Pinterest – The Latest Social Media Obsession
by Tina Kelly, Terralever / January 18, 2012
Note: This blog entry is available in English only.
Part One – What is it and How can Brands Benefit?
Pinterest is the hottest social media platform, although it’s been around since 2008, it’s popularity and member-base has skyrocketed over the past several months. So what is it and why is it important to your brand?
Technically still invite only; Pinterest is a visual pinboarding platform that allows members to organize and share image content from the web. Members can “pin” images and videos to “boards” and create virtual wish lists for things like weddings, home improvement, fitness regimen, fashion, style, diet, party planning, etc. Members can also browse pins and boards created by other members and re-pin them to their own boards. Think of it as a virtual bulletin board for inspiration and planning.
Pinning has become a seemingly overnight obsession, specifically within the female demographic, with 70% of the Pinterest member base being female. Not surprisingly, it’s a top traffic driver for the popular ecommerce site Etsy. And if you consider it as a traffic source, it could be a game-changer.
What makes Pinterest a compelling platform for brands to consider it as a part of their marketing toolkit?
Alternative to Search Engines for Consumer Discovery:
Most consumers start their research for a future purchase online, and historically they have gone to Google for the answer. Pinterest offers a compelling alternative. Users don’t need to know exactly what they want, because Pinterest allows discovery, and it breaks outside of traditional algorithmic results. For example, if a user looks for a wedding dress, traditionally that person would search within Google for a style or designer. With Pinterest, that same user can search “wedding dress” to get inspiration on without having to provide detailed information. And if the user sees something that she likes on someone’s pin or board, she can click on the link and make a purchase directly from the pin. It’s an enormous advantage for any brand.
Pinterest offers a new avenue for brands to host contests, which ultimately attract new fans and customers. Brands can host contests within Pinterest to generate buzz and followers. Land’s End Canvas ran a Pinterest contest for two weeks in December 2011 around the concept “Pin It to Win It!” Land’s End asked fans to create a Pin It to Win It board and pin 10-20 products (from men’s or women’s apparel categories) on the Land’s End dot com, or re-pin them from the Land’s End Pinterest Page. Once the user created a board, he or she emailed a specified Land’s End email address for a chance to win $10-$250 gift cards. The board was their official entry.
Winners and links to their boards were then posted on Land’s End Canvas’ Facebook page. Not only did the contest build loyalty from their fan base, it fed Pinterest with Land’s End products and links at no cost.
If a company doesn’t have products to showcase, Pinterest is still a relevant tool to help communicate brand voice/personality. Companies can pin a photo from an article or webpage and link the pin to the article to help connect users with their story. That kind of application is a great way for brands recruit by highlighting company culture.
Test Product Adaption
Brands can use Pinterest like a focus group and pin new product concepts and get feedback from users based on how many times each was re-pinned, liked or commented on, helping gain intelligence on how consumers are engaging with the product concept.
Brands can ask users to pin pictures of themselves with their favorite product and tag the brand. Brands can then create a dedicated board for these pins, which creates a connection between the brand and the user.
Who’s Already Pinning & Winning?
Brands have already jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon and are leveraging the platform for its multiple marketing benefits. They’re also seeing results. That group includes Whole Foods, West Elm, Martha Stewart, Real Simple magazine, and The Today Show just to name a few. A recent Mashable article highlights “best practices” for brands, as provided by Pinterest, and it lists some of the top brands maximizing the platform.
We are confident that Pinterest is going to be a big player in the social space, and we’re already testing it for some of the brands that we work with.
The original Terralever post can be found here.