Pinterest: What It Is, Why It’s Awesome & Why Brands Should Be Using It

Pinterest: What It Is, Why It’s Awesome & Why Brands Should Be Using It

By Rob McNair

I got an invite for Pinterest a good few months a go, and after the initial stage of, “ohh, shiny!” my account was largely neglected. Just recently though I’ve rekindled my affection and become addicted to Pinterest.

So what is it?

Pinterest is a social bookmarking site used to “pin” media found around the web to categorised boards. To increase the sense of community and brand itself as a social network you can follow other users, share their content, make comments and tag users. Similar to other social networks you receive real time updates of what the people you are following are pinning in real time. Below is a quick overview of Pinterest’s features:


A pin is an image or video, either from a website or uploaded from the user. A description can (and should) be added to pins. By default, Pinterest starts users off with a bunch of boards, but these can be deleted or renamed to suit a user’s interests.


Pins can then be organised onto boards created by the user. By default Pinterest starts with a bunch of boards, but users can then create their own. For Instance I’ve got a “star wars” board and an “arty stuff” board.


Repins are the retweets of Pinterest. Repins allow you to share someone else’s image and repin it to one of your boards. Repinning gives credit to the first person who pinned the image, and you can also edit or add to the description.

So Why is it Awesome?

Before you read any further let me warn you that Pinterest can become HIGHLY ADDICTIVE.

Although is has all the elements of a social network Pinterest seems to attract a different sort of user. People seem to use Pinterest to find and nurture inspiration, they aren’t on their because their friends are, they’re on their to actively look for things that interest them, and pin the hell out them! Meaning that you don’t get people sharing for the sake of sharing, people are passionate about pinning!

The recipe for the passion that is inherent in Pinterest users comes from the two main ingredients of Pinterest: Shiny visuals and sharing you personality. By making the main content pictures from anywhere on the web Pinterest basically makes everything likeable, sharable and engage-able (I’ll allow it) to you and your followers.

How to Get it.

Pinterest is still “invite only,” you can request an invite on the site with a pretty quick turnaround for access. You can also login using your Facebook or Twitter account for instant access.

Why Brands Should be Using it.

1. Get Seen

Pinterest levels the playing field for smaller retail businesses that don’t have the budget or resources to compete in search results. If I search for jeans on Google Shopping, I’m going to see Levi’s and a bunch of other brands I already know sell jeans. Whereas with Pinterest search results are based on user interaction, meaning that I get the most popular, and most shared by my friends.

2. Building Links

Anytime someone pins something from your site, it automatically pulls in not just the image from your site, but also a link. There is a chance for that pin to be repinned multiple times (even hundreds of times, in some cases), building up a healthy amount of backlinks.

3. Brand Advocacy

If people love your products and they’re on Pinterest, they will not only pin your stuff, but they might dedicate an entire pin board to your brand.

There have been many social bookmarking websites that have tried and failed, but Pinterest has gained 2.7 million users in an invite only model, and is featured as one of Time’s magazines top 50 websites of 2011. So what are you waiting for, get pinning!

This post was written by Rob McNair

Rob has experience advising some of the worlds most iconic brands. He thrives on helping improving social media knowledge within organisations with the ultimate goal of making theirs brands more social, transparent and accountable.