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You’re probably very familiar with social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, etc. Believe it or not (if you haven’t already heard), there’s a completely new social media website people are just raving about (and flocking to) called Pinterest.com. And you thought Google+ was going to be the next big thing (lol).

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is based on the concept of a pinboard, where you would use push pins to pin up images and scraps of things that interest you. This website allows you to “pin interests” to various “boards” that you create. For example, in our Pinterest account we have (so far) 2 boards – one for WordPress and one for SEO.

Aside from creating your own boards, and adding pins to them – you can “repin” things from other people’s boards (to yours), you can “like” pins, and you can “comment” on pins. You can also “follow” other pinners (and they can follow you). Oh – and you can categorize your pins as well when you add them to your board (so people can find them more easily).

So the pinterest homepage looks a bit like this:

what is pinterest

Why is Pinterest so Popular?

It’s always funny when something comes along as a “game changer”. You probably couldn’t tell senior magagement at Facebook or Twitter they could stand some improvements for growth (but they both could). The problem with both social media sites is that they both lack the ability to easily follow and find things you like.

Facebook is extremely hard – have you ever tried to find people that like and use WordPress on Facebook? Not an easy task, it’s more of a tool to connect family and friends. LinkedIn is more of a business website (and not for interests). Twitter is the whole mobile SMS text status thing, and connected to your phone – not exactly well suited for links and images.

The time was ripe for a social media tool exclusively used for sharing links and images of things you like – and Pinterest (easily) fulfills that need in spades. If you think about it, this really makes sense with the bulk of information on the web. You can get lost in Google looking for things you like or need – and despite their efforts to clean up search results, it’s still a mess. Niche memberships websites, forums, and social specialty interest websites thrive online – because people connect with what they like.

What Opportunity Does Pinterest Provide for Website Owners?

Here’s the thing – Pinterest probably won’t work if you’re selling car insurance or bail bonds (directly). For us, Pinterest has been great, we generated followers and re-pinners in just one day of posting a couple dozen WordPress things to our Pinboard. People search for what we know (and write) about – so we don’t have to think about how it works for us.

If you’re a business website owner, or blogger – you have to think about the social media paradigm and how you make connections to people. On Facebook, you would never (get very far) if you owned a hardware shop – and posted your sale items every day. Then again – if you were the manager of the same hardware shop, and connected on Facebook to customers and clients in the community, and your FB page consisted of community events, tips, tricks, and the ‘occasional’ store update – you’re using social media properly.

Using pinterest you could make pinboards revolving around “how-to” topics and tutorials to help people. Maybe inject some humor linking to images of what not to do or projects gone wrong. It’s easy to connect your pinterest account with Facebook and / or twitter and show what’s on your pinboards on those accounts too. You could probably generate more activity on Facebook posting what you were doing on pinterest then from normal Facebook actvity alone.

How to Use Pinterest in WordPress

So, you have a WordPress website – how can you use Pinterest and WordPress? Like all the other social media sites, you need a “pin it” button on your pages so people can start sharing. You could also add a widget or badge showing you’re on Pinterest (and what you’re doing).

There are of course all kinds of new Pinterest WordPress plugins you can use:

Pinterest Badge: show a pinterest badge in a widget of your website showing your activity

Pinterest RSS Widget: show your latest pins in a sidebar widget of your WP website

Pinterest Lightbox for NextGen Gallery: if you use NextGen gallery – you can add pinterest to it with this plugin

Pretty Pinterest Pins: show off your latest pinterest activity in style

Pinterest Pinboard Widget: use a WordPress widget to show pins from specific pinboards

Pin in Button: adds a simple “Pin It” button to your posts in about 2 minutes

Pinterest Plugin: this pinterest plugin is unique because it shows “pin it” when users hover over your images (since to pin something the page or post must have an image)

Easy Pinterest: another RSS feed type pinterest widget plugin

Pinterest follow button: This is a button allowing people to follow you on pinterest

Pinterest Block: maybe you don’t want your images or content to be shared on pinterest – you can block that with this plugin

Pinterest Image Pin: another plugin for pinning images on your site to pinterest

And last – if have the ability to edit your own WordPress theme, and would rather add the code directly (rather than use a plugin), here’s a code snippet for adding Pinterest to your pages manually.

Do you use Pinterest? If not – you should be!