By Helen Kruger (@Lanikruger)
There is little doubt that Pinterest http://pinterest.com/ is THE social media network of 2012. Suddenly it’s in every social media blog, is creeping into Facebook feeds and has been touted as the new social media addiction – all while brands are still trying to work out what it means for them.
Launched in March 2010 Pinterest is now the 3rd most popular U.S. social networking site after Facebook and Twitter1. It’s rise has been meteoric: 866% growth in unique visitors in the 6 months to Feb 2012, 50% growth in traffic from Jan to Feb 2012 and an average of 1.36 million users daily2,3. And with a company goal to “…connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting…” it seems they intend to keep growing.
Unlike most start-ups Pinterest’s growth hasn’t come from a young male geek following; instead, its strength is in women. 68.2% of users are female, 50% have kids and 50% are aged between 25 and 44 years3. A staggering 97% of Pinterest’s Facebook fans are female3.
So what actually happens on there? The site is built on the belief that “…a favorite book, toy or recipe can reveal a common link between two people…” Acting as a virtual pin board it allows users to ‘pin’ and share images from the web they find useful, inspiring or interesting. And it is addictive! Browsing through other users’ ‘boards’ leads into a labyrinth of images, photos, ideas, recipes and products you can’t do without.
Reflecting its origins as a crafting and fashion site Pinterest’s top three categories are Home, Arts & Crafts and Style & Fashion. However it is the fourth category, Food & Drink, which is the one to watch. By far the most shared category it generates 50% more ‘repins’ than anything elseand is rated their main area of interest on the siteby 70% of users 4,5,6.
Pinterest is seen as a source of inspiration and discovery, which means it delivers a very high conversion rate. It generates more referral traffic than LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube combined and almost a quarter of users have purchased something they have seen on someone else’s board3,6.
But while there are exciting opportunities for brands that can align with users’ interests, Pinterest should be approached with moderation.
Used innovatively Pinterest offers brands a uniquely powerful platform to engage customers. To show you just how powerful, we will leave you with the Kotex campaign – an impressive example of personalized marketing.
How to Set-Up a Business Account7
In the social media space it is worth registering your brand name and claiming the real estate, even if you don’t intend to use it yet.
Glossary of Pinterest Terms
A note on copyright: This aspect of Pinterest is still contentious. There are questions around whether a brand could fall foul of copyright law by pinning images that they do not own or reference properly. If you have any concerns it is best to seek legal advice before proceeding and where possible reference where you get your photos from if they are not your own.
If you love food and wine – join in the fun and follow Trish’s Food and Wine Boards - http://pinterest.com/trishbarry
1. The 2012 Digital Marketer: Benchmark and Trend Report, Experian Marketing Services
http://mashable.com/2012/03/12/pinterest-food-marketing/ 8 Best Practices for Food Brands on Pinterest