What’s behind the Pinterest craze? 15 super-users share their thoughts

It may be a niche social network, but Pinterest is growing like mad. While other tools and networks like Quora, Instagram (my favorite) and Google Plus have stolen the headlines this year, Pinterest has quietly amassed a relatively huge user base–especially among young women (in my opinion). From October 2010 to October 2011 Pinterest grew from just 40,000 users to a whopping 3.2 million.

That’s some serious growth.

But, not only is Pinterest adding thousands of users each month. Its users are also spending an inordinate amount of time on the site. And, this, at a time when EVERYONE is complaining about being social networked to death (see Google+). Anecdotally, I have heard from several Pinterest users that claim they spend upwards of two hours A DAY on the site. Hmmm…sound familiar? Facebook’s entire MO (or at least their initial MO) comes down to finding ways to keep people on their site. Pinterest appears to have found the magic formula.

But WHY is the site so damn popular? That’s what I set out to discover. So, I pegged 12 Pinterest “power users” and asked them 5 simple questions about their use, how brands might use the platform and the future of Pinterest (Note: My take on Pinterest is coming in a separate post next week).

Kary Delaria

1. Why do you use Pinterest?

For me, it’s actually a diversion. When I feel a need to step away from my work routine, I often turn to Pinterest. I don’t subscribe to a lot of print publications so for me, it’s the equivalent of flipping through a magazine. I find ideas and inspiration for food to make (lots of that), styles to try, gifts to give, activities to do with the kids, projects to improve my home, and, a visual insight into the more personal/creative side of individuals in my network.

2. How much time do you spend on the platform each day/week?

It really varies, deepening on my workload , but I’d say maybe about 5 or more hours a week, on average.

3. What makes Pinterest different from other social channels you spend time in?

There’s no talking. Well, very little. Pinterest is a social bookmarking of visual items. Instagram is another (yet different from Pinterest) example of a social network that focuses on visual sharing, and we see a lot of popularity and growth in that network as well. Also, for me, it’s not at all about whether or not some likes or shares something I pin. It’s a network in which I’m just hanging out, casually, observing and getting ideas that feed more of my personal life than my professional (although for me, that’s a line that’s quite blurry all over, too).

4. There’s so much talk of people not wanting to spend time on *another* social network (like Google Plus, for example). Or, chatter about people being overwhelmed by all the social media channels to participate in. Yet, here are all these folks spending HOURS on Pinterest? What do you attribute that to?

I think this really comes down to the lack of “chatter” happening on Pinterest. And, that the bulk of the content is really more “lifestyle” related. On G+, I see a lot of the same blog posts, and updates, and articles that I see shared on Twitter and Facebook. Pinterest is quiet. It’s full of visual appeal. Eye candy.

Also? Pinterest is very low-maintenance. Because there’s not a lot of conversation there, there’s no pressure to stop in daily and feed the beast. I can hang out for a few hours and then leave for a few days without concern that my profile will look inactive or that I’ll be ignoring a comment thread or discussion.

5. Does Pinterest have value as a PR/marketing tool for businesses? What, if any, effective uses have you seen by brands so far? Despite my answer to the previous question…yes, I do see value. For instance, we recently provided some strategic guidance to a company that produces hand-crafted jewelry and I suggested taking a look at Pinterest as a means of sharing  visuals of her designs. If you have a retail product line with great visual appeal, there’s likely a large group of “pinners” who will love to see your wares. Now, this might or might not translate to web traffic and sales…that’s yet to be seen.It’s definitely a very passive medium. It’s important to bear in mind, too, that you don’t have to set up shop on Pinterest in order for visuals of your product to be “pinned” there. Including quality images of your products on the company website increase the likelihood that those images will be shared in networks like Pinterest. Brands I’ve seen using the platform are doing so much in this way – designers and fashionistas sharing their products as well as the visual items that provide them with inspiration. Additionally, if you’ve got a visual story to tell, Pinterest might offer a receptive audience. For instance, Jennifer Windrum conducted a “Faces of Lung Cancer” project for WTF Cancer and shared those images on Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/jenniferwindrum/anyone-can-get-lung-cancer/). Powerful indeed. Other examples – Design Work Life http://pinterest.com/designworklife/  and, http://pinterest.com/source/abcdesign.com.br/

Mariam Shahab

1. Why do you use Pinterest? At the most granular level, I use Pinterest to collect and organize pictures and links of things and ideas that I like, can relate to or want to learn how to do. But in general, I like logging on to Pinterest and admiring the beautiful pins for the boards I follow. It’s like window shopping for all my interests at once!

2. How much time do you spend on the platform each day/week? At minimum, I spend at least an hour a day (usually broken into two or three sessions). I often have a Pinterest tab open right next to my Facebook, Twitter & Gmail. It’s both a distraction and a place for reaction to my web surfing.

3. What makes Pinterest different from other social channels you spend time in? For me, it’s much easier to filter my many interests on Pinterest than on Facebook or Twitter. Sure Twitter has lists, but people are dynamic and tweet about things other than what I categorize them under (i.e. fashion, PR etc). However, on Pinterest, I can only follow a user’s  boards I’m actually interested in. The notification system on Pinterest is still a little buggy though. It’s hard to know for sure when your pin has been repinned or you have a new follower to your board(s). Other social networks are more sophisticated in that respect.

4. There’s so much talk of people not wanting to spend time on *another* social network (like Google Plus, for example). Or, chatter about people being overwhelmed by all the social media channels to participate in. Yet, here are all these folks spending HOURS on Pinterest? What do you attribute that to? The platform is easy to use and intuitive. There aren’t many bills and whistles to it (and I hope it stays that way). It’s also not a platform where you have to actively take part in. To me, it’s more of a silent community busily repinning. Sure you can comment on a pin, but I don’t see that happen as often as it does on other social networks. I also think that Pinterest allows users to showcase their multiple interests in an organized way; people gravitate toward this bucketing of who they are and what they like.

5. Does Pinterest have value as a PR/marketing tool for businesses? What, if any, effective uses have you seen by brands so far? For certain verticals, I think Pinterest can be a valuable tactic in a larger PR/marketing plan. I’ve seen Micheal’s crafts store integrate “Pin it” buttons throughout their site encouraging visitors to share their content on yet another platform (and making it easy). Brands that pin content other than their own seem to be more effective in keeping users interested. Other brands I’ve seen doing a good and creative job at exploring Pinterest as a tool are: ShopItToMe http://pinterest.com/shopittome/, Gap http://pinterest.com/gap/(sharing content other than their own) and Nordstrom http://pinterest.com/nordstrom/ (tons of boards). For a beauty/fashion brand, I think BaubleBar has the best board organization: http://pinterest.com/baublebar/. I’ve noticed some cooking publishers on Pinterest but was excited to see that TIME joined this week: http://pinterest.com/time_magazine/. I like the boards they have now, but want to see how they will expand. I also tweeted with one of the Mashable community managers this week and they indicated interest in joining Pinterest officially soon as well (surprised it’s taken them this long honestly).

Mikinzie Stuart

1. Why and how do you use Pinterest? I use Pinterest to curate things that interest me – whether it’s assembling a new outfit, beauty tips, DIY projects, recipes I want to try, or toys I want to buy for my cat.

2. How much time do you spend on the platform each day/week? It varies. There’s not the anxiety of “missing” anything like there is on Twitter (at least for me).. Depending on how busy I am, I’d say I probably spend 0-1.5 hours a day, 3-7 hours a week. I’m just a fast pinner :)

3. What makes Pinterest different from other social channels you spend time in? I feel like Pinterest isn’t as specifically social as other channels like Twitter or Facebook, or at least it’s social in a different way. You don’t have the “real-time” urgency like on Twitter and it’s not as personal as Facebook. As I mention in my blog post, it’s like a hybrid of Tumblr and Delicious. But I like that it’s not as directly social as other social networking sites. I think that’s what makes it relevant and different from the other new social platforms.

4. There’s so much talk of people not wanting to spend time on *another* social network (like Google Plus, for example). Or, chatter about people being overwhelmed by all the social media channels to participate in. Yet, here are all these folks spending HOURS on Pinterest? What do you attribute that to? People use Pinterest differently than they would Twitter or Facebook. That’s the mistake “another social networks” make, like Google Plus – it doesn’t do anything that much different from the big three that are already established. Pinterest is great for creative/ visually-oriented minds that like to collect and curate ideas to use IRL (or just for fun). I’ve heard it called visual-scrapbooking which is fairly accurate, except you’re not scrapbooking yourself per se, but rather your interests, which in turn, shares your interests with others. Interestingly enough, I see people who I consider “less social” (ie family friends, old high school acquaintances, etc) using Pinterest possibly more than those I know from other networks (I know Chuck Hemann was complaining about his mom and sisters being obsessed). I’m typically part of the crows that moans and groans when there’s a “new, shiny thing” that everyone is talking about (for instance, Tumblr). But at the very least, those people should try it before writing Pinterest off as “just another social network.”

5. Does Pinterest have value as a PR/marketing tool for businesses? What, if any, effective uses have you seen by brands so far? I definitely think it could have value as a marketing tool. We’re brainstorming ways to use it for our clients. There are several brands out there that are already using it, listed here:http://www.ragan.com/SocialMedia/Articles/How_11_brands_are_reaching_customers_on_Pinterest__43914.aspx

Kristin Greeley

1. Why do you use Pinterest?  I use Pinterest because it was a way to discover another aspect of social media.  I use it as a way to pick and choose what I want to see by following specific people, and even more specific, I choose which boards I want to follow from people.  I have also told friends of mine with what I consider quality taste, so we basically can compare notes.  Its also a great way to archive things/objects/pages online for future reference.  I stopped using my delicious page because Pinterest was a more visual representation of the same data.

2. How much time do you spend on the platform each day/week?  If I were to average out all my time spent on Pinterest it would be at least two hours every day.

3. What makes Pinterest different from other social channels you spend time in?  Pinterest as I described in my first answer is the best visual social media.  To me, twitter is words, Facebook is family, Linked-in is professional, Foursquare is for stalking, Google + is worthless, Instagram is photographs, and Pinterest is a magazine with no words that can appeal to every type of person because you can tailor it to be exactly what you want.  I also like being able to find the source websites, which are usually blogs, or more consumer based sites which for some reason can capture my a.d.d. attention span.  To me Pinterest is a game that I can customize and always win.

4. There’s so much talk of people not wanting to spend time on *another* social network (like Google Plus, for example). Or, chatter about people being overwhelmed by all the social media channels to participate in. Yet, here are all these folks spending HOURS on Pinterest? What do you attribute that to?  People choose which social media will benefit them the most.  I also think because Pinterest sends me very specific emails everytime someone repins my pins, or likes my pins it makes the whole website a popularity contest.

5. Does Pinterest have value as a PR/marketing tool for businesses? What, if any, effective uses have you seen by brands so far?  I think for the most part as an person who uses Pinterest to archive ideas, images, and things to do in the future if anything I’m helping companies get their ideas out there more than they are helping me.

Laura Scholz

1. Why do you use Pinterest? I’m one of those people who’s been tearing recipes and fashion inspiration out of magazines for years. This gives me a place to catalog everything online AND share with friends. It’s also a great way to bookmark recipes and outfits that I like and would like to reference later, without cluttering up my Firebox bookmarks. Plus, I’m a creative person at heart, so I draw a lot of inspiration from visuals.

2. How much time do you spend on the platform each day/week?  Oh, entirely too much. Probably at least an hour a day. Probably more like two. I try to limit myself during the work week!

3. What makes Pinterest different from other social channels you spend time in? Because it’s visual, rather than text based (I don’t really use Instagram and other photo apps). Also, I don’t feel like I’m revealing personal information, so I can share with lots of different people. It’s really an online inspiration board–I don’t feel the need to balance personal and professional–it’s all fun. It’s kind of an escape for me. And I like getting to know people based on their personal taste. A whole different level of connecting.

4. There’s so much talk of people not wanting to spend time on *another* social network (like Google Plus, for example). Or, chatter about people being overwhelmed by all the social media channels to participate in. Yet, here are all these folks spending HOURS on Pinterest? What do you attribute that to? Because it’s not like any of the other networks out there. It’s visual, it’s style, it’s inspiration, it’s creative. You don’t hurt anyone’s feelings if you follow or don’t follow. For me, it’s like thumbing through magazines and ripping out all the pages that inspire me–x 1000! It’s a great way to relax and get inspired.

5. Does Pinterest have value as a PR/marketing tool for businesses? What, if any, effective uses have you seen by brands so far? Most definitely. Brands like ModCloth, Nordstrom and Southern Living are doing this well–post a recipe, an outfit, a piece of jewelry and thousands of other people pin it–or even better, click through and buy it–instant applicability. Especially great for consumer brands. I just ordered a pair of earrings from Bauble Bar because a friend had pinned them–when I clicked through to the site, I got a $10 discount–added incentive to buy. The site attracts a visual, creative consumer–and I’m very tempted to buy when I see something I like and can make that purchase. My husband calls it the “devil.” But even though he’s not into fashion as much, he uses it for his cycling passion and for us to collaborate on recipes and home decor.

Lauren Gray

1. Why do you use Pinterest? I use Pinterest for five reasons: to find creative crafts and recipes I might attempt to do one day, to find new and developing technologies for the future, to look at hilarious pictures and posts and to look at pictures of puppies, places and wedding ideas. There are so many great pictures on Pinterest, especially of craft ideas and fashion ideas that it makes you want to be more creative and more fashionable. It’s learning a different lifestyle you want.

2. How much time do you spend on the platform each day/week? I’m afraid to really count how many hours I spend on Pinterest but probably at least 30 mins to 2 hours a day, so probably at least 10 a week.

3. What makes Pinterest different from other social channels you spend time in? I like Pinterest because of it’s creativity and the visualization of it. I can see my future and things I want to create from this site. I see the new and developing technologies, I see the puppies I want, I see the wedding pictures I know I will want to try and I see the recipes I know I will love. I think Pinterest is going in the right direction of the “new” social media. I think the new trend in social media is the sharing of pictures and videos. Tumblr, YouTube and Pinterest are HUGE right now. People are tired of sharing statuses and are looking for something more visual they can share through pictures and other media.

4. There’s so much talk of people not wanting to spend time on *another* social network (like Google Plus, for example). Or, chatter about people being overwhelmed by all the social media channels to participate in. Yet, here are all these folks spending HOURS on Pinterest? What do you attribute that to? I attribute that to people planning out things they want to do. Like I said above, I think a lot of people are tired of the routine of Facebook and the drama of Facebook. There’s even a pin that says “I come to Pinterest to avoid the drama of Facebook and Twitter.” It’s true.  Plus, I know I spend SO much time just looking at all the amazing places I could visit, at the amazing clothes I would want to wear and at the amazing wedding pictures of a wedding I desire. I think that’s what it comes down to: we want to look at things we desire to imagine an improvement to our own lives whether it be through a simple craft, a new dress or a place to visit.

5. Does Pinterest have value as a PR/marketing tool for businesses? What, if any, effective uses have you seen by brands so far? I’ve been thinking about this and I’m not quite sure yet. I suppose businesses could share their latest ads and they can sell actual products on Pinterest. When you add a new pin of a picture, you can link it to a site where they can see your latest news or see the newest product or promotion you have. You can also pin videos on Pinterest. YouTube and Pinterest are the rising social media platforms. People want to share videos and pictures more and more. It is the new trend. I haven’t exactly seen any brands on Pinterest, but Etsy crafts and items are HUGE on Pinterest. I know Etsy has seen more traffic lately because of people repinning Etsy products.

Drew Hawkins

1. Why do you use Pinterest? I use Pinterest for multiple reasons. I use it as a source of creative inspiration for client work at Engauge and to help visually organize really fun or useful stuff I find online. The Pin It extension on Chrome has been a lifesaver. I started using it, honestly, to spite a co-worker but really started to find value in it the more I used it.

2. How much time do you spend on the platform a day/week? I probably spend at least a couple hours a day on Pinterest. I don’t always re-pin things but definitely scan things for a good laugh or something thought provoking.

3. What makes Pinterest different from other social channels you spend time in? It’s definitely almost completely dependent on visuals. As internet participants, with the rise of platforms like Pinterest and infographic sharing etc, it’s becoming more obvious that people don’t like to read. If a story can be told with visuals, it has more impact right now. Pinterest offers that story-telling capability using different boards that many other social networks don’t exclusively offer.

4. There’s so much talk of people not wanting to spend time on *another* social network (like Google Plus, for example). Or, chatter about people being overwhelmed by all the social media channels to participate in. Yet, here are all these folks spending HOURS on Pinterest? What do you attribute that to? Pinterest is something you can casually participate in. There is heavy adoption in Pinterest but not so much that it’s overwhelming yet. I also think it’s the opportunity for segmentation. In G+, people choose what they share with you. On Pinterest, YOU choose what’s shared with you. I don’t have to follow all of my friends’ boards and pins. I can only follow the parts of their Pinterest activity that I like, without having to filter through a lot of noise. That ease of opting in or out is what makes the difference. There’s less sharing fatigue. At least for now…

5. Does Pinterest have value as a PR/marketing tool for businesses? What, if any, effective uses have you seen by brands so far? Huge marketing opportunities. If you are an online retailer, you could have a Pin It button on each product item. From there, a retailer could track referrals to different products from Pinterest.com and see if purchases of products seeing a lot of referral traffic have an increase in purchases…proving ROI. It’d be interesting to see if Pinterest ever opens things up to offer transactions inside their site. There is already the price banner feature inside it, they have to have that option in the back of their mind. If they took a cut of sales inside their site, it’d be a possible revenue model for them. Have seen several brands use it but not sure if I’ve seen anybody using it in the best way yet. Brands could start using an Instagram-like sharing strategy through hashtags and have boards that have a lifestyle utility for people. For example, an IKEA could have different room arrangement boards (kitchen boards, living room boards etc) or by color scheme.

Mary Woestehoff

1. Why do you use Pinterest? It’s so easy, while browsing through other sites, to click the “Pin It” button in my toolbar and add it a photo from the page I’m browsing to one of my boards. I can add photos that provide some form of inspiration for me (posing or styling for my own photography, a fun color scheme that I want to remember, etc.), save a recipe that I want to try later, or even add my own work for self-promotion.

2. How much time do you spend on the platform each day/week? It depends on the day! Some days I can be out in under 15 minutes. I’ve repinned the items in my feed that I found interesting, but don’t spend much time browsing. Then there are the time-suck days that I have spent hours (no joke) browsing through other boards, searching for specific phrases or items and adding the ones that I want to keep. But I visit at least once a day, usually in the morning, as I’m making rounds though my various networks.

3. What makes Pinterest different from other social channels you spend time in? The content. Pinterest is visually driven so you don’t have to spend time reading status updates, clicking on shortened links to see if an article is of interest to you. You know within seconds if something has caught your eye and you want to see more. The interaction is different as well. There’s less of it! Like something that someone else has added? Just Repin it to one of your own boards. The social tools are there to like, comment or tag another user, but personally that’s all an afterthought for me.

4. There’s so much talk of people not wanting to spend time on *another* social network (like Google Plus, for example). Or, chatter about people being overwhelmed by all the social media channels to participate in. Yet, here are all these folks spending HOURS on Pinterest? What do you attribute that to? More content, less social-media burnout. Instead of sifting through hundreds of status updates or Tweets, that, honestly, take time to read and process, you’re flipping through thousands of images. It’s considerably harder to run out of new content to look at. I can only read the information that’s in my Twitter/Facebook/Google +/Path/Instagram feed once, maybe twice to see if I missed anything relevant, but I have to wait for the people I follow to add something new or the content stays the same. Not to mention that a lot of my networks are overlapped… so I can see the same item posted 4 different times. Pinterest enables you easily to seek new content without needing to wait.

5. Does Pinterest have value as a PR/marketing tool for businesses? What, if any, effective uses have you seen by brands so far? Absolutely. Two examples: Handmade shops who are able to share new items as they become available. The Pin can include detailed info, including pricing, and automatically links back to the shop page. It’s one more way for small shops to get word of their product to potential customers. And personally I had an interesting success this summer. I created a 30 Day Photography Challenge that I posted on my blog. On a whim I Pinned the graphic to one of my boards and watched my traffic soar overnight. I lost count of the official number of participants since June, but have had over 8600 visits directly from Pinterest, which accounts for more than 13% of my total traffic to that one post.

Julia Prior

1. Why do you use Pinterest? At first it started as a way to gather Christmas gift ideas, for myself and other people as well as ideas for my friend’s wedding next summer. Now I use it to bookmark my favorite websites, infographics, articles, pictures and recipes. It’s much easier than bookmarking the webpage on my browser or saving the link to my desktop. It also keeps everything more organized.

2. How much time do you spend on the platform each day/week? It’s hard to judge, since most of the time I just keep it open in the background while I’m working or watching TV. If I had to guesstimate I would say at least 2-3 hours a week total.

3. What makes Pinterest different from other social channels you spend time in? I love how clean it is. It’s very straightforward and I like that. It’s fun to see what other people are pinning, especially if you follow people who you only know through other social networks and not in “real life.” You find out things about them that you wouldn’t on Twitter, and a lot of times you can see that they have the same style or you both are obsessed with Harry Potter or whatnot. I find it’s teaching me a lot about those people because you only post things you like. You don’t go on Twitter and say “I really like working out.”  …okay, some people do, but when you only know someone in a professional relationship, it’s very interesting to see what their other interests and hobbies are without feeling like you’re prying into their life.

4. There’s so much talk of people not wanting to spend time on *another* social network (like Google Plus, for example). Or, chatter about people being overwhelmed by all the social media channels to participate in. Yet, here are all these folks spending HOURS on Pinterest? What do you attribute that to? The cool thing about Pinterest is it’s designed to run in the background. Sure you can go to the mobile app or the homepage and see what your friends are pinning, but it’s designed to bookmark things YOU like. There’s a bookmarklet that will pull things from the page you’re currently viewing and let you add it to  one of your boards. It’s a great bookmarking tool.

5. Does Pinterest have value as a PR/marketing tool for businesses? What, if any, effective uses have you seen by brands so far? I actually just noticed Lowes  using Pinterest. I think, since right now Pinterest is a great place to get ideas for home improvements, do it yourself projects and the like, that it’s a great platform for a brand that focuses on giving you the tools to do those things. It could definitely evolve as a great tool for small businesses as well. The trick is to tell a story in a single picture and short caption. Pinterest is definitely visually driven.

Sasha Westin

1. Why do you use Pinterest? I got an invite from Meghan Wilker (@irishgirl) and was instantly hooked.  It began as a business outlet for picks and has evolved into a business/personal brand platform for things I want to share.

2. How much time do you spend on the platform each day/week? I haven’t kept track of time but probably spend several hours a week.  For me, it happens 2 ways.  Some days I start out at Pinterest, looking to see what others have pinned.  More often than not, I am shopping online or reading something, am compelled to pin and end up on Pinterest.

3. What makes Pinterest different from other social channels you spend time in?  It is a visually arresting place to be, itlets one express lifestyle vs. just shopping preferences and can be a great place to find both motivation and inspiration.

4. There’s so much talk of people not wanting to spend time on *another* social network (like Google Plus, for example). Or, chatter about people being overwhelmed by all the social media channels to participate in. Yet, here are all these folks spending HOURS on Pinterest? What do you attribute that to?  It’s a quiet place – no ads, no tickers, no auto refreshes.  It’s easy to get lost looking at other people’s pins or browsing through the categories.  And did I mention the visual hook?  From nail colors to amazing shoes to yummy food photography, it is a beautiful place to be.

5. Does Pinterest have value as a PR/marketing tool for businesses? What, if any, effective uses have you seen by brands so far?  I have seen new product ideas pinned on boards and I actually think it’s a brilliant place for that (disclaimer: as long as it is done in an aesthetically pleasing way).  I have people who follow specific boards of mine, presumably because they need to dress a certain way.  I am not as inspired (yet) by what retailers are doing, which is pinning their own products.  I’d love to see them (or someone) elevate the platform instead of promote what I can find on my own.

Jenny Schmitt

1. Why do you use Pinterest? I use Pinterest as a place to put visual bookmarks of things on the web that interest me. Best phrase I can think of is “visual snacking.”

2. How much time do you spend on the platform each day/week? I spend about 30 minutes a day on Pinterest, I do find I have to ration my time. It can easily become a time suck.

3. What makes Pinterest different from other social channels you spend time in? What makes Pinterest so engaging are two elements: personal and visual. By posting what has your visual interest, I glean insights into people that I would not otherwise have. With Facebook or Twitter, I tend to get more textual view, more written words. With Pinterest, the first elements are always visual (words are secondary). And that leads me to the second point – it’s primarily “visual snacking” in much the way that Twitter is “information snacking.”

4. There’s so much talk of people not wanting to spend time on *another* social network (like Google Plus, for example). Or, chatter about people being overwhelmed by all the social media channels to participate in. Yet, here are all these folks spending HOURS on Pinterest? What do you attribute that to? Why spend time on Pinterest – it’s a place for you to create visual bookmarks, plan ideas, get ideas or tips and to gain insights into what visually resonates with other people. It’s not so much about interactions as it is about posting, sharing and seeing what others share. Sure, you can repin and you can comment, but there is no pressure to “get followers.”

5. Does Pinterest have value as a PR/marketing tool for businesses? What, if any, effective uses have you seen by brands so far? I haven’t seen a brand on Pinterest. I do believe there is real potential for businesses. For example, let’s say you’re a running race company with distance race events – you could create a board of pictures from your events, a board on running gear, a board on running shoes, a board on inspirational quotes, a board on running websites for new runners, etc. Or if you’re a CEO, you could create boards for your favorite books, places you’d like to travel, boards for brands you like, or create an “one board” where your customers can post photos of your products in action, etc.  I’ll be creating my first Pinterest branded boards for clients in the new year, so I may have more to offer then.

Julie Kucinski

1. Why do you use Pinterest? Because it’s fun and useful and I love looking at and keeping easy track of beautiful things

2. How much time do you spend on the platform each day/week? It depends. I don’t browse as much as record.

3. What makes Pinterest different from other social channels you spend time in? No talk. All rock. Very little conversation. it’s most visuals. Like fffound for the masses

4. There’s so much talk of people not wanting to spend time on *another* social network (like Google Plus, for example). Or, chatter about people being overwhelmed by all the social media channels to participate in. Yet, here are all these folks spending HOURS on Pinterest? What do you attribute that to? Probably the same reason they spend time on Instagram. It’s inspring simple and fun.

5. Does Pinterest have value as a PR/marketing tool for businesses? What, if any, effective uses have you seen by brands so far? No, and I hope they don’t pollute it. It’s getting a little dull, isn’t it? I think brands have done a good job of making Tumblr useful because they follow the laws of tumblr. Bloggers seem to use it pretty well. I will say a Kate Spade image I pinned (from their tumblr, not a brand image) was one of the most repinned things I’ve done. Hopefully, brands can have the guts to stay out of it and it let it be an organic, legit form of word-of-mouth. Commercializing everything is becoming incredibly boring.

Julia Cantor

1. Why do you use Pinterest? There are tons of ways to use Pinterest and I really think we’re just beginning to see the function. I’ll give you the top 3. – I started using Pinterest as a bookmarking tool to keep track of images to later use in work/client presentations. It saves so much time to keep them in one spot, have them ready when you need them, and much easier to use the visual “pin board” than a desktop folder. – I’ve used Pinterest to help furnish my new apartment; test color palates, find furniture and pillows.
– To share humor with friends – my co-worker, Drew Hawkins, started the Board of Man, which is an effort to prove that Pinterest is useful for more than moodboards for weddings. We have attempted to infuse stereotypical male photos into the platform and this became the Board of Man. http://pinterest.com/drewhawkins/board-of-man/

2. How much time do you spend on the platform each day/week? Probably 30 minutes – 1 hour a day. Just being honest…

3. What makes Pinterest different from other social channels you spend time in? It’s a lot more visual than the other social channels.

4. There’s so much talk of people not wanting to spend time on *another* social network (like Google Plus, for example). Or, chatter about people being overwhelmed by all the social media channels to participate in. Yet, here are all these folks spending HOURS on Pinterest? What do you attribute that to? It’s functional, it’s visual, it’s easy to use, and it’s not trying to be like another network. People like to look at art and images and see a whole story. I don’t think it is a matter of laziness, but rather, there is information overload, so looking at images allows people to easily digest information without having to read through a five hundred+ word blog post.

5. Does Pinterest have value as a PR/marketing tool for businesses? What, if any, effective uses have you seen by brands so far? I absolutely think Pinterest has value as a PR/marketing tool. If our job as “inbound” marketers is to connect individuals with useful brands and products that fit into their lifestyle, then Pinterest has it nailed. Pinterest, at the core, is a bookmarking tool. It allows users to create lists with things they’re interested in. Since pins are primarily added to Pinterest using the Pinterest bookmarklet, when a user adds a pin to their pinboard, they are linking back to a site… and this could potentially be your site. Most people go on Pinterest to find fun inspiration from their friends and interact, and while they’re doing this, they are also gaining awareness and developing an interest for the brands represented in the pins… and if the person is *very* interested, they’ll click through to a website. And purchase. There are a handful of brands on Pinterest that have pages. Chobani has a great page that includes recipes with the yogurt, which people re-pin. West Elm has a great presence, as does Whole Foods, Real Simple, and Cooking Light. None of them truly stand out, but I think we’ll see some leaders in the months ahead.

Melissa Lawhorn

1. Why and how do you use Pinterest? First and foremost: to clear up my desktop! Whenever I found an image online that I wanted to save, I would drag it to my desktop. By using Pinterest, my images are organized and linked back to sites where I can find more information or similar images. Also, I find that it’s very convenient to use the “Pin It” button to save images from around the web.

2. How much time do you spend on the platform each day/week? I probably spend at least an hour and a half each day using Pinterest in some way — be it browsing the site to repin from other users, or by using the pin button to keep interesting projects and images from the blogs I follow, I’d say just over an hour is about the minimum! I can admit that there are some weekend days that I spend upwards of a few hours on the site — there is just so much to see!

3. What makes Pinterest different from other social channels you spend time in? Pinterest is a site where I don’t feel the need to be so private. On Facebook, I only friend people I know personally. On Twitter, I’m more open, but still filter what I say. On Pinterest, I pin anything I like and interact with a much wider range of people — everyone from fellow bloggers to fashionistas!

4. There’s so much talk of people not wanting to spend time on *another* social network (like Google Plus, for example). Or, chatter about people being overwhelmed by all the social media channels to participate in. Yet, here are all these folks spending HOURS on Pinterest? What do you attribute that to? For me personally, I don’t really consider Pinterest when I think of social media. In my experience, there isn’t much commenting happening on my pins/with people I follow, so I don’t have the burden of keeping up with conversation on Pinterest.

5. Does Pinterest have value as a PR/marketing tool for businesses? What, if any, effective uses have you seen by brands so far? I think Pinterest has a huge amount of value in PR/marketing. Brands can really utilize Pinterest to go viral with their products or campaigns in a cost effective way; if you pin something that someone likes or finds interesting, it will spread quickly, which also causes people to click through to find out more about the image that they have seen pinned over and over again.

Meghan Wilker

1. Why and how do you use Pinterest? First, to pin fashion and style inspiration for myself — when I see something I like on a retailer site or a blog, I pin it so I can look at it later before I go shopping. (It’s worth noting that I have always hated shopping, so looking at clothing and accessories as something fun and inspirational is a new thing for me. Pinterest has been a part of that transition.) I also use it as a tongue-in-cheek wishlist (my Things I Wish You Would Buy For Me board: https://pinterest.com/meghanwilker/things-i-want-you-to-buy-for-me/), and as a way to share products I really like with other people (the headphones I use for running are one of my most re-pinned Pins: https://pinterest.com/pin/162481499025703004/). I’ve also used Pinterest to build and support the Summer of Dresses community. Anyone who asks can get added to the shared Summer of Dresses board where we all pin great dresses for each other. Shared boards can be a fun way to collaborate with other people (my cousin added me to a “WTF” board where we pin ridiculous things, just for fun). I may or may not also have a board of extremely attractive dudes [https://pinterest.com/meghanwilker/i-like-em-scruffy/]. No comment.

2. How much time do you spend on the platform each day/week? I’d say no more than a couple of hours a week. I have the “Pin it” button [https://pinterest.com/about/goodies/] in my Firefox bookmarks toolbar, so when I come across something I want to capture for later that’s what I tend to use and it takes about two seconds. Sometimes, when I need a 5-minute mental vacation, I visit Pinterest to scroll through what other people have been pinning.

3. What makes Pinterest different from other social channels you spend time in? I think its visual nature is what people find so compelling. I mean, if a picture is worth a thousand words then a single pin is worth 71.4 tweets! In many ways, my brain finds it to be a bit of a relief. Nothing to read or think about, just interesting things to look at. When you compare that to the feeling of overwhelm that many people have when they look at Facebook (Real-time news ticker! News Feed! Pictures! Text! OMG!) or G+ (Gaah!) there’s a real difference.

4. There’s so much talk of people not wanting to spend time on *another* social network (like Google Plus, for example). Or, chatter about people being overwhelmed by all the social media channels to participate in. Yet, here are all these folks spending HOURS on Pinterest? What do you attribute that to? It’s partially the relief vs. freakout feelings I described above. I’ve been saying for a while now that I think one of the trends we’re going to see in social networks is focus — networks that are about one thing. Pinterest is a great example of that; all images, all the time. And, importantly, they’re not images that the user has to create (like Flickr, for example); they’re images that the user discovers and collects. I think that’s a vital difference; to really participate in the Flickr community you have to take photographs. To participate in Pinterest, you just have to see cool stuff online and pin it. That’s important because very few people are actually content creators; many more of us are content consumers or sharers*.With re-pinning, Pinterest makes it easy anyone to gather up the content that they like and share it. In addition, Pinterest feels like a visual candy store. People tend to pin things that are remarkable, and actually seeing what they found remarkable is so much more compelling than a tweet that says, “Look at this amazing thing I found.” For all of those reasons, I think Pinterest is appealing to everyday people — people like my neighbors and my family members who aren’t normally early adopters on other social networks.

5. Does Pinterest have value as a PR/marketing tool for businesses? What, if any, effective uses have you seen by brands so far? I have to preface my answer by saying that businesses can see value from any social network as long as they’re behaving socially and not like businesses. Unfortunately, this is a really hard thing for business to get right. Socializing is an inherently human activitiy and, despite the fact that businesses are created by and comprised of human beings, social behavior is not something that comes easily to them. But, with that out of the way: I’ve seen ROAM Interiors use it to pin their different furniture collections, which is a great idea. Because any repins they get from design lovers (and there are a lot of design lovers on Pinterest!) are images that are coming from their site. I’ve also seen food bloggers use it in the same way: pinning photos from their recipes which ultimately drives traffic back to their site. But all of that comes down to content; If you don’t have a product or idea that is visually compelling, Pinterest is not going to be a fit. I think it’s also worthwhile for companies to watch their web stats for traffic coming from Pinterest to see if there’s an audience there that’s actively sharing their content. Perhaps the company doesn’t need to be active on Pinterest but can find ways to optimize their site so images can be easily shared there. *Forrester has created some great material about this with their Social Technographics: http://forrester.typepad.com/groundswell/2010/01/conversationalists-get-onto-the-ladder.html

100 comments
michealmccullum
michealmccullum

in my opinion  the perception of  pinterest are amazing as the users see the resource in form of good pictures thats why the craze is too often of it

remonty warszawa
remonty warszawa

Jostein Gaarder "To nie my przychodzi­my na świat, lecz świat przychodzi do nas. Urodzić się znaczy ty­le, co dos­tać cały świat w prezencie"

http://dsrem-bud.pl/

MarySaints
MarySaints

NEED A WORK AT HOME THAT PAYS WELL

contact

marysaintts@yahoo.com

All Points PR
All Points PR

Pinterest seems like a great place to make lists, learn new things, and simply gather information for one's own knowledge or keeping. It seems like an online diary or scrapbook. Interesting!

http://www.allpointspr.com 

LizHudson
LizHudson

Does Pinterest only largely appeal to women then?  I can't go and find out for myself as I appear to be stuck on a waiting list...

adapia
adapia

What I'm seeing (hearing) the most is that Pinterest works because it IS NOT social. And that is fascinating and a huge indicator of what the fatigue about social is all about. The fact you don't need to follow or comment, rather, that you can pin, repin, or simply browse without saying or doing anything, is what users are loving. I love it too. It's not about 'for them'; it's about 'for me', and if anyone else finds what I pin interesting then that is great, but it isn't a necessity to make me feel like I'm doing it right, or that I'm not falling behind on how important I am, socially.

Pinterest is perfect for a multi-interest, multi-business, and multi-activity person like me. I'm a jack-of-all trades and I like to learn as much as I can about, well, everything. This is the perfect platform for that, plus it speaks to our culture's hugely evident shift towards visuals as opposed to words. Few people like reading anymore .. in fact, I doubt anyone has made it to the end of my comment!

Heidi Kay
Heidi Kay

We are what you might call superusers. We absolutely love Pinterest and have already logged traffic from Pinterest that is three times our Facebook traffic and is even beating our Google organic traffic.

The concern I have is that so far, Pinterest is not doing a very good job communicating with brands on what they can and can't do. Nor have they designed policies with brands in mind. I have been "cut off" now twice from commenting on our own pins because I was interpreted by the Pinterest system as a 'spammer.' Its very difficult to interact with your customers on your own boards if you can't comment! We have also started discussion groups on Pinterest to discuss ideas that are inspired by pins...again, can't do much to moderate discussion if I can't comment.

LukeCoburn
LukeCoburn

I'm interested to see ways that businesses and marketers begin using Pinterest as it continues to grow. I blogged about my reasons for using Pinterest the other day ( http://fatwalr.us/2012/01/pinterest-review-and-how-to/ ), and I'm looking forward to seeing what impact it will have when (if) a higher percentage of guys start using the service.

jayzombie
jayzombie

@rochoy Good article, but why would they not link to the interviewed user's Pinterest account?! OCD PET PEEVE, AHHH!

tsand
tsand

@mmbc When I have a free hour, I'll read it. Longest. Blog post. EVER. Thanks for sharing. Serious.

Yotsubashisuji
Yotsubashisuji

@kosstyle ブログ参考になります!女性に人気がありそうなので、オンナ目線のキビシイ意見が欲しいですね。

E_Ander
E_Ander

At the end of the day, much social media usage is for diversion. I'm a little disapointed that more of the people interviewed for this article didn't admit to it.

AnthonyAgency
AnthonyAgency

@rbbPR Just heard about Pinterest over the weekend during a conversation with friends. Need to read more about it!

hosinotomo
hosinotomo

@jkondo 自社サイトの感想を社内の人間に聞くと、文字の占有率が高いと見る気がしない。という意見が女性に多いです。(まぁ、私も女性ですが……)

vangerwen
vangerwen

Great piece and interesting insight from these users, but like marielanghout, I question your definition of a superuser. There are far more active and influential people that you could have included.

jcasalmir
jcasalmir

@rpesce I bristle at the term "craze" to describe @pinterest b\/c it addresses something not really present elsewhere: visual organization.

marielanghout
marielanghout

@arikhanson None of these users are "super users". There is a big set of influencers and style-makers on the site (most of which have successful design or style blogs) that have far greater influence. In fact, a few of them are men. Here are some to look at: @pennyweight / @imrevolting / @joycho / and a GUY: @mudpuppy - Maybe write a follow-up in a few months and interview one of them for the real story? :)

drewhawkins
drewhawkins

@ollygosling here is my Board of Man: http:\/\/t.co\/t6ywDZud and @lenkendall's even better board for starters http:\/\/t.co\/GzEymQlx

RobinBaron
RobinBaron

@amecakes thanks for the follow! and yes, join @pinterest ! So addicting! I just started and am already hooked! http:\/\/t.co\/dGKW7Adg

jcmboyer
jcmboyer

@randymatheson Great article! any idea why when I tried to join it said I was on a waiting list?

arikhanson
arikhanson moderator

 @LizHudson By the large, yes. But, that's my opinion. Numbers back that up though. At least the ones I've seen.

arikhanson
arikhanson moderator

 @adapia Sad, but true. We're becoming more visual learners/consumers every day. Which, for a writer like me, is sad. But, it's a key concept to keep in mind as a marketer.

 

And your comment about Pinterest appealing to folks because you don't have to think it right on. I think Jennifer Schmitt said it best--it's like "visual snacking." And you heard that theme come through loud and clear up top, too.

arikhanson
arikhanson moderator

 @Heidi Kay Yeah, I think Pinterest will catch up though. Think about it: The platform completely blew up in the last few months. They're probably playing a bit of catch up and mapping out next steps for brand usage/interaction. I'd just be patient on that one.

arikhanson
arikhanson moderator

 @LukeCoburn Me, too. Attending a session locally here in MSP this week to see a couple brands that are playing around with it. And, I think that's really what it is at this point. People are experimenting.

rochoy
rochoy

@jayzombie please tell me you're not a pinterest power user jess :D

mmbc
mmbc

@tsand I haven't made it all the way through yet :P 2 of 5 gave me enough immediate info

janlgordon
janlgordon

@E_Ander I'm happy to admit that I use Pinterest as a diversion but that's only part of the reason I enjoy it so much.

rbbPR
rbbPR

@anthonyagency You should apply to get an invite to join! From what I hear, it's like a visual version of Delicious.

arikhanson
arikhanson moderator

@marielanghout@mudpuppy I'm sure you're right. Only problem is I don't know any of those people and they most likely would have shirked my request to answer questions. It's a good point though--maybe a follow-up would be interesting...

ScottFitzG
ScottFitzG

@arikhanson I've been putting time in on Pinterest for a few weeks now. Distracted by a new site launch, but I will very soon be a reg. user

ollygosling
ollygosling

@arikhanson ah thanks. I actually meant why the male \/ female skew on the platform in general... Any ideas?

tsand
tsand

@mmbc I think there's one guy in the interview! ;)

mmbc
mmbc

@tsand did you hear the comscore stats on pinterest? now i have to actually check the thing out, darn!

mmbc
mmbc

@tsand I hear #pinterestformen is doing as well, you gonna start the trend?