Are you Pinterested?
Two years after its launch, Pinterest has attracted 10.4 million users, although 80% of them are female1. It is the new social media on the block with aspirations to be a leading social, sharing and even marketing platform. And as 80% of pins are re-pinned1, which means greater social reach for all users, it could be a viable marketing tool. So here’s a look at the interface of the website. Consider how it can be used to boost company sales.
As of October 2012, Pinterest will officially be open to the general public2 and aspiring users won’t need to hunt down invites as before. As the name implies, the site centers around pinning interesting pictures and videos onto a personal pin board (or wall) with a common theme. The page is filled with 4 rows of pictures, accompanied by their comments and sorted by popularity. The network scores higher than Facebook on newsfeed representation, as it makes for quicker browsing with fewer scrolls. Furthermore, the pictures can easily be zoomed for a seamless browsing. Unfortunately, there is no link path on top so that users can go back to one step. Nevertheless, the categories’ drop-down menus partially make up for it.
Users can search for certain categories using the search feature on the upper left corner, which offers dynamic suggestions. Beware of the strict pin etiquette3, which forbids all forms of nudity, disrespect and plain malevolent behavior. Quoting the original source also seems important, which means that the website welcomes original and personal photographs and values them highly. Furthermore, the site offers a browser button for content pinning while you are browsing the web. This button appears to function okay for conventional browsers like Mozilla, Firefox and Internet Explorer, but there are some issues with Google Chrome4.
The website is quite similar to StumbleUpon in that both sites help users find interesting new content on the basis of luck. However, Pinterest lacks the memorable Stumble button and has a much stronger social element. Additionally, Pinterest has a copycat rival called Pinspire5, which is much easier to use and has less stringent pin criteria; just do a quick search on it for something erotic. In a way, it could be considered the male version of Pinterest with its blue logo, heavy male content and loose pin criteria.
Both Pinterest and Pinspire share the “Gifts” feature, which resembles, perhaps too much, a shop6. It allows users to pin items they like on boards along with their price tag. This offers quite a few marketing possibilities for low- to high-end products, which can be easily shared and socially liked. Be wary that spamming the website with offers from your store will not improve your sales, but may get your account banned.
Pinterest as a marketing tool places greater importance on text and video, so if your content is text-based, perhaps Twitter and Facebook are better marketing mediums. Furthermore, your content must be accompanied by stunning and original visuals, which not everybody can produce on a regular basis. The final specific of Pinterest is its predominantly female audience, so campaigns targeted at males might produce bad results. However, this could change if Pinterest acquired Pinspire in the future, but no such plans have been announced so far.
As mentioned, marketing campaigns will focus on visuals, so the sales copy will be much less important. For example, you could take pictures of your business, of people using your products or of satisfied customers. Additionally, videos with good thumbnail images will also gain popularity on Pinterest so consider doing an instructional one for your target niche.