How to get started on Pinterest

It’s taken America by storm and is growingly popular in the UK too, the recently labelled third most popular social media site, Pinterest, is exploding with new members each day (after you’ve been kept waiting on their list that is).

With over six million active users since its launch in March 2010, it is completely image orientated. Forget crappy status’ you don’t care about reading; forget real-time; the site deviates away from the norm of social media. Users take images or “pins” and upload them to customised boards, which can be based on anything from Fashion, Books, Travel etc. This is then shared with people who follow you, they can repin the image, like the image or comment.

Pinterest is a fast way of sharing images you find interesting.

One of my favourite general uses of Pinterest - a cliché I know but one of my friends is getting married so instead of a mass of bridal magazines and pages bookmarked, you can store your favourite images and see what your friends think online. This works just as well for fashion, beauty, travel... well, just about anything. Whatever your specialty, there is probably a mass of users already sharing images on that topic.

So how do you get started? At the moment, following in the footsteps of many of Google’s services like Google + and Gmail, you can only be invited. You can request an invitation from or have a friend invite you. When you’ve received your invitation and set up your account, your home page will show you a selection of images from the people you follow; these will be selected automatically from Facebook, Twitter or from your interests you selected. You can find other people and interests by simply using the search box.

You can upload images, repin images or “pin it” - a browser bookmark that allows users to grab an image from virtually any site. It will then let you select the board you wish to place the pin on. I’m just experimenting so far but I have boards for:

  • PR
  • Quotes
  • Infographics
  • Places I’d like to go
  • 2012
  • Books
  • Hair
  • Fashion 
And if you’re wondering if this is a practical use of your time or how it can be used for campaigns in the PR and Marketing world? 

Here are my
Top 5 Pinterest campaigns so far:

1. Harrods - Street Party Window
Well just about everyone is jumping on the Best of British theme in line for the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee. Harrods have decided to use Pinterest and I have to say, I’m a fan. You have to create a board titled “Harrod’s Street Party Window” and post images as inspiration for their shop window. When you’re done with the board tweet them @Harrods with a link to the board – you’ve
got to love their multi-platform integration there!

2. - Driving in Heels
Now I’ve always argued it’s easier to drive in heels but apparently I am wrong! have created this video and a competition for Pinterest users to post a photo of themselves in their most ridiculous footwear for a chance to win a pair of Butterfly Twist foldable flat shoes.  

3. Peugeot Panama - Pinterest Puzzle
Another refreshing use of the new social media phenomenon. Peugeot Panama pinned various puzzles depicting different car models with pieces missing. You could search for the missing pieces on their Facebook page and website and then pin them to your boards and share back with Peugeot to win a prize.

4. BMI - Pinterest Lottery campaign
Airline bmi has introduced a lottery-style competition as part of a new campaign. You can win a pair of return flights to any destination served by the airline. They have boards titled Beirut, Dublin, Marrakech, Moscow, Nice, Belfast, Bergen, Amman, Basel, London and Edinburgh. Each board has nine images all numbered. Users can choose up to six numbers by repining the images and each week a number and a user is picked at random to win the tickets. It may sound a little complicated but it’s a refreshing use of social media for a company you may not first think of for their digital skills.

5. ASOS - Steal
Sometimes the simpler the campaign, the better. Fashion Leader, ASOS asked fans to repin a flyer to a fashion board of sale bargains. They would then be entered into a competition to win £200 worth of gift vouchers.

Whether it’s Honda asking Pinners to take day off, Katy Perry in 3D or even Barack Obama showing his 13,226 followers inspired recipes, Pinterest is definitely grabbing people’s attention, is one to watch and possibly include for digital campaigns.

Jessica North

Author & Editor

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