Pinterest is a relatively new entrant to the social media market. As a virtual pinboard, the mission of the site is to "connect everyone in the world through the ‘things' they find interesting." The site offers some examples under the heading "What Can You Do With Pinterest?" that include: redecorating your home, planning a wedding, finding your style, saving your inspirations and saving your recipes. While these suggested uses are prevalent among the site's participants, other uses are springing up regularly as individuals and businesses find new, and increasingly practical, uses. Content providers are among them-using Pinterest to share information on the environment, events, jobs and more.
Montgomery County Community College (MCCC), with campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, Penn., has used Pinterest to share information about its strategic issues with the news media, business leaders, students, faculty, and members of the community.
"Sustainability is by far MCCC's most successful board," says Alana Jauger, director of communications. "MCCC promotes use of the board among its Climate Commitment Advisory Council, even for those users who are not necessarily on Pinterest. By providing them with a direct link to the board, selected news and information is readily accessible and easily organized." She notes that Pinterest provides the ability to use appealing images which are more likely to be clicked than text links sent through email.
Melanie Mahaffey with GSD&M, an agency in Austin, Texas, used Pinterest in combination with Twitter to create a visual SXSW survival guide for conference goers. "Because SXSW happens in our backyard every year, we wanted to use Pinterest to feature the best of SXSW parties, food, drinks, the weird, and road trips, to name a few, that Austin has to offer. We called it the SXSurvival guide." Mahaffey says the agency has plans to update the content for next year's event. This year, the page generated more than 26,000 unique visitors, 60% through referral traffic from Facebook, Twitter and other sources. The board has more than 2000 followers.
Pinterest boards also provide benefits for internal collaboration and sharing. For instance, the marketing team at the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce uses a group Pinterest board to share ideas for events. "We host more than 60 events a year and we're always looking for new ideas," says Jill Harrison, manager of public relations.
One particularly unique and practical use of Pinterest is for recruitment. While LinkedIn still has a massive lead in this category, some organizations are finding Pinterest's visual-and increasingly popular-appeal a good way to literally "get in front of" job candidates.
Robyn Kahn Federman, director of communications with Catalyst, a membership organization for women in business, based in Rochester, N.Y., says: "We're having great luck using visually-themed Pinterest pins for individual job openings. The idea came from our 22-year-old digital intern, whom we just hired full time. Basically she turned a boring, traditional job description into lively, visually appealing pins."
Unlimited Opportunity in Content Management
A significant number of Pinterest users are finding it to be a great application for sharing content in a visually appealing way that allows users to interact with, and also share, that content readily. Stacey Acevero, social media community manager for Vocus/PRWeb in Washington, D.C. says: "Our brand isn't terribly visual or sexy-we're a cloud software company-but we create lots of content in the form of blogs, whitepapers, infographics, and videos." To share that content, she says: "We create compelling images for our blog posts and pin those to a Pinterest board and also pin our videos to our company's Pinterest account." They also repurpose content in the form of quotes or tips, transforming them into pictures and then pinning them to a board for easy reading and repinning.
HubSpot, a marketing software company based in Cambridge, Mass., also uses Pinterest to share content, including blogs about Pinterest.
Even major players in the media market have found a place for Pinterest among their tools for sharing information-from Better Homes and Gardens to the New York Times.
For content providers Pinterest offers a unique ability to organize, display and-most importantly-share information with millions of avid users.