The response I’ve heard surroundingÃ‚Â PinterestÃ‚Â all echoes the same sentiment: ““this isÃ‚Â seriouslyÃ‚Â addicting.Ã¢â‚¬Â As someone who is easily distracted by sparkly things, I’ve forbidden myself from using Pinterest at work (only, of course, to thoroughly research this postÃ¢â‚¬Â¦).
Do we really need another social network to waste hours of our lives? Better yet, how has a network that is still invitation-only managed to getÃ‚Â 2.7 million usersÃ‚Â (and that is just those who are signing in with Facebook)?
Pinterest is a social bookmarking toolÃ‚Â used to “pin” images found around the Web into categorized collections, or boards. Think of it like an interactive, shareable scrapbook. Like any good social network, you canÃ‚Â follow other users, share their content, make comments, and tag users. Similar to a Twitter stream, you getÃ‚Â real-time updatesÃ‚Â of what the people you follow are pinning. You can also easilyÃ‚Â share your pins on Facebook and Twitter.
While thereÃ‚Â aren’t a lot of brands using Pinterest yet, I expect that to changeÃ‚Â veryÃ‚Â soon. The audience on Pinterest is different from the major social networks becauseÃ‚Â most people use it to find inspiration, whether they are hosting a party, getting married, remodeling their bathroom, or looking for a recipe for dinner. In other words, many areÃ‚Â using Pinterest to help guide their buying decisions. If a user finds something they like on Pinterest, there is a good chance they will at least click the source link and, at most, make a purchase.
Why People Are Obsessed
HOW PINTEREST WORKS
Although Pinterest is still ““invite only,Ã¢â‚¬Â you canÃ‚Â request an inviteÃ‚Â on the site with a pretty quick turnaround for access. You can alsoÃ‚Â login using your Facebook or Twitter accountÃ‚Â for instant access. The Pinterest user interface is extremely intuitive — so much so that I think the quickest way to ““get itÃ¢â‚¬Â is to join and from there it’s very self-explanatory. But, there wouldn’t be much to this post if I told everyone to just go join Pinterest…
Before I get into how this social network can be beneficial for brands, here’s aÃ‚Â quick overview of Pinterest’s features:
A pin is anÃ‚Â image or video, either from a website or uploaded from the user. A description can (and should) be added to pins.
Pins can be organized by topic, called boards. By default, Pinterest starts users off with a bunch of boards, but these can be deleted or renamed to suit a user’s interests. Within my pin boards, I’ve created collections of everything from recipes I want to try to countries I’ve visited to ideas for organizing my home to nail polishes I think are pretty (don’t judge me).
Like Twitter, you can follow anyone, even if they aren’t following you back. You have the option to followÃ‚Â allÃ‚Â of another user’s boards, or you can just select certain boards to follow. You can sign up using your Twitter or Facebook account, which makes it easy to find all of your friends already using Pinterest.
Repins are the ““retweetsÃ¢â‚¬Â of the Pinterest world. Repinning isÃ‚Â sharing an image pinned by someone you follow or found while browsing Pinterest, and then adding it to one of your own boards. Repinning gives credit to the person who first pinned the image. You can also edit (or add to) the description when you repin something. Source links also stay on the pin no matter how many times it is repinned. You don’t need to be following someone to repin from them.
Liking a pin just adds it to the ““LikesÃ¢â‚¬Â on your profile, but doesn’t add it to one of your boards. Again, you don’t need to be following someone to like their pin.
PINNING FROM THE WEB
You canÃ‚Â add a ““Pin ItÃ¢â‚¬Â button right into your browserÃ‚Â to easilyÃ‚Â pin things you come across on the InternetÃ‚Â (this is currently only available for Chrome).Ã‚Â
You’re given a choice ofÃ‚Â which image to useÃ‚Â from the page you are pinning:
You thenÃ‚Â select which boardÃ‚Â to add the pin to, and canÃ‚Â add a description:
The source link is automatically pulled in:
Anytime you pin something, you canÃ‚Â easily share it on Twitter and Facebook:
There are alsoÃ‚Â share buttons alongside any pinÃ‚Â you click on:
BENEFITS FOR BRANDS
On the surface, Pinterest may seem too niche to benefit a wide range of brands. As with any network, once Pinterest grows there will most likely be features added specifically for businesses (promoted pins? sponsored boards?). For now, there areÃ‚Â 3 main benefitsfor brands using this network….
1. Get Seen
Pinterest levels the playing field for smaller retail businesses thatÃ‚Â don’t have the budget or resources to compete in search results. If I search for jeans on Google Shopping, I’m going to see Levi’s and a bunch of other brands IÃ‚Â already knowÃ‚Â sell jeans.
“Discoverability” is a word I’ve seen thrown around a lot regarding Pinterest. Meaning, Pinterest helps people findÃ‚Â newÃ‚Â products/brands/styles they would normally not come across by plugging keywords into a search engine.
Chances are, the people I choose to follow on Pinterest have similar taste to me. I know I can check out their pin boards and probably see pins of jeans that would suit my taste. If I do a search for jeans on Pinterest, I know I’ll find trendy options and smaller brands I don’t know about, or even a DIY project for turning an old pair of jeans into a mini skirt. If I search for jeans tomorrow, I will see something new sinceÃ‚Â results change as new pins are added.
2. Building Links
Anytime someone pins something from your site, it automatically pulls in not just the image from your site, but also a link. There is a chance for that pin to be repinned multiple times (even hundreds of times, in some cases), building up aÃ‚Â healthy amount of backlinks. Here’s a great post that makes the case forÃ‚Â linkbuilding on Pinterest. You canÃ‚Â see if people are pinningÃ‚Â things from your siteÃ‚Â by replacing ““yoursitename.comÃ¢â‚¬Â in this link with your URL:Ã‚Â http://pinterest.com/source/yoursitename.com/
3. Brand Advocacy
If people love your products and they’re on Pinterest, they will not only pin your stuff, but they mightÃ‚Â dedicate an entire pin board to your brand. True story: I have an entire board dedicated to Essie & OPI nail polish (again, don’t judge).
Need proof people are voluntarily hawking products? Just look at some of the Diet Coke-related things I’ve seen:
TIPS FOR BRANDS
1. Follow, Repin & Like othersÃ‚Â As with any other social network, you need to share the love. This is also the best way toÃ‚Â zero in on influencersÃ‚Â and encourage them to follow you back and repin your pins by frequently sharing their pins.
2. Encourage employees to set up their own accountsÃ‚Â Build clout as an industry authority by letting your staff showcase how passionate they are about your field. For example,Ã‚Â this Kate Spade graphic designerÃ‚Â has a few pins of her company’s products, but more importantly she demonstrates she’s a tuned in part of the fashion community by being active on this network.
3. Create boards BEYOND your products and your brandÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Â¦yet still related to your industry. For example, a home decor company could pin do-it-yourself books and a bakery could pin some favorite kitchen gadgets.
4. Add a Pinterest iconÃ‚Â Let your audience know you’re here byÃ‚Â adding a Pinterest iconÃ‚Â to your otherÃ‚Â on-site social buttons.
5. Incorporate a ““Pin ItÃ¢â‚¬Â buttonÃ‚Â Even if you aren’t going to set up a profile on Pinterest, you can still get your brand involved byÃ‚Â including a ““pin itÃ¢â‚¬Â buttonÃ‚Â on yourÃ‚Â product pagesÃ‚Â orÃ‚Â blog posts. You can also add the button to blog posts using theÃ‚Â WordPress Pinterest plugin.
BRANDS ON PINTEREST
Who’s already here? SomeÃ‚Â major brands using PinterestÃ‚Â include:
- Real Simple
- Better Homes & Gardens
- West Elm
- Cooking Light
- Bergdorf Goodman
- Whole Foods
- Bon Appetit
- Paula Deen
Currently, this community is best suited for retail, lifestyle, food, home decor, design, publishers, and travel brands.Ã‚Â Only brandsÃ‚Â with visually-appealing content have something to offer the community.
If irrelevant brands take over, Pinterest’s intimate feel could be sacrificed. Self-promoting brands risk being shunned by Pinterest’s tight-knit community and it’s stated in theÃ‚Â Pinterest ethics that self-promotion is discouraged. Anytime a new social networks comes along, it isÃ‚Â tempting for businesses to jump in. Given that Pinterest is toeing the line of a niche community, this network is not — and never will be — for everyone.
Brands that find the most success on Pinterest will be the ones that put aside self-promotion andÃ‚Â add value to the community in a way that is unique to their business.
Do you think Pinterest is just a passing fad or do you think it has staying power?Ã‚Â Do you think the ““Pin ItÃ¢â‚¬Â button will become as ubiquitous as the ““LikeÃ¢â‚¬Â button?