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With a few small tweaks, you could be getting a lot more mileage out of your Pinterest boards. Many users tend to limit themselves in how they use the Pinterest: wishlists, tutorials, gift ideas Find The Perfect Holiday Gift For Anyone On These Pinterest Boards Find The Perfect Holiday Gift For Anyone On These Pinterest Boards There's no better place to find gift ideas than Pinterest. You don't even need to create an account. Just visit these boards and take as many ideas as you can find! Read More , or some combination of them all. But why stop there? There’s more to Pinterest than that.

By using Pinterest in a way that isn’t commonplace, you can immediately earn the attention of any visitors who happen to check out your boards. This first impression (as well as long-term impression) can make all the difference in the world.

Try using Pinterest in some of these new ways. You may be pleasantly surprised. If you’re new to Pinterest, check out our unofficial Pinterest guide before you continue.

Use Pinterest For… Project Showcases

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If you’re an artist or creator of some kind, you can generate a lot of buzz and publicity simply by altering the way you present your ideas, projects, and creations on Pinterest. Instead of pinning up a new image whenever it’s ready, why not make an event out of it? Just like art galleries save up a large collection of art items and release them all at once in an art exhibit, you could do the same.

This applies to endeavors outside art as well. Company product announcements could be done in the same fashion — sort like a miniature expo. Traditional press releases are good, but Pinterest showcases could be an extra avenue for traffic, hype, and news-worthy stories.

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Note that this would require a lot of proper marketing ahead of time and you’d need to already have some sort of presence in the public eye since “exhibit” type events don’t draw much attention for undiscovered artists and companies.

Use Pinterest For… Collaboration

pinterest-group-boards

Pinterest is fantastic if you want to follow someone’s board and see what they’re up to. We could say that Pinterest is a network built on followers. However, instead of using your board in a one-directional way, why not go in a collaborative direction?

When creating a board, you can set who can contribute pins to said board. Therefore, you could create a board for, say, wedding ideas and have your bridesmaids take part by pinning their own ideas to the board. This is a subtly different way to brainstorm — not by following many different people, but by concentrating the idea generation in one spot.

Other ideas for collaboration include renovating your home, business and advertising decisions, event ideas, baby names, pets to adopt, vacation spots, and more.

Use Pinterest For… Gathering Opinions

pinterest-gathering-opinions

If you need to make a big decision but you’re having trouble pulling the trigger, use a Pinterest board to poll people for their opinions. By gauging which ideas are “liked” more than others, you can include the opinions of others in your decision making process. In addition to the “likes,” people can leave comments and elaborate on their opinions.

This is a great option for people and companies who already use Pinterest and already have a sizable following. For example, if you’re thinking of redesigning your website, you can pin up a dozen different prototypes and have the followers “like” according to their preferences. It’s more intuitive for Pinterest followers than sending them to a third-party polling site, that’s for sure.

Use Pinterest For… Tracking Progress

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For those of you working on a long-term project, use a private Pinterest board to catalog and document your progress from beginning to end. There are a few benefits to doing this.

One benefit is posterity: you can one day look back and go through the whole process and see how it evolved. Another benefit is redundancy, since if something goes wrong or missing you have proof that it was there at some point. But most of all, it can be motivating. Long projects tend to overwhelm and it helps to be able to take a breath and literally see how far you’ve come.

If you make your board public, you can keep followers updated on project milestones. When people can see your project evolving before their eyes, it helps build an emotional connection with them — almost as if they’re a part of the project.

Could you do this with something other than Pinterest? Yes, but if you’re already an avid Pinterest user, this is a great way to organize and track your progress.

Use Pinterest For… Charity Drives

pinterest-charity-drives

Back in 2012, the beauty product line Elizabeth Arden exercised a new form of philanthropy by running a “Pin It to Give It” campaign — itself a twist on the already popular “Pin It to Win It” campaigns that others had run before.

What was “Pin It to Give It”? For each image that was pinned to the campaign board, Elizabeth Arden donated one eyeliner product to Look Good Feel Better, a public service program that aims to improve the quality of life for cancer treatment patients.

More recently, Sony ran a similar campaign by setting up a board full of Sony products. For each image that was re-pinned from that board, Sony donated $1 to the Michael Phelps Foundation, ultimately raising over $12,500 in a single month.

Running a charity drive through Pinterest may seem strange, but everyone walks away a winner. Not only do said charities receive helpful donations, but the ones running the drive earn a good bit of publicity along the way. Other forms of charity through Pinterest are possible, too. The only limit is your imagination.

To further improve your Pinterest experience, check out these helpful Pinterest tools Make Better Use of Pinterest With These 5 Pinterest Tools Make Better Use of Pinterest With These 5 Pinterest Tools Whether you’ve already fallen for Pinterest or not, no one can deny the new network’s popularity. Instead of sharing your thoughts or actions, you get to share beautiful images. Not only that, those images don’t... Read More .

Do you use Pinterest in unconventional ways? We’d love to hear about it. Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Image Credits: Shrugging Girl Via Shutterstock, Measuring Tape Via Shutterstock

  1. Anita L
    January 28, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Another thought, besides adding a "Pin It" button, how about a "print" button with the article formatted to a standard page similar to the manuals? Greedy, yes.

  2. Anita L
    January 28, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Saving the article and the comments. Sometimes the comments are just as informative as the article.

  3. Suzi L
    January 28, 2014 at 12:52 am

    I use Pinterest boards as Story Boards to plan my historical romances.

    • Joel L
      January 29, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      Wow, that's actually a great idea. Thanks!

  4. rk
    January 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    I love pinterest and use it very regularly but I must say I hadn't thought of some of these ideas....Make us Of always has great, easy to read/implement ideas. Keep up the good work, I have saved many of your articles. Hey, like someone suggested, where is the pinning button? Ah, I can just easily do it with the pin it on my task bar.....thanks for sharing your wisdom.

    • Joel L
      January 29, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      Thank you. It's always nice to have appreciative readers. :)

  5. Dementia D
    January 27, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    I was very surprised to find a lot of traffic to my blog from Pinterest. Now I make sure I post a pin of each of my posts.

  6. Emily O
    January 27, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    @Susan: I thought Pinterest is only for sites that had images? It is possible to upload your own image but it is not obvious how to do it or particularly convenient.

    I use Pinterest for collection development in the library. (Book covers make a great collection of images): for example, all the best science books of the past several years, culled from Booklist. This could be a crowd-sourced endeavor. I have not tried inviting other librarians to contribute to the board, but that would really enhance the endeavor! Oakland Public Library has several Pinterest boards going - staff picks is a great one, but so much easier to keep up if other librarians can contribute to it and it is not up to one individual to keep it up. "Meet your staff" is another great idea. Sharon McKellar, the community outreach librarian, is the instigator behind these boards. http://www.pinterest.com/oaklandlibrary/

  7. JD-L
    January 27, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    I've checked out Pinterest a few times & it seems primarily geared towards women. Am I missing something?

  8. JD-L
    January 27, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    I've only checked out Pinterst a few times, but it seems primarily geared towards women. Am I missing something?

    • Saikat B
      January 28, 2014 at 5:22 am

      Yes, it really took off with that demographic. But scratch beneath surface and you will see all kinds of users :)

  9. Susan
    January 27, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Where is makeuseof's "pin it" button?

    I frequently pin your articles/tutorials but it would be easier if you had a "pin it" button on the side bar with google+, facebook, and twitter.

    Pinning is not just for images.

  10. John C
    January 26, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    It's also like "crying wolf" though and could backfire after so many. But I get it; all in good fun.

  11. Al Simpson
    January 26, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Photographers, Artists and Creatives beware -- Using Pinterest for the first suggestion of "Project Showcasing" leads to loss of copyright. Carefully read the Terms and Privacy notices on Pinterest BEFORE you post anything. This even occurs if someone else sees your work and posts it on Pinterest.

    Pinterest offers a kernel that you can embed in your website's HTML code to prevent others from posting your work to Pinterest without your knowledge or consent.

    @ John C -- I agree with your statement!

  12. John C
    January 25, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    I know this is just a minor technicality, but it bugs me. Every article I see with the title "You Haven’t Thought Of Before" should be, "You may not have Thought Of Before". Seriously, because out of all the ones I've read, 9/10 I have seen, heard or used before lol.

    Therefore, many will find these types of articles misleading right from the start.

    • Tashreef
      January 26, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      You are right! but that's the art of making the visitor to click and read the article in a excitement of getting something he never heard before!

    • Bely B
      February 20, 2014 at 10:57 pm

      Realy good :)

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