Like it? Pin it.
Remember how big and rapidly growing Tumblr was last year? Well, no one cares anymore. There’s a new web darling: Pinterest. Just like most social platforms, it’s difficult to easily describe what Pinterest is. For me, it is an inspiration board/discovery tool/visual bookmarking tool. Pinterest calls itself “an online pinboard to collect and share what inspires you. Discover new things hand-picked by people who share your interests.”
Unlike most startups, Pinterest grew quickly in the past few months because it was embraced by DIY crafters, designers and moms, not tech types. Over 59% of Pinterest’s users are women age 25-44, which makes it a very unique environment for fashion, travel, food, art, fitness and home décor topics. Not surprisingly, every day more and more brands start pinning. Some of the bigger and more popular ones are Nordstrom,Whole Foods, Etsy, Martha Stewart, TIME Magazine, Rent the Runway and the Travel Channel. Even universities and libraries are jumping in.
How can we use Pinterest for brand purposes?
1. Share what your brand stands for: Pinterest is a great platform to share the essence of your brand or the lifestyles it promotes. It’s not just about your products and/or services, but about the idea behind them, about what they allow people to do. Pinterest makes it really easy to visualize what your brand stands for and what’s the role it plays in peoples lives: empowering people to create the home of their dream, inspiring them to find their individual style, etc. It’s not about you, it’s about how you can help people. And, you can even segment your audiences and create different boards that appeal to different people with different lifestyles.
2. Share your corporate culture and core values: As people become more interested in learning about the people behind an organization and as organizations become more human and transparent, sharing a corporation’s culture and core values in an easy to digest visual way with short stories is a no-brainer. People are interested in the details and images can humanize the brand. Post pictures of the office, lunch breaks, office events, behind the scenes, people volunteering, etc.
3. Increase visibility and interest, even sales: As a great discovery tool that doesn’t require strong ties such as mutual friendship or an asymmetrical following, Pinterest makes it easy to stumble upon a variety of products that a user is highly likely to be interested in. From recipes to books, to furniture, to accessories, a user can find pretty much anything and everything. Not only that, but also pin those items to boards such as “Gift ideas,” “My Wedding,” “Home projects,” etc. Real Simple recently reported that Pinterest is driving more traffic to its site than Facebook.
4. Use it as a focus group: I’ve always said that social media is the best focus group you can ever get if you know how to mine the data and Pinterest is no exception. Millions of people use it to keep track of objects they love, places they enjoy, places they want to visit, foods they devour, clothes they want, things that inspire them. It’s the quickest way to glance into people’s lives and heads. Look at the pinners who follow your brand and see what they’re pinning and who else they’re following. As behavioral economists have told us, asking people what they want/need or how they feel isn’t as effective as observing their behavior. Pinterest allows for just that.
5. Inspire your team: Create mood boards and pin things that are interesting and relevant to your team. The world and the web are full with beautiful objects that make you want to apply for a job at Oscar de la Renta. Pinterest allows you to collect all these objects and organize them in a way that makes sense and is easy to navigate.
Because it’s focused on interests, Pinterest allows brands to participate in people’s lives in a more utilitarian, subtle and non-intrusive way.