Are You Pinterested in This?

As Mashable reports, Pinterest drives more traffic than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined. Not only is it capturing amazing stats, but the site is a new form of social media that we haven’t seen before– and it is both smart and pretty.  Instead of links, we have photos/images. Instead of categorizing items in a list, we have virtual boards. And when you view someone’s profile, you see a beautifully organized, image-based representation of that person’s interests. While Chris Brogan argues that Pinterest catches more of the female demographic than the male sector, I am tempted to say that 1) I doubt that will hold true for too long and 2) who cares?! It still works as a social media outlet that helps marketers on all sides. In fact, in addition to the aesthetic pictorial representation on the site, I’m also fascinated by the multifaceted marketing dynamic.

There is the product. When I say ‘product’ I’m referring to the photo that the user loves enough to pin on one of their boards. This can be anything from a blouse you see on J.Crew or a book you want to read/have read to a poster print you have hanging in your office or want to hang in your office. When the user pins this to the board, that person become personally connected to the brand of that product. The brand then benefits from this pinning because any one of the the user’s followers who sees the pin, and says, wow…I really like that blouse, too…and proceeds to click on it gets directed to the J.Crew website. While this is great for the brand/company on the other side of the pin, it also creates more design demand. You’ve got to have a strong design element to your website if you want to be on Pinterest.

Then, there is the brand that gets on Pinterest as a user. When J.Crew gets on Pinterest, what do they pin? While they are not currently on Pinterest as a user (you’ll see their clothes pinned everywhere–no surprise there), what would be smart to pin from a marketer’s perspective? Sure, why not put more of their clothes on the site, but they could also show those products coming from companies they’ve partnered with like New Balance, Timex, Sperry, Ray Ban, etc. Or, how about from an institution/school like the University of Virginia: what do they like? They could pin their paraphernalia, published faculty books, images from events, football games, the surrounding town, restaurants– all of these things bring students to the UVa website. Not many companies/institutes/brands have hopped on Pinterest to create a profile yet, but I think it would be a smart thing to do. Not only do you create a diversified portfolio of the products and personality of the brand itself, but you create a personal following– your fans do not just ‘like’ your company, they follow you and pin your products on their walls. The marketer can even see what specific products are getting the most visual attention.

What do you think about Pinterest?

3 thoughts on “Are You Pinterested in This?

  1. I’ve had little time to actually delve that far into the pinterest, but from what I have seen, I’ve liked it. And I’m a male! It almost reminds me of reddit in a way, but with more mainstream content, and more pictures of course. I think for the most part it is the vacation/adventure photos that really appeal to my immediate taste. What I have yet to see are ways for small niche businesses to leverage it as a marketing tool. I get that J. Crew can get it to work, but the manufacturer of a small pest control device may have a hard time justifying the effort. The nice thing is that it is getting harder and harder to ignore pinterest as it is turning up everywhere, so at some point, someone will crack it for everyone.

  2. I admit: I’m loathe to add yet another social network, regardless of the coolness factor. I usually measure these things by what people I’ve worked with do; after spending many years in start-up high tech companies, I can tell when it’s heavily early adopter, or whether or not the chasm has been crossed. With pinterest, I’m just not yet convinced.

    I would love to be a fly on the wall in order to hear their exit strategy; my suspicion is that there may end up an over-valued add-on to one of the other big names–especially after marketing and business figures out how to manipulate information and pinnings.

    I’m going to wait a bit and keep an eye on it.

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