When you were little, did you ever have one of those big cork bulletin boards? The one where you would use push pins to tack up your favorite images from magazines, mementos, or just anything else you wanted to remember? If you did, you’re basically already a Pinterest expert.
If you don’t know what Pinterest is, keep that visual of corkboards and pushpins in mind because it’s not far off. Pinterest is a social media platform where you can “pin” anything that catches your attention on the internet (or your Pinterest homepage) onto a collection of boards. You can create a pin from websites you come across, upload your own photos, or you can search directly on Pinterest and save pins from other users. That’s what makes this social: follow other users and their boards, and repin or like their pins, comment on their pins, etc.
So, why are we talking about Pinterest this week? While it may not have as many users as Facebook, don’t underestimate the power of the pins! There are 150 million users on the platform scrolling for that perfect post to spark an idea or inspire them, and if your target audience involves women, this is the place to be. 47% of US women use Pinterest. If you want to reach urbanites, you got it: 64% of Pinners live in cities or suburbs.
A pin can be anything from that gluten-free pizza recipe you’ve been meaning to make to a photo of your dream patio furniture. Your boards can be public or private and categorized however you want.
Think of Pinterest as a tool to create your ideal self -- it’s aspirational, and because of that a business or a non-profit has a big opportunity to help their users more fully realize those aspirations. In fact, the two main reasons people visit Pinterest are for ideas and shopping; 87% of pinners have purchased something they’ve seen. You can’t beat that!
The key to Pinterest is that it’s not just about self-promotion.
Brands that are killing it at their Pinterest game have one thing in common: they really understand the lifestyle their customers are trying to create through their brand.
- Take a look at Etsy. Etsy goes beyond curating its favorite Etsy Finds (although they do that well too). This craft-heavy retail platform caters to its artsy audience with boards on DIY Projects, Entertaining, and Living Room Style. While pinners are looking through Etsy’s boards for curated inspiration, it just so happens that most of the links redirect back to Etsy.
- As you can imagine, Pinterest is a hit with fashionistas. Pinners use the platform to find makeup, hair, and clothing trends to try out. For example, Nordstorm uses its Pinterest to guide the style conversation with Back to School and Fall Fashion boards. They even have a board curating fashions, showcasing how we can stay on trend using Pantone’s Colors of the Year.
- Chobani thought outside the confines of their yogurt container and has an entire board proclaiming Love This Life (which just so happens to be their motto), full of fun quotes and images.
Should you be on Pinterest?
Here are some questions to consider as you start pinning away.
- Do you have the time? Be honest with yourself. While Pinterest is an amazing platform to explore for brands, it is also smaller than Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Think about your overall social media strategy and if you can devote some of your energy to building boards and engaging with the community. Create an account if you don’t have one already, and try searching and pinning for 15 minutes a day. You might hate it, or you might find yourself planning your next dinner party!
- Are your users there? We talk a lot about knowing your audience. Really read those demographics above. Are your customers already on Pinterest? Do some research and try to find several users who fit into your customer profile. If you’re selling artisanal leather watch bands for urban cyclists (it’s a thing), Pinterest could really work for you. If you’re selling drinkable, organic yogurt, it might work, but you have to think about the lifestyle you’re pushing as a whole -- not just the drinkable yogurt.
- Do you really know your brand? If your brand was a person, what would she like? Would she be into planning her next vacation with travel boards, or would she save great examples of non-profit graphic design? Explore this concept and make some boards to get the creative juices flowing, and follow other users who are pinning on-brand content that would be great for you, too. Channel your brand.
If you’re retail, there is SO much potential. Remember that 72% of millennials use the visual pinboard to connect with the brands they love, and 71% of millennials turn to the platform for recommendations on what to buy. Need we say more?
Next week, we’ll go over some Pinterest best practices for companies and businesses, so you can make sure you’re coming correct!