Four Unique Ways to Use Pinterest

You’ve likely heard about Pinterest by now; it’s the hot new social bookmarking service that allows users to curate interesting content they find anywhere on the Internet by “pinning” the content to their profile on Pinterest. Traffic on Pinterest increased 429 percent from September 2011 to December 2011, and now boasts over 7.21 million unique visitors per month. Pinterest is something similar to Delicious, though with a heavy social layer; users connect via Facebook or Twitter and can create folders (or visual “boards”) dedicated to specific categories of topics. Users can then use a bookmarklet in their browser to save (or “pin”) the content to Pinterest, which uses an image from the source to visually bookmark the content. Other Pinterest users can then share by “repinning” content to their boards. Many users use Pinterest to pin and share just images — especially related to wedding ideas, fashion inspiration, and components of their dream home or lifestyle. However, the bookmarking aspects of Pinterest can be especially useful for those looking for ways to make their jobs easier, or an easier way to bookmark ideas to help with home improvement or hobbies. For bloggers, Pinterest is a great way to source, curate, and bookmark ideas as well. Here are four unique ways you can use Pinterest beyond pinning — and pining — after your dream vacation and/or wedding.

Your Small Business

Four Unique Ways to Use PinterestDo you own your own small business? Since your clients and potential clients don’t need a Pinterest account to browse Pinterest, it’s a great way to curate inspiration for your small business or hobby. The visual board layout of Pinterest makes this use of Pinterest ideal to easily display your work. Marin Wren from Seattle owns a cake decoration business called I Make Cake and uses Pinterest to curate cake decoration ideas for small business. Her board on Pinterest, Let them Eat Cake, helps her find inspiration for her clients. Other business owners, such as photographers like Kendall Shea-Nielsen, uses Pinterest to create “Look Books” for potential clients.

Your Job at a Big Business

Four Unique Ways to Use PinterestDo you work at a big business and are responsible for creating and proposing new ideas? Pinterest is a great tool for curating ideas for your organization. Akvile Harlow, who helps manage the Internet Marketing & Ad Operations for SMX and Search Engine Land, uses Pinterest to gather and share ideas for content on her companies’ websites and for their conferences, as well as to curate other marketing images that are worth sharing from other sources. (Many of these boards are shared with other Search Engine Land staff, so they can add ideas as well.) Akvile also says Pinterest is useful to help “dig up marketing stats, photos, infographics, etc.” as the social layer allows her to easily source ideas from other Pinterest user. If you’re on a marketing team at your organization, consider using Pinterest in a similar way to help gather and share ideas about your company.

Home Improvement

Are you in the midst of remodeling your kitchen, renovating your home, or simply planning your garden for the spring? Pinterest is great for inspiring dreams, such as that lavish home in the tropics (someday…), but if you’re actually working on a project for your real home, Pinterest is a great source for links to tips, tricks, and help for your projects. Use Pinterest to search for the project you’re working on to find others with boards about the same project or even just related pins — you can then use Pinterest to bookmark helpful articles or even entire blogs that you might otherwise use a combination of several other bookmarking services (or even your cluttered bookmarks folder) to access later.

Blogging

I’ll admit it: I don’t use Pinterest enough. When I first signed up, I used Pinterest primarily for sourcing and curating ideas not for dream wedding inspiration (that might scare a few people), fitness routines (let’s face it, I’m not going to pull up Pinterest while at the gym), or fashionable outfits (which I can’t afford). Instead, my first pins were inspirations for blogging, whether they were other themes I loved, blog posts to inspire future posts of my own, or infographics to use in the future. (I still primarily use Pinterest this way, too.) Other bloggers are using Pinterest in similar ways, including creating boards to share their media, such as the way Robert Lavigne pins his podcasts. With the intense social layer of Pinterest, using Pinterest to share your own content in addition to just pinning inspiration can be critical for helping refer more traffic to your blog. In fact, the latest research from Sharaholic reveals that Pinterest is referring almost as much traffic as Twitter. While you shouldn’t stop using other social networks, bloggers should consider using Pinterest to share their content, too.

Are you using Pinterest in any unique ways? Feel free to share your “pinteresting” boards in the comments below.

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Kelly Clay, author of Blog Without Boundaries, is a freelance writer and lifestyle advisor.