Pinterest dream boardsRemember making collages back in your school days? Spending all that time cutting pictures and phrases out of magazines, newspapers, and then some? Whether you made them for school or for the walls of your bedroom, collages & dream boards took a lot of patience, paper cut-tolerance, and Elmer’s glue sticks. We’ve got good news for those of you who miss the fun of making dream boards, but not the mess: Pinterest.

Most collage and dream board makers of the past will already be familiar with Pinterest, but for those of you who aren’t yet, we’ll go ahead and say you’re welcome for this post.

Pinterest is essentially an online dream board maker. Once you’ve created an account, you can make your own “boards” and fill them with interesting, beautiful, and inspiring images (which are known as “pins”). Here’s the best part about Pinterest – those images actually lead somewhere. Unlike traditional collages that show only pictures and phrases, pins lead to links on the Web. So if you find a great pair of shoes and pin them on your “Style” board, they won’t just be something to look at, they can lead to the website where you can purchase those shoes! Because of this feature, Pinterest acts not only as a dream board, but also as a sort of to-do list.

Dream Boards for Professionals

Say you’re a great chef (or maybe you just want to learn to be one), and you create a “Recipes” board on your Pinterest account. Filling your board with tasty recipes for Sweet Potato Parmesan Tater Tots or Deep Dish Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Covered Pretzel Crust (are you drooling yet?) not only provides you with inspiration, but with a to-do list of dishes to cook! Rather than buying recipe books and dog-earing pages you like, Pinterest allows you to save an online list of everything you’re interested in making, and guess what y’all? It’s free.

And not only is Pinterest good for shopping and cooking – there are Pinterest boards out there for every subject imaginable. From DIY projects for kids to travel, wedding planning to office design, and inspirational quotes to CrossFit workout circuits – you can make your pin boards as broad or specific as you like and make as many as you want!

Another great thing about Pinterest is that you can follow other users. You can see what your Facebook, Twitter, and – yes – real life friends are interested in by following their boards. Their pins will go to your Pinterest homepage, and if you like them, you can repin them onto one of your own boards and presto! – no more scouring the Internet for cool stuff!

Secret Boards

One last thing we love about Pinterest is that you can make a sneaky secret board. That means that only you or those you allow access to can see the board. Say it’s for someone’s surprise party – you can pin all of your ideas there to keep it top secret and then BANG! – at the surprise party, everyone comments on what a fabulous job you did (thanks to Pinterest, of course).

Now, while Pinterest can be super fun and exciting for personal use, there is an educational and business side to it too. Shocking, I know. But seriously, it’s a great tool for education purposes. For instance, we found a pin the other day that explains social media using bacon references. It’s similar to the pin that uses donuts as the example for social networking, but bacon is better. (See the pin here and, please, use it as needed)

Pinterest for Marketing

While most of Pinterest’s content is geared more toward lifestyle and less toward business, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any good marketing content out there. Being the 5th most popular social network out there, a lot of new content is put onto Pinterest every day – to find the stuff that will benefit your business, you just have to know where to look. You can follow other pinners exactly like you would on Twitter or Instagram, and their content will flow into your own personal newsfeed. Follow someone like Martha Stewart on Pinterest, and you’ll probably get a lot of great cake recipes, but not so many marketing ideas. But there are plenty of pinners out there who have boards solely dedicated to marketing, like this one filled with free white papers and e-books on marketing, or this one with great tips on how to use Pinterest for marketing, or even this one that has inspirational quotes and images just for marketers. As social media experts, we’ve found tons of great content via Pinterest (like the bacon example) that help us learn the tricks of the trade even better and that we sometimes share with you all on Facebook and Twitter.

In short, Pinterest is awesome. Whether you need to find some info on how to do your job better or you just want to browse until you find the perfect pair of boots, it’s a social media win in our book.

image credit: Simon Howden/