Some people create a physical dream board with articles, products and concepts tacked on for future reference. Others have an ongoing brainstorm session happening inside their head, with no references or opportunities to act on their ideas. But 250 million monthly active users (and counting!) use a social media platform called Pinterest to organize all of those thoughts and notions swirling around in their head.
If you’ve never delved into the site, here’s a (quick) overview of how it works. Pinterest is a unique network that allows users to visually share, curate and discover new interests by posting, also known as Pinning, images or videos to their own or others Boards (i.e. a collection of Pins, usually with a common theme). Users can upload that media directly from their computer or easily pin things they find on the web using Pinterest’s browser extension button. You can also save an image by adding the website URL a pin is linked to.
Then things get fun! Clicking the Home button takes you to your Pinterest feed, where you have the ability to easily browse the items other users have pinned. From there, you can repin the things you like or comment on them. Since Pinterest is a social network, joining others to collaborate and edit group boards is a creative way to strengthen customer relationships. You can add anyone as a collaborator on your board, as long as they have a Pinterest account.
A couple of years ago, I was invited to collaborate with the brand Anthropologie and pin to their board called, “Your Anthropologie Favorites.”
With 10 million+ monthly viewers, this was an effective way to grow my personal following. Anthropologie recently deleted that group board, as it was likely a time sensitive campaign to organically gain followers. Fingers crossed they bring it back, so their biggest fans (me!) can continue to collaborate.
If you own a company that sells just about anything, there is a place for your content on Pinterest. Marketing companies use the network to share insights, tips & tricks, and examples of the work they do for clients. Ecommerce brands sell their products like crazy on this site! You have the ability to upload images of your products and directly link the users to the website to purchase. However, Pinterest is highly focused on appealing imagery, so laying something on a white background and taking a picture of it may not be the best route. Showing examples of your products in real life works best for ROI with this platform.
In October of 2017, Pinterest posted a blog about their eagerness to hear more from users on the different ways they use and interact with the site, aka “Pinterest Stories.” Having been a daily devoted fan for many years, I enthusiastically typed out my quirky tale and explained how the site had improved my quality of life, in a number of ways.
To my absolute surprise and delight, their Story Producer (Jessica Henry) got in touch with me about a week later. We chatted on the phone for an hour or so and once the call was over, she asked if she could come interview me in person. My answer was a resounding “yes!”
A few months after our phone call, Jessica came to my hometown where I showed her around our trendy downtown and we picked up coffee (or in her case local kombucha) from the Naked Lounge. We went back to my house and sat down for a cozy interview. She filmed my response to a variety of questions about the ways I use Pinterest, why I love the site and any suggestions I had for potential improvement. Professional photos were taken, we ate sandwiches together and as evening approached, she took off for the three and a half drive back to the Bay Area.
I figured I might hear from her briefly after that, maybe just a final email or two. Never did I think the visit would go further than the in-person interview. Apparently, the information she took back to her team about my Pinterest experience was compelling because just a couple months later, I found myself heading to San Francisco to speak at their company wide meeting.
Not only were all of the local employees in attendance (about 600 people), but also the CEOs of the company. Jessica whispered to me right before starting that their international offices (Berlin, Dublin, London, Paris, Sao Paulo and Tokyo) would also be attending the conference online. Nervous was an understatement for my emotions before walking onstage. But the overwhelming excitement to share my story calmed any jitters enough to make it onstage without falling!
Jessica interviewed me, along with one of the company's head engineers, who works specifically on their Promoted Pins feature. I got to share with the company how I came across a Promoted Pin from the company Glossier (who was virtually unknown back then), at a time when I really needed it. One of their products “Boy Brow,” helped me feel more like myself while going through weekly chemo treatments. The whole thing was over in a matter of forty five minutes. Afterwards, I chatted with the CEOs who were incredibly warm and got a tour of one of their two offices in San Francisco. The space is bright, airy, and stocked with all the snacks you would ever want - dreamy.
The fact that this company paid for me to come all the way to their headquarters, and stay in a boutique hotel in the middle of Union Square, only to give personal feedback on their site’s new features was truly astonishing. Pinterest always leaves me feeling inspired, but after meeting the leadership and employees who daily create that Pinspiration, I’ve never been a bigger fan. Time to get Pinning!
Pinterest for Business Tips
-Recently, Pinterest announced that there are now more than 175 billion ideas to discover on Pinterest, up 75% since last year. So, first things first…create an account!
-Sign up for a Business Profile. You’ll have access to special features like Featured Boards, Promoted Pins and Pinterest Analytics.
-If you’re ready to dive into all the awesome features Pinterest for Business offers, check out this article.