The fastest-growing social network and 2011’s best new startup is both highly engaging and terribly addictive. Pinterest is an online scrapbook that allows members to “pin” and organize images of fashion inspirations, delicious recipes, DIY crafts and other interests found on the Internet. Built on recommendations from other pinners, users share the things they love most to create an interactive experience. With its growing popularity, brands are faced with the dilemma of how to leverage this new social media platform to establish an allegiance of loyal pinners.
It was recently reported that Pinterest drives more referral traffic to websites than YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+ combined. Yes, Pinterest is a proven way to engage in social media marketing and drive more traffic to a brand’s individual site. For example, when I pin this crescent wrapped brie and click on its image, I am directed to the site where the image originated (Pillsbury) with details on how to make it.
What brand isn’t looking for more web hits? Pinterest is a natural fit for retailers and designers who can engage with their followers by providing outfit recommendations, new uses for products or interior decorating tips. Other industries, like B2B companies, must be more creative in generating interesting content for users to pin.
Hundreds of brands have successfully jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon. Real Simple provides recipes and quirky decorating tips, while the Today Show features images from their latest segments and a board of Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb’s favorite things. The Travel Channel has done an excellent job cultivating followers by featuring exotic locations, animals around the globe and behind-the-scenes looks into their different shows. One effective B2B pinner is MarketingProfs who not only recommends books for its followers, but highlights marketing humor and relevant articles.
How do those brands do it? Pinterest has determined the following “best practices” for brands:
- Pinning from various sources rather than one specific site
- Repinning from within the site to engage with others – repining is one of the most social activities on Pinterest and it’s how any user really builds his or her network of followers
- Creating at least a few boards that cover a broad range of interests, rather than maintaining a single board devoted to one topic
While the end goal may be to increase visitors to your website, it’s important to remember that Pinterest is a social network, requiring the brand to not only provide meaningful content for its followers, but to also engage with users directly by repinning, liking and commenting on their boards.