What started as a seemingly narrow-focused social media platform for artsy folks and the interior design-inclined has now bourgeoned into a dynamic curatorial board for all things crucially relevant – Pinterest is perhaps the truest encapsulation of the term “must-see” and a perfect way to capture real-time consumer sentiment... if you’re active enough.
First-off, the facts: Pinterest is a virtual pinboard where people can add, share, and follow images of everything from to automobiles to yoga. Both images and people are searchable by keywords and anyone can follow a specific pinboard or an entire pinner’s collection of boards. (Pinners can have numerous boards and label them whatever they like.) The site skews to a female audience, most are under the age of 45.
With an uncensored reflection of what content is popular in any given category—no matter how niche—Pinterest can be invaluable to your research efforts, and has ample opportunities for contesting, monetization, and building brand awareness.
One brand that already has a solid Pinterest presence is Visit Savannah: the association responsible for marketing the Savannah area for leisure tourism, meetings and conventions. They began using Pinterest in November 2011 as an experiment and in just three months have attracted nearly 12,000 followers. By linking images to related websites, followers can book hotels and tours, personalize their itinerary, and even share tips with fellow pinners (thus taking on the role of promoter for the brand in a Seth Godin-esque tribal manner).
Contests are also becoming very popular and on a recent trip to Washington for WebCanada, I came across this interesting approach to using Pinterest called pin-it-to-win-it. A local food chain, Sweetgreen, is using Pinterest to gain momentum with a contest that rewards one lucky pinner with free food for a whole month.
Hotels are also checking in with guests by asking them to curate their ideal vacation Pinners create a board in order to be entered to win a trip—with the proviso, of course, that the winners will pin about it!—and in turn, hotels receive uncensored, creative consumer insight. As to how long Pinterest will stay top-of-mind among marketers remains to be seen, but considering its meteoric rise in popularity, it’s definitely worth taking a look at.
A couple tips before you begin:
- Much like a blog, you’ll want to populate a few pins before seeking out followers
- Create boards on a specific topic (i.e. tropical escapes) rather than being generic
- Like Twitter Karma, seek out interesting and like-minded curators to follow, update your list often
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