I realised today that I have finally reached saturation point with Pinterest. Sad isn't it?
I was an early adopter - been pinning every since I got engaged and a friend recommended it as a place to keep all my visual wedding ideas together that I was gleaning from various wedding and style blogs.
Today I logged on and didn't see a single thing I wanted to repin from people I follow. I searched the popular page and a few other categories too, looking for pretty or interesting items.
I found myself wading, struggling through pins. Because though some are genuine folk sharing things they like, increasingly I'm seeing thinly-veiled marketing tricks.
And the reason I know this? I'm increasingly seeing links on Twitter AND Pinterest itself to articles with titles like "15 ways to market your brand on Pinterest" or "Driving traffic to your site using Pinterest". And because I was interested in perhaps using these tips to drive traffic to my own blog, I have read them. Here's one on Why Your Company Should Take An Interest in Pinterest, just as an example.
So what are marketers doing on Pinterest to capture your attention and hopefully your dollar? They're pinning their own products. They're pinning articles on their sites, hoping to drive traffic and earn advertising clicks. The part that worries me though is that I have absolutely no doubt there are marketers and PR people creating fake accounts and pretending to be housewives pinning "amazing" products. Complete with remarks like the one I saw this morning - "X concealer - so great on my skin, wouldn't consider putting anything else on my face!!1!". Yes, complete with interrobang typo. Some of the images aren't even of a product - they're random pics and words that are selling a concept or course. I just get suspicious of those - further investigation may reveal it is a genuine person pinning a kids learning program for later reference however what if it's an employee of that company, just getting in a free plug?
I do understand that not everyone is using Pinterest like I am - to drool over interiors porn and get inspiration for event styling. I get that people would like to know where to buy the pretty products that they see on the site and that this is where links back to the source are essential. Where Pinterest really comes into its own is for cooking and crafting. Want to know how to bake bacon in the oven? Or make that cute Christmas wreath for a few bucks? Great - follow the link. Hopefully it doesn't lead back to tumblr or Google images.
I guess I'm being a bit hypocritical here because I love to see indie craft business leveraging Pinterest's potential to advertise their wares. Two brands I see doing this regularly and successfully are Epheriell Designs and My Bearded Pigeon. Both of these small business owners are avid pinners however, and also pin other stuff. Jess and Cath both have a great eye for design and I love their Pin boards. Similarly bloggers who are using Pinterest to share their photos and linking their blog posts are doing no harm - lots of people are interested in how they did that dining chair restoration or made that cake stand out of a melamine plate and a candlestick. Pinners click because they are interested in finding out how to do/make/bake things, as well as shell out their cash for them.
One brand that I believe is getting it wrong is kikki-k. I'm a huge fan of their stores, and quickly followed them when I learned they were on Pinterest. However, all they pin are their own products. I know their products very well already - even the new ones, because not only do I visit their stores regularly but I get their email newsletter. If you're going to use social media, you have to offer some new and interseting content, not just regurgitate what you're already offering in other marketing avenues.
I guess what is really irking me is the site getting highjacked by big business looking to squeeze a buck out of it. And this is quite apart from the well-publicised worries about the copyright that the site has been scrutinized for recently.
Do you use Pinterest? Are you becoming disenchanted with it like me? Are you a business using it to drive traffic and sales? Have you seen any businesses really getting it wrong on Pinterest?