If you’ve been living under a social media rock recently, you might not have heard of Pinterest – a new social bookmarking site that emphasizes images. Users of the invite-only network “pin” images linked to web pages onto their own custom visual bulletin boards. Companies large and small have been figuring how to engage with the fast growing user base; Experian Hitwise reported that Pinterest has 40 times the number of visits than 6 months ago and more than 3 millions users.
Right now certain brands are benefiting from the most engaged group of users – at least 60% of users are women around 25-44. This demographic has been a boon for companies like Whole Foods, Nordstrom, Martha Stewart, and Real Simple who focus on lifestyle trends, clothing and shopping. Users can follow brands’ and friends’ Boards which puts every new pin into that user’s stream.
Using Pinterest for Your Brand
Brands that sell consumer goods and image-heavy websites have made the biggest splash on the site so far. Whole Foods has boards for holiday planning, recipes and their philanthropic works. Real Simple Magazine has boards for recipes, decorating ideas, and more. However, Pinterest clearly stats that it’s not for solely self-promotion, so you must get creative with your profile. A few examples include:
- Run contests – Lands’ End Canvas was one of the first to run a success contest where users created a “Pin It to Win It” board for a chance to win one of 10 gift cards. This made fans become brand advocates and promote their favorite products.
- Market research – try testing new products or ideas with your followers first to gain feedback. The ability to “like” and comment on Pins creates an online focus-group for companies.
- Personalize your company – post images of your employees, events, office, etc to give fans insights into your company culture.
- Sell more products – although Pinterest doesn’t want brands to focus solely on self-promotion, they do offer the ability to feature eCommerce goods. By adding a $ sign to a description automatically places a price banner across the top corner of the photo, enticing users to follow through to the product page. This has been beneficial for artists and designers of unique hand-made goods.
Another added benefit of using Pinterest is with SEO. For each Pin there are two links back to the original source web page, one of which is “followed” by search engines and gives more weight to that inbound link. So whenever applicable, remember to pin your own content and encourage users to do so as well. The only question is how long that will last as Pinterest grows. One of the two links was recently switched to no-follow and the other could easily be switched as well.
Getting Started with Pinterest
At the moment Pinterest is still invite only, but with its growing popularity your odds are high that a female might be able to send you an invite. Pinterest does have a sign-up form for invite, but that appears to be a long waiting line. If you have been lucky enough to join, what benefits have you seen from using it so far? What creative ideas could you use to engage users?