Many businesses are already using Pinterest--a social media website that lets people save (or "pin") pictures in titled collections--to raise awareness of their brand and drive traffic to their websites. But it's also a powerful tool to create a vision board, meaning a collection of photos and short phrases that represent your business goals.
"The purpose of a vision board is really to get you to focus on what it is you're striving for," explains Marcia Layton Turner, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vision Boards (Alpha, 2009). "In a way, it could be used as a visual business plan."
Unlike a business plan that gathers dust in a drawer, this collage of photos is meant to be looked at daily. "Through pictures, [a vision board] focuses your mind," Turner says. It helps you notice opportunities and stay on the path to success.
Though vision boards are nothing new, Pinterest allows you to take them to a whole new level. Not only do you have access to millions of photos, you can engage followers, store useful links, and drum up public support. Follow these four tips to create a Pinterest vision board that will help you reach your goals:
1. Create specific goals. "Vision boards are very literal," Turner says. "You have to really think through what you're after." Ask yourself: Where will my company be in five years? What will it be known for? What will the offices look like? How many employees will I have? How many users? The point is for you to articulate exactly what you want to achieve.
Follow brands you admire for inspiration, or include them on your vision board with a note about what they do well. Focus on the practices you want to emulate so you can work toward a positive goal.
2. Express your vision to consumers. Pinterest is a public way to share your vision of the future. "You can really galvanize the public to support you before you open your doors," Turner says.
Think about how consumers could support your vision and encourage them to do so. For example, if you want your staff to carpool to work, offer incentives for your followers to do the same or ask them to share how they've "greened" their commute in the comments.
3. Go beyond images. The biggest benefit of creating your vision board on Pinterest is that each picture links to the original source, allowing you to store articles, infographics, videos, or websites that can help you achieve your goals. If you want to double your reach on social media, you can pin a picture from an article with helpful tips and return to the article as you work toward that benchmark.
But one last word of caution...
4. Be careful what you share. As of right now, Pinterest does not allow private boards (though they are considering it), so make sure that you only include the goals that you're comfortable sharing.
Nadia Goodman is a freelance writer in Brooklyn, NY. She is a former editor at YouBeauty.com, where she wrote about the psychology of health and beauty. She earned a B.A. in English from Northwestern University and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. Visit her website, nadiagoodman.com.