Should Pinterest interest you?

Yesterday was an exciting day at the world headquarters of Communicate & Howe! I got my first repin–and not just once but four times. To top it off, an image used in my post about effectively using QR codes for nonprofits was pinned–and it lead to a visit to this blog that otherwise would never had occurred.

Not familiar with the lingo? It means that I’ve become a part of the hottest new social media platform called Pinterest.

According to Dave Fleet, that’s enough to make him think I’m a Pinterest guru. I said I needed to seize the day–today–before Pinterest gurus were a dime a dozen. So here we go!

Dave was kidding. I had responded to his tweet where he said, “Thanks for the invitation to your Pinterest webinar. It’ll be full of best practices based on real-world case studies, right…?” His point, of course, is that it’s too soon to be able to prove the value of Pinterest.

But you can’t deny that there’s a lot of interest in Pinterest. The big question is should Pinterest interest you?

{Sorry, the Pinterest/interest play on words is just too easy for anyone to avoid especially wannabe gurus.}

What is Pinterest?

For the uninitiated, Pinterest is essentially way to share your online life in a visual way.

On the one hand, it is exactly the same as what we’ve been doing for years. Brides collect photos of dresses, flowers, centrepieces, cakes and every other aspect of planning their big days. It’s their visual idea file that they pull out to show what they have in mind. Folks renovating their home such as a new kitchen go through the same process.

Pinterest takes that process and allows you to “pin” images on “boards” so that you can save them and remember them. Each board is a category that you get to define.

The experience is made social because you can follow what other people pin–even if you don’t know them. You can like what they pin and repin it onto one of your boards.

What can be pinned though is greater than its print equivalent since any image can be pinned and the categories of your boards is only limited by you.

In North America, I understand that women are leading the rush. Interestingly in the UK, it’s men who are doing more sharing. They tend to use it more for information and share things like infographics.

Should you be on Pinterest?

If you are wondering if you should be on Pinterest, I suggest that you explore it if what I’ve described sounds like something that works for who you are. Try it out. Just be aware that it’s been described as highly addictive.

Should your business or organization be on Pinterest?

Maybe. If you have a business that targets women and has a strong visual component, you should take a serious look at it. If you are you trying to get people to try recipes or restaurants, for example, there’s probably a case to be made. How would be the subject of another post. Can’t wait? Google what the other Pinterest gurus have to say!

For most businesses or organizations, I’d suggest you wait. If you think it might be something that could work for you, I go back to one of my social media fundamentals and suggest that you get a personal experience with the tool before you use it professionally. That’s my own approach.

Avoid the shiny object syndrome

Before you rush to Pinterest–especially for your organization or your business–stop and ask yourself why. It’s tempting to jump on the newest, hottest bandwagon. Pinterest is like a new shiny object that captivates your attention until the next one comes along.

It may be a lasting phenomenon, it may not. Most of us can afford to wait. It’s better to make sure you’re effectively using your existing platform well than to add another and do none of them well.

Avoiding the shiny object syndrome means having the self control to make strategic decisions about how you use digital media and social media. Your decisions should be based upon your overall strategy that includes an online strategy. You must also be sure that it’s the best fit for you and your organization.

With those words of caution, enjoy Pinterest. And feel free to see what I’m up to on it.

What do you think of Pinterest?

Are you on Pinterest? What do you think? How do you use it? Do you have tips for people like me just getting started?

Not on Pinterest or just getting started? What questions do you have? I’ll do what I can to answer or do some research and include answers in a future post.