By Francis Bea
Pinterest, an online scrap booking social platform, is skyrocketing in popularity and substantiates our fondness for sharing interesting tid bits from our own lives. Our memories, bookmarks and desires are just one virtual pin away. The social sharing platform recently hit the top ten websites within Hitwise’s Social Networking & Forums category, fueled by having 40 times more total visits this month than six months ago, and is emerging as a social phenomenon that’s more than just a mere fad. It’s an opportunity that the early adopters in the music community will want to embrace.
How it works (in a nut-shell)
Using a simple drag and drop browser plugin, Pinterest allows for images or video from around the web to be grabbed and pinned onto personalized but public pinboards. Or if preferred, you can simply upload media from your own computer. Taking a note from its social networking predecessors including Facebook and Google+, a “newsfeed-like” photo-centric collage of your friend’s pins can be browsed, commented on, “Liked” and “Repinned” (the Pinterest version of Facebook’s share button). Whether you’re collecting images of the next books to read and albums to purchase, or you’re compiling a scrapbook of memories, Pinterest will be your go-to app.
Pinterest vs. Tumblr
Various competitive analyses of this new and burgeoning player have come to a cohesive conclusion: Pinterest is Facebook’s worst nightmare. But keeping in mind that musicians’ Tumblr blogs are typically comprised of published images, filtered through Instagram, and accompanied by a few lines of commentary, Pinterest is looking more like Tumblr’s nemesis. There’s an ease and simplicity with uploading images and adding notes – functionality that rivals the social blogging CMS. But the way in which Pinterest trumps Tumblr is for having fostered a community of users intent on republishing content from the categorical feeds (including “Pinners you follow,” “Everything,” “Videos,” “Popular,” and “Gifts”) thereby maximizing the potential for content discovery.
Directing traffic back to a website
With a greater chance for content discovery, as aforementioned, it doesn’t hurt that if a user clicks pinned content, they’re taken directly to source of the image or video. What this means is that the use of Pinterest could be utilized to drive traffic back to a blog, YouTube video, or even a Facebook page.
Tip: If you attempt to pin content from Facebook, you’ll be confronted by an error message stating, “The bookmarklet can’t pin images directly from Facebook. Sorry about that.” A simple workaround for this hindrance is to right click on the image and select, “Open image in a new tab.” Pinterest will then recognize the image. Pinning and clicking the image will in fact send you to the Facebook page.
Uses for Pinterest to motivate or inspire you
With all that has been said and done, I’ve compiled a handful of ways users are using Pinterest, but are also uses of the platform that can benefit you. If you’re interested in observing a brand that has taken to Pinterest, check out Mashable’s profile.
Bookmarking – With the ability to link back to URLs, users have altogether forgone bookmarking their favorite blogs, band pages and other websites in their browser. Instead they’ve taken to saving the banner (or photographs), which upon clicking will direct them to the webpage of choice.
Favoriting - Not too far from bookmarking is the use of Pinterest to save a list of favorite musicians, albums, and posters, whether found from browsing the web, or through the categorical feeds.
Self Promotion – This user has created a teaser pin as an extension of her blog post, similar to how brands are currently using their Twitter and Facebook pages.
Micro Blogging – Pinterest can be purposed as your micro-blogging substitute for Tumblr whether about your experiences or thoughts. A specified vanity URL is given for each board created. For example, if I were to create a board titled “music blog,” the URL could be found at pinterest.com/francisybea/music-blog/.
Selling/Purchasing Gifts – Simply by adding a purchase price as a note to the pinned image, your pin is directly added to the “Gifts” category, but the purchases can not be made using Pinterest. Instead, if you’re looking to sell a poster or album, make sure to pin an image from an e-commerce friendly website.
Admittedly, according to Heather Dougherty of Experian the demographic of Pinterest is currently populated by lovers of hobbies, crafts, food, and fashion. But crediting the platform for its tremendous growth, it’s only a matter of time before the infant platform catches steam within the music community. Until then, here’s one crucial piece of advice that reverberates: While you’ll discover a plethora of uses for to help you garner fans, you’ll realize that being worthy of having your own content shared, whether it be photographs, album covers, posters, or videos, is ultimately correlated to the quality of the content you share. Unless you’re a user’s favorite band, blog, or label, chances are that repins of your pins will be motivated simply by interesting, pin-worthy content.
Francis Bea is a New York City based writer, PR person, and tech junkie who’s solving the music industry’s woes with his start-ups, Musefy.com and Proptone.com. You can find him on @francisybea and @musefy.