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How I Use Pinterest (And How You Can Benefit)

by Barbara Boyer

I am an image hoarder. I love photos, and I love pictures.

While I don’t know of any 12-step programs aimed at helping people like me, I do have Pinterest to quell (or perhaps enable) my addiction. I am not entirely sure why I do what I do, but considering my manic behavior started young, I am guessing it has something to do with my mother’s frequent attempts of ridding our family of our useless junk and partly to do with my millennial status.

In middle school, I can remember confiding to my mom about my recurring nightmare of being crushed by a tumbling wall of beautifully glossy paged magazines that I couldn’t help but hold on to.

Her response? “Please throw away the crap littering your bedroom floor. I don’t want that cockroach food in my house.”

Like a good daughter, I did what she said, but not before ripping out all my favorite images and pasting them into the pages of my giant spiral-bound sketch book.

Old Dog, But New Tricks

Many years later, I’m still stuck with old habits, but thanks to the wonderful world of technology, I no longer worry my downfall will be a looming stack of magazines. Pinterest offers more than any magazine and a pair of scissors could. It isn’t solely a place  to discover things — it’s also an organizational tool to keep track of them.

People use Pinterest for many different reasons: to promote their brands, to connect with others, or just as a bookmarking tool. I use it to relax and as a source of inspiration. Social media to me is all about being lazy: I use Facebook because it is the easiest way to stay in contact with friends, I use Buzzfeed because it is the easiest way to learn what is going on online (ain’t nobody got time for reddit), and I use Pinterest mainly because it is easy.

To Pin or Not to Pin

My top three boards on Pinterest are as follows: “Home Sweet Home,” with a whopping 2,205 pins, “Kitchen” with 1,973 pins and “Graphic Design” with 1,878 pins. An honorable mention goes to “My Style” where I pin not only articles of clothing I like, but more importantly the sense of style I wish I had.

I love to pin pictures of the great outdoors and DIY’s I really want to try. And when I was thinking about cutting my hair I’m pretty sure I spent way too many hours looking at pictures of girls with bangs. But mainly I just re-pin images that I find pretty. While I spend A LOT of time on Pinterest, I rarely post my own content and barely post any new content, even though I have a a “pin it” button in my browser window.

Why should you care how I use Pinterest? According to recent demographic stats, I’m your average Pinterest user. Pew Research says that 1/3 of U.S. women use the site, with Madea adding that 18-34 year olds make up 44% of the site’s user base. If you know how and why your average user behaves, you’ll be able to benefit.

Pinners Mean Business

Many marketers believe that it is time for businesses to start using Pinterest as a resource; like other social media sites, Pinterest is making the leap from giant time waster to useful marketing tool for potential sales.

Pinterest users are made up of hobbyists, makers, educators, and — most importantly  — shoppers, so it just makes sense to have your products be promoted and praised to an unlimited audience of potential customers.

You need to understand their motivations, however, to understand how to connect with them. Pinterest is primarily an image heavy site (mainly photos or graphics), so no matter the content, the pins that tend to get any traction on the site are usually visually stunning. Think about what your target audience likes and what they would find interesting — this is what will help boost your followers, and ultimately grow your business.

The only way to obtain traffic from Pinterest is by getting your images (or even videos) pinned by other users, which means you need to have content that people will want to pin.

A good example of a company using Pinterest effectively is Deschutes Brewery in Oregon. Not only does their page have pins of and about their products, but they also have boards featuring recipes using beer, events they are having and clever and unique ways to reuse old bottles. They do an awesome job at using Pinterest to expand on their brand by making their company fun and accessible.

Follow in Deschutes’ footsteps and produce some really interesting content while becoming a go-to source for information on your products.

Deschutes Brewery

How You Can Benefit

Remember: I’m your average Pinterest user. If you want to reach out to me and make sure I engage with your content, use these tips:

  • Try to include a mix of your own product photos in addition to relevant lifestyle and culture photos from around the web.
  • If you have a blog, you should be sharing images from your posts as well.
  • Make it easy for people to pin things straight from your site with “Pin it” buttons.
  • Keep in mind that nothing goes better with social media than other social media: Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest should all be connected to each other. Cross promoting everything on everything is a great way to ensure you get your message out there.

Be sure to contact us if you need help sprucing up your Pinterest board. We love to help.

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