Are you pinning yet?
I’m pretty sure if you are a female, daily user of the internet and have been conscious for the last 48 hours you have probably seen, heard of or spent 32 of the last 48 hours on Pinterest. The hot new social network for scrapbooking, pin boarding, image sharing or graphical self expression, whatever you want to call it.
In the news
There has been a lot of buzz about Pinterest because of it’s massive growth and viral potential. Although the site has a largely female demographic, guys are starting to see its social and visibility potential and that females hang out there, which isn’t a bad thing.
- TechCrunch – Pinterest is the fastest growing site ever (if you act like Google Plus doesn’t exist…which quite frankly, a lot of people do anyway).
- Mashable – Pinterest, it is more addictive than checking Facebook, while smoking crack as you leave a sex addicts anonymous meeting to getting it on.
- WSJ – The Wall Street Journal shows the world how ‘pop’ they are by pinning together their – aren’t we tired of them yet – instagram photos from Fashion Week.
- CNN – highlights one of the least known but most controversial aspects of Pinterest, income, which I mention in the next paragraph.
Hey, a girls got to make money
No, that isn’t a gender-bias or sexist headline.
The reality is, any business (especially online) has to make money to survive. The fact that Pinterest is injecting links into people’s Pins isn’t a bad thing, it is smart business. It is not very invasive and unless you read LLsocial.com or caught the CNN article above, probably didn’t even know that Pinterest was doing this. Much less, how they even made money, as if you even cared.
So, why are people pinning on Pinterest
I’ve heard people say it’s beautiful, simple, social, viral, fun and far easier & less expensive than the long-lost art of scrap booking. I personally, don’t get it for those reasons but after seeing all the fanfare and hearing people talk about it, I decided to give it a run. So I created a couple of Boards (virtual pin boards) and added a couple of Pins (things you find online that you want to put up or reference on your Board). Nothing happened. No spiritual enlightening, no feelings of accomplishment or strong urges of addiction. I didn’t really get it. I didn’t do anything for a day or three and then tried it again, this time with a bunch of social media-related infographics and BOOM! It happened, I got followers, re-pins and all kinds of “social love.” I still don’t have any interest in sharing my scrap book of infographics or almost anything else but I can definitely see the buzz around it.
Learning from Twitter
Pinterest is using Twitter-logic to make their network…work. When you pin, the more action your pin gets, the longer and more likely the pin is to show up on the main pinterest.com page. Anyone can see it, everyone can pin it, share it, follow it or re-share it on their other social networks. You can use #hashtags, keywords and URL keyword optimization to make your Pin stand out and “perform.” It works. Although their search indexing is not in real-time, the few minutes of latency really aren’t that bad. Indexing the titles of pins doesn’t seem to be as strong as their descriptions or links (which may be part of their revenue-generating strategy), so your descriptions matter more than your titles.
The future of Pinterest
Strategically, I don’t encourage anyone to invest in social media platforms, especially new ones, until they have reached critical mass. The female-dominate network has easily exceeded critical mass in the female demographic but has it done so for your target audience? You need to answer that.
I work at the Univesity of Louisville where we have decided to leverage the network specifically for our schools and departments that are generating event, image or photo rich content on a regular basis. For example, our admissions, student activities, fine arts and libraries are all using Pinterest to highlight the graphical greatness found at UofL.
The network is new, female-dominate and not unique but its current social status, buzz and love by its users may give it some longevity. We won’t know for six months or more if it has long-term viability. We still need to see if people will get tired of it, finish their pin boards and move on, or simply find something prettier (that will undoubtedly manifest itself, now that Pinterest is getting so much attention).