Social Networking (and Digital Marketing) Through Visuals: Say Hello to Pinterest

Has anyone asked you yet if you’re on Pinterest? I’ve been asked that question three times over the last few months, so I decided I’d better look into this new social networking tool and see what the buzz was all about.

A great quick guide I found is The Marketer’s Guide to Pinterest, in which Neil Patel, a top consultant in the digital marketing world, explains what Pinterest is, how and why people use it, and how businesses can use it to build brand awareness.

12-1-2012 11-47-10 AMBasically, Pinterest is a site where people share visuals on topics of mutual interest. Users create “boards” (theme-based areas) on their Pinterest site, where they then “pin” visuals that relate to the boards’ topics. To add to their boards’ content, they log into Pinterest, grab or upload an image they like, pin it to one of their boards, add a caption, and tag it with key words so others can find it. (Or, they can add a “Pin It” button to their browser’s bookmarking bar and use this shortcut while Web surfing. There’s also an app for mobile phones.) Pinterest visitors find what others have posted by searching topics they’re interested in. They can then follow people or collaborate on boards they like. The result is online communities built around particular interests.

According to Patel, Pinterest has grown very quickly and is now among the top five social networking sites. In fact, it’s currently “outperforming Facebook” in terms of visitor activity. Over 50% of the visitors are women between the ages of 25 and 40 who are looking for visuals related to fashion, crafts, and art.

An interesting point the article makes is that there has been a “shift in consumer behavior from search to discovery.” People still use “search” to find answers and solutions on the Web, but they’re also using the Web more and more to find inspiration on random topics. (Hence the addictive quality of such tools as StumbleUpon, which delivers recommended websites to subscribers based on their preferences and browsing history.) Pinterest is a great tool for capitalizing on this behavior: it’s free, it takes little time to maintain, and it enables you to reach an audience that’s already interested in what you’re promoting. You can even post videos to Pinterest—meaning that you could sell your brand or products in a cool slide show or movie.

I’m guessing that our visually oriented students would love an assignment based on creating Pinterest material. In fact, it’d be perfect for a collaborative bcomm project. Got any ideas?

6 thoughts on “Social Networking (and Digital Marketing) Through Visuals: Say Hello to Pinterest

  1. I have used Pinterest in the classroom in two ways.

    First, I have students create a visual bio on Pinterest as a tool for
    self-introductions during the first week.

    Second, students may use this tool or Glogster or Prezi to create
    a ‘vision board’ featuring how they intend to brand themselves,
    a virtual and visual resume. Strengths, skills, values, goals, are all
    included – sort of a visual collage of everything that is important
    to them as they develop their points of difference or USP – unique
    selling point. It is like taking your 30 second elevator speech and
    converting it to a one page/board visual.

    Tom Pickering


      • Tom, I just saw this, so I apologize for the delayed reply, but you’re doing some really cool things with Glogster and Prezi. Thank you for sharing. I’m going to have to use my winter break to investigate them.


        • Paula,

          Thank you, but the true thanks goes to you for keeping the
          blog as relevant as possible. You do a wonderful job.

          Glogster is not as user friendly, but still popular. Prezi is a nice
          break from PowerPoint and students love the vast creative abilities
          it offers. is a site I am going to try in our winter
          term. Each student will post a profile that will serve as an intro
          and a platform to help brand themselves -I am really pushing
          branding and LinkedIn.

          Speaking of Platform, this is the title of a recent book by
          Michael Hyatt – I strongly recommend it to better
          realize the power of social media.

          With respect …send in the elves!



          • Hi, Tom~
            Assuming your winter term is over…how’d it go with Students in my advanced writing class are required to create LinkedIn profiles, but would be a cool addition to their professional portfolios.

            I hope your spring term is off to a good start. There were no elves to be had here. I kept hoping for some, but they never showed—smart elves.


            • Paula,

              Actually, we are in the middle of our Winter 2013 Term so the jury
              is still out on About. me. I have suggested that students develop
              a Platform from which they can then use other “embassies” or
              “outposts” to network and brand themselves.

              These ideas originate from Michael Hyatt and his book Platform
              and Seth Godin’s new book, The Icarus Deception, wherein Seth
              so cogently illustrates that we are in not only a knowledge economy,
              but a connection economy and that everyone has the ability to
              become an artist to showcase their talents and skills.

              I will let you know if these ideas germinate during the term.

              With respect,



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