Just when it looks like we have all the social networks we can handle, another one pops up that seems like a real winner.
Started in March of 2010, Pinterest is described as a virtual pinboard, which lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web.
Users can do this either by finding images on the Pinterest site (or mobile app) or directly on the web and then attaching those images (along with a very brief comment) to one of their pinboards. Other users can then “repin” and comment on these images.
The numbers behind Pinterest’s growth are unbelievable for such a young startup. We’re talking about 11 million unique visitors (according to Hitwise) in just one week during December of 2011. One of the leading investors in Pinterest commented, “Pinterest is growing at the rate of Facebook 5 years ago.”
Brands such as Gap, Whole Foods, Nordstrom, Klout and others have already begun creating a presence on this hot new social network, which is largely devoid of any blatant commercial marketing. Maybe that is what leads so many folks to embrace Pinterest, spending hours a day pinning, repining, commenting and browsing.
As some users have remarked, Pinterest is almost entirely a visual experience. We can only process so many written messages at a given time until we feel overwhelmed, regardless of whether they’re under 140 characters.
So what is it that has been driving all of this interest in Pinterest? Is it the clean, fresh and simple look and feel of the website and mobile app? Is it the lack of overt advertising messages that have taken root in our Twitter and Facebook feeds? Is it the ease with which we can process images over text?
Some critics have argued that Pinterest’s success will come and go, much the way of Digg, Delicious and numerous other bookmarking sites. We beg to differ. Pinterest shows us that sharing doesn’t have to be complicated. A photo really is worth 1000 words; if you don’t believe that, just go ask any diehard Pinterest enthusiast.
Just as some well-known brands are using Pinterest to connect with their followers through a new medium, you can too, but you have to be subtle about it. Deliberate and excessive self-promotion is frowned upon on Pinterest and for good reason. The absence of such is one of the key reasons the site is so popular.
In a future article, I’ll discuss some specific methods you can use to subtly promote your brand, your values and your interests on Pinterest without making it seem like an advertisement. Until then, if you haven’t done so already, go sign up, follow us and play around. Then, tell us what you like or don’t like about Pinterest or how you plan on using it.
Oh, and since Pinterest is currently accessible through invitation only, give us a shout on Twitter if you’d like an invite. See you there!