Pinterest has quickly become the newest social media craze. It is an online pin board that allows its users to “pin” things they like and share them with their friends and followers. According to their website, “Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pin boards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes…Browsing pin boards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.” 70% of Pinterest users are female; and I am not ashamed to admit that I am one of them.
To me Pinterest is a wish list, recipe file, inspiration wall, and wedding planning tool (okay I’m not even engaged yet, but that’s beside the point). I currently have 10 different boards: “Crafty Things”, “Yummy”, “Styles I Love”, and “Tying the knot”, just to name a few. I follow 142 people: mostly friends from Facebook, a few random people I don’t know, and even the Food Network, Travel Channel and Chobani Yogurt (arguably the best yogurt in the world if you ask me). And in return, 101 people follow my boards. Personally, I use the site to fantasize about dream closets, dream homes, and even my dream body. I also use it to discover new ideas for inexpensive craft projects, DIY inspiration, and workout ideas. It’s a place to organize and share all the things I love while drawing inspiration from things other people love and enjoy. Seems harmless right? So why am I telling “pinners” to beware?
Because, like any other social media outlet, companies are now looking to Pinterest as yet another way to market their products to consumers.
Yes, Pinterest is said to have the hidden benefit of being able to “short-circuit” our desire to purchase things. According to Chris Tacket, social media editor for treehugger.com, “Instant gratification with bookmarking can replace actual consumption.” “The ritual of finding, cataloging and sharing an image online elicits a similar feeling of happiness as actually acquiring the chair, dress, cupcake or what-have-you in the real world — without the cost. It mimics “retail therapy” without the slog through the mall or big credit card bill.” This holds true for me, pinning things on my boards makes me happy and I don’t have as much of a desire to aimlessly online shop and make impulse buys.
I do believe that the initial idea of Pinterest was about inspiration and the sharing of ideas and images. As a matter of facts Pinterest’s etiquette used to bluntly state that the intended use of the site was not for self-promotion. Unfortunately, like any other social media outlet, it is now being used by large name retailers to promote their brand and draw more traffic to their sites. When on Pinterest you don’t feel as though you are shopping or being sold to and retailers know this and have tapped in. They don’t use in your face marketing techniques and they aren’t pushy. They use Pinterest as a discrete tool to impact your purchases, and increase the want to buy, and buy right now.
Now, I can’t blame these companies for doing this, it is a very innovative way to market their brand and their products. And don’t get me wrong I still LOVE Pinterest and spend far too many hours just pinning away. All I am saying is to be aware that these companies are out there and don’t let Pinterest cause you to impulse buy. I will continue to use Pinterest as it was originally intended and I hope you will too. “Happy Pinning”