Over on my business website I’ve been putting together a list of helpful links about Pinterest. All well and good, it’s being talked about a lot at the moment and I feel very strongly about a site that I love so much, have been with for a long time and use daily (okay – hourly most of the time).
The problem is that I think I am falling out of love with it a little. When I first joined it felt like there were not enough people using it and I pushed it towards a lot of people hoping to make it better for everyone. Now there seem to be too many people pinning some really odd things. It is a great tool for business, a good way of promoting some products but overall I use it more for fun than anything. And the fun part is being eroded away.
The purpose of Pinterest, for me, is changing. Since people heard how much traffic is driven to sites by Pinterest everyone has started using it, seemingly without thinking about how or whether it will work for their business. A couple of companies that I love have joined and I have followed and then quickly unfollowed them. I don’t think that they are necessarily doing it wrong but the way that Pinterest works is becoming something else entirely and I am going to have to get used to that.
I liked Pinterest because it wasn’t pushing sales on people. It was purely peer driven and although you could follow through and find something if you wanted to find an article or buy a product it was not heavy-handed. I pinned some things very early on from my own Etsy site and I got a bit of traffic from it but I was more interesting in sharing my tastes than selling items. Now the quality is going downhill and it is starting to feel very pushy.
That sounds like a lot of complaints but I love Pinterest. I do.
I love the community – which has been little affected by all of the businesses flooding in as they are mostly still on the periphery, part of the problem I suppose. Two pinners, one of whom I have followed for yonks (Claudia) have set up a new account called Pin Pals where you can go and find people who match your interests – such a brilliant idea. I have so much fun finding new people to follow who share the same ground.
I love the ideas, feelings, sights, plans and emotions that spring from using Pinterest. I can be down in the dumps and cheered up or stuck for an idea and find inspiration. In short – everything that Pinterest has always been for me. I rarely even see the changes but I suppose I feel a little protective – both of the site and of our community. I’ve been there for a lot of the changes and I feel a little grumpy about the big companies coming in and trying to make sure they are not missing an opportunity to cash in on our hard-built friendships and connections.
If businesses do want to use Pinterest and not raise the hackles of old-hand users (such as grumpy old me) then what they need to do is find a way of becoming part of these communities not just jumping into the middle with a sales pitch. It is the same as any other social networking, companies need to remember that social media is about people, communication and relationships. Peer recommendations always carry more weight than straight marketing so the better you treat your customers and fans the more they will evangelise about you! Makes perfect sense. So far it is really not too bad and I hope that lots of individuals continue to join Pinterest to balance out the companies joining. All about balance. And pictures of otters, obviously.
p.s. If any of you would like an invite – I’m not sure any longer how hard they are to come by – then just drop me a line or leave me a comment and I’ll be happy to send you one.