Just when you were starting to master LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and maybe even Google+, along comes yet another “hot” social media site – Pinterest. Launched in 2010, Pinterest is an online virtual pinboard for “collecting and organizing things you love.” Users post images or videos to their own or others’ pinboards by either uploading images from their computer or pinning things they find on the web.
According to Experian Marketing Services’ 2012 Digital Marketer report, Pinterest is now the third most popular U.S. social networking site behind Facebook and Twitter. Until August of this year, Pinterest was an invitation only site, making its numbers that much more impressive: the site received nearly 21.5 million visits in the week ending January 28, 2012 alone.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is most often described as an online collection of “pinboards.” It is a visual social network which allows users to ‘pin’ images or videos to their ‘pinboards,’ thereby sharing them with other Pinterest users.
Pinterest’ s goal is to connect users by the things they find interesting. Food, crafts, design and fashion seem to be the most popular Pinterest topics to date. But as will other social media tools, it’s evolving.
Pinterest users may “follow” other users, or follow individual Pinterest boards. When a Pinterest user follows another user (or board) the pins from the users (or boards) followed will appear on the user’s Pinterest Home Page. Pins the user pins themselves can be seen under the user’s Profile and specific Boards.
Although it was originally started as an invitation-only site, as of August 8, 2012 that is no longer the case; registration is now open. And as of this month, Pinterest now has business, as well as personal accounts (more on Pinterest business accounts in a future post). All Pinterest accounts must be linked to an email address.
Until this month, all boards were public on Pinterest, but Pinterest has now created ‘secret boards’ which allow you to keep a limited number of boards private. But in general, although your profile can be hidden, most boards are public, even to those not on Pinterest.
Mini Glossary of Pinterest Terms
Pin: An image or video posted to Pinterest by a user.
Pinboard: A collection of pins created by a Pinterest user, usually organized around a particular theme.
Pinner: A Pinterest user.
Pinning: The act of posting content to Pinterest.
Repin: Users can share others’ content on Pinterest by “re-pinning” (the equivalent of “re-tweeting” on Twitter). When content is re-pinned, the original “Pinner” receives a notification from Pinterest.
In addition to sharing by ‘repinning,’ Pinterest users can “like” or comment on others’ pins. Comments will show underneath the pin (similar to Facebook comments), and all of your Pinterest “likes” will be collected in one place.
Who is using Pinterest?
It is estimated that Pinterest has over 10.5 million users, and growing fast. Pinterest is heavily populated by women, who make up 80% of Pinterest users, 46% of which are between the ages of 23 and 44.
Why Should Lawyers Consider Pinterest for Marketing
Pinterest has been called the third most popular social media platform after Facebook and Twitter. In terms of number of users, it ranks higher than LinkedIn. Behind Facebook and Twitter but ahead of LinkedIn in number of weekly hits and in referral traffic, Pinterest may have significant influence with certain audiences.
Pinterest may be one way lawyers can differentiate themselves and engage with certain audiences. In addition, John Medina, author of the bestseller Brain Rules notes that, “vision trumps all other senses.” In terms of learning and memory, there is no comparison. So if you want clients and potential clients to remember you, visuals are key – and Pinterest is built on visuals.
Use Pinterest to:
- Show Value – who are you and how are you different?
- Earn Trust – demonstrate your expertise and knowledge by posting content your clients and potential clients are interested in
- Refine Your Strategy – take note of what pins capture attention
- Drive traffic by pinning images from your website/blogs
- Pin content from others as well as from within your firm
- Include links back to the source content in pin descriptions as well as embedded in the pin image
- Use keywords to name boards and pins
- Use hashtags (#) where appropriate to make searching easier
- Use the @ feature to notify another user the pin is about them
What to Pin
- Quotes or one-liners may be a good option – they are popular on both Pinterest and Facebook.
- If you tweet, think about how you can visually represent those tweets and post the image with the ‘tweet’ as the description on Pinterest
- Showcase firm culture/values and what you do – Not just your services, but items related to them
- Find businesses on Pinterest to repin using Pinterest’s categories (which are still relatively limited), or simply use the search box
- “How to” posts are popular on Pinterest
- Curate content of interest to your audience
- Photos of publications your firm appeared or was quoted in
- Pictures of events you have planned or participated in
- Photos of clients/strategic alliances and their businesses – with permission –cross-promoting (check ethical rules)
Pinterest is graphics-driven, so think about the visual representation of the content you want to share
To see more, take a look at this video I created about Pinterest for Lawyers from a presentation I gave at the ABA Law Practice Management Section’s Fall Meeting in October.