Has anyone asked you yet if you’re on Pinterest? I’ve been asked that question three times over the last few months, so I decided I’d better look into this new social networking tool and see what the buzz was all about.
A great quick guide I found is The Marketer’s Guide to Pinterest, in which Neil Patel, a top consultant in the digital marketing world, explains what Pinterest is, how and why people use it, and how businesses can use it to build brand awareness.
Basically, Pinterest is a site where people share visuals on topics of mutual interest. Users create “boards” (theme-based areas) on their Pinterest site, where they then “pin” visuals that relate to the boards’ topics. To add to their boards’ content, they log into Pinterest, grab or upload an image they like, pin it to one of their boards, add a caption, and tag it with key words so others can find it. (Or, they can add a “Pin It” button to their browser’s bookmarking bar and use this shortcut while Web surfing. There’s also an app for mobile phones.) Pinterest visitors find what others have posted by searching topics they’re interested in. They can then follow people or collaborate on boards they like. The result is online communities built around particular interests.
According to Patel, Pinterest has grown very quickly and is now among the top five social networking sites. In fact, it’s currently “outperforming Facebook” in terms of visitor activity. Over 50% of the visitors are women between the ages of 25 and 40 who are looking for visuals related to fashion, crafts, and art.
An interesting point the article makes is that there has been a “shift in consumer behavior from search to discovery.” People still use “search” to find answers and solutions on the Web, but they’re also using the Web more and more to find inspiration on random topics. (Hence the addictive quality of such tools as StumbleUpon, which delivers recommended websites to subscribers based on their preferences and browsing history.) Pinterest is a great tool for capitalizing on this behavior: it’s free, it takes little time to maintain, and it enables you to reach an audience that’s already interested in what you’re promoting. You can even post videos to Pinterest—meaning that you could sell your brand or products in a cool slide show or movie.
I’m guessing that our visually oriented students would love an assignment based on creating Pinterest material. In fact, it’d be perfect for a collaborative bcomm project. Got any ideas?