Unless you live under a rock, you would be hard-pressed to find someone that has not heard of Pinterest. The site hit the social-networking scene with a bang and it keeps building momentum as millions of people start pinning and developing their own personal brands. It has the potential of being one of the top new ways to build your business and your personal brand.

So let’s get down to the meat and potatoes, Pinterest is currently in beta mode so you must request an invite in order to join the site. Be sure to ask for the invite as soon as possible. When your invite is approved you are given a virtual pinboard which can be used to create collections of things you love from all over the web! You also have the ability to follow and be followed by other Pinterest users when sharing content. This means that you can follow the pinboards of other friends and users. Think of it as following a Twitter account or friending someone on Facebook. Whenever an individual pins an object to their pinboard, you are alerted and you then have the opportunity to also share that object.

Collecting and pinning pieces of imagery can be extremely influential in building your personal brand. The main value of Pinterest is the users ability to share who they are and share it in a visually appealing way. More on that later. Let’s look at some simple vocabulary that you must know in order to be successful on Pinterest.

  • Pins— the pin is an image that you want to share with your followers. It could be anything from a photography to a video! It could also be something you created yourself or something you found while surfing the Internet. What is extremely valuable about a pin is that they usually have a link paired with it. The link gives you the opportunity to share with people where you found the image. More on the value of that late.
  • Boards— (or pinboards) are a grouping of pins that you have designated as belonging to the same interest like interior design or marketing ideas. You may pin objects that are important to your personal brand and lend to your credibility as a graphic design or interior designer..
  • Pin It Button— this browser button makes it extremely easy to pin any image in your browser just by the click of the button. When you accept your invitation and sign up, Pinterest will ask if you want to install the button and guide you down the path of pin-lightenment.
  • Repin— think of a repin as a retweet on Twitter of a share on Facebook. Repinning is the act of  pinning an image to one of your pinboards that was previously pinned by another user.

The beauty of Pinterest is that anything pinned or shared within the site is easily transferred to Facebook or Twitter. Imagine the potential of sharing your passions with people who could potentially become employers or clients. Pinterest is truly a community-building and networking site that is cleverly design and brilliant in regards to viral sharing.

Yah I know… You are probably about to jump out of your seat with excitement. However, Pinterest can be deadly and exciting at the same time. We have all said at one time or another that Facebook is extremely addicting. It doesn’t come anywhere close to Pinterest. So, let’s look at some tips so you don’t waster your valuable and hard-earned time in the Pinterest black hole:

  • Authentic Pinning—Pinterest should be an ultimate expression of who you are by using images from all over the web. Be sure to follow your brand story when pinning and sharing content via Pinterest. Pin the images, videos, and illustrations that tell the story of who you are not what other people think.
  • Showcase Your Work—This applies to everyone but is extremely important to who make a living and a brand out of stimulation of the senses whether a cook or graphic designer. Pinterest is an ideal website to showcase your best work. Pin up that logo design and share it with your followers.
  • Keep Up-to-Date— All credit goes to Oscar Del Santo (@OscarDS on Twitter) for this tip. Just using Pinterest is another way to build your credibility and personal brand. According to his article on the Personal Branding Blog, Oscar breaks it down for us, “Being part of the pinterest success story in any way proves that you keep up-to-date with the latest trends and development in the digital world. Being part of the fastest site to go beyond the ten million unique visits mark in history sends the right signals about you in more ways than one.”
  • Credit Your Sources— Always link back to your pinned images. According to Pinterest, “Pins are the most useful when they have links back to the original source. If you notice that a pin is not sourced correctly, leave a comment so the original pinner can update the source. Finding the original source is always preferable to a secondary source such as Image Search or a blog entry.” Basically, give credit where credit it due. Stealing is bad for personal brands.”

With the amount of data on the web it is important to realize the true brilliance of Pinterest in the personal branding world. People are visual and with visualization comes a level of understanding that doesn’t happen through the written word. Find imagery, video, and pictures that drive the understanding of your personal brand. Go forth! Pin away, build boards and speak to your passions whether personal or professional.