Have you ever heard of the new social media platform Pinterest?
Well, maybe it isn’t strictly new, but it’s about time you sat up and took notice. Pinterest is the planet’s fastest growing social networking site at the moment. Launched in March, 2010, the site now sits proudly in the top 10 social networking sites, and boats over 11.7 million visitors each week. To put that into some sort of perspective, Pinterest is now growing as quickly as Facebook did in 2006. We can probably all agree that platform hasn’t fared too badly since, has it? The strange thing about this new pin board sharing site is that it seems to have slipped below the radar of many marketers.
Perhaps the reason for this is simply that it’s either too new, or maybe marketers can’t see a role for a theme-based image collection platform for campaigns, link building and brand advocacy. What’s worth remembering is that there were similar grumbles with both Facebook and Twitter in their infancy, but look what happened to them. So, for all the doubters out there, we thought we’d have a look at the new-ish platform, and see what sort of potential it really has for internet marketers.
How does Pinterest work?
Pinterest is a social bookmarking site used to “pin” media found around the web to categorised boards. Pinterest shares certain features in common with other social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Members can pin and re-pin items onto boards that they name, and follow people by choosing to see all of their posts or only posts from specific boards. This sharing increases the sense of community and helps to advocate brands through social bookmarking. Pinterest in a sense could be described as a mix between Tumblr and Delicious, because it’s heavily based on graphics but has the functionality and organisation of the bookmarking platform.
Although is has all the essential elements of a social network, Pinterest seems to attract a different sort of user. People seem to use Pinterest to find and nurture inspiration. They don’t flock to the site like sheep purely because their friends are on there: they intentionally go on the site to find the things that interest and engage them. The network has become particularly popular with women, who use it to share different forms of web content.
Why is it proving so popular?
Pins can easily go viral.
When users pin something, their pin goes on their virtual bulletin board for all their followers to see. Followers can then re-pin anything on your boards that interest them. They can also ‘like’ your pin just as on Facebook. Experts say that 80% of pins are re-pins which shows how quickly and easily a pin can become viral. It’s pretty obvious to see the potential here for internet marketers.
Visual interest and engagement.
They say that a picture paints a thousand words. Well, never was truer word spoken. Pinterest’s popularity hinges on visual appeal. Pictures and images can transcend nationality, language and culture: in fact a good image can have global appeal. Any internet marketer who can come up with a clean, clear and engaging image could quite easily reap substantial dividends from this.
It’s currently estimated that 33% of all marketers use Facebook for campaigns and brand advocacy and 28% use Twitter. Pinterest is the new kid on the block and the fastest growing platform, and therefore has unlimited potential for marketing purposes. It’s also an exclusive network at the moment: access to the site is by invitation only – a little like Google +was when it first launched. Potential users are either invited by a friend who is already a registered user, or have to wait for an invitation from Pinterest. This exclusivity makes it seem even more rarified and special, and just adds to the buzz that currently surround the site. In many ways it can make users feel like VIP guests at a party. The unfortunate thing is that quite a number of internet marketers haven’t as yet got a clue how the platform works, or how to exploit its huge potential for maximum advantage.