Can Pinterest Help Your Freelancing Business?

If you’re active in social media, you may have recently heard of Pinterest, a new social media site that is gaining popularity. In fact, it seems like everyone is suddenly talking about Pinterest. From all the talk it’s hard to tell whether it’s a trend or a fad.

You may even wonder if there is any way that your freelancing business could possibly benefit from using Pinterest. You may be asking yourself whether you should get involved in Pinterest.

In this post, I’ll take a look at Pinterest from a freelancer’s perspective. I’ll explain what it is and also take a look at some benefits and drawbacks of the site for freelancers.

Of course, ultimately every freelancer needs to make their own decision about Pinterest.

What It Is

Pinterest is known as a pinboard. Offline, a pinboard is a type of bulletin board that you pin photos and other images to.

Online, a pinboard is basically a bookmarking service that lets you save the images of things that you are interested in. While Pinterest is currently the best known pinboard, others include Pinboard and Trello.

One thing that distinguishes pinboards from other social sharing sites is the visual aspect. Members are invited to share and comment on images that interest them. Pinboards (and especially Pinterest) are heavy on the images and light on the text.

If you’ve ever visited Pinterest, you’ll find a variety of topics. Here’s a small sampling of what you might find:

  • Recipes
  • Decorating Ideas
  • Fashion Ideas
  • Organizing tips
  • Inspirational quotes

There’s even a category titled “Design,” although it’s not necessarily just about graphic or web design.

Benefits of Pinterest

I can see four possible benefits of Pinterest for freelancers:

  1. Great for finding inspiration–Whatever it is you need to be inspired about, there are probably images of it out there. Do you want to do a design based on a sunset? With Pinterest, you can see hundreds of photos of sunsets. What about creating a design based on leaves? Again, with Pinterest you can find lots of different leaf images.
  2. Visual emphasis–Pinterest has a visual emphasis and as such it’s great for visually oriented freelance professions such as design, art, and photography. Of course, you will find some quotes out there and other short bits of text, but for the most part the content on Pinterest is graphics and photos.
  3. Good for branding and building an image–Pinterest can be great for building a brand or an image. Pinterest is still in its early days, so for the most part big name brands aren’t out there yet. However, I can see some visually oriented freelancers creating a gallery of their work and possibly referring clients to it.
  4. Links to Facebook–Right now it’s easy to share to your Facebook account when you pin an item to Pinterest. All you need to do is check a box. Currently, there are no links to other social media sites, but who is to say what the site has planned for the future?

Now that we’ve looked at the benefits of Pinterest for freelancers, it’s time to look at the drawbacks.

Drawbacks of Pinterest

I can also see four possible drawbacks of Pinterest (based on the current version) for freelancers.

  1. Privacy–Right now, as I understand it, there’s no way to restrict who can view your pinboard. That means that right now it’s really not a good tool to work on or share proprietary materials. With such a restriction in place, however, Pinterest could possibly be used for collaboration.
  2. Possible copyright issues–Of course, any time that you share something that is copyrighted online you run the risk of it being stolen. When I discussed Pinterest with some of my Google+ friends, they expressed concern that sharing on Pinterest somehow transferred the rights of what was being shared to the platform. (I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know if this is true.)
  3. Not widely available–Probably one of the biggest drawbacks for freelancers who want to use Pinterest is that it’s not widely available. You have to ask for an invitation. In fact, to write this post I had to look on with a friend to get an idea of what Pinterest is about since I haven’t received my login yet.
  4. Limited user profiles–The final drawback that I see for freelancers is that user profiles seem to be very small–just a photo and a few lines. So, Pinterest isn’t really about meeting and getting to know people so much as it is about sharing things that you are interested in.

More Resources

Are you ready to learn more about Pinterest? Here are five more resources:

Your Turn

Are you already using Pinterest? If so, how are you using it? Share your answers in the comments.

Image by 7263255

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks Sharon!

    I’ve gotten a Pinterest for myself since I wrote this post, but the points are still valid. I’m not sure if Pinterest will become the next big social media tool. For right now, though, it’s generating a lot of interest.

  2. says

    I love Pinterest, and it has connected me with some blogs that grew overnight because of things that were pinned from them (DIY/crafts, photography, recipes). Mostly everyone that commented on the blogs had found them on Pinterest. In that sense, I see it as a great tool for bloggers who utilize photos/images regularly.

    But the thing about Pintrest is the organic nature – the Pin Etiquette page even says it should not be used for self-promotion. I think if anyone wants to use it in marketing, it should be in the spirit of the app (to share ideas and get inspiration), not solely to market.

  3. says

    I have been on Pinterest since September and love it! I have used it mostly for my own enjoyment, but recently started posting a few of my blog posts about easy technology tidbits and they have done really well. Most of my traffic still comes from Facebook but Pinterest is tied with Twitter in referrals for me.

  4. says

    Forgot to mention that using Pinterest for your blog needs to be done in the right way. If you don’t have a DIY or Ecommerce type of blog, you might need to get creative in how you link your blog to Pinterest. For example, everyone I talked to said they heard of Pinterest but haven’t used it or didn’t know how. I wrote a Beginner’s Guide To Pinterest and it has brought a lot of traffic to my blog. I also installed the Pin it button and Pinterest plugin to my WordPress site and I now have new followers on Pinterest who see new posts and return to my blog.

  5. says

    I’ve been using Pinterest for several months and find the visual aspect of it to be inspiring in my graphic design work. In fact, when I’m in the midst of a project and need a “mental health break” – I’ll head over to Pinterest to veg-out for a bit. It refreshes my creative juices.

    However, in the past several weeks I’ve been doing some experimenting for how Pinterest could work in together with my Amazon affiliate account. I’m still pinning great products that are fun and inspiring to me personally, but if that product happens to be found on Amazon, I’ll pin it with my affiliate link attached. Made a few extra bucks last month with about a half-dozen affiliate pins. I don’t want to commercialize Pinterest and “ruin” it, but its been interesting to play around with some ecommerce stuff and see what happens.

    Mostly, Pinterest is just my creative inspiration place. And since most designers are visual, I’m sure there are lots of us there doing the same thing — gathering inspiration from others.

  6. says

    Pam–Interesting use of Pinterest. I definitely see the inspiration side of it. I’m not sure about affiliate links–don’t know if Pinterest allows or encourages them. Great comment!

  7. says

    Thanks for the info on Pinterest. I’ve been wondering if I need to sign up and try it out or not but with all the other social media I’ve been working on I just haven’t had the time and I’ve been waiting for something like this to let me know if I should or not. I think I’ll sign up and start using it tentatively, just to start. They will have to fix some things, like the issue with privacy and whatnot, before I become an avid user, however.

    This is a great post and exactly what I was looking for about Pinterest – thank you!

  8. says

    Pinterest is a great source of inspiration – although I too wonder about the copyright infringment side of it. I find it much easier to browse than say, tumblr which has a pretty similiar problem with distribution of work.

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  1. [...] If you’re active in social media, you may have recently heard of Pinterest, a new social media site that is gaining popularity. In fact, it seems like everyone is suddenly talking about Pinterest. From all the talk it’s hard to tell whether it’s a trend or a fad. You may even wonder if there is any way that your freelancing business could possibly benefit from using Pinterest. Direct Link [...]

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