If you have been on the internet in the last month, which I’m assuming you have since you landed upon my blog, you would have heard about this newest social media platform. Pinterest, the 2011 Crunchie “Best New Start-Up of the Year,” has gone absolutely viral over the last five months, registering more than 7 million unique visitors in December alone. However, unlike Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, an overwhelming majority of Pinterest users seem to be female.
This makes a lot of sense – content seems to focus on decorating imaginary homes, baking imaginary cupcakes and planning imaginary weddings. It is a lot of grown-up women continuing to play dress up in their adult lives. Yet as someone who is entirely challenged in the kitchen, has never once thought about her wedding and cannot DIY anything, Pinterest has sucked me in as well. I use it as a place to brainstorm possible outfit and color combinations for work. I pin motivating quotes that I plan to (one day) post on my office walls. I learn about clever organization tips and tricks and gizmos and gadgets that are out in the tech world.
What makes Pinterest the most effective, to me at least, is to make sure you are following people not in your circle of friends. Otherwise the same content will be generated and repinned over and over. It is the same basic premise of Twitter — you need to follow the news-makers in order to receive the news. This is one of the main reasons I am so excited for brands to break into the Pinterest platform. Halfway through week one of New York Fashion Week, I have already seen this happening. Department stores like Nordstrom and Bergdorf’s have pinned their spring collections and projected fashion trends. In the food spectrum, Whole Foods has boards dedicated to learning how your food grows and different healthy dinner ideas.
In the future, I hope to see brands like Nike and UnderArmour try to entice more male users by showcasing different athletes (both amateur and professional) wearing their products in various events and competitions throughout the world. The 2012 Summer Olympics in London would be great to follow on Pinterest — each sport would receive a board and followers could learn more about the participants. Restaurants would be able to categorize their menus, detailing the ingredients and nutritional values, encouraging people to come eat out even if they are on a diet.
As with any social media platform, Pinterest is not right for every brand. I am not sure I can see news organizations using Pinterest to quickly disseminate information. The companies that will receive the most benefits from Pinterest are product-focused and visually oriented. The potential is definitely there. Until we reach that point, the rest of us will bide our time by laughing at someecards and swooning over baby animals.