Why Pinterest Works for Users and Brands

I was engaged in an online discussion recently about the value (or lack thereof) of Pinterest. It reminded me of similar discussions over the years about various technologies and tools that crop up on an increasingly frequent basis. I wouldn’t call myself an early adopter but I do like to keep up-to-date and experiment with new communication tools particularly. Recently I’ve experimented with Google+, Quora and Pinterest. Pinterest, for me anyway, has had the most stickiness.

Not everyone in the online discussion felt Pinterest held value–in fact many failed to see the point. And, of course, not every tool will resonate with everyone. That’s true of your audience as well which is why it’s so important to communicate through multiple channels.

But, back to Pinterest and why I think it works.

I definitely see value from both the user and the brand POV – and obviously many others do too. From a user POV, Pinterest can be used basically as visual bookmarking. My husband, for instance, whose bookmarks extend on and on and on and on can now “organize” these bookmarks into categories using Pinterest. I’ve used it in this manner, too, because I like the visual element of it and the ability to keep things of interest to me in an easily accessible place – recipes that sound good, books I’d like to read, etc.

From a brand or business standpoint the value lies in generating awareness basically through what we’d consider in more traditional channels as “word of mouth” – definitely a powerful marketing aid. Because of the visual nature of the site it lends itself primarily to B2C sorts of applications I think, but through the use of Infographics even B2B organizations can generate some interest and find their graphics pinned.

Some of the top uses I’ve heard of among friends, colleagues and a bit of online research are for collecting recipes, planning events (like weddings, parties, etc.) and home decorating sorts of activities. It’s perfect for those sorts of things and businesses/individuals that sell related products would be wise to consider how they might add Pinterest to their communication toolkits.

For me, aside from using it to keep track of things I’m personally interested in, I don’t immediately see any professional use that I can get from it, or that would likely resonate with my clients who tend to be service-oriented, B2B organizations and individuals. But I’ll keep watching and learning.

It remains to be seen how Pinterest use will ultimately evolve and whether businesses/brand can demonstrate success through real ROI (not unlike other social media channels), but it certainly does seem to have hit a nerve with a large number of people.

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