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Changing the rules of recent social media engagement, new player Pinterest provides an opportunity to market businesses and brands. Through this virtual pinboard, public companies can visually reach a captive audience more than willing to advocate on the companies behalf. Pinterest, still in beta phase, is currently accessed by invitation only and not open to the public.
Reasons investors should become familiar with Pinterest:
• Has reached 10 million U.S. monthly unique visitors faster than any standalone site ever (comScore via TechCrunch)
• Is already among the Top 10 most visited social networks (Experian Hitwise via Mashable)
• Has shown to be capable of driving more referral traffic than Google Plus, LinkedIn and YouTube combined (via shareaholic)
Research has found the driving force behind active Pinterest users is a shift in consumer behavior, from search to discovery. Consumers have been trained to go to Google or Amazon, type in keywords, and sort through results to make a transaction. Google receives a profit from these searches but requires the consumer to signal intent. Pinterest now instigates the initial discovery process necessary to claim intent. With Pinterest, words are emphasized over text. It is simple to sign up, “pin images” online, or “re-pin” images other Pinterest users have already found. The ability to pin images to “boards” that separate things, as if filing in folders, satisfies organizational sensibilities.
With this new opportunity available, all businesses with a product set should take advantage and have an online catalog on Pinterest. There should be caution of solicitation spam policies, so it is recommended for users to read the terms and conditions when signing up. Because Pinterest encourages copyright infringement and misuse of certain content, it is imperative that they are legally protected. Pinterest is not responsible for any kind of wrongdoing. In fact users will have to pay Pinterest for any legal fees possibly incurred, as they actively call for copyright holders to contact them with any violations.
It is important to be mindful of this when making a profile or creating a brand page. There should be no problems as long as users “pin” wisely, and obtain written or oral consent from copyrighted material. To bring awareness of your company product sets, “pin” an image that catches the eye. This may draw interest from individuals who otherwise, would never have been exposed to a specific product. Also, one may choose to take advantage of the “gift” drop down on Pinterest. It sorts by price when added to the product description.
The site has also created an inverted “wish list”, to simplify things. Users can locate products they would eventually like to buy and categorize. For example, if a product is found that would be a great gift, the user can “pin” it to a board labeled gift ideas. When they need to purchase a gift, they can go back to the board and confidently make a purchase. Consumers are also checking their friend’s boards for ideas. For example, a new runner in need of running shoes may check the board of a more dedicated runner for preferred brands. Someone in need of a new outfit may search the board of another person whose style they admire.
People feel reasonably confident targeting needs through these means. Therefore the transaction process is simplified and the businesses need to be consistent with that.
Ways to Market Your Business on Pinterest:
Exclusive offerings– On a business Pinterest board, create weekly exclusive product offerings that can only accessed via Pinterest.
Publish Infographics-In a concise graphical representation, users gain insight about a product set or a specific product. Not-for-profits can post data snippets about charity work and increase awareness about missions, inspiring the public to rally behind the cause.
Event Postings or Product Releases—Build awareness by showcasing upcoming events or product releases with the Pinterest community; next to the image place date, time, and any other vital information.
Promotional videos or Product How-to’s– Pin videos onto boards or create how-to videos about products that may incorporate shortcuts or efficient techniques.
Coupons or QR Codes— To drive traffic and build awareness around a product set, include images of company coupons. In-depth information about a product can be accessed with a QR code pinned to your board to access certain sections of your website.
Holiday Wish List— Create “holiday wish lists” on Pinterest showcasing the products in those lists. Users can then add products to their personal wish list.