businesses with a Google Plus Local page to create an advertisement with a Google Plus Post. These posts can include photos, videos and animated gifs. As one can imagine, the movement of the ad will catch the eye of the Internet user. The Google Plus Post Ads are only available through the display ad network. Users will not see Google Plus Post Ads on the front of Google search. If you want more information about creating Google Plus posts ads please contact me at jwojdylo@gmail.com or use this resource for more information: How to Use Google Plus Post Ads to Grow Business.

In October of 2013 Pinterest announced they were going to start offering promoted pins as a way for companies to reach a broader audience. Over the course of the last six months the promoted pins option has been limited to select “test brands”. Some of these brands include Target, Gap, Kraft Foods and General Mills. One of the great features of Pinterest is the analytics feature. Unlike some other social media sites, Pinterest allows businesses to see just who is consuming their content. One would imagine that promoted pins will have an, in depth, analytical tool compared to the basic tool.

If brands have been testing promoted pins for six months and they have still not been released into the wild it makes me wonder how long it will take for the local mom and pop shop to have the opportunity to use this feature. From personal experience with social media ad networks, most companies are not willing to let all brands use the product until it is polished. Target and Gap are poking and prodding to see what works and what does not work. There are going to be plenty of glitches and user interface errors that must be cleaned up.

The fact that Pinterest has not had any ad network prior to this one makes me think it will take longer to release than a company like Google or Facebook. Pinterest was created by an ex Google employee but he does not have an engineering background nor did he work on the Google Adwords or Adsense network. There are many engineers that have been employed by Pinterest to roll out the promoted pins product but remember that this is not a publicly traded company and it has been stated many times that Pinterest is not making money…yet. That money will roll in once the advertising network goes public for the world to use.

The Connection Between Pinterest and Google

Coming Soon.

Additional information from John Martin

Middle Aged Men Using Pinterest

I have long held Pinterest near the bottom of available social media platforms from an engagement and use perspective. As a middle-aged man, I bought into the stereotype that Pinterest is predominantly for females and the idea of creating and pinning content to boards does not appeal to me.

I not only considered Pinterest personally, but from a business standpoint as well. Admittedly, there is enormous potential for Pinterest in the residential real estate industry, whether it is showcasing a home for sale, interior decorating, designing landscaping and swimming pools, etc. Indeed, Pinterest is rapidly becoming an effective tool for Realtors as well as buyers and seller of homes.

However, I am a commercial real estate professional and have my doubts about Pinterest’s effectiveness and market penetration in this industry. First of all, the commercial sector tends to be a technology laggard, especially in terms of social media. Second, the industry is male dominant; therefore, Pinterest’s platform is truly, and would likely remain for some time, a “ghost town” for this market segment.

Despite my predominantly male-centric misgivings about Pinterest, to say that I will never utilize it is misguided. With some helpful examples provided by a friend, I had a recent epiphany of sorts by focusing less on the social media aspects of Pinterest and accepting the platform for what it truly is: a visual discovery tool. Instead of being a content creator with Pinterest, which is of little interest to me, can the platform provide personal value from a content consumption standpoint? The answer is, astoundingly, “yes”!

For me, the power of Pinterest resides in its search capability. I decided to test the search results that Pinterest would deliver based on two questions from a male point of view: 1) Would I consider purchasing clothing apparel using Pinterest as a starting point? and 2) Could I plan a “bro” vacation with some former college buddies through Pinterest? In both instances, the results were overwhelmingly affirmative.

The first search I conducted through Pinterest was “men’s wingtip shoes”.  The results were presented via stunningly beautiful photos of various brands and styles of wingtip shoes displayed by several shoe companies, apparel stores, magazines, and individuals. Many of the results have several hundred “pins” and “likes”. Given that a high percentage of these responses were likely female, your confidence is bolstered by purchasing an item that meets approval from a sophisticated fashion audience.

winged-tipped-shoes

The next search focused on a potential golf vacation in Scottsdale, Arizona. I simply typed “Scottsdale golf courses” and the results were amazing. Several of the top golf courses in the area were represented with both amateur and professional photographs of signature holes, clubhouses, amenities and surrounding topography. The visual imagery served as an extremely helpful aid in choosing which golf courses to play.

Although I never expect to become a Pinterest power user, its visual appeal and solid search capabilities are enough for me to frequently visit the site and initiate retail purchases. My wife is quickly becoming a fan of Pinterest, and soon my wallet will take notice. Not coincidentally, that is exactly what Pinterest has been anticipating all along.

Giving Pinterest a Second Chance by Schyler Martin

My name is Schyler. I’m a woman. I’m 20 years old. I’m a college student. And I don’t like Pinterest.

Whew. There, I said it. The secret’s out. While I might look like someone who would fall right into Pinterest’s key demographic, it just hasn’t happened for me. I do have an account. I made it a while ago when my friends first started raving about the site. I surfed around for a while, figured the site out, organized my boards, and pinned away happily for a while. But the spark simply wasn’t there. For whatever reason I fell away from the site and generally forgot that it existed.

I assumed that Pinterest just wasn’t for me. After all, I’m not really into fashion. I’m certainly not planning a wedding. I don’t cook very often — ok, I don’t actually cook at all. And I’m not a fan of “do it yourself” projects. So, I forgot about Pinterest. I assumed it would be a passing fad, like so many other apps and sites.

I was wrong. Pinterest, it seems, is here to stay. It’s an incredibly powerful site that so many people love and use religiously. In fact, the very friends who inspired me to get a Pinterest, still adore the site and talk about it often. Their usage hasn’t decreased at all with time. It’s done the opposite. They use the site constantly now, for everything in their lives. Clearly they saw something in Pinterest that I didn’t.

I am rash and impulsive and very often wrong. I know that. Because I know that, I’ve gotten pretty good at admitting when I don’t get things right. It doesn’t bother me to admit my mistakes and give things second chances. So, I gave Pinterest a second chance. Maybe there is more to Pinterest than cooking, weddings, and do it yourself art projects. In preparation for this article, I took to the site. I searched my brain for my old password, signed back in, and gave it my all in order to figure out exactly why everyone else is raving about this rapidly growing website, and why I’m not.

So, without further ado, I’ll tell you what I discovered in the form of a pros and cons list, because really, who doesn’t love a good pros and cons list?:

PROS

Puppies, puppies everywhere!

If I’m being perfectly honest, I spent most of my time back on Pinterest looking at pictures of puppies. I’m getting a dog at the end of the summer and I am wildly excited about it. I have names picked out and everything. Puppies are generally all I think about these days. And I can officially report that Pinterest is basically the best website ever for looking at pictures of adorable little puppies. I’m sure this extends to kittens and any other kind of animal too, but like I said, I’m obsessed with dogs right now. But Pinterest isn’t just great because it lets you look at freakishly cute photos of puppies. It’s also great because the highly useful search function makes it easy to adopt puppies too! (Seriously, this search was so successful that I’ll probably start my puppy search here later this summer.) I searched “puppies adoption North Carolina” and found pictures of and information about actual puppies in North Carolina shelters that need homes. The search function is great and indeed it’s one of the best things Pinterest has to offer.

pinterest-puppies

 

pinterest-puppies-2

Amazing search function:

Like, I said, the search is great, but sure, Pinterest is good for finding puppies to adopt, but is it good for finding anything else? The easy answer is yes. Pinterest is generally great for finding anything. The search function brings up results for both specific and general pins. Just to test it out, I searched “Benedict Cumberbatch ginger hair.” (Side note: Don’t judge me.) I’m happy to report that the search was totally successful, and now I can spend my time on Pinterest looking at puppies and photos of Benedict Gingerbatch. Boy, I sure was wrong about Pinterest not being for me! (I’m kidding. Kind of.)

benedict-ginger

Amazing Business Potential:

With a strong search function comes a strong potential for businesses to earn money. In fact, Pinterest might have more potential for businesses than any other social network on the Internet right now. Because Pinterest allows direct links to outside websites right below photos, it’s incredibly easy to generate website traffic. There are a lot of ways to do this. Even if you don’t own a visual business, you could still create popular pins, include a link to your business’ website, and see a huge growth in the number of visitors your site receives. It also helps that posts on Pinterest have long lives. This means that when you post something on Pinterest, it’s easy to find for a long time. On sites like Twitter, posts have lives of about ten seconds. After that, the post is gone, never to be seen again. This problem doesn’t exist at all on Pinterest. Months ago, when I first joined the site, I posted a few gorgeous photos of UNC-Chapel’ Hill’s campus. To this day I get alerts that people are pinning those photos. I can’t say enough how great this could be for someone trying to sell a product. Pinterest is truly a goldmine for businesses of any size when it’s used correctly.

Organization. So much organization:

Again, I have to hand it to Pinterest. This might just be the most organized social network out there. Boards are easy to create, they’re easy to use, and they’re easy to keep organized. The same goes for pins and follows. Pinterest isn’t overwhelming at all. Instead of having mass amounts of info being thrown at users at one time, Pinterest keeps things manageable. It’s also noteworthy that the option to only follow certain boards exists. That option is the equivalent of being able to only follow someone’s tweets about “Mad Men,” as opposed to having to see whiny tweets about school and relationships or tweets about a show that you’re not interested in. If only. On Pinterest, that dream is a reality.

It’s simple:

Maybe I’m still missing something about Pinterest, but I’ve always found this site ridiculously easy to use. Even though I haven’t visited it in months, I wasn’t confused at all. I think this is another big positive. I know so many people who have given up on Google Plus or Twitter because it was “hard to understand.” It is easier to stick around on a social media site when it’s not user friendly. Luckily for Pinterest, it’s about as user friendly as it gets.

With all of these convincing positives, how could there be anything bad about Pinterest? Admittedly, there isn’t much to complain about on this site. My complaints all revolve around things that are likely specific problems for me. These are things that I want out of a social networking experience that everyone doesn’t care about.

For example, my biggest issue with Pinterest remains that it’s not good for conversation. Of course, Pinterest wasn’t made for conversation, so I realize this isn’t a very valid complaint. Still, I enjoy conversation. It’s something I value in social media experiences. I like to talk to people, share my opinions, and hear what others think. Pinterest has a comments section, but that isn’t what it’s for. For some, that’s all right. For me, it’s frustrating.

What have I learned from all of this? Well, I’m still not sure that Pinterest is for me. It still seems like a great place to make wedding plans and get ideas about how to decorate a home. And it’s easily the best place on the Internet to do easy shopping. There are definitely a lot of things that Pinterest does fabulously well. For example, the search function is just about the simplest and most efficient search I’ve seen on any website, including most major search engines. The ability to easily narrow down searches is amazing and the tagging works well. That said, again, I look for conversation in my social media sites. I really, really like to talk, and there are plenty of sites that are perfect for talking — or at least better for conversation than Pinterest is. (I think my love for quick conversation is the main reason I’ve found a home on Twitter.)

What Pinterest does, it does very well. This is a site that knows its audience and knows what its audience wants. It delivers. It’s easy to use, sleekly designed, and overall pretty genius, but it just might not be for me. Sometimes that’s the way it goes. However, if what I’ve written about here appeals to you, then Pinterest is probably for you. And if you own a business, no matter what, Pinterest needs to be for you. There is so much opportunity on Pinterest. I highly recommend doing everything in your power to take advantage of it.