Brand marketers should be paying attention to Pinterest, a virtual bulletin board with a social layer that lets users 'pin up' their interests, inspirations and what inspires them. It's a community network model emerging from the digital ooze that begets innovation as it's bubbling up from a grassroots embrace.
Tech Crunch wrote, "Pinterest Joins Twitter And Facebook As The Newest Self-Expression Engine," while ReadWriteWeb’s take, "User experience, a clean retro visual design, content curation, social collaboration and subscription: those are the things that Pinterest is leveraging to gain a lot of traction and buzz."
Traffic for the beta invite-only community, which launched in March 2010, reached 421 million page views in October, usurping the territory of that craft sites like Etsy established, and publishers and marketers are taking note. Brands on board include Etsy, Nordstrom, Lands' End and Time Inc.
"Pinterest is a huge source from a referral standpoint, even beating out referrals from Facebook in the month of October," said Shannon King, GM of digital for Time Inc.’s Real Simple magazine. "It speaks to the power of engaged audience members. We view it as an important part of our social media strategy."
Lands’ End is using the site to promote their 2011 holiday campaign, a contest dubbed "Pin it to Win it," to promote their Canvas brand. "Pinterest is the intersection of style and social and is a natural, visual platform to showcase the lifestyle and relevant appeal of Lands' End Canvas," said Michele Casper, Director of Public Relations in a release.
Nordstrom, an early adopter, created their Pinterest page in March and has spiffed it up for the holidays with a ‘Holiday Sparkle’ board and a Nordstrom Santa board to go hand-in-hand with their 'Nordstrom Santa' Facebook app.
“Pinterest allows us to see what trends and styles the community likes based on engagement - likes and repins," Nordstrom’s social media manager Shauna Causey said. Creativity-online.com commented that “Images are a great way to share ideas and trends in the retail social media landscape."
Founded by Paul Sciarra, Evan Sharp and Ben Silbermann, the original vision of Pinterest was to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.”
“The grid is the visual hallmark of our site," Sharp, previously at Facebook, told Mashable. "At a basic level, it’s just a great place to go to see things that are interesting to you…But the flipside of that — and something I didn’t expect when we built the product — is that there are tons of people using the pictures to find things that impact their everyday life…At the end of the day, Pinterest can really complement your life instead of being a timesuck.”
‘Pin Etiquette,’ outlined for the community, is clear about Pinterest not being a playground for self-promotion, challenging marketers to come up with unique content and to engage, not just promote.
“A good example of that is Whole Foods. They’re not just sharing the produce available at Whole Foods, they’re sharing [images of] a healthy lifestyle. West Elm isn’t just sharing the furniture they sell, they’re sharing interior design tips. And the Today Show isn’t just pinning that day’s guests [to promote the episode]. For most consumer brands, the idea behind your brand makes sense on Pinterest,” Sharp told Mashable.
With $37 million in their pocket, pleasing aesthetics and accessibility, Pinterest has pinned a smartly crafted social curation model that offers a new rainbow for engaged purchase impact.