Our experts share their thoughts and expertise here on the Village News Stand
Pinterest is fast becoming the hot ‘new’ social network. Business Insider reported that it ‘is growing so fast, traffic is up 40x in the last six months’. That data is from Experian Hitwise, who say that the site had ’11 million visitors in the week ending Dec. 17′. It’s easy to dismiss the site as just another fad, yet according to Liene Stevens, ‘no other social media site reached mass appeal this quickly. Its active audience are people who are not typically early adopters — and Pinterest is at an age where they should still be dominated by early adopters”.
According to the Experian Hitwiseanalysis, “compared with the overall internet population, Pinterest.com’s audience tends to be female; it also appeals more to moderately educated Caucasians under the age of 35 who have incomes between $30,000 and $100,000 and browse from home.” Data and anecdotal evidence has pointed towards a broader appeal.
Now that it is getting mainstream attention, users from other demographics are signing up and enjoying the service. We think we’ll see the user types evolve and that businesses should regularly check to see if their target market is using Pinterest.
John Jantsch saidthat has become one of the biggest sources of traffic to businesses that deal in visually oriented goods. He said that the site has many benefits to marketers, such as:
“As we make a decision to search for or buy something online, we are trained to go to Google (or Amazon), search by keyword, and sort through results to eventually make a transaction. In return for that sorting, Google charges for advertising, but in order for it to work, we users have to signal our intent.”
To signal that intent requires knowing exactly what you want. You have already made judgments and decisions before going to Google. Pinterest can help people find inspiration and ideas – that may lead to purchases – while they are in browsing mode, and are less susceptible to being marketed to. Lucinda Southern expanding on this in her post about how Pinterest builds deeper connections‘Pinterest has also succeeded in creating a site that fills a void not even search-engine behemoth Google can satisfy; it attracts a user who is browsing. This creates a state of open-mindedness which lends itself as more receptive to new ideas and receiving messages. As creator Ben Silbermann reiterates, “Amazon or Google does an awesome job of showing you what you’re looking for if you know what it is.” ‘
Firstly – you don’t need to immediately get on the platform to experiment with it. There are ways to ascertain whether people with your target demographic use Pinterest:
These basic experiments will help show you whether your content is resonating with the Pinterest userbase. If it is, you can then experiment with creating your own boards.
Mashablewarned that you should promote your small business with caution.
“It’s frowned upon to spam your Boards with nothing but your own products or projects. That doesn’t mean it’s outright banned, but you need to contribute more to the community if you want to stay in its good graces. You can use Pinterest for self-promotion, just do so creatively.”
A popular idea is to focus on brand personas rather than creating online catalogues. According to separate Mashable post, “the idea behind your brand makes sense on Pinterest”. Lisa Barone expanded on this in her love letter to Pinterest:
“Pinterest works best when brands show customers what’s going on below the surface. When they allow consumers to see the spirit of their brand by showing them not what they do, but why they do it – what inspires them, what moves them, what the company culture is based on. They do that all through topic-specific boards.”
Before expressing your brand persona, “you need to be strategic about what content you’re curating and WHO you’re sharing with. Content curation should link to your integrated strategy objectives and identified audience. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time playing with a pretty shiny object.” (Source: Beth Kanter)
Once you’ve experimented with your own boards, you can dabble with some different strategies. Here are some case studies that have caught our eye:
Fashion: Many retailers have simply created a digital catalogue based around their seasonal campaigns. The brands that experimented first – Gap, Nordstrom and Lands’ End – are the ones now benefiting now that they are expanding on their original strategies.
FoodPeople love the food niche – many have joked about certain boards being ‘food porn.’ This is an area where brands can have a lot of fun.
This is a niche with so much untapped potential. It also has more opportunities for playfulness in the creation of boards. Magazines + websitesSeveral media outlets and websites have a brand page, but several of them aren’t gaining much traction. Brands using it include:
The brands that have seen the most success seek images from sites other than their own, or allow contributions. I believe that this is the area where we will see a lot of innovation. What should you do?Adding a new platform to your social marketing mix can be overwhelming, but it is possible.
You can also check out our presence on Pinterest. Currently, we’re just having fun and experimenting. If you look closely though, our chief villager Justine Bloome has been exploring Pinterest for some time, and is in a stronger position to leverage it for our business. Those that continue to experiment – while sticking to the etiquette of Pinterest – are the ones that will see success.