Although Pinterest’s growth has slowed somewhat since reaching 70 million users in 2012, it remains one of the most popular social media platforms. The average user spends about 90 minutes per month on the site — with almost half reporting that they visit weekly — pinning in the most popular categories of food and drink, home decor, fashion, and photography.
Despite the popularity of the site, though, some users report “Pinterest fatigue.” While the “average” Pinterest user has just under 200 pins, more active users (particularly the early adopters) may have several thousand pins on their boards. With so much content, it’s easy to become overwhelmed; not to mention, many users simply pin the images and never click through the
So how do you control the flood of pins, and actually make the site useful and not just a repository of ideas for the wedding you may or may not have someday, the parties you’ll never host, and recipes you’ll never make? Now that the novelty of the site has worn off, it’s time to find ways to make Pinterest a real tool to make your life better — and there are ways to do that.
Cull the Herd
Many businesses conduct regular content audits to ensure that they are only posting relevant and useful content for their audiences. As a user, you should do the same. Whether you have a few hundred pins or a few thousand, spend some time every now and then organizing and cleaning up your boards. Delete pins that you don’t need or want (like that craft that was a complete dud) and streamline your larger boards.
Pinterest allows users to easily move up to 50 pins between boards, so if you have been posting all of your recipes to the same board, spend some time dividing them into categories. That way, you won’t spend an hour scrolling through hundreds of recipes to find that one dessert you know you pinned once upon a time. Be selective in what you pin as well; do you really need 42 recipes for what’s essentially the same chopped salad?
Pinterest as Shopping List
Pinning images of items that you’d love to have — like a glitter-encrusted Mercedes-Benz — is fun, but what about those items that you might actually purchase someday?
If you have an iPhone, you can download the LoveList app and turn your Pinterest boards into a type of gift registry of items in stores or at home. It’s simple: Just scan the item’s barcode, and if it’s available in the Amazon.com database of products, it will create a pin, complete with product image, which you can then pin to any of your boards. It’s easy to keep track of gift ideas, items that you’re trying to compare, or to find that exact item that your friend has and you want to pick up in the store.
Pinterest as Organizer
Most people use Pinterest as a “want” tool instead of a “have” tool. In other words, they use it to make plans and seek inspiration for the future. But Pinterest can also help you stay organized in the now, especially when it comes to your collections.
If you have a large number of downloads of movies, music, craft patterns, or anything else that can easily get lost among all of your files, a Pinterest board (or several) can help you keep track — while also sharing the great stuff you’ve found with others.
Pinterest as Inspiration
“But wait,” you might be thinking, “Isn’t Pinterest already about inspiration?” Yes, but you can use it in a new way without pinning thousands of ideas that you will never use again later. Instead of using Pinterest only to plan for the future, use it for immediate inspiration.
Not sure what to wear to work? Choose an item of clothing from your closet, enter a description in the search bar, and immediately get hundreds of photos of possible outfits with that item to inspire you. Not sure what to make for dinner? Search for ingredients on Pinterest and find a tasty new recipe. Using Pinterest this way helps you make better use of the site for your immediate needs while saving you time and money by not scrolling through and finding all sorts of ideas you’ll never use.
If you find something you love, like a particular recipe, pin it to a board, but otherwise, use the site only for ideas you’re going to use right away.
Pinterest can be a useful tool, but only if you use it efficiently. That’s not to say you can’t have fun dreaming of your dream beachside wedding in Bora Bora, but for everyday use, try some of these organizational strategies.