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What you need to know to be a Pinterest trendsetter.
Within 5 minutes of joining Pinterest I knew I was going to be addicted. I can see how it has grown to be the third largest social networking site (after Facebook and Twitter) in a year. Yet, it is different; it carved out a niche: women (80 to 90% of users in the US are women, but 56% of UK users are men). These are women who are involved in the Internet and, ultimately, help decide what becomes the next big thing. They are also soccer moms, feminists, sorority sisters, career women, and activists.
The basic idea of Pinterest is to create a bulletin board on the Internet – and pin your favorite images, recipes, quotes, and memes to it with one click. Think of the bookmark folders in your browser, now imagine them as organized images that remind you what you liked about each site. Welcome to Pinterest.
It also ties directly to your Facebook so your friends can see what boards (subjects) and people you follow even if your friends aren’t on Pinterest. Just like other social sites, commenting, liking, and sharing are key features. Yet, unlike other sites, it’s not an in-your-face site, and you’ll be hard pressed to find heated arguments, trolls, or NSFW photos. For a visually intrigued world, Pinterest is utopia.
So where are all of the politicians? Adding Pinterest to a campaign’s social networking arsenal would open doors to voters who have formed small communities based on shared interests. Organizations have flocked to Pinterest for it’s free marketing abilities (including the Kansas City Police Department) and websites now have “pin it” buttons next to their “tweet” and “like” buttons. Yes, Obama has a Pinterest account, but he’s not doing much with it. He’s good about pinning things from his other sites though and showing his laid back, funny faces side. Yet, he isn’t interacting with his supporters – he has yet to like or repin a single post by another pinner.
That’s where others should make a splash. The Pinterest boards that get noticed are the ones that find interesting images from all over the web and put them in one place. If something a voter has pinned stands out, making an effort to comment or share it will push that person to share his or her excitement with friends. And voters trust their friends. If a voter’s friends see them following your pin boards on Facebook, they may take a look at why you’re so interesting.
However, unlike Instagram, Pinterest is a space where you don’t want a ton of pictures that you took. Users want to see images that inspire you; you are not showing them what you are doing, you are showing them what you like. It may not work for all campaigns, but if you create a Pinterest personality for your campaign it could help you gain women voters – young and old. If you are particularly strong in your beliefs, pin things that represent the issues you care about, such as two men holding hands or Earth Day arts and crafts. In general though, post things that most Americans, and women, like – summer BBQ’s, 4th of July, handmade crafts.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, which create a community for you, users create the communities in Pinterest. That’s what’s addicting about it. When you are creating your own page, you are helping Pinterest grow in a certain direction. Keep in mind that Pinterest is a place to stay positive, no negative attacks allowed (or prepared to be shunned). Pinterest is all about being selfish anyway and your board should be about your concerns and opinions. You may have to take more time with this network than your others, but in the end it will be worth it, because you will have a visual collection of your campaign’s character all in one spot that non Pinterest can see and where Pinterest members can interact with you.
While my mock Pinterst is only starting to scratch the surface, the politician who cultivates an authentic Pinterest personality is going to be a trendsetter.