1000 Heads

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Pinterest: Show, tell... and sell?

by Kathy Garfield on 27 March 2012

Pinterest is the current darling of the social media world (even Obama is on it). With the records for fastest adoption (the time it took to hit 10 million monthly visitors), highest referral traffic (beating Twitter in February) and an average user time of 98 minutes per month, ‘pinning’ seems a hot contender for that most coveted and elusive grail: being ‘the next Facebook’.

A cross between Tumblr and delicious, Pinterest has nailed online scrapbooking to become the place where virtual mood boards come to life online.

So just why is it so powerful for brand Word of Mouth? Well, it’s basically a public display of show and tell, allowing us to build aspirational identities and lives from others’ raw materials. With boards such as ‘Products I Love’ and ‘My Style’ encouraging us to share the images and items from across the web that most resonate with our tastes and lifestyles – it’s an instant, visual way to announce who we are to friends and strangers alike.

Pinners are a bonafide online WOM army, showing off what they have, want, love and dream about, using any impactful content they can get their hands on. And savvy brands are filling those hands with their own imagery and ideas.

Publishing and lifestyle brands with numerous high-quality images already at their disposal like Martha Stewart Living and The Knot are having the easiest time, while companies that don’t translate well visually will most likely find that Pinterest isn’t for them.

From a retail perspective, Pinterest can be a dream come true. Users can pin items directly from a brand’s site, creating their own virtual shopping lists – perfect for birthdays or gift registries. These pins, embedded with links to the brand’s own page, are already driving more referral traffic than Twitter. And brands can see what people are pinning about them either through search or the source functionality (pinterest.com/source/yourURLhere), so tracking and analytics are easy.

Yet the best brand boards don’t purely focus on themselves. Instead, they curate boards that represent their point of view. A great example is fashion designer Tory Burch, who mixes boards of her collections with collections like ‘Orange’ featuring inspirations in her signature color. From artwork and colour swatches to Boo, her favorite celebrity dog, she seamlessly blends her collection with other items in a fun way, which also gives love back to other creative content and brands. On the ‘Tory Entertains’ board, she shares ideas for throwing parties and some of her favorite recipes. Those personal touches give users a look into the world beyond clothes through Tory’s lens.

At 1000heads, we’re using Pinterest with our client Veria, the health and wellness TV channel. In the past month we’ve curated over 41 boards and helped grow their combined following from 220 to over 3,117 in just under three weeks. The Veria boards are filled with a mix of the brand’s own recipes, workout videos and health tips as well as re-pins from health and wellness bloggers.

Each of the pins and boards are curated through Veria’s lens of pop-wellness. They are all about health and wellness with a playful approach that doesn’t take itself too seriously (hence the board for cute pets and cats doing yoga). This reflects the motivations for why Veria’s audience (and target audience) is using Pinterest in the first place – education, identification and fun.

Already the opportunities for those brands wanting to take an active role on Pinterest are as numerous as the subject matter of the new boards appearing every day. But there’s also something else to consider – how Pinterest generates organic Word of Mouth between peers. Pinning something brand-related onto my board of ‘things I love’ creates immediate advocacy, and for those brands I’m really passionate about, I can dedicate an entire space to pay homage, visually displaying that passion.

Top 5 Pinterest take outs for brands:

1. Make sure you have lots of sexy and creative visuals on your own brand website and social presences – but also focus on ways to spread those visuals across others’ social presences, where pinners are more likely to stumble across them – independent blogs, social networks, forums. Pinterest shareability is hugely boosted by social visibility elsewhere
2. Create your own boards to give people a feel for the wider world and influences of the brand. Understand why people want to be associated with you
3. Pin others’ images, not just your own, for authenticity, eclecticism and a bit of community love
4. Monitor, thank and reward people spreading your own brand imagery
5. Take time to observe how passions, brands and trends spread on Pinterest. Understanding the psychology and motivations behind those pinners is the best place to start when working to generate your own Word of Mouth

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