Pinterest is now the 3rd largest social media network. Hard to believe for its short life. It began in March 2010 and is said to have the potential to send tremendous amounts of traffic to websites.
Many people have hopped on the Pinterest bandwagon, and some more so than others. One of those people is Cynthia Sanchez, who has not only embraced it with an enormous amount of passion and verve, but has actually mastered it and created a business helping other businesses both large and small develop their strategies to maximize all of the perks of Pinterest.
As well as her blog ohsopinteresting.com, Cynthia also podcasts about all things Pinterest, and she joins me to today to chat about how it all started.
Victoria: Hi Cynthia?
Cynthia: Hi Victoria?
Victoria: Thank you so much for joining me today, I’m very excited about learning about Pinterest. I mean I’m on there and I’m doing my bits and pieces but, I know I can be doing so much more. Tell me a little bit about how you got into it in the first place?
Cynthia: Sure, actually my passion for Pinterest I guess we could put it that way; started about a year and a half almost two years ago. I had been under the social media platforms for a long time, on Facebook pretty much since the day it was born. But I found something different in Pinterest it just has such a very different approach to it where, Facebook can be very personal. Just kind of what your friends had for lunch or whether off to travel off to next. Pinterest is more – I hate to say that it’s more about me; it’s about what I’m interested about what I like. I like that it’s very customizable into my interests, into my needs. Whether that be in blogging and podcasting or recipes, or fashion or whatever the case might be that I’m interested in. It really just grabbed me; I saw that I could use it as a tool in many different ways, not only just to kind of collect images.
But it also exposed me to a whole another side of the internet that I would have never found before. People pinning those images gave me links to websites that, if I hadn’t seen them on Pinterest I would have never found.
Victoria: Yeah right I mean that makes a lot of sense and I think the other part that comes through for me when you say that. Is although it is about you, it also means that the people who are following you have the same passions you have. So you are really going to be connecting with the people who are very like minded.
Cynthia: Exactly have similar interests and the thing with Facebook or Twitter you’ll have to see everything that that person tweets or posts. On Pinterest you can be selective. I have close friends and family members and clients or however that I follow. But I don’t like everything that they are necessarily into. For example I like to bring this one up a lot they like cute fuzzy kittens. While I like cute fuzzy kittens, I don’t need to have 35 images pinned of kittens. I think they are adorable and I can chose on Pinterest and follow just that part of their boards, just that part of their account. But I still see everything else that kind of ties us together. I also find other people who have similar interests that I would have never found. Making those kinds of connections on other social media networks is next to impossible, unless you kind of just do your search.
On Twitter if you follow somebody that kind of happens to mention something one time, you never know what you are going to get into. Sometimes that seems a little bit odd; to follow somebody that you’re not haven’t been introduced to or not really connected to unless you are like a celebrity. But on Pinterest it’s perfectly okay and I’ve been led to different blogs, from websites; for products, for information for services all sorts of different things.
Victoria: Have you found with your own boards that that has grown dramatically as well since you’ve been on there? I mean I started with a handful of boards and things I thought I was interested in. Exactly what you’ve just said, I then found a whole host of other stuff that I was actually interested in as well I didn’t even realize.
Cynthia: Exactly yes, it has kind of expanded my horizons I guess we can put it that way. Just so many other things that I didn’t realize, that were out there or things to consider. People typically think of Pinterest as a female dominated. Only cupcakes and fashion magazines, really is all the kind of content you’ll find out there. But the thing is it can be about whatever you want it to be. I actually had a little bit of a Twitter discussion back and forth with this gentleman that said, “Too much estrogen there for me, I had to leave”. It’s like well if you follow the main feed of Pinterest sure, because we know females are the dominant users right now. But if we think back to where Facebook started, the dominant user was a college student looking for a date. I don’t think you would say that about Facebook now.
Victoria: Well I think it’s about 55 year old women and plus it’s the most common person on there.
Cynthia: Yeah pretty far away from those college students that started with and I see Pinterest kind of going in that same direction. But even though primarily it is women using it now, I think that can change. That doesn’t really matter because you can make your Pinterest feed have whatever it is you want. Whatever it is you are interested in; if he is interested in hunting and men’s sports and all sorts of more testosterone the type of topics if you will. He could have his feed just reflect that, he wouldn’t have to be bothered by the cupcakes and wedding gowns if he didn’t want to.
Cynthia: So that’s why I think it kind of drew me. It made it easier for me to find all sorts of interesting things that would help me, in my personal life and my business life all the way around.
Victoria: I guess when you look at it from a marketing perspective, having the fact that you’ve got all these women together there as well. If you are marketing to women this is the perfect platform.
Cynthia: Definitely and because it is so open, on Facebook you have to and I’m sorry I’m comparing it to Facebook but people are so familiar with it.
Victoria: Yeah sure.
Cynthia: But for me to see the content of somebody else on Facebook, because of all the privacy settings and because of how personal people do get on Facebook. I have to be following them to be able to see what they are talking about, or what they are interested in. On Pinterest there aren’t quite those types of settings, it’s very open it’s very public. Now there are you do it every account has an option of three secret or private boards. So if I’m planning a vacation and I don’t want people to know that I am going away, going to be out of town for a while. I can put that on my secret board. I can have my guilty pleasures where I pin everything chocolate and eewie and gooey in private, but in public I’m pinning all the healthy stuff. Things like that. So it’s open, I’ve connected with people from all around the world on Pinterest; which I have never done in all of the years that I have been active on Facebook.
Victoria: That’s really an interesting thing; I didn’t even realize it from that perspective. I also like the fact that I can pin on my chocolate images that’s something it’s really going open up for me.
Cynthia: There you go.
Victoria: Yeah so maybe we could talk a little bit about some of the features, you’ve mentioned some of them already. But there’s obviously a whole host of others like I have not known about the fact that, I could privatize some of my boards and do that. Maybe if you could just go through some of the specifics would be really great.
Cynthia: Sure for the private boards you can have up to three. Once things are made private you can’t make them public. So that’s a good way for whether you are using it on a personal level like we talked about our chocolate indulgences; or if they are using it like a strategy or planning thing from a business perspective. If you are planning a project or something with a business partner or a coworker, you can collaboratively pin to that secret board. You can also collaboratively pin to public boards. I see really big brands and small businesses all sorts of people really, making good use of these what they call group boards. So let’s say I have a group board that I want to make and actually I’ve just done this one about podcasting. So I have invited other podcasters to also pin to that board.
Well that board that is on my account all about podcasting, with all these contributors shows up on my account and everybody that has accepted that invitation. So everything that I pin to that board their followers can also see as well, which could help to grow my following which also helps to expand those connections. Some group boards you know you have to be careful with if you get invited to. I’ve seen a little bit more I guess of abuse if you want to say it that way, some spamming going on with group boards. So take a look at them, sometimes they have thousands of contributors and that can be a little much. Because all of those pins will show up in your feed and people, tend to take advantage of that if they are not moderated very well. Will start either pinning inappropriate things or spam type links. So be careful. Really take a look before you jump into that invitation if you are invited to participate in a group board.
Victoria: Okay we through got to those private ones again. I’m going to go back just briefly because there are some stuff that sort of sparked an interest for me there. When you can actually invite specific people and then, only those people will only ever have access to that board until you decide perhaps not to do that board anymore. Is that how that works?
Cynthia: Exactly and you can make that board public later. So let’s say you are working on a project together, you are about to launch a product. You are pining things to that board and then you want to make it public later you can.
Victoria: Okay now I know that its images, Pinterest started with just images at this point in time. But I’ve recently read that you can upload videos is that correct?
Cynthia: Yes you can pin videos from Vimeo and from YouTube.
Victoria: Okay so it’s a matter of sharing them as opposed to actually uploading them. So you are not physically uploading the videos you are just pining them in, is that right?
Cynthia: Exactly, there is a bookmark link tool that you can go to pinterest.com and look for goodies, or just do a Google search for the Pinterest goodies or Pinterest bookmark let. You can install this into your browsers toolbar and no matter what site that you are on, whether it be a Vimeo video or YouTube video or a regular blog or website. If there is an image that can be pined which is a jpeg, a PNG or gif or one of those two platforms of videos; you can simply click that button no matter where you’re at. You don’t have to be within Pinterest, you are on that site. Click that button in your toolbar and you can pin it to your account, on to whatever board you want to.
Victoria: So the video doesn’t actually play on Pinterest though it actually then links through to wherever it is that I’m from?
Cynthia: For those two platforms it actually plays on Pinterest so that could actually – if you use YouTube videos. Then you have your YouTube account you have your following there. If you pin those videos onto Pinterest, then your Pinterest followers can see and play those videos right within Pinterest.
Victoria: That’s very cool.
Cynthia: Yeah and that helps your total views and you do have the option to click on the little YouTube icon and be taken back out to YouTube. But those videos are also playable, watchable within Pinterest itself. For the audio side of things, Sound Cloud and if you have audio files uploaded to Sound Cloud and participate in that you can listen to audio files within Pinterest as well.
Victoria: Well it’s really becoming quite comprehensive isn’t it?
Cynthia: Yes. So it gives you for all the people that spend all that time and effort to publish content onto YouTube, to Vimeo, to Sound Cloud all these other places. Pinterest gives you another way to share it. Another way to get it, bring exposure to it.
Victoria: Yeah and I would imagine, I’m just assuming here that the people who are using Pinterest. Following you there are probably not the same people necessarily who are following you on the other platforms. So it’s almost a whole new market for us.
Cynthia: It could be yeah, I always recommend cross promoting your different social media network from one to the other. Because you never know who kind of follows both. I’m primarily a Facebook Pinterest kind of girl, but I double in Twitter every now and then. So somebody that I’m following in one of those other platforms if they tell me, “Hey come check out my Pinterest boards”; that would kind of show me a completely different side of that company of that person whatever the case may be. Because I may be following a TV show let’s say on Facebook and what’s coming up in interactions with the actors; but then if you take it to Pinterest it would be a whole different format of content. I just saw something where a TV show had kind of the lifestyle around the setting of the location of where the show takes place.
It was on the East Coast of the United States and on the beach scenes. So they pinned all these images, all of these links that had to do with that lifestyle. Beachwear and freefury food and all sorts of things like that. So it kind of helped that show to grow and help those characters kind of get a little bit more depth to them too. So cross promoting I think could be a good thing to do and you’ll also use each platform differently.
Victoria: Yeah absolutely, well one of the things that’s interesting I’ve noticed just recently looking at doing some scheduling of content. Looking for a single platform that allows me to schedule to all of the social medial platforms that I’ve got; it’s interesting that you cannot actually schedule anything to go into Pinterest. Apparently the API is that what it’s called? The API but yeah…
Cynthia: Yes that’s developers’ kind of make their own third party acts that, we see all over Facebook and all over Twitter yeah. They haven’t done that now there are a couple of companies that offer the scheduling part of Pinterest. But it’s not all encompassing where you find others that do every other social media platform but Pinterest. Pinterest is seen as still because of the API kind of limited and the scheduling that you can do for them. From what I understand I don’t use it, I kind of believe in being a little bit more present, a little bit more interactive. But I can see the benefit of having pins especially for people that follow me. Now on other parts of the globe, my pins if I have pin them for would be, in the middle of the night for me it’s middle of the day for them so that scheduling could be really helpful. But their services I’ve heard that they are not 100% reliable, just because the API hasn’t been opened.
Victoria: Look you are absolutely right; I use them for some things not for a lot of things. But there are some bits and pieces that you do on a regular basis that would be a lot easier. For example I would possibly use it for a little video upload to YouTube every single day, which is a little 45 second hint and tip about food and cooking. Now they are automatically scheduled because they are produced in advance. They would be great if I could also then pin them straight into Pinterest as well to appeal to the people there. Without having to physically go to that platform and do it, because that their regular, when it’s something that you are doing because you’ve seen and you think, “Wow that’s fantastic I just love that”. You grab it and you put it up. It’s a slightly different feeling and emotion and method that you do than when it’s something that sort of part of the whole ethos of your business.
Cynthia: Yeah definitely and you know actually scheduling pins is one of the most requested features; that and being able to reorganize your pins within your boards. Analytics was a really highly requested feature and we just got that, Pinterest just released their analytics functions. So I really think that they are interested in keeping people happy. In keeping that kind of growth I guess and development and of the platform. So I really think I really hope that the scheduling does come up soon. Facebook has it within their platform so I’m not sure why Pinterest wouldn’t necessarily want it on theirs. Definitely when they open up the API I’m sure that’s one of the things that the developers are going jump all over, because it’s been in such high demand.
Victoria: It’s just an evolution thing really isn’t it? It’s going to get there exactly as you’ve said, the analytics have. Look speaking about that I think that’s a really exciting aspect of Pinterest and now that we’ve got it, it certainly opens up the business side dramatically more doesn’t it?
Cynthia: Definitely because every business wants to know is my time being spent wisely or the resources that I’m putting into this, are they paying off? That can definitely help really looking at those analytics and seeing what’s working and what’s not.
Victoria: Yeah absolutely, that’s a great thing. What do you have to do? Now I remember reading on one of the platforms that we interacted on that there is something you need to do to activate those analytics?
Cynthia: Yes so you have to have a verified URL. So if you have a website or a blog, you can go to the business.pinterest.com or even within your personal account. Go into the settings and at your URL and there is a little option to verify it. It does require you uploading some code to your server to the back end. So it does require a little bit of technical expertise as far as your websites go. But I would highly recommend doing that especially if you are a business using Pinterest. I think as we talked about earlier Pinterest will continue to evolve. I think that there will be more and more feature specifically for business accounts and that verified URL will be part of it. It also kind of lets Pinterest know your official, this is real you represent that URL. I’m not sure how much or if it plays at all in the search results when you are looking for things within Pinterest.
But right now with the new layout it also shows when you click through your pin and you enlarge it. Not really go all the way through to the website but you just click it on the feed and it makes it bigger. On the side you can see other pins linked or pins that came from that same URL and if you are already on Pinterest, you know I’m sure that relationship ties in somehow. So I would highly recommend if you are using it for business or if you have a personal website or blog, go ahead and link up that URL. It does take a little bit of expertise as far as the backend of your website, depending on what platform you are using. But watching my technical guide do it took him just a couple of minutes, it’s not a really long drawn out process.
Victoria: Sure now just about the apps, I have the apps on both of my mobile devises but I do find that they are a little different to use. How do you find them in terms of diversitility compared with the browser portal?
Cynthia: They are a little bit different, just in the way they look in the way they function. They are making updates to them all the time but, you used to be able to edit your pin on let’s say I use the iPad app a lot. Sometimes you’re getting to pining friends and “Oops I pined the pair of shoes to my recipe board”, that’s not going to work.
Victoria: I don’t know.
Cynthia: Yeah sometimes my kids would say that my meals do taste a little bit like shoe leather. So it could work a little bit but, on the Pinterest iPad app I couldn’t edit it, I couldn’t do anything for it. So what I found was kind of a work around, I would go into my browser either Safari or Chrome that I have on my iPad as well. Just get into the full site of Pinterest there. If you do use your mobile browser and go through log on to Pinterest, it will kind of give you the mobile version. But onto your profile you can switch to the full site and have all the full options, just as if you were using your desktop or your laptop computer.
Victoria: Okay well that’s good advice, absolutely had the same situation that you had so that’s great.
Cynthia: Sure and just one more tip one more…
Victoria: Sure yeah, don’t worry I still got more questions.
Cynthia: Okay well we are talking about mobile, on the iPhone with the old version of the apps; there was a way that you can install a bookmark. So let’s say you were out on Safari or whatever browser well this is really just what iPhones here would be probably easy using Safari. There was a way that if you are browsing in other site or reading somebody else’s blog and you found something you wanted to pin. When you don’t have that bookmarks bar like you have, when you are emailing on your desktop or your laptop. But there was a bookmark link that you can install, a little piece of code that you can install. So you could pin from any site on your mobile device on your iPhone that, kind of was a work around for the pin it button on the iPhone.
They took it away but if you still install it, it still works and I will make sure to send you a link to where you can get that little bit of code and how to get it installed. So if you are on the go and are using your iPhone or even the iPad it works, having the little bookmark let installed.
Victoria: That would be fantastic because I have to say that has been an annoying thing not being able to do that. So we can put that link at the bottom of the podcast so that if people want that, they can do it that would be great.
Victoria: The other thing I wanted to ask you was, given that perhaps a lot of people haven’t started really using Pinterest from a business perspective yet. I’m sure that there are some but it is still growing from that perspective. Maybe you could give us just one idea only for say somebody who is a single operator. Someone perhaps who’s got a little bit of a medium size business and then maybe a larger company. How about you could possibly use Pinterest, not in great depth but just a quick idea that they could use to have it as something that they could do with their business in their social media?
Cynthia: Sure well if you are using it from a business perspective, the ultimate goal is for your content your images to be shared. To bring people back to your sites to either read your blog posts or purchase your products correct? Well in that you don’t have to necessarily have a huge presence on Pinterest to necessarily gain the benefits in Pinterest. The one tip that I give every business person that I meet, is whatever you do, do this first put a pin it button on your site. Put a pin it button above and beside or however you can within your website or your blog next to your content. To give people who are already active on Pinterest, who are on the go and have their mobile device. But don’t necessarily have that bookmark lit installed or use something different than an iPhone. The opportunity to put your content or your product on to their Pinterest board and share it with their community; that is the ultimate best place to start no matter what size business you have.
Victoria: Okay that’s good advice and you’re right, the amount of websites that don’t have that there is quite phenomenon.
Cynthia: It is.
Victoria: Would you advice then having it as a share of this or part of a share of this, which is a number of icons where people can share the content? Having as an individual little button by itself?
Cynthia: Well just because of my bias towards Pinterest I would have it as an individual button by itself.
Victoria: Of course you would Cynthia, what a silly question Victoria.
Cynthia: Especially on the mobile devices and everything, the trends we see year after your mobile is growing and growing more. Sometimes those share these buttons don’t function the same way on mobile devices as they do on a desktop computer. So having the customer or the consumer, the potential customer having to take that extra step to click through or expand the box to find out the social sharing icons. You don’t want your customers to work; you want to make it easy especially when they are in essence advertising for you. You want to just have all those social sharing buttons, the platforms that you are really dedicated to growing on. Whether it’d be Twitter, Facebook, Stumble upon Pinterest or whatever other platforms out there. I would I think having them just up and ready to see, easily to click through is the best way to go.
Victoria: I guess if someone is building and or has a mobile site and that means, they are using mobile templates specifically for their content. Then maybe that’s where the great advice, if you’ve got to share this on your main site then when you set up your templates make sure you go for the buttons.
Cynthia: Yes, I can tell you. There was actually an option for a Pinterest plugging for word press where when, you hover over the image with your mouse then the pinup button shows up. Well that’s great if I happen to put my mouse over while I’m on my desktop so that’s kind of a potential for a loss of a pin there. But when I’m on a mobile device it doesn’t show up at all. So some of these things are really cool in the way they just magically appear or expand. But when we were kind of talking in a mobile global society now, easy just apparent just there whatever is easy that works. A lot of sites you know aren’t quite responsive yet; don’t really adjust really well to different mobile devices. So if these pins were out there or those oh sorry I said pins, those buttons are out there and ready. It would just make it that much easier for our readers for our customers to just click a button.
Victoria: I guess it is about making it easy isn’t it? You’ve almost got to do everything for them so they don’t have to think and I don’t mean that from a negative perspective of that they don’t know how to think. But the more you provide for them so that they don’t have to think the easy it’s going to be for them to do it?
Cynthia: Exactly, my time is precious and I feel – everybody feels that way about their time. When I’m scrolling around the web if I don’t see an apparent button to share this, to whatever platform it is that I think it would work for. I might skip it I’ll just move on to the next article or to the next blog post.
Victoria: Yeah absolutely. Alright last question where do you think it’s heading? What do you think the long term prognosis I suppose interest these, probably not quite the right word really. But hey go with it.
Cynthia: Well I really truly think that it’s just going to continue to grow. They have gotten a large influx of cash from investors lately. I was fortunate enough to go out and visit their headquarters this last year in November. They were currently officing in a, not exactly tiny office but they had just purchased and were remodeling the building next door which was huge multi leveled. So obvious signs of growth there and then after that earlier this year, they got another influx of investments. So I really think it’s only going to grow, I think they are going to focus on the business aspects and kind of make it easier for them to monetize. Hopefully they’ve learned from the mistakes that Facebook has made. Some of the backlash that they’ve received about the way they attempted to monetize. But I really think that’s the way it’s going to go; I’m predicting we’ll see sponsored pins here very soon.
Victoria: There you go. Well look fantastic information Cynthia thanks so much for your time and…
Cynthia: Thank you very much Victoria it was a pleasure.
Victoria: Sharing your passion as well as sharing your knowledge which is fantastic. Now how can people get in touch with you and also follow your podcasts because you do some podcasts yourself?
Cynthia: Sure everything can be found at ohsopinteresting.com, my podcast is available on iTunes and on Stitcher and directly on my blog.
Victoria: Fantastic thanks again for your time and hopefully we’ll get to talk to you again soon. I’m sure there is lots more about Pinterest that we need to know.
Cynthia: Sounds good.
Victoria: Thank you.