Just so you all know, I’m a little frightened to write about Pinterest – an increasingly popular social platform for people who love, “Cupcakes, Boots, and shirtless Jake Gyllenhaal.” A website dominated by the female demographic.
I feel like I may not be the best voice to expand on the subject.
But as I sit at my computer listening to Adele, sipping wine, and watching college basketball, I’m starting to think that I actually could be a good fit for this. I mean I do like cupcakes… and I certainly respect Jake Gyllenhaal’s work. I can make this happen.
I first learned about Pinterest from my girlfriend. It was about a week ago. We were watching TV one night and I noticed that she was intensely focused on her computer, much more so than usual. She had a look on her face that I had never seen before. A look I would compare to the looks you saw in the movie, The Social Network, when programmers were “plugged in” and taking shots to earn a job with good ole’ Zuckie. It was that intense. I tried not to take much notice at first. But as time went by, and as my questions and comments were all being ignored, I began to wonder what the heck is going on. Usually she would put up with my annoying questions and bad jokes… but this night was different. She had nor the time nor any interest with what I was bringing to the table.
I eventually came to learn that she was engulfed in a world of recipes, fashion, travel, art and home décor on a website called Pinterest. A world way cooler than me. I decided to investigate further. According to the site, Pinterest is a virtual pinboard — a place where you can create collections of things you love and follow collections created by people with similar taste. The company’s mission statement is to connect everyone in the world through shared tastes and the things they find interesting.
Essentially, Pinterest is a social photo sharing website where users can create and manage theme-based image collections. It’s a graphical social bookmarking site that allows users to take any image from the internet and “pin” it to their online image collections for all to see.
The site intrigued me immediately as my initial impression was that it was a female-focused Tumblr. But it’s so much more than that. After playing around with it, checking out pinboards and doing some research about its usage, it’s very clear – this new platform has extraordinary online power. It’s a site that will have a major marketing impact in 2012. A site that will be significant for many small businesses. Here’s why:
The USA Today recently profiled the up and coming social bookmarking platform. In the article it was mentioned that some people in Silicon Valley believe that Pinterest’s CEO, Ben Silbermann, may have founded the next giant social media website. Yowza!
It’s also worth noting that a Pinterest investor has claimed that the site’s user growth rate is what Facebook’s was five years ago. While he may be blowing steam up our bum-bums, it’s quite a statement nonetheless because if it’s true, the future looks good (see below). Very good.
The jury is still out on Pinterest being the next Tumblr, but small businesses need to take note: While young, this site already has the ability to give you that much needed, yet rarely achieved, edge over competitors in the online world.
The edge is that…
This is because the sharing capability is effortless. Users can download an app for their web browser, or mobile phone, and seamlessly “pin” pictures they like to their Pinboard, aka their Pinterest profile page. Because of this, it has the ability to allow your products, recipes, photos, or whatever it is that you may sell, to shoot across thousands of Pinterest boards and reach millions of new eyes. To give you the best chance to achieve this, make sure your content is image friendly (The automotive industry has done this very well) and emotionally attractive. If the images on your website incite emotions like inspiration, humor, nostalgia, envy, or excitement, you will have a greater chance of seeing your content go viral across this powerful social platform.
As mentioned in the most recent Get Busy post by Brittany Elizabeth, GAME CHANGER: Google’s ZMOT, the most significant part of Pinterest for small businesses is that it has cleverly assimilated into a crucial shift in consumer and purchasing behavior – online discovery through the purchase process. As a consumer makes a decision to buy something online, most of the time the consumer will search Google, and sort through results to help push them in the right direction to make a purchase. Simply put, a site like Pinterest can help bring some of that discovery to your site as users may instead elect to browse the images of relevant Pinterest users to find the products that they are looking for. Users can click through your company’s photos they see on Pinterest and land right on your website. Boom, lawyered.
As I hinted above, Pinterest has crafted a fun, artistic image that has struck a powerful chord with the very influential female demographic. A leading expert on marketing to moms, Kat Gordon of Maternal Instinct, remarked that using Pinterest is a “soothing” experience for her. If your business and its products are targeted to the female demographic, you need to be aware of this site, and do your best to make your content as Pinterest-friendly as possible.
That’s all I’ve got for now, but I’ll be sure to keep you updated on the progression of this platform.
If you would like to check out Pinterest for yourself, let me know – it is invite-only so leave a comment below with your email and I’ll be sure to send you an invite ASAP.