Pinterest’s New Features and What They Mean for Communicators

By Megan Grubbs

Since its launch in 2010, Pinterest has become known as a hub for women looking for wedding planning tips, holiday decorating advice and drool-worthy photos of food. It hasn’t garnered the respect its social media peers have acquired; there are no watchdogs analyzing and experimenting with its changes in algorithms and no national media mentions when it rolls out a new function, but no longer is Pinterest a social network underdog. It’s quickly gaining recognition as one of the top players in the social sphere, and its user base is quickly catching up with the big dogs.

Pinterest is working to shed its reputation as just the “social network of choice for cocktail recipes and succulent gardening.” Recent upgrades to this unique network reveal the brand’s commitment to innovation and improvement, and the massive potential it presents to communicators and social media marketers.

Guided Search
With its new Guided Search function, Pinterest has perhaps forever changed the online search process. Rather than displaying the results tagged with your specifically mentioned search terms, the new Guided Search function helps answer searches that might have more than one solution, helping you to explore new topics, discovering content you may not have otherwise found the correct keywords for. Suggested guides help point you in the right direction, or in a direction you weren’t even aware you wanted to go. Watch the video above to see it in action.

The possibilities for marketers with Guided Search are huge. Gone are days of hoping your keywords magically match users’ search terms. The Guided Search feature takes into account a pin’s board name and unique description, as well as comments left on the post. Your content is much more likely to be shared with your target audience thanks to these changes.

Pinterest’s most recent upgrade—messaging—offers brands the chance to communicate directly with consumers. Let’s say you have one extraordinarily engaged pinner that consistently pins original content from your website, or regularly repins your brand’s pins—you can send a private message personally thanking that user for his or her dedication and support. Or maybe you’re running a Pinterest-based contest and giveaway—you can alert your most influential followers, who in turn can help spread the word. One caveat, however, is that both users must be following each other in order to send and receive messages, a move on Pinterest’s part to prevent spam.

These new features not only improve Pinterest user experiences, but afford social media marketers the opportunity to reach more pinners with their content while also building relationships and increasing interactions with brand advocates and online influencers. As many social media experts predict users’ emigration from Facebook and the demise of Twitter, I’m calling it: Pinterest is the next huge social network.