Pinterest: Vision-Boarding for Fun and Profit

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Ah, Pinterest. I can understand how people (and businesses) mistake it as just a place online where moms post recipes and various photos from home decor magazines. To some, Pinterest is an addictive mystery wrapped up in an enigma. But to those who dare unlock its secrets, Pinterest has become a treasure trove of marketing and branding mojo, as well as a valuable weapon to carry on your ninja toolbelt. Especially since yesterday the company released their new analytics tool.

The trick is simple. The answer, complex. Find new “out of the box” ways to use Pinterest. I mean REALLY outside of the box. Nothing too scary, though. Nothing you wouldn’t want to write home about. I’m talking about creative ways to harness what Pinterest is good at: interaction.

My Pinterest eureka moment came to me recently when my sister happened to mention how social media has influenced her noble profession as a teacher. This is a person who is as anti-social network as they come. Teachers, as you know, are the most important asset any society has and yet they are often given not enough resources to do their jobs correctly. The best teachers are often those who are the most resourceful. When she told me that a common Pinterest addiction among her co-workers drove them to create boards that she and the other teachers use to pin lesson plans and ideas for other creative ideas they can do at their school, I was blown away.

Using a Pinterest board as a creative crucible to help each teacher make their job easier harnesses the interactive capabilities of this platform. Making good lesson plans great has probably never been so much fun, either.

The collaborative platform of Pinterest as well as its ease of allowing you to collate ideas makes it a perfect project management tool for projects involving remote workers. A friend of mine in Los Angeles is currently collaborating on a book with someone in Santa Fe, New Mexico by using one of Pinterest’s “secret” boards to post ideas, drafts, rewrites and edits. Shortly, as they get near the end, the creative duo will add in another user to the process, a copy editor from Florida.

And the possibilities to use Pinterest for vision boarding are endless. I can imagine filmmakers using Pinterest boards as digital storyboards capable of evolving and cataloging ideas.

I believe that Pinterest’s ability to be such a welcoming collaborative environment opens up a wealth of marketing and branding opportunities. Perhaps if you have only used Pinterest for your brand as a way to inform your followers of something you think is interesting, you may be missing out on a lot of what Pinterest can do for you.

Every smart brand wants social engagement. They realize a majority of the audience will just sit back and passively watch the social conversation happen. But the most important audience is made up of those who, for whatever reason, really want to be in the conversation. These are the priceless influencers, those who virally spread the kind of praise about your brand that money can’t buy.

Creating strategically curated boards specific to products or divisions and inviting your audience to participate in them can deeply aid in the discovery of valuable metrics related to demographics, usage and customer satisfaction. This is a great way to keep the customer informed while showing them that you do indeed have your ears pointed in their direction.

Many forward-first brands are taking things even a step further by allowing their Pinterest followers to aid them in the development of new products. What could be stronger than harnessing the power of many minds who all want the same thing — for you to succeed?

Making sure you choose the right-minded people to curate the content is as important as the social strategies you undertake. Given how market analysis and focus groups have become integral to successful product launches, getting your audience into the conversation early has the potential to make your job easier and your efforts, more influential. Look deeper at Pinterest, and you will discover that pinned to it is a treasure map capable of revealing the riches your audience and customers have to offer.

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