The statistics are incredible. According to ComScore estimates, Pinterest is the fastest growing social network ever.
In this age of social networking sites, you’d think that we had enough places for people to like and share stuff. Apparently not.
But a curious thing happened on their way to becoming an Internet phenomenon. Pinterest became an overwhelmingly female destination. By some estimates Pinterest is to 50% to 70% female. Everyone has an opinion about why Pinterest attracted so many women and what it means for social media marketing.
If you’re a male, you’re probably wondering why you should bother with Pinterest. Well, for one, it’s really kind of fun. (I hated typing that sentence, but it’s true.) It’s also a platform that shows huge potential for marketing and branding, since people are sharing the products and services that they love. If your campaign includes content marketing, you know that great product images can help your brand message go viral.
For a change, though, I am not here to talk about your content strategy or anything marketing-y like that. I’m here to help the fellas out there get started with Pinterest.
As of this writing, you can’t just sign up for Pinterest (male or female). You must be “invited” by someone already on the network. This is a great strategy that creates the illusion of Pinterest being an exclusive social network.
If you’re not sure how to get started, post a note on Facebook asking to be invited. The first time you sign up, Pinterest will prompt you to set up a few “boards.” This is the core of how Pinterest works. You “pin” things that you like or want to these “boards.”
Pinterest will offer a few suggested boards, where you can organize your pins. These are not he-man categories, but you can change them later. And you probably will.
Once you’ve signed up, you’ll notice that Pinterest has a nice way of connecting you with your friends from Facebook. Of course, since most of my initial connections were female, my first few days on Pinterest was wading through fashion, things for the home, and inspiring messages about getting into shape.
Pinterest isn’t really like Facebook, which is a balance of text, videos, and pictures. Pinterest is anchored by images, so you get a cascade of graphics. If you’re a guy like me, you’ll probably be amazed at how many different shoes there are out there. I had no idea.
First, take a mental inventory of stuff you like. If you’re into style, then keep the My Style Pinboard. Nobody said you have to be a poorly dressed troglodyte. You can even pin photos of shoes, if you want.
Next, think about your passions. How about fast cars? Make a board and do a search for your favorite hot rod. Pinterest searches with either (a) regular keywords (e.g., cars) or (b) with hashtags (e.g., #cars). Each of these will give you different results.
If you seen an image you like, you can pin it to your board, in this case “Cars” or “My Dream Cars.” You can also “like” an image and not pin it to your own board.
Starting to get the idea? Good, it’s not that difficult and you still haven’t surrendered your manliness.
So you’ve created your first few boards, which stakes out your personal preferences. You’ll probably have a mix of interests that begin to reveal your inner dude.
Oh, and pins must be rated PG-13. Smut attracts the ire of the community. So if your passion is Jenna Jameson, you may want to post photos of her fully clothed. Or skip that testosterone-fueled pinboard all together. Let’s not over share.
Your friends may pin too many pictures of must-have shoes and super-cute dresses. You can either (a) unfollow this person completely (a bit harsh if this is a friend) or (b) unfollow the pinboard with the shoes and dresses.
Just unfollow individual boards that don’t interest you. This is a social situation and you want to stay connected to your friends on some level.
From Pumps to Punts
In the first few days, you may find yourself unfollowing multiple boards. If you remove stuff that bores you (shoes bore me), then you’re ready to add stuff that fascinates you.
Do you have a favorite sports team? Love football? Search Pinterest for your team, and you’ll discover people posting photos, logos, and interesting articles. If you dig more, you may find that your favorite football team is officially on Pinterest.
In search results, Pinterest gives you three ways to filter your results. These include Pins, Boards, and People. Search for your favorite team and click on People to see if they are on Pinterest. If so, give them a follow.
Personally, I love cars, comic books, and movies. Search on these topics and you’ll discover pins and people who share your interest. At first, you might just re-pin images like Star Wars movie posters. But soon, you may discover rare Star Wars photographs and graphics you never knew existed. As a fan, this is where it gets fun.
Marketing on Pinterest
Many different companies are trying to figure out how to utilize Pinterest as a marketing platform. They’re having trouble being heard above the noise on Twitter and Facebook, so they’re turning to Pinterest to connect with enthusiasts.
Sports teams, comic book companies, and automobile manufacturers are posting rare and interesting photos of their products. They’re fishing where the fish are…and we’re happy to be hooked.
If you show me a great comic book cover, I will re-pin it. This becomes a peer-to-peer endorsement. I am now helping your marketing asset go viral. If marketers want to market to me, I don’t mind because I control the way the content is curated.
Pretty soon, you’ll want to share original images on Pinterest. Right now, you have to install a “pin it” button on your browser. It’s pretty easy and it helps you share stuff that you discover on external websites. That’s right, you bring content to Pinterest to share it with your friends.
Feel free to post pictures of fire-breathing super bikes and cars (even the ones that suggest you’re compensating for something). It’s your testosterone, pin it any way you want. You can also pin images of your favorite books, musicians, and graphic designs. If there’s an image or video, you can share it.
Pinterest is the next step in content curation and content strategy. It’s easy, fun, and mildly addictive. These days, I spend more time on Pinterest than I do on Facebook, Flickr, Google+ or Twitter.
Get Going, Guys
So there you have it. If you’re a guy, don’t be afraid of Pinterest. It will not diminish you as a man, nor will it make you the object of ridicule. It’s just a smart, well-organized social network that uses pictures as a sharing paradigm. It just happens to have a lot of pictures of fashion, but you can work around that. Or not, if you prefer.
It takes a bit of time, but you will find as much male-oriented content as any other social network site. You can adjust the content streams easily, so that Pinterest becomes your personal stream of content from GQ, Men’s Health, Sports Illustrated, Spike TV, Sylvester Stallone, Hot Rod, and Marvel Comics.
And if you really like Laura Ashley, skinny jeans, and cute-shoes, well it can be that too. Just don’t expect me to follow your pins on shoes.
- Pinterest Is For Girls, Gentlemint Is For Boys
- The Bro’s Guide To Pinterest
- The Marketers Guide to Pinterest – Infographic
- Compete.com data on Pinterest growth