By Bliss Hanlin, Community Manager at eModeration (and Pinner extraordinaire)
As Pinterest growth skyrockets, so follows the number of tools available to help us manage our content, understand our metrics, and be better pinners. Below are just a few of the tools and services now available for use with Pinterest that are especially handy for brands, marketers, and Pinterest devotees.
General Use Tools
Official "Pin It" Pinterest Bookmarklet - sometimes the simplest answer is the best one. Pinterest offers a "Pin It" bookmarklet on its goodies page. Just right when you want to pin that, there and then be done.
Pin a Quote - a bookmarklet that turns a text quote into something pinable, although for a more alluring visual, you'll need to PayPal the creator for an upgrade to the Pro version. Reminiscent of how the Wall Street Journal is using quote presentation on Pinterest as lead-ins to articles and stories. We love this one - it is win-win-win for the Pinterest quote/inspiration loving community, the Pin/Board curator, and the original content author.
SpinPicks - for the curating weary, SpinPicks finds topical eye-candy across the web for your Pinning pleasure, and does its best to do so in a responsible digital citizen way by bypassing search link and aiming for original source material linking. SpinPicks is still in beta. We found it to be a little slow, and not being able to input a search topic was frustrating. But we do love the exploring aspect for Flickr CC licensed images. We're hoping for great things from SpinPicks in the future.
Enlarge Pin Images Tools
Pinterest Image Expander - a Google extension, Pinterest Image Expander takes the click out of viewing for the Pinterest surfer by expanding the image with an in-line view upon hover. This kind of tool is great for the repinners amongst us. This particular tool was created by a masterful small business pinner - Brian Noah of Noah Photography.
Pinterest Pro - the Swiss Army knife of Pinterest use tools, Pinterest Pro is a Google extension that adds the hover/zoom feature of Pinterest Image Expander (with an even larger expansion,) but also incorporates a "right click to pin" function and a quickie view of trending pins via a drop-down view from the extension toolbar. By Zach Allia, the maker of "Friendsheet for Facebook."
Screen Capture to Pin Tools
url2pin.it - an alternative to a bookmarklet, url2pin.it offer an easy interface for the casual user for presenting a full-screen capture. The source link pulls over in the description field. We liked how url2pin.it added a little touch of fancy, by presenting color mapping of the image along with (HTML color codes upon rollover) in a handsome color block at the bottom of the pic.
Screen 2 Pin - a Google extension by the makers of url2pin.it, with the same Pinterest-friendly screen capture result.
Snapito! - terrible name, great product. Snapito's "Pin Page" bookmarklet allow you to screen capture a website or landing page, and have that automatically turn into a pin - including the full-source URL into the description. We love responsible pinning, and that the URL is baked into the resulting pin is a big plus to us.
Pinstamatic - the makers of Snapito must have overheard us about that name, as they are working on a similar product that incorporates the screen grab tool, adds "sticky note" images for pinning text, and a Twitter profile card pin-maker. In the early stages, and they are looking for design help.
ShotPin - ShotPin's makers know that while a quick screengrab is handy, sometimes what is really needed is judicious cropping. Their Google extension offers capture and then crop, a functionality the other Capture to Pin tools should take note of. As much as we love cropping, the UX of this one was a little clumsy, and it does not automatically credit the source link. Quibbles, because the easy crop is fantastic.
Curalate - like some of the other companies in this category, Curalate has big plans, scaling to provide value to big brands by offering a monitoring, analytics, and brand intelligence platform focused on social curation. That's right, they see visual content curation as more than just a one-off, but a movement. Currently moving to an invitational beta, the team at Curalate would love to hear from more brands and agencies interested in getting a first look.
Percolate - overwhelmed by your content needs in general? Percolate is ready to take the whole kaboodle off your hands, make it tidy for you, then hand it back with a bow by using algorithms to learn a brand's taste and then surface relevant content in an organized way. The dashboard then reveals what kind of content resonates the most with the brand's different audiences. We assume with a kit as powerful as what they are describing, a little Pinterest action is not going to be a hardship. For brands that have high content output needs, a tool like Percolate makes a lot of sense.
Influence, Analytics and Metrics
PinReach - (formerly PinClout"), an analytics service that helps Pinterest users monitor trends and gauge their success on the site. We especially like the "trending pins" section. Fun for surfing.
Repinly - yet another influence tracker, Repinly has an attractive design but seems a little light on innovative features.
Pinpuff - one of the first pinfluence raters, Pinpuff is still going strong, with info about much your account is worth, along side reach, activity and virility scores. The PinPerks program is innovative, with business promoters exploring social influence via the platform.
Pinerly - promising to be the next best thing since sliced bread, we don't have access to this one yet. The streamlined dashboard is intriguing, as is the "schedule pins" feature. We didn't have the patience for the "Invite 10 friends and maybe we will show you a bigger screenshot of what you might someday be invited to join" game (and apparently, we aren't the only ones who feel that way), but possibly you have more stamina for that kind of thing than we do.
Google Analytics - "But wait!" you might be thinking to yourself. "Google Analytics does not belong in this list! If you are going to mention Google Analytics in relation to Pinterest, might as well stick in Photoshop! Or Ice Cream! Or my Aunt Maude!!" Well, we admit, we weren't going to include it, but then we found this brilliant explanation from Mashable about how to make Pinterest data jump through Google Analytics hoops, and knew we'd be doing a disservice by leaving it out.
Honorable Mention - A special shoutout for a hobbyist project called simply "Pinterest Bookmarklet" (although "Pinterest Audience" appears to be a contender) that uses Pinterest's source tracking and displays the data as a save-able .csv file. We imagine this could be of particular use for marketers gathering brand competitor intelligence and hope Aaron, Josh, and A.J.continue its development.
If you'd like to see this one in action, try running it on an often-pinned-from site like Pillsbury.com. If it is near lunchtime, maybe try running it from a clothing retailer site instead, as we went weak at the knees at the thought of the Caramel Brownie Bites, a Pillsbury 2012 Bake-off finalist. Yum!