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:
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
Are you ready to learn more about Pinterest? Here are five more resources:
- 5 Ways to Use Pinterest as a Community Building Tool from Deb Ng at Kommein
- Online Pinboards–Is This the New Way to Facebook? from Eli Goodman at Search Engine Watch
- Pinterest for Brands: 5 Hot Tips from Lauren Drell at American Express Open Forum
- Pinterest: A Tool to Curate Relevant Visual Content for Your Audience from Beth Kanter at Social Media Today
- How to Use Pinterest for Marketing from Monika Jansen at Grow Smart Biz
Are you already using Pinterest? If so, how are you using it? Share your answers in the comments.
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