With billions of pins and over 250million users across the globe, it’s no surprise that Pinterest gained greater popularity over the last couple of years in South Africa. It’s been referred to as a ‘visual search engine’ and is ideal to find visual content that suits your interests and your passions.

But what is Pinterest and how can you actually use it to enhance and bring new creativity to your life, career or hobbies? This article will look at Pinterest, how to create an account, use Pinterest, pin photos and everything you need to know to draw inspiration that will help you ‘win it’ in the social media world.

Pinterest is fun
Pinterest is a fun way to find inspiration and connect with people with the same passion - Image by Meghan Schiereck on Unsplash
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What is Pinterest?

Pinterest define themselves as a ‘visual discovery engine’ where you can find inspiration and ideas to fuel your passions.

Pinterest is a social network from the U.S and is similar to a modern, digital photo album. Users can pin images and create boards to organise their content as they see fit. It allows you to discover ideas that can spark new inspiration and the functionality makes it easy to cluster those ideas into buckets for future reference.

What is Pinterest Used For?

Pinterest is not only for personal usage, but also for marketing and creating professional networks online. It allows small businesses and individuals to showcase their crafts and their passions while expanding their reach and market across the globe.

Here are some of the core reasons why you should use Pinterest:

  • It’s a hive of social activity where sharing between friends and followers are encouraged
  • Its success ensures that quality content (created by individuals or businesses) gets seen by more people through organic means than other social media platforms
  • It’s inspirational and you can follow positive content. This also makes it more attractive for social media marketers and companies who want their brands associated with uplifting content
  • It can be used to gauge interest in certain products, posts or content
  • It’s free, unless you want to promote pins through paid advertising
  • It’s suitable for hobbies and across a variety of industries and interests
  • It allows you to find new ideas
  • It’s low maintenance, and unlike Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms you don’t have to monitor comments and activity around it
  • You can freely express your creativity and innovative ideas to the world
  • You can generate website traffic due to Pinterest referrals. Original content that goes viral or gets pinned multiple times will create a link that redirects people to your website.
Digital Photo Album
Pinterest is a smart, digital way of organising your images - Image by Danila Hamsterman on Unsplash

Whether you are interested in technology, embroidery, humour or writing the novel you’ve always wanted, Pinterest will have something to help you and a whole group of people who have the same interest.

Here are some of the core industries that make use of Pinterest:

Fashion Trends

Unless you have a big budget to get your own stylist, finding new clothing that is on-trend and suited to your body type can sometimes be quite challenging. The good news is, a lot of people struggle with exactly the same thing and if you don’t have hours to spend in trendy shops, or want to spice up your own fashion sense, you can turn to the internet for tips and ideas on how to do that.

Pinterest is one of the platforms that’s changing the way we view and purchase fashion.

Pinterest is the ideal platform for fashion brands. It connects those seeking fashion trends and solutions to their current ranges and can also be a place where a small and local fashion designer gets to showcase their work. Sometimes re-using or repackaging your own clothing with alterations or adding the right apparel and accessories, can change its look completely while saving you a lot of money.

What to wear
Fashion boards on Pinterest will also allow you to clarify and consider your own style and look, ensuring you only buy what you need and suits you - Image by Tamara Bellis on Unsplash

When it comes to fashion one thing is for certain, trends are suited to seasonal needs. With Pinterest you can create boards for each season that allows you to customise and categorise pins. This in turn can also help you to narrow down the necessary items you can pin the same piece of clothing to different boards, allowing you to plan smartly around seasonal add-ons.

Some users make use of boards to help them when they go out shopping and they can refer to the ‘look’ they want to put together or search for something similar in the shops.

Interior Design and Decorating

Are you looking for new ideas around how to decorate your home or a specific space in and around your house?  Pinterest is an ideal place where you can draw inspiration if you don’t want to purchase the latest and expensive magazines. Arriving at Mr Price Home, @Home or any other home store can be challenging if you are not clear on what you want.  You get tossed around from one great new piece to the next and the best way to ensure you buy what is required, is to have a clear and solid vision of the area.

A ‘Moodboard’ is something that designers and interior decorators use all the time. Not only does it portray the ‘mood’ of the room, but it also looks at the colour scheme, fabrics, décor and theme, making it the ideal guideline to focus on what is required and even find alternative solutions to create that perfect room.

Similar to any other search on Pinterest, simply type in keywords associated with your search into Pinterest and start browsing for ides. You can try ‘kitchen décor’, ‘African living rooms’ or simply ‘Room makeover’ and Pinterest will display hundreds of relevant searches. Some of these might be linked to suppliers which will enable you to purchase it there and then.

Weddings and Events

Special events are also on the top of the list when looking at trending Pinterest interests.  Getting married is a special event in people’s lives and they will certainly make the effort to put together the wedding they’ve always been dreaming of. Wedding planners, venues, wedding dress makers, bakers and everyone in the industry have noticed how more and more people turn to Pinterest for ideas on their special day.

Engaged couples will arrive with an entire board created with ideas around the flowers they want, their make-up and even a theme. Pinterest is ideal for any person who plans a special event as it allows you to organise your thoughts and minimise the amount of anxiety that usually goes with it.

Your friends, family or even your mother-in-law can contribute by sharing pins with you and your board can cover everything you’d love for your day including colour palettes, flowers, decor, lighting, wardrobe, invitation ideas, venues, themes, honeymoon ideas and much more.

Search for what you need and pin it to your board. This board can be used to brief suppliers and event planners who will be able to determine the cost around it, and how easy or hard it will be to make the dream event a reality to the allocated budgets. Weddings and events can be expensive, and more and more people ask their family to get involved in the planning as they farm out tasks and responsibilities. Pinterest can be your shared wedding planner journal and whoever decide to help you will know exactly what your vision of the wedding day is.

Ideas on Pinterest
Find decor ideas for your special day on Pinterest - Image by Annie Gray on Unsplash

Arts and Crafts

Pinterest is the absolute best when it comes to arts and crafts. Generally, people do arts and crafts as a hobby and finding artsy ideas on Pinterest is ideal if you don’t know which project to tackle next, or don’t know exactly how to make something a reality.

Whether you are into pottery, crochet, painting, or even woodwork, Pinterest will help you to discover new tricks of the trade. It’s also the perfect platform to discover trends in the world of arts and if you are an experienced artist, you can look for images to inspire a new unique creation.

Pinterest also allows craftsy people to discover ‘how to’ if you want to create it, redirecting you to the appropriate site or laying out steps in the image.

If you are ready to take your skills more seriously and want to make money from your crafts, then Pinterest can be a platform that allows you to showcase your wares to the world. Small businesses can also find ways to market themselves on Pinterest as they explore pins around ‘small business marketing’ or something similar.

Pinterest Arts and Crafts
Creativity is abundant and colorful on Pinterest - Image by Prince-a Abid on Unsplash

Hair and Beauty

Similar to fashion, hair trends are also something people can find on Pinterest. Before heading to the salon, they can use Pinterest as a digital brochure to browse through a variety of styles, pin it and have it ready for their stylist. It makes the task of explaining a lot easier but be sure you get more than one option because sometime the shape of our face doesn’t lean itself to all hairstyles and a good hairdresser will be able to point that out.

Salons can also use Pinterest to increase awareness around their work and ultimately bring more customers to them. Any small business can benefit from the low maintenance that is associated with Pinterest and you can share the latest innovations and work from the salon online to connect with new customers and get the Pinterest community to work. Going to a new hairdresser can be quite daunting and having visual references of the styles and the quality your salon delivers will give new customers peace of mind and remove that barrier to entry.

Lastly, giving consumers tips, ideas and even suggesting products that tackles those bad hair days can win new customers for any freelance stylist or salon on Pinterest.

Creating a Pinterest Account

Still thinking ‘How can I use Pinterest”? The best way to truly understand it is to create your own account and experience pinning and first-hand. Similar to any social media platform, you’d have to provide some basic personal information to register your Pinterest Account. These include an email address that’s valid, a password and your age.

Head over to Pinterest’s website or download the app to register your account and insert those details. There are also ways to connect through Facebook or Gmail, but as usual keep your login details safe in-case you need to log-in on a different device.

To ensure Pinterest shows you content that interests you, you will be asked right from the start to choose 5 fields of interest. These will then allow Pinterest to suggest content, related to your interest, on your newsfeed. Don’t worry, these can be updated and changed as you go, so select whatever you want to and just enjoy the ride.

You’ll arrive on Pinterest’s homepage once the account has been successfully created.  At the top you’ll find a search bar that will allow you to search for any content you’d like.  You can also click on the three tiny dots to change or check personal details on your Pinterest account like your display name, biography, profile picture and location.

Social Media
Pinterest is probably the most colorful social media platform - Image by Adem-ay on Unsplash
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Exploring Exciting Content

With your profile created and ready it’s time to explore the magical world of Pinterest. As you login you’ll land on the homepage which has already been customised to show you photos and content that relates back to the interests you indicated. You can also search for other photos or topics using the search bar at the top.

Wondering how to post on Pinterest? You can either post your own content or pin someone else’s content. Pinning is easy and can be done by simply clicking on the little pin icon once you find an image you like. When you pin a visual you usually have an option of six actions you can perform:

  • Send: This will allow you to share the image to other networks like Twitter, Facebook etc.
  • Save: To pin an image or photo to one of your boards
  • Comment: You can view other people’s comments at the bottom of the image and if you post unique content, you can also see what others have to say about it
  • Visit: This will direct you to where the image was pinned from. A lot of times for popular posts people get redirected to the website of the brand, company or person
  • Visual Search: This will allow you to search ‘similar’ visuals
  • Three Dots: Can be used if you feel the content is inappropriate or you want to pin it to a site or a blog

Pinned images will be allocated to the boards of your choice and a board is the same as a photo album, allowing you to see the posts in an organised way. Create your own boards, naming them something related to the content and decide whether you would like to share this with the public or keep it private.

In the Pins tab you can also find images that you saved from Pinterest and one of the most exciting features is to add a Pin to your web browser to allow you to pin content on the go, adding it to your pinboard even if you are not on the Pinterest site itself.

Search Interests
Finding something to spark your interest is easy on Pinterest. Type in your keyword in the 'Search' section and pin what you like - Image by Stephen Phillips on Unsplash

Time to Pin Your Own Content and Create Boards

You can either add to an existing board or create a brand-new board in your Pinterest account. Simply click on the ‘Add a Pin’ once you are on the board of your choice, select the image you want from your computer or phone and confirm.  For online images they require the image’s URL and be sure you honour usage rights when it comes to visuals and using it for marketing purposes. If someone else owns the image and you use it for marketing, you might be held accountable for usage costs and penalties around the rights of those images.

Ensure you add a nice description to your image before you pin it and DONE, you have created your fist pin. By using the correct keywords, people with similar interests will be able to find the pin in their searches and hopefully the world can look in wonder onto your beautiful picture or artwork.

Pinterest is a world of its own and as you continue to explore, you’ll start to pin more photos and discover more areas in your life where it can help you. Some people find great opportunities for training and upskilling there, and others learn to expand their interests into new fields.

Whether you are seeking for tips around architecture, your gardening, parenting or even simply seeking inspiration, you are bound to find it on interest and you can rest assured that there are people with the same interests in the world.

The Content You Pin, Helps you Win

Like all the other social media platforms your bio, personal information, profile name and how you behave on the platform, will determine how you are perceived. Consider the type of comments you make and also the images and videos you decide to post. If you would like to position yourself in the field of fashion, or you want to show your pottery to the world, you need to ensure your content is doing that job and needs to portray exactly what you want the world to see.

On social media, the content you post and images you use start to create a ‘brand’ or representation of who you are.

If you choose to use Pinterest for professional reasons to represent your company or brand, you’ll have to choose a name, look and feel and content that suits your brand identity. Businesses, big and small, will be able to benefit from the additional traffic to their website if their Pinterest content is interesting, engaging and relevant.

For professional accounts, the need for high quality images, professional tone and SEO linking becomes more relevant and important, so ensure you get the help of a social media marketing manager or social media specialist if you are uncertain where and how to start your content.

Pinterest Suggestions
Pinterest will make recommendations for content related to your interests - Image by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Deleting Pinterest

Exploring and being on Pinterest should be fun and if you feel, for whatever reason, that it’s not healthy for you, you can easily pause your account or delete it. Simply click on the three dots and select ‘log out’ to get a break from Pinterest. This option will allow you to return whenever you want to.

If you are completely ‘over it’ you can ‘Deactivate Account’ in your ‘Account Settings’.  Pinterest will allow you to delete the account forever, or there is an alternative option where you can reactivate it at any point.

Expanding Your Social Media Footprint

Some people choose to leave Pinterest for another social media platforms. The secret here is to choose the social media platforms you enjoy, and it doesn’t feel like too much work. Each of these platforms have their own functionality and aspects that people enjoy. If Pinterest is not your thing, we’d like to encourage you to explore and discover Snapchat, Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook or any of the other popular platforms out there.

If you want to become a social media influencer or blogger, you’ll require a good understanding around how to get followers and create integration between your social media accounts. Explore all of them before you decide to invest heavily in a single one and then ensure you remain committed to the social media platforms you choose.

We have Superprof tutors that can help you with any technical issues you have or questions around marketing. Browse them here and you can book your online class, face-to-face meeting or group tutorial.  A lot of our tutors also offer their first class for free.

Happy Pinning!

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Mauritz

Writer and qualified yoga instructor, who is passionate about health and well-being.