PR and Pinterest

Emerging from the shadows of Tumblr’s current boost in popularity (bagging the cover of the latest edition of Wired Magazine), Pinterest is the latest social media site to garner a surge of usership over the past couple of months. On Facebook and Twitter, the site has been a regular talking point. The phrase ‘Pinterest’ has been passed around like the grandest game of Chinese whispers, resulting in great attention, curiosity and probably just as much confusion. What is this website? What does it mean? How can I use this? The website allows users to create virtual ‘pinboards’, showcasing themed photo collections, discussions, videos and other forms of online media. Much like Tumblr, Pinterest is heavily based in image sharing but has lent itself to the desires of the typical social media user by incorporating the ability to share pretty much anything and everything. So what, if anything, does this mean to PR people? How can we use this site from a PR perspective? Well, despite the registering process being invite-only, recent figures posted on Site Analytics  show a rocket in the number of Pinterest users over the past year; particularly over the past four/five months. The immediate point to take away from this information is that there is certainly a sizeable audience out there that, it seems, will continue to rapidly increase – at least in the short term. In terms of consumer PR, Pinterest can easily be used to really show off personality. The 'pinboards' can be used to reflect your brand in a fun and interesting way, with collections of designs and artwork, videos and articles. For those on the B2B side of the coin, Pinterest could help those in corporate leadership and public figures to gain an online presence with personality. They can ‘pin’ their interests or link to/post about relevant industries to their role. At the same time, you’re building relationships, and not just with general public users, but people using the site to sell products. The concept of thematic 'pinboards' lends itself well to the world of PR in terms of gaining online coverage.  Upon registering you’re shown an array of areas you can follow and integrate yourself into, such as Technology, Products and Travel etc. Here you can showcase your most successful and most recent campaigns directly to consumers and potential clients that share those categories on Pinterest. Finally, it’s great for inspiration and getting those creative juices flowing. With such a gargantuan amount of ‘pins’ and ‘pinboards’ floating around the site, who knows what gems you could stumble across to spark that great campaign idea? This especially would come in handy for creative designs. Team members could add interesting and useful 'pins' to an 'ideas' board whenever they wished to. However, like any other social site, there would need to be designated pinners to keep the profile up to date.