Pinning for Pleasure; How Business Might Be Missing the Pinboard Metaphor

Pinterest for Business or Pleasure, the Pin and the RePinIn the beginning Pinterest was for women. And Pinterest was good. I remember back in the day, say October of last year, when I first saw Pinterest. “Wow, this is user-generated content?” I asked. “Where are they getting all this great photography?”

And then in January 2012 some promising statistics come out about Pinterest: Pinterest Drives more Traffic than LinkedIn and Google Plus (Jeff Bullas) and the race was on to “monetize” Pinterest and bring it into compliance as an official social media business platform. And on came the business of Pinterest presentations and ebooks. The gold rush was started and everybody headed towards the little digital scrapbooking network that was becoming the story of the early 2012’s.

And, of course some of the pre-rush Pinsters were not happy.

The Bastardization of Pinterest Has Begun – A Rant (Dan Perez Films)

And there was a controversy about how Pinterest was hijacking your PINS with affiliate sales links and “making money” off your PINS.

Pinterest Partner: Yes, They’re Making Money from Pins (Mashable)

And copyright law came into play. Were we legal liable for PINNING someone else’s picture in our scrapbook, or PINBOARD as Pinterest calls them?

A Lawyer Who Is Also A Photographer Just Deleted All Her Pinterest Boards Out Of Fear (Business Insider)

And suddenly, OMG, we’re in a bit of a PINgate. What are we to do? Is Pinterest toast? Is it still really for women to post pictures of shoes and dresses and kitchens they want to have?

And even worse, for Pinterest, the clones and knockoffs arrive. And some have better ideas, have taken the metaphor of the PIN directly to PURCHASE such as The Fancy. And the men’s answer to Pinterest called Manteresting (like Pinterest with a penis).

So what are we to do, think, sell, PIN?

Here’s my experience with Pinterest. PIN THIS! How Pinterest is *Not Really* Kicking Ass for Me Personally I’m not getting much link love from Pinterest. Lots of RePINS of my PINS. But it seems like most people are more interested in PINNING than they are in reading. I’m getting PINNED all over the place, but I’m getting only 1 or 2 Pinterest related referral links to my blog per day.

So Pinterest is interesting. And we’ve got to watch, listen, and learn to understand if there is a strategy that might be successful for one of our social media or online marketing clients. And if they are in women’s fashion or retail we can start right away. But everything else is in the experimental phase. And we social media advocates are drooling all over ourselves to talk, strategize, and argue about the new social flavor, PINTEREST.

But in the end, maybe we (social media and business drivers) are missing the beauty of what made Pinterest so successful in the first place. Easy photosharing of your favorite products with other people (mostly women) who were also interested in shoes, and handbags, and kitchen remodel ideas. It wasn’t really about going and reading about that pretty dress. It was really just the picture of the dress that told the whole story. “I LIKE THIS.”

Now we are entering the pinning world with data and articles and PINS that have nothing to do with Visual Information and more about how to get the biggest buck out of PINNING. I’m not so sure we are going to see the gold from Pinterest. And I’m not sure the people who are passionate about PINNING really give a bleep.

They’d rather say, “Here are some shoes I’d love to have.” And a hundred or a thousand women might come behind them and say, “Me too, I’d love to have these shoes too.” And RePin after RePin. But the PIN is not about getting the shoes. The first person to post the picture of the goat hoof shoes was not saying, “I want to buy these right now.” She was saying, “Hey, look at these.”

And those to ideas are worlds apart. And most of the people PINNING the shoes afterwards don’t even care where the shoes came from, they simply want to say, “Hey these are amazing.” And where The Fancy goes right on and puts up the BUY NOW button, Pinterest is somewhat content allowing that to be the sum total of the interaction.

But of course, Pinterest has to make money. And if there’s money to be made, the businesses and social media strategists like myself will start swarming and writing and trying to find the angle on Pinterest. So here we are.

Pinterest is really about sharing an idea, a picture, a whim, a fancy. The transaction behind that idea is a long way off in the mind of 99% of most PINNERS. The IMAGE and the PIN, that’s the entire point of Pinterest. A BUY NOW button might just kill the whole thing. We shall see, won’t we?

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Hi John, I just pin stuff about food and about Sweden and some goofy geek stuff for the fun of it. My product is a cooking product from Sweden….makes sense. Funny thing, more people follow the goofy geek stuff than anything else because it is fun and funny. 

    1. Thanks James. Yep, we are learning this Pinterest thing together. Keep rockin, and keep sharing your experience. Are the PINS generating any traffic to your site?

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