Pinterest, the social bookmarking tool for images and videos launched in 2010, has become a new favorite platform for many of us – myself included. No doubt, the popularity of the network has exploded. Back in December, Pinterst counted over 7 million unique users, compared to 1.6 million in September. And since the beginning of 2012, daily users has increased by more than 145 %.
More and more brands have also started to tap into this platform. Even though you may not be one of them yet, maybe you have seen Pinterest among the source of referrals to your blog or website? In fact, Pinterest drives more traffic to websites and blogs than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest allows users to organize and share images and videos they find into boards of specific categories. Like Twitter, it’s an open social platform where you can follow whichever user you would like to. Thereby people are able to connect with other people based on common interests. When you “pin” an image or video, your followers see it. They can further like, comment or re-pin it to their boards. Unlike Facebook, Pinterest is first and foremost about content and social interactions secondly.
The success behind Pinterest is not only because of it’s functionalities of saving and organizing images. As I wrote in my blog post Social Design for Social Success, the core value for people when engaging in online communities is when they have the possibility to portray their identity to others. And what Pinterest does great is that it allows for users to have a profile where they can communicate who they are and what they stand for through visual content.
Brands on Pinterest
The way Pinterest works is about finding inspiration through the people you follow. Therefore the most successful brands on Pinterest are the ones who are less promotional and more human ie. using the network as if they were individual users. They pin things that communicate who the brands are and what they are inspired by. Of course, Pinterest is as made for a virtual catalogue and that is something you should take advantage of. You can post images of your products, tag a price and let users find them easily. Just not let it be the only way you use it as. Bring value by for instance showing images and videos of fun and unique ways for people to use your product. Here are some of the brands that using Pinterest in a great way to connect to their markets:
The diversity of GE’s boards is great – from images of “Badass Machines” to images from “The Archives” that shows visuals from GE’s history and heritage. GE is a great example of how to leverage and feature user content with a board only devoted to fan photos taken during their #GEinspiredME campaign.
The retail deal site Ideeli have created boards to show off products from their own site, but also to show inspirational images from blogs. They do a great work by following other users and linking and commenting on their images. And the presence has given a great outcome for the company – an 446 % increase in web traffic and sales resulting from those visits have increased five-fold.
Whole Foods are successfully sharing images of recipes, food art and other content that is of value for their followers. A board with images of reused and recycled things gives the brand an approach of caring for sustainability.