Pinterest bursts into social media world, becomes top traffic driver for retailers

February 7, 2012

PinterestLook, ma – we can rhyme:

We’re sure you’ve read with great interest
About a new social media platform called Pinterest!

Ain’t that sweet? No, but seriously – if you aren’t yet familiar with Pinterest (or have written it off as "just another social media fad”), we’re here to tell you that it’s time to pay attention.

Why? Because the site is growing like gangbusters. Pinterest was the 60th most-visited website in the US last month, with total visits growing from 10 million to 17 million since the start of the year. (Check out this article for a growth chart.)

The amount of traffic Pinterest sent elsewhere has risen accordingly. Total same store referral traffic from Pinterest to five specialty apparel retailers rose 389% from July-Dec. 2011, according to internal data from Monetate.

What is Pinterest?

People have started referring to Pinterest as a "visual social discovery network.” Huh? Here’s how it works.

Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board that allows users to share images and links they find of interest (get it? P-interest!!!). Once shared, these images become "pins” that are grouped on a thematic "board.” For example, you might have a recipe board where you collect all the food-related pins that you find interesting. Once something is pinned, it can be re-pinned by other Pinterest users.

Who’s using Pinterest?

If your target audience is mostly women, Pinterest is the place for you. Roughly 70 percent of pinners are female. And these ladies are highly engaged, logging on multiple times a day, pinning and repinning material.

How can brands use it?

The folks at Pinterest have made it clear that the platform is not for self-promotion, so you’ll have to approach it a little differently than broadcast mechanisms like Twitter or Facebook. Here are three tips, along with examples of how brands can use Pinterest successfully:

  • Promote a lifestyle/state of mind - Since you’re not supposed to blast pictures of your products on Pinterest, pin images that capture a lifestyle and/or the essence of your brand. This is a different approach to marketing because it ultimately helps your customers understand how your brand fits in their life.

    Brands like Gap, West Elm, Whole Foods and Chobani are doing this particularly well. Chobani, for example, has created boards for treats made with yogurt, recipes that can use Chobani instead of other ingredients (we’re looking at you, sour cream); the CHOmobile's travels and even utensils.
  • Use it as a way to better understand your audience – Pinterest is like your own little (or more like very big) focus group. Pinners are volunteering a lot of information about their interests, passions and dreams on their boards. Use this information to better understand your audience and refine your messaging.
  • Showcase your brand personality – If you don’t necessarily have a product line to show off, Pinterest can give you the ability to communicate your brand’s personality. For instance, a mayoral candidate could have a board that features photos of his philanthropic outreach and community relations. A magazine can post photos that showcase places it has sent journalists, events it has covered, or covers.

    Each pin lets you include a description and a link to the original story. Therefore, any company can quickly connect an audience with its story, mission and future plans, all via photo Pin.

If you have additional questions or are looking for more ideas on how you could integrate Pinterest into your marketing program, give us a shout!

 


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