Pinterest 101: What it is, How to use it, and Why you should get ‘pinning!’

What is Pinterest you ask? Just another social media craze? Craze – yes. Just another – not exactly. For anyone unfamiliar with Pinterest and how it works, it’s basically a virtual list of a user’s favorite things. TechCrunch calls it a “socially curated shopping catalog” and says, “…it is addictive.” And they’re right – it is.

Just yesterday, comScore reported that Pinterest had surpassed the 10 million visitors mark, attracting 11.7  million unique visitors, and has become a top 10 social media site. It received 40 times the number of visits during the week ending December 17 than it had received during any single week in the prior six months. That’s a 4,000 (FOUR THOUSAND!) percent increase, making it the fastest-growing social media site EVER. 

Check out Pinterest’s site for how-to’s and best practices here.

Here’s why Pinterest is becoming interesting to brands: Pinterest is viral. Every time a user pins something they can choose to announce the pin on Facebook or Twitter, and when users join the site, Pinterest will automatically follow all of a user’s Facebook friends or Twitter followers who are already using it. Users can also follow each other even if they are not Facebook or Twitter friends. If you see several pins from the same user, follow their boards because you appear to share similar tastes and would likely be interested in seeing all of their pins.

Here’s why Pinterest is getting REALLY interesting to brands:  Because Pinterest is set up so that each pin links back to the website where the image was originally pulled from, the site’s referral traffic is growing right along with its unique visits. According to a study from Shareaholic, Pinterest beat YouTube, Reddit, Google+, LinkedIn and MySpace for percentage of total referral traffic in January. Twitter just barely edged ahead of the newbie, accounting for 3.61% of referral traffic, while Pinterest accounted for 3.6%. Back in July 2011, Pinterest accounted for just 0.17% of referral traffic, which goes to show how much the site has grown in six months.

I guess the biggest question for brands and companies is “what now?”  Pinterest’s mission statement is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” For the first time in a long time, users are not connecting because of who they are (a la Facebook and Twitter); they’re connecting because of products and tangible items. 

So far, I haven’t seen any companies with a Pinterest page in my browsing, but an article on Pinterest from Time indicates that Whole Foods, Burberry, and all have Pinterest pages. I, however, did notice an editor who has a page for their publication. Residential Lighting, a magazine covering all things related to lighting and lighting accessories for homes, is an ideal fit for the design and home décor-obsessed Pinterest crowd. A board full of ceiling fans or shades with links to where to buy? Yes, please!

Pinterest will not be a fit for every company, but for PLENTY of brands Pinterest is a place you need to be. At Domus we’re working on proposals that will help showcase client products on Pinterest in a way that will be valuable for both our clients and Pinterest users.

Pinterest is moving quickly, so get going. Request an invite (if you ask nicely, I’d be happy to send you one), check it out and think up a few ways where you can offer some value to Pinterest users. And, as always, if you need some help working it into your social media strategy, Domus is only a click away.

Kate Toy is a Senior Account Manager at Domus, Inc., a marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, visit For new business inquiries, please contact CEO and founder of Domus, Inc. Betty Tuppeny at or 215-772-2805.