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Last summer my friends Suzanne and Hilary invited me to this thing they called ‘Pinterest’ and since then I’ve been hooked. We all love Pinterest and the ability to share ideas, get ideas and use it as a place for inspiration for the things we are doing in our lives. Since joining Pinterest, this social platform has exploded. I didn’t have many coworkers or friends using it when I started, but now most everyone I know either uses Pinterest or knows about it. With this explosion, I wanted to write a series on Pinterest.

And so begins our three-part series discussing Pinterest basics, along with how a company can use it to build its brand and reap SEO and social media marketing benefits.

The Basic Definition

So let’s get down to the basics: Pinterest is a social media platform that allows users to share and collect pictures and videos which link back to the original source whether it’s a corporate site or a blog. If you want to join Pinterest you have to either request an invite or be invited by a friend alreadyon the network. One of the benefits of Pinterest is that it is that easy. And once you join, it becomes addicting as you see what your friends are pinning, get ideas for projects or find the next meal you want to cook.

Basic Vocabulary

Pins: A pin is the Pinterest word for a post. You can pin images shared by other users (repin) or you can pin an image from an external site (pin) by installing the Pinterest bookmarklet on your browser. You can also share your pin on Facebook and Twitter. This is an example of a pin:

Boards: Users pin images to boards that are organized into various categories. This can range from ‘Fashion’ to ‘History’ to ‘Home Décor.’

You can also add contributors to your boards, meaning you can allow other people to pin or repin items to your boards. If you are planning a party with other people and you want a place to share ideas a board would be a perfect place for that. Here are some examples of boards:

Likes: Without pinning an image, users can share their opinion by ‘liking’ an image or video they see.

Comments: Users can leave comments on images or videos others have pinned

Following: Pinterest, like Twitter, allows for users to follow one another, whether they are immediate friends, aesthetic contributors or Pinterest mavens. When following, the user is also given the choice to follow all pin boards or to follow a select few.

Followers: These are the people that are following your personal boards and recieve updates in their feed when you pin or repin an image or video.

Feed: As users login into Pinterest, they can see a live feed of images being pinned and repinned . Users can choose to see a feed showing everything being pinned, choose specific categories, or just see the people they are following.

A newer feature on Pinterest is now you can allow your feed to go on your Facebook Timeline.

What’s The Big Deal?

There have been countless articles and blog posts written recently about Pinterest because the number of users has sky-rocketed. The audience is mostly women right now, but is always expanding. Businesses are realizing the potential this platform has for branding or search engine optimization (SEO).

The next post in our series will go into depth on how this growing trend can be beneficial to branding and should be a part of content strategy.

Check out part 2: How To Leverage Pinterest In Your SEM Strategy

Check Out Part 3: Brand It: Four Ways to Brand Your Business via Pinterest