By Margaret Donnelly, director of marketing, meltwater Buzz
More and more of us are dipping our toes into the water of Pinterest, the online social site where users can discover, organise and share the ‘things’ they love. The visual nature of Pinterest has quickly differentiated the social destination as an essential element to a brand’s social media activity. As use of Pinterest continues to filter into mainstream audiences, it is important that brands look at how the site can support their existing customer engagement strategies.
Experian reported that Pinterest is now the 3rd most popular social network in the U.S. in terms of traffic; as of February 2012, the site had accumulated 10.4 million users and over 21 million visits. According to Mashable, daily Pinterest users have increased by more than 145% since the beginning of 2012. Pinterest is also retaining and engaging users as much as 2-3 times as efficiently as Twitter was at a similar time in their history, according to RJMetrics.
Successes like these make it clear that Pinterest is shaping up to be the next social media giant and is a site that marketers should not overlook. Inclusion of Pinterest in cross-platform campaigns and strategies is something that marketers should certainly be considering, if they are not doing so already.
Emerging and established businesses alike are already finding ways to engage with their audiences via Pinterest. With the availability of a mobile website and app for the iPhone, the site accessible for both consumer and business users whenever there’s something interesting to share. Although the platform doesn’t seem to be designed for direct customer engagement, Pinterest enables brands to engage individuals in comment streams for individual “pins” and to even @mention specific users in those comments. The platform also provides brands with easy methods to incorporate their websites, blogs and Facebook and Twitter accounts as pathways to draw more people into their Pinterest activities.
So how can brands get started with Pinterest?
Today, there are no special Pinterest accounts for businesses or brands; brands simply need to create a new Pinterest user account. After that first step, brands have the opportunity to share items of interest with people connected to them, similar to content curation on Twitter or Facebook.
Each brand is able to approach their sharing strategy in a tailored way, choosing to only share content that is directly linked to their business, such as their own products, or to share a blend of original and curated content to reach the widest possible audience of Pinterest users. The idea is to share content that others want to share with their social sphere, thus driving brand (and even product) awareness to potential customers and deeper engagement with current contacts.
Brands also have the opportunity to make their original content go “viral.” By making their visual assets on their websites and blogs easy to share or "Pin" (accomplished by simply embedding the Pin code on the website, blog or eCommerce destination), brands have the ability to make social sharing easy and painless for any Pinterest user.
Brands should regularly share their Pins on Twitter and Facebook to spread their content to a much wider audience. Pinterest is a social media platform that complements both Facebook and Twitter. Already streamlined into Facebook, Pinterest offers users the ability to find and connect to Facebook friends, to invite new users to Pinterst, and (as of January this year) to automatically share their pins on their Facebook timelines. By sharing content across social platforms, brands will increase the reach of their Pins and increase their social ROI.
When it comes to product or concept launches, Pinterest offers brands an ideal platform to showcase their offerings. For instance, brands can offer ‘sneak peaks’ to the special few that have chosen to connect with them on Pinterest before a product is launched, then sit back and watch their connections share and spread the content. Brands could also create social incentives such as “Pin This” competitions as an effective way to support campaigns of varying scales.
These are just a few ways for brands to incorporate Pinterest into their social strategies and activities. As marketers become more familiar with Pinterest, they will no doubt create new ways to utilize the social network for deeper fan engagement. As is the case with all social media platforms, marketers will need to keep informed of updates to Pinterest, as it will no doubt evolve at a competitive rate. This is essential if brands are to continue to take advantage of all that Pinterest has to offer.
For expert social media training courses such as Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter, contact The Knowledge Engineers.
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