“It’s your fault. I just can’t stop!”
“It is so addicting.”
For the last few weeks I have been receiving text messages, emails and Skype messages with these complaints from friends, family and coworkers. Why? Because I have been encouraging anyone and everyone I know that likes social media and blogging to get on board with Pinterest.
“Pinning” could be the next it verb to coincide with “tweeting,” seeing as how Pinterest is now on the list of the ten most visited social networks according to Mashable—and it is still an invitation only network.
If you have chosen to ignore the Pinterest craze, an easy way to think about the concept is that it’s the modern day equivalent of tearing out photos from magazines and newspapers and saving them all in a “someday” box under your bed. Members of the network can either chose to “repin” or “like” images from the Pinterest site, or a button on your browser that allows you to pin any image, from any website, across the entire Worldwide Web. Images that you pin are then organized by you onto virtual inspiration boards.
For example, if you love to bake then you can pin photos of cakes, cupcakes and muffins and save them all to a baking themed board. At any time you can go back to your boards to remind yourself of décor ideas, recipes, travel destinations, crafts (the list is endless) that caught your eye and pursue your passions accordingly.
I could go on and on about why Pinterest has become a personal obsession, but what I find even more exciting are the opportunities for early adopters to carve out a niche space for brands. Mashable recently published a great piece with five distinct ideas for how brands can think about leveraging Pinterest and are right to point out that smaller brands who have a hard time cutting through the clutter on Facebook might just have the chance to be a little more visible to their fans on Pinterest.
Why and How Nonprofits Should Use Pinterest and How 11 Brands are Reaching Customers on Pinterest are two other smart reads for helping marketers decide if the platform is a fit for 2012 social media strategies.
If you are considering Pinterest but still need a nudge to get started, here are a few ideas to make it work for a brand:
- You have at least one Pinterest obsessed employee who would be eager to be the Pinterest ambassador for the brand.
- Your brand story lends itself to being told through pictures, or your product inspires people to aspire. For example, Whole Foods pins photos of dream kitchens in which they’d love to cook healthy, wholesome meals while West Elm pins photos of patterns such as chevrons and stripes that inspire their designers to create the items you can buy in their stores.
- You are looking for new ways to host contests, promote products and give customers a more intimate look into the culture of your organization. In December 2011, Land’s End was among the first to successfully host a national, public contest on the platform–all based on having customers pin pictures of their favorite Land’s End products for the chance to win gift cards.
- You are willing to tip your hat to what inspires you or your business to succeed by pinning images and pages generated by others, not just your brand or close associates.
- Social media giants like Facebook are not moving the needle as much as you would like, and you have the capacity to try new platforms that reach your target audiences.
- If you can think outside your own brand box and show people how your brand might influence other areas of their life, Pinterest might be for you. For example, if you own a cupcake shop, pin photos from blogs about planning great parties, or if you sell cars, pin photos of amazing road trip destinations that could be made possible by traveling in one of your vehicles
For more inspiration from brands that are doing a great job on Pinterest, read this article from Mashable which highlights recognizable names like Martha Stewart, Today (as in the show) and the Travel Channel.