Can you hear that loud buzzzzzzzzzzz? That’s the hype Pinterest has been getting.
Living in San Francisco makes it difficult for me to tell which websites and technologies are really being used outside of Silicon Valley. With Pinterest, there’s no question. This one is going to be big.
Once I see my non-techie friends using a new service, I know it’s time to take notice. That time has come with Pinterest.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is an online pinboard that lets you “organize and share things you love.”
Here’s a helpful analogy: remember those old-school corkboards that you could pin stuff to with thumbtacks? Maybe you had one in your room as a kid, like I did. They were a great way to express yourself through collections of pages from magazines, handwritten notes, and photographs.
Pinterest is just like those boards. Except online.
On Pinterest, you create themed “boards” that act as collections. You could create boards of “Places I Want to Visit,” “My Favorite Travel Gear,” or “Cat Pictures” (hey, it’s the internet). Each board is a collection of images you’ve uploaded yourself, “pinned” from the web, or “repinned” from other users’ boards.
Your old corkboard is now online. And it’s fun and social.
Who’s Using Pinterest?
A lot of people! While this latest internet craze hasn’t gone as mainstream as Facebook or Twitter yet, Pinterest does have 1.36 million visitors every day.
The site first became popular with women and currently over 68% of users are female. Nice call, ladies. Now, I’d like to speak to the men privately for a second.
[Guys: women beat us to this one. It's fine. Let's take the high road, congratulate them, and jump on the bandwagon. Seriously, Pinterest is really fun for dudes too. Need proof? Check out this board titled Bacon and Sex. Now, back to our regularly scheduled post...]
The last fact I’ll share is that Pinterest is addictive. On average, people spent 15.8 minutes on the site. That’s more time than is spent on Facebook or Twitter and nearly as much as is spent on YouTube. Clearly, they’re on to something.
(Stats via Modea and Mashable.)
Why Should Travelers Use Pinterest?
Ok, you get it. Pinterest is cool. But how does it apply to travel? Is it really useful or just another time suck?
Pinterest is actually useful both before and after a trip. Finding and curating pictures can be a great way to plan your next trip or, if you’re not a permanent nomad, sustain yourself between vacations.
Some people can be inspired to visit a place by guidebooks or travel essays. But many more of us are visual. A blow-your-mind-awesome picture is more likely to influence someone to travel halfway around the world than the written word is.
Pinterest helps you collect your favorite pictures, from filtered Instagram shots to stunning DSLR photos, so that they’re easy to browse and share.
If you’re looking for new places to visit, you can browse the travel category or search for something specific like cliff diving. Then collect all your favorite destinations in one place to share with your travel partners.
Whenever you get cold feet or are having trouble saving money for your trip, you can take a look at your board and be reminded of how important and memorable your travels will be.
Once you’re sufficiently inspired, you can start planning your trip. If you’ve already picked your travel partners, you can use Pinterest to create collaborative boards.
Let’s say you’ve decided on a trip through Thailand. Great. Now which cities will you visit? Where will you stay? What activities will you do?
As you research the possibilities, you can pin pictures and articles to your board for sharing with your group. Then everyone can comment and form a consensus on the details of your trip.
If you haven’t been backpacking lately, you might also need to pick up some gear. With so many great travel products and clothes available, how will you actually decide what to buy?
First, browse around online and in brick and mortar stores, then collect your favorite stuff on Pinterest. Once you’ve saved up some money and your trip is imminent, you can click through your board of travel gear to purchase everything you’ll need.
Travel blogs are not in short supply. Some travelers like to write about their trip. Some just want to share photos or videos.
Tumblr is a great choice for the mixed-media crowd to document their journey through text, audio, videos, and photos. However, if you’re looking to create a permanent collection of the best moments from your journeys, rather than an always-changing blog, consider Pinterest.
You can upload your favorite photos from your trip where your friends, family, and fellow travelers can see them. Plus, other Pinterest users can see the pictures, repin them to their own boards, and be inspired to take a trip of their own. Pay it forward.
For more ideas on how travelers can use Pinterest, check out Sandra Foyt’s authoritative post on Albany Kid.
How Can Travel Bloggers Use Pinterest?
Not a travel blogger? Skip to the next section, “Who Should I Follow?”
Hey fellow travel blogger! Great to see you here. Thanks for reading.
As a traveler first and a blogger second, the above suggestions also apply to you. Pinterest is a great way to find travel inspiration, plan your trip, and share everything you’ve done and seen.
But wait, there’s more!
Find New Readers
Pinterest is also a great way to find new readers for your blog. The travel community is already very active there sharing their favorite pictures and inspiring quotes. More on that in the next section.
By sharing your pictures and posts on Pinterest, you’ll be able to attract followers, likes, and repins. Right now, Pinterest is heavy on curation and sharing. Over 75% of pins are actually repins, rather than original pins. That means that your pins are very likely to be shared and posted to others’ boards.
Not only will more people see your stuff when you share it on Pinterest, but you’ll be able to connect with other travel bloggers by repinning, liking, and commenting on their pins.
Perhaps most importantly, Pinterest is awesome for SEO. Unlike most social networks and bookmarking sites, Pinterest links are “do-follow” links meaning that they actually help your SEO rankings.
Once you’ve created your own profile and started sharing content, you’ll also want to encourage readers to share your content.
It’s simple: just add the Pinterest Follow button and Pin It button to your website. The Pin It button should be added to individual posts, while the Follow button can be included in your sidebar.
Remember that Pinterest is very image-focused, so don’t add the Pin It button to text-only posts. Make sure you have eye-catching images for users to share. The pin generated by the button will automatically link back to your full post. Nice!
Want to practice? Pin this post using this button: Pin It
Who Should I Follow?
Now you know how to establish your own presence on Pinterest, but don’t forget the social aspect of the site. You’ll also need to find some cool users and boards to follow.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
First off, you should know that you can follow either users, if you like all of their stuff, or individual boards. This offers great flexibility not found on other social networks.
Travel Brands on Pinterest
Travel Bloggers on Pinterest
You should also check out Visit Savannah. This account, for the destination marketing organization of Savannah, Georgia, was an early adopter of Pinterest and has racked up over 12,000 followers.
Also, make sure to follow Benet Wilson’s Art Deco Travel Posters board, one of my personal favorites.
You know who else is on Pinterest? Us! You can check out our boards here:
We’ve already created boards of
- The trip to Prague that led us to create Tortuga Backpacks
- Inspiring travel quotes
- Cool shots of Pittsburgh, our hometown
- Kick ass pictures of turtles, our namesake
If you’re just getting started with Pinterest, you may want to bookmark this post and come back to it later for reference. Need an invite? Just email fred AT tortuga backpacks DOT com, and I’ll send you one.
If you’re already using Pinterest, share your page in the comments so that we can follow you. Want to follow us? Just use this button: