An Online Inspiration Board Can Boost Business

By Alyzeh Ashraff

The world of social media is constantly growing with endless lists of blogs, constant updates to Facebook’s user interface, and various business networking applications.  One particular startup that has recently garnered a lot of attention is Pinterest, your personal online pinboard.  I was instantly drawn in by the aesthetic appeal of the site and the “exclusivity” and I requested an invitation with no delay.  A couple days later I was officially invited into the secret society of pins and interests that is Pinterest.

The foundation of this startup is to allow yourself to pin whatever amuses you and share it with others.  Its organizational composition forces you to keep your ideas structured as well as allows you to create a page that is easy on the eyes. Though used by the avid social networker, Pinterest can be a great tool for businesses to invest their time in as well.  It’s the perfect professional inspiration board to share with the public.

Pinterest does not necessarily need to be used to sell a product or service, instead it can be a collection of images to share a business’s ‘mission statement’ or basis for creation.  Take Amnesty International, for example; its pinboard consists of content about company interests for fair trade products, fact charts regarding human rights and quotes from people whom Amnesty International admires.  TIME Magazine uses its Pinterest to display a number of things including the magazine’s most popular interviews, its supply of both movie and book reviews, and even a section for staff profiles. Nowhere on its page do you see a ‘subscibe’ button.  I admire the fact that businesses are empowered to use this networking tool to demonstrate and display their principles and visions and not just to sell their products and services.  It is an opportunity for consumers to get to know a company on a deeper level through visual stimulation and recognition.

Martha Stewart’s page highlights and shares her favorite “places and spaces”, while the home décor company West Elm pins various pallets for home decorators, designers and DIY decorators.  These two brands attract Pinterest’s most common user, women between 20 and 35.  Organizations that target that demographic should also consider contributing their visions to this online pinboard.  Even WholeFoods takes its spin on the pin with boards ranging from edible decorations to pictures of renovated kitchens that its staff would love to prepare a meal in, reaching its audience on a more personal level. Instead of reading through a company’s 140 character tweets, this social networking tool allows you to read into a company through your own visual senses.  After all, isn’t a picture worth a thousand words?

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