Pinterest, the virtual pin board at the crossroads of social and style, covered here in December when the buzz was reaching fever pitch, has burgeoned into a marketplace for consumer brands, offering a visual and demonstrable platform for engagement.
A wide range of major brands are using Pinterest to engage fans through social curation and as an online focus group to see what clicks with consumers, including:
Lands’ End Canvas - The Lands End sub-brand ran a contest last month called “Pin It to Win It,” inviting customers for pins of items on the site they liked, with the 10 most creative awarded prizes of $250 gift cards;
West Elm – features lavish images of furnished kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms;
Etsy – offers stationery, gift ideas, seasonal decorating advice and a “Smile Booth” for employees and consumers;
Travel Channel – a big fan, the U.S. cable TV network taps into interests such as animals, street food, behind-the-scenes personal photos, beaches, landmarks and souvenirs.
Gap – repins “popular Gap images on Pinterest” including its puffer jackets and celebs like Will Arnett and Amy Poehler sporting the brand’s products;
Whole Foods – not just focused on foods, but related themes including holidays, cooking, recycling, art projects and the Whole Planet Foundation, giving microcredit to vendors of Whole Foods;
From small brands (such as Ohio-based homeware retailer Domestica) to other big brands, including Martha Stewart, Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, Bergdorf Goodman, Chobani and NBC's The Today Show are also active on the site, Pinterest is attracting brand marketers to allocate part of their interactive bandwidth to its 4.5 million users — primarily female, under the age of 45 and socially-, digitally-savvy.
Mashable breaks down the stats: “70% of pinners are female. Pinterest has a highly engaged audience — a reported 3.3 million users logging more than 421 million pageviews — so there’s plenty of opportunity for brands to flesh out pinboards and catch pinners’ eyes.”
Hitwise parsed the site's popularity in a blog post that noted:
“Pinterest content has something for everyone, but the site is dominated by images featuring home décor, crafts, fashion, and food…Pinterest and the Social Networking & Forums category both receive their highest share of visits from California and Texas. However, the Social Networking category as a whole over-indexes on share of visits from Northeastern states while Pinterest over-indexes on visits from the states in the Northwest and Southeast. This data indicates that Pinterest visitors have a different profile versus their counterparts visiting other social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube.”
‘Pin Etiquette’ is the term for the site's golden rule: Pinterest is not a playground for self-promotion, challenging marketers to come up with content that engages, not just promotes (think "Pin unto others...") It's no surprise that one of Facebook’s new bevy of 60 Timeline-integrated apps is a Pinterest app.
Some pinned-and-true ways for brands to engage with users include:
• Hold a Contest
• Conduct Market Research
• Feature Customers
• Put a Face to Your Brand
• Sell More Products
• Present Concepts in a New Way
• Promote Your Image Content.
One of the most interesting personal uses is blogger Kirsty from New Zealand, who has come up with 365 days of Pinterest creations.
Pinterest is a unique community networking model that has evolved from a personal use bulletin board to a significant platform for brands if they play by the inherent etiquette rules, creating out-of-the-box offerings that engage first, and promote second — which, come to think of it, is a smart strategy on social media in general. Your thoughts on Pinteractive marketing? Post them below!