Pinterest, the online pinboard, has captured the attention of millions. As a marketing enthusiast and Pinner myself, it felt right to discuss this new social network that is progressively making strides in the social media space.
Pinterest is a place for users to organize and share online images that interest them. Once images are uploaded or “Pinned,” they can be added to themed boards. The board themes are endless in ideas ranging from photography to inspiring quotes. While some Pin randomly, others have specific purposes in mind. This social media site can be a valuable tool for brides to be, interior design enthusiasts, artists, do-it-yourselfers and more. This site lets users throw out the paper binder and organize ideas on the web.
Pinterest has been around for 20 months but has been experiencing rapid growth lately. It was founded in March 2010 by Paul Sciarra, Evan Sharp, and Ben Silbermann as an invite only social discovery platform. Pinterest’s mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.” The social media site has made its way to the top 10 websites in the category of social networking. In November of 2011, the site surpassed 421 million pageviews, a 2000% increase since June. The site is skewed towards women aged 25-44, which comprise 59% readership.
Sharing ideas and finding like-minded people across the world creates a social environment for Pinners. Pinners can Like it, or Repin others’ Pins to their own boards. Pinners can also follow others who their find interesting. Similar to Twitter, it’s an open network. Pins can also be shared via Twitter and Facebook, which have helped to expand the network across platforms. At the top the Pinterest page, theirs a popular button to see what is trending. Also similar to Twitter, users can use an @ symbol to communicate to others.
Promotion of businesses is frowned upon when done obviously by spamming your boards with nothing but your services and products. When done so creatively, the platform can be used as an additional word of mouth and self-promotion tool. But this new platform provides an opportunity to build your brand by linking and connecting to people who share the same style, or by Pinning images that inspire your company’s work. Some brands are toying with the idea of adding a “Pin it” button on their websites
Pinterest can be a great source to drive purchases. Companies such as Etsy and Nordstrom have a strong presence and strategy on this new platform. They each have a page and view it as an additional opportunity to engage with their brand communities. Lands’ End had a holiday campaign and contest called “Pin it to Win it,” making it the first of its kind to center on a campaign on Pinterest.
Room for Improvement
I’ve enjoyed spending time on the site; it’s a great creative outlet for people working in a creative industry. One downside to the site is that there is a waiting list to join. The search tool could use improvement and there is no option for private Pin boards yet.
The service is fresh and needed in a world that is slowly turning paperless and investing in the cloud. Pinterest is proving to be not only a social network and digital pin board but also a provider of marketing opportunities for companies. With the site in its beginning stages and continually gaining more popularity, I look forward to see what opportunities become available in the future.