Having revealed itself just over a year ago, Pinterest has recently surpassed 10 million users, a fact which itself proves that Pinterest has evolved from a clever start-up into a fully-fledged network in its own right.

Already loved by many people, the concept of Pinterest is to create a number of pinboards/scrapbooks of all the things that you as an individual ‘like’ in the digital environment. Recently this has started to turn into endorsement as Pinterest has opened its doors to more users and also welcomed brands in with open arms.

What is the potential benefit for brands and their respective digital PR / social media agencies? Brands can achieve benefits from the network without even being on it as an official presence, the primary focus of Pinterest is content first and foremost. Below are some further thoughts on what could be the most important aspects of Pinterest for brands moving forward:

Retail – the gifts section is the perfect portal for ecommerce promotion, and the network will ensure that the items that resonate with the audience the most are the ones that achieve the most visibility. Just add a price to images and they will be added to the gift section of the site – great visibility, and for free.

Follow/pin it button – as well as being able to add the Follow button for Pinterest to a website, to me the most interesting aspect of Pinterest’s buttons is the ‘pin it’ button. Brands with a great deal of high quality imagery and video content on their website could stand to benefit significantly, since once pinned the content isn’t just on Pinterest for everyone to see and reshare, it’s also possible for users really interested to click back through to a website. This could be a hugely influential traffic tool for brands in future, not to mention a great way of generating SEO value from backlinks too.

Use of search – Pinterest’s internal search function is great – you’re able to find people who have tagged content relevant to a brand, find pin boards that are relevant to a brand, or a locale should the brand be a local business (posting to a shared board for “London” for example to get visibility of users specifically in London). This could be a great way for brands to proactively market on the network without actually being too intrusive for other users, whether done through employee accounts (more natural) or a branded account. Obviously having employees pinning brand content on the network is also a huge plus in itself. 

Ultimately, Pinterest is a way of people creating a scrapbook that is a digital representation of their interests in pictures – perhaps (like Path) a strong element of what Facebook timeline wants to be. It represents a shift in social media that is increasingly pointing to the fact that brands need to become part of users lives to the extent that they are represented on their digital social media ‘scrapbooks’ in order to reap the most benefit. It will be very interesting to see how Pinterest evolves over the next year – we could see some entirely new trends emerging as a result. One thing is certain – in Pinterest content is king and brands that can create unique pictures and videos that are intrinsically shareable for a mass audience will be the ones that get the most out of it.