Published in issue 18, August 2012
Written by Tracey Kifford
The world of social networking is forever changing and trying to capitalise on something new, with Pinterest being one of the latest additions. A dedicated photo sharing website, Pinterest was first launched in beta in March 2010; following the launch of an iPhone app in March the following year and Time magazine listing Pinterest in its ‘50 Best Websites of 2011’ (Aug 2011) the website took off and has now achieved global recognition. Currently Pinterest is considered the third largest social network in the US (March 2012) beating LinkedIn and Tagged.
So what is Pinterest and what could it do for you? Basically the site operates by allowing users to organise and share online images that interest them. Once uploaded or shared on Pinterest, these images then become known as ‘pins’, which the user can place on customised, themed Boards. Boards can be created for any topic imaginable and of course this is especially useful for sharing images of craft items and gifts you may have produced. Currently to use Pinterest you have to be invited - you can either sign up on the website and wait, or get someone you know to invite you for immediate access.
Some examples of the way people use Pinterest include creating an online wedding gift list, all the guests can see immediately the range of gifts to choose from by following your gift list board. In addition many wedding-planning brides have replaced their wedding planner binders with a Pinterest account to easily store their ideas. Some people have also been known create a board for each room in their house and then pin decorating ideas for each room as they come across them. Artists use Pinterest as a tool to organise inspiring images for their artwork. Cooks can share recipes and also keep an online recipe box. The possibilities are endless, especially for those who have something to sell and want to get exposure. However, as we will explain shortly, Pinterest does have its grey areas, which worry a great many people.
WowThankYou asked some Pinterest-using sellers how it is working out for them. Gill Davidson of Personal Space Interiors is an avid fan of Pinterest and has pretty much used it since it was launched. Gill loves the way Pinterest works and says it helps her a lot in her work. “I am a very visual person so I find the layout of Pinterest really appealing; I love the haphazard way the images appear. It gives the site an organic feel rather than being regimented images in rows. Some of the board curators are really talented and have a fantastic eye for colour, form and design. They give me inspiration, which motivates me to explore and be more creative.” She finds Pinterest a refreshing change from Facebook and Twitter as it allows buyers to see products in the flesh. “I find Pinterest much easier to use and share than other bookmarking tools, and it’s easy to find and follow people with similar likes and interests.” Gill has had a number of sales through the website and believes it is a good resource, “I know that Pinterest can lead to sales; I’ve asked my customers and… They said they had pinned items from me on to their boards when they were ‘Windows’ shopping as I like to call it, and then returned to them later to buy. So yes, I would definitely recommend Pinterest as a quick, fun and occasionally profitable bookmarking tool.”
Cheryl Walton of tinyinc says that Pinterest is totally addictive and so inspiring. “I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!” Cheryl has a very good tip - “my advice to pinners would be to watermark their images as they are used extensively and the credit for the original idea gets lost along the way a bit and the watermark ensures that your name travels wherever you pin travels!”
Jacqueline Inglis of Elloria’s Boutique also loves Pinterest and is able to sum it up in just a few words: “It's scrapbooking without the scissors and glue and is a brilliant visual marketing tool.” Jacqueline added, “the best thing is, it is completely free!”
Amber Bain of FingerTips Designs uses Pinterest as a marketing tool to display products from her shop. She says, “As the images we pin are from our shop when they are pinned they have their prices in the corner of the image, which is a great as people love to know how much a product is.” Another great advantage is feedback from repins Amber explained, “When our images get repinned we get an automatic email to tell us who repinned and where they pinned it to - this is great as you can go directly to this person and leave a personal message with them.”
Valerie Rooney of BeauBangles has been observing the move towards Pinterest and raises some good points. There are sellers who prefer to keep their images away from Pinterest in case others steal their ideas (intellectual property) or infringe on or claim copyright. Other sellers think that it is a good way of getting your name and designs/products in the mainstream.
There is currently a huge debate going on about the legal position of posting on Pinterest. Experts have agreed that posting content on Pinterest does not give them automatic ownership of these designs and images. However they are granted a perpetual and irrevocable license to use and exploit the content in the context of the site (this is similar to Facebook). There is also a big issue with pinning other people’s images to Pinterest without their permission, as this could land you in trouble. The Terms and Conditions were modified on Pinterest early in April 2012 to clarify the ownership of material and reiterate that permission is required to post some content.
Sadie Burleigh of Perfect Day Wishes has a Pinterest account but is still coming to grips with it. She worries about whether Pinterest is the marketing tool everyone expects. She told us, “I read an article that states Pinterest does not encourage self promotion it is purely about sharing things you love and to go on a pinning frenzy with your own stuff is not what it’s about and is classed as bad etiquette; so the whole concept for me is confusing. In one corner people are using it to market their items, then in another it’s about sharing and giving people a learning experience.” This is an interesting point but Pinterest actually made a change in April 2012 to their T&Cs to allow self-promotion.
Most WowThankYou sellers have heard of, or use Pinterest, and the general consensus is that any tool that is free, allows self-promotion, attracts sales and is fun must be a good idea. Get an invite and give Pinterest a try – it might be just the thing you have been waiting for! Once you are set up, pop over and check out our boards www.pinterest.com/wowthankyou :-)