Pinterest is no longer just the new kid on the block – it is officially one of the big boys. One of the fastest growing social networking sites in the world, it has captured the imaginations of millions of people from the United States to Britain. And although it shares a few similarities with other services in the social space, a strong creative element makes this particular beast as unique as they come.

Speaking of which, we have sat back and watched all sorts of brands use Pinterest in all sorts of ways. That observation helped us compile this list of some of the most creative uses.

Pin-Based Storefront

While there is nothing like having your own web store complete with a fully functioning shopping cart, Pinterest can be a viable option for an online storefront. In fact, several sellers from e-commerce site Etsy have found that it is the perfect place to set up shop. For users on Etsy, Pinterest offers a visual, user-friendly platform that allows them to easily showcase their products. And with the ability to add a price tag by simply including a price in the description, sellers can let interested parties know that they are prepared to do business.

Online Contest

One of the most creative uses we have seen for Pinterest involves leveraging it to promote contests. For example, back in February, Sunglass Warehouse ran a contest that inspired users to interact through the popular social network to win a prize. The company asked participants to create a specific board on Pinterest using the “#Swspringbreak” hashtag and leave a comment on its blog. Those who did were eligible to win two pairs of sunglasses and a $50 Target gift card. This is just one of many examples that demonstrates Pinterest’s tremendous potential as a contest platform.

Market Research

Creative use of Pinterest doesn’t necessarily have to involve pinning content or even getting your audience to pin it for you. In fact, you can get just as much value out of it by using the platform as a market research tool. For example, if you have a target audience in mind, simply having a look around the site can give you a better understanding of what they want and need. What do you do with this information? Use it to create products, content and experiences that cater to their demand. The same approach can be taken with other social networks, but obviously the visual element and “newness” factor makes Pinterest something special.

Customer Appreciation

Although Pinterest doesn’t necessarily have the communication component that makes sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn such effective social networking tools, it is great for connecting with customers nevertheless. Of course there are quite a few ways to connect, but you can never go wrong when taking the route of making the customer the center of attention. For example, if you design websites, you can dedicate a board that not only serves as your portfolio, but links back to their pages. This is a simple way to promote them while making yourself look good in the process.

There is a reason why everyone is making a big deal about Pinterest – it’s a great site with a whole lot to offer. What really allows it to stand out is the uniqueness that clearly sets it apart from its rivals in the social networking arena, which is something platforms like Google+ have struggled with. As Pinterest continues to grow, we are sure to see individuals and brands come up with even more creative ways to put this exciting tool to good use.


by Aidan Hiljeh

Aidan Hijleh is a freelance copywriter and serves as the Non-Profit Partnership Liaison for Benchmark Email.