Pinterest for the Novice (and the Styleless)

When I first heard about Pinterest, I wondered how the heck someone like me would use it?  I’m not into fashion.  I’m not into style.  I’m not into decor. I’m not the best photographer (although I do take a lot of pictures).  I’m not very visual, not very organized.  What was in it for me?

But the more I heard about it through the grapevine and through my tweeps, my ears perked up and I created an account.  There were a few reasons why my interest peaked.  I found out that: It drives more referral traffic than Google Plus, Linked In, and You Tube; Pinterest grew to 10 million users faster than any other independent web site in history this past year; It retains original source and link.

The last fact is very important to me as I don’t want to wrongly use anyone’s photos.  I am very, very cautionary about that on this blog and wherever I post.  I try to take most of my pictures myself and when I don’t, I always credit the source.  I’m glad to see that Pinterest picks up the source and credits it (although I do kind of wonder if the bubble will ever burst and there will be a major lawsuit from photographers over unfair use of their work).

So, I first headed over to create boards for The Culture Mom, knowing that I could really only legitimately post pins of movie stars I like, books I’m reading, plays I’ve seen, places I go.  Once I started poking around over a matter of weeks, I really started to paint a picture of who I am.  Even I, someone who thought she was completely without style and decor, am visual.  My boards create a mood, you get a sense of who I am.  I like to travel, I like to help people, I support the arts.  Here are a few of my favorite boards:


When I started putting my boards together, I didn’t really know I was doing so I called them very straight-forward names.  But as time has gone by and I’ve started to really understand the power of sharing on Pinterest and what drives others to share, I’ve started to mix the names up to gage a reaction (hence “Be the Change” and “Women Rule” and “Words to Live By”).  It’s important to put key search words in the titles so they can be found by new followers, choose your cover board carefully and edit the positioning and order of your boards.  Since I started using Pinterest, they have certainly made it more user-friendly, in many ways more so than Facebook, and even if you aren’t visual, like myself, you’ll enjoy being creative and setting up your boards.

So, I set up my boards, chose certain pins for each one.  What was I going to do now?  It’s taken time, and I’ll admit that I don’t use Pinterest daily, but when I go on, I do spend long periods of time exploring pins.  The longer I spend on it, the more engaged I am becoming with my followers, commenting on their pins, liking their pins, finding out what others are interested in and really entering their worlds.  And you know what?  I love my boards.  Not only do I log on to look at what other people are pinning but I log on to check mine out and gaze some of my images.

Hmmm.  What an interesting way to present yourself, why not apply this to a brand?  So, I set out to create two accounts for my client, Ruckus Media Group, and for my consultancy, MamaDrama.  First, let’s talk about MamaDrama:

Again, I wasn’t sure what to start pinning, so I started with images of our clients….and then it just evolved.  Pinterest offers a very tasteful way for a brand to sell themselves and build traffic.  While our followers base is relatively low in comparison to Twitter and Facebook, they are a very dedicated and interested audience.  We are niche and appeal to a particular taste. We pin plays we love, movies we love, blogs we love, images of our clients (Playtime! NYC and Save the Children), focus on NYC (sound familiar?).  As time has passed, I’ve picked up new followers.  By pinning videos and original content, it’s possible to attract and communicate with a whole new group of people…and share.

Over at Ruckus, I started pinning our products:

Then I started pinning about other topics important to our mission: parents, literacy, education, social media, special needs, research, travel and the list just grew.  Along the way, I’ve learned a few tricks about using Pinterest to promote a business:

– Make sure you add descriptive text in the “About” section for SEO.  Add your company’s URL, make it short and snappy.
– Name boards and choose pins carefully, make sure they are true to your company’s goals and mission.
– Post pictures on your site and pin them on Pinterest to help with SEO and drive traffic back to your site.
– Find other Pinterest users in your area of expertise. Comment/share/like; it will be reciprocated.

So, am I a converted Pinterest user?  You can say that, for sure.  I truly believe in its power of building a brand, my own or one that I promote.

How about you – are you using Pinterest? For pleasure or professional use or both?

Disclosure: All opinions expressed above are my own.

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