Pinterest, a hot-new social networking site that everyone is talking about (and many have spent hours fawning over), has cracked the current list of top 10 social networks, according to Mashable. An invitation only site, Pinterest takes social sharing to another level, acting as a platform to organize and post interesting or inspiring online images. The images are referred to as Pins, which users assign to specifically themed Boards. Popular themes for the 4 million users on Pinterest are interior decorating, wedding planning, and recipes. Thus, a bride-to-be may have a Wedding Board, and post pins of her dream dress, ring, flowers, decorations, etc. As simple as this may sound, there are a few key factors of Pinterest that have determined its success and make it a viable candidate for business marketing.
Viral Sharing: Pinterest encourages users to connect their accounts to their Twitter and Facebook pages, along with personal websites. Account widgets for these sites appear below a user’s profile bio, and individual Pins can be shared through each network. An important feature of Pinterest is the “Pin It” button, which can be added to a user’s “bookmarks bar” on their computer, allowing them to pin interesting images they find anywhere online to their Pinterest Boards. Businesses can also add a “Pin It” button to their websites, allowing visitors to share something they find to their respective networks. All of this online connectivity makes Pinterest convenient and relevant to already developed social networks, allowing companies to further increase their reach through new and exciting content. One example of marketing used through Pinterest is a “Pin It” contest that Samuel Gordon Jewelers did. In order to win Honora Pearls, Samuel Gordon encouraged people to visit their website, pin photos of the jewelry to their personal boards, and share with their networks. The viral effect of this contest was huge, because of its simplicity and incentive.
Valuable Tool: Besides the fact that pinning random cool pictures all day can be very entertaining (cough, all I did yesterday: www.pinterest.com/swight), Pinterest can actually be a very valuable tool for someone with a specific purpose in mind. For example, some people create a Board for each room in their house and then pin decorating ideas for that room. Cooks can keep an online recipe box and students might create a shopping list of things they need to buy for school. Therefore, because people can create a variety of purposes for the site, and it’s geared towards actual online images that can potentially lead to product purchases, it is a key marketing tool for businesses to pursue. Even though I created my profile for fun, it has prompted me to buy ingredients for multiple recipes, including a honey facial, day dream about my future honey moon in Bora Bora, check out the spring line of Stella & Dot jewelry and shop online at Nordstrom.com. Oh and not to mention the idea I found about putting a dollar in a jar every time I work out so I can splurge on a manicure every now and then. Talk about a call to action!
Visual Branding: According to a blog post on SpinSucks.com, a professional development website for PR pros, 84% of people are visual learners. Pinterest heavily feeds into this and creates a simple way to connect and group images to portray a sense of who you are. For example, let’s say I am developing my personal brand through Pinterest. I have chosen to emphasize my desire to travel, my sophisticated appetite, my appreciation for humor and romance and my dedication to fitness and appearance. My Pinterest is a very clear and quick way for me to show potential friends, employers, in-laws, etc. what I encompass as a person. A company can market themselves on Pinterest in a very similar way. Not only can they post images of their products (with witty descriptions), they can personalize their brand by interacting with other users, and revealing their interests and ideals. A really good example of this is Whole Foods Market- they don’t just market their products and they paint a picture of everything they stand for.
People use social networks to stay connected with friends, keep informed and engage with others. They don’t go on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn to read a bunch of advertisements and buy products. Pinterest is a space where people can create a virtual wish list, without any pressure to buy products or services or a time share in Thailand (although a girl can dream). It’s simply a place to post your cravings, goals and ideas that define who you are or wish to be. Meanwhile, it’s a subtle way for companies to display products that line up with your desires, without pushing a sale. Seems pretty perfect to me!
(*Side note: the use of V’s was a coincidence but I guess now I can call it the 3 V’s of Pinterest!)