The headline above may seem counter-intuitive. Social Media can be a huge distraction. However, I choose to liken Social Media to fire. It can be an excellent servant or a horrible master. That depends on how you use it.
Pinterest is not a popular social media platform in Ghana as compared to WhatsApp or Facebook. This is understandable. People must find an application or a platform beneficial before they use it. This week, we want examine some ways in which this not-so popular social media platform can help us improve the way we go about our everyday business and even save some time doing it.
Pinterest is a visual social network which helps you discover anything from business tips, recipes, make-up to camera gear etc. Pinterest supports GIFs, Videos, images and even audio files. The social network which was launched in 2010 recently reported that more than 200 million people use it every month.
- Pins: You can save (see 1. on the image below) things you find around the web with the Pinterest browser extension. You can also save directly from Pinterest friendly websites. All you need to do is to click the save button. You see this when you hover near pictures on the website with your mouse. You can also use images already found on Pinterest. This is call re-pinning. when you find something you want to save for yourself, click the Save button to add it to one of your boards.
- Boards: on Pinterest are where you save your Pins. You can make boards for anything and everything. You do not need to put out your whole business on Pinterest. You can make your boards secret.
As a tool to boost productivity:
Pinterest is a virtual pinning board. The traditional way of pinning notes, telephone numbers, to do lists etc. to the fridge, the corkboard or the planner on the wall was to help us become more efficient and find resources quickly. Pinterest can help us to achieve more than sticky notes! Here are some of the ways we can use Pinterest to achieve more:
Pinterest for bookmarking
Link backs: Use Pinterest as your ‘cloud’ storage for discoveries online that you want to come back to later. These pins (visuals and audios) are saved in a way that links the images back to their original source, that is if they are saved from a website and not direct uploads. This allows you to easily access the source of the pin in the future.
Cloud storage: Do you have any ideas in the form of pictures saved on a computer or phone taking up space? Do you want to come back to them later? Upload them on Pinterest and free some space on your devices. You can access them wherever you want provided you have access to internet.
Categorization: What’s more, you can catalogue your saves into as many personalized boards as you like.
Visual appeal: bookmarking on Pinterest has the added visual appeal. There are visual cues to help you discover your saves quickly! You can create a library of must-read articles and blog posts for example.
Browser extension (see the image above): It is easy to save from Pinterest friendly websites. All you need to do is click the Pinterest Save button and save to your boards. However, it can be difficult to save/pin pictures from some websites. This is where the Pinterest browser extensions come in handy. With the browser extensions, you can save links/add pictures from many websites including Instagram. This is available for the browsers mentioned below:
- Google Chrome
- Mozilla Firefox
- Internet Explorer
- Microsoft Edge
After installing your browser extension, you can save a link in 3 easy steps:
- Click the “P” (Pinterest icon) up in your browser
- Choose an image for your Pin
- Pick a board to save it to
Pinning and saving to boards while browsing is direct. You do not need to open up Pinterest.
Pinterest as a visual research and discovery tool
“Pinterest is built for open-minded discovery. Just like when you’re out window-shopping. You see something that intrigues you, and you go inside. That’s how finding ideas on Pinterest should feel.”-Pinterest
The following are some ways search on Pinterest can help you do some visual research efficiently and effectively:
Filter: After you get your results for a search, you can use the filter button to switch between seeing boards, Pinners, Pins or just your own Pins.
Guided search: Sometimes you don’t know what you are looking for until you see it. You may have an idea of what you want to find but some suggested guiding words may help steer your searches in the right direction. That is how search on Pinterest works. It is guided and visual. Guided Search gives you keyword suggestions when you enter a search term on Pinterest, further narrowing down what you’re looking for.
“If your search is vague and you’re more interested in exploration and discovery than finding a specific product, then Pinterest really helps, as opposed to a simple Google search.” – Pinterest.
Repository: There is a huge resource of already saved links on Pinterest. It is a great place to canvass for ideas and check out what other people have done in your space. People categorize their saves on boards. You may not need to re-invent the wheel on Pinterest, you may just need to search for a board and re-pin the stuff you need. Do you need ideas? Go to Pinterest!
More like this (see 3. on the image below): “show me more like this” is the white broken square-like button on the top right corner of pinnable pictures. The save/pin button is on the left and the “show me more like this” is on the right. Click on this button and you will get search results which are similar to the image you clicked on. These results are sourced from Pinterest but they live within a feed, they do not open a separate tab. When you are done with your results you can close it and continue browsing. It appears on every image on Pinterest’s home screen. When tapped on, it instantly brings up similar content right below it. Within this feature you can also zoom-in/select particular items within the picture for similar results.
Boards: may contain already created/curated content which you can re-pin and/or boards which have the exact content you are looking for. If you find an interesting board or profile, you can follow it. You will get notifications if the board/profile is updated.
The Pinterest mobile app also has some remarkable features:
- Related results search: When you visit your home feed, you’ll notice each Pin has a small circle in the lower-right corner. When you find a Pin you love, just tap the circle to instantly see similar ideas without leaving your feed. For iPad and iPhone users on Pinterest, you can zoom in on anything you see in a Pin.
- Lens: a great ‘smart’ object finder inside the Pinterest mobile app is Lens. This visual search tool uses machine vision to detect objects in the real world and suggest related items on the service. Lens helps you find ideas inspired by things you see in the real world. For example, point Lens at an ingredient to discover recipes to try.
To access Lens:
- Click/tap the Pinterest search icon
- you will find a camera icon (highlighted in red) on the top right corner next to the search bar.
- Tap the circle to focus on an object or pinch to zoom
- Tap the button to capture
- Discover related ideas by tapping Instant Ideas
QR Codes: Lens also has a smart reading for QR codes. Open the Lens app and just point/focus on a QR code. The link will open right up. There is no need for you to tap.
Next week we look at using Pinterest as a tool for collaboration and as a virtual inspiration board. Kindly leave your comments and questions below!.
Have a fantastic week!