Monday, April 16, 2012

New Media: Pinterest - Social Media Platform

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a new online media platform used mostly among women. Just recently only becoming popular about two years ago, Pinterest is, according to their website,  “a virtual pinboard. Pinterest lets you organize and share the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.” It is a new and free way to share and store your ideas with other people online without suffocating your computer with a library of photos. You can pin photos of anything you’d like found on any website with photos. Obviously, you want to make sure you pin appropriate photos since these will be public. Similarly to Twitter, you can “follow” and can be inspired by friends, family or strangers. Other people who “follow” you, may see what you pin on your board. They can comment on or like the photos, or repin it onto their boards. Each pin will also have a direct link to the product or idea found by the original pinner. It is very much like a Tumblr, but based only on photos – no blogging and organization is much easier. It is a simple idea, posting small images and eventually building a collection of photos to define a board - and yet has become very popular and can be an addicting way to kill time. Pinterest, while simple, is also very easy and friendly to navigate through. There are very limited navigation buttons to click on, which makes it very user friendly. There are many other sites similar to Pinterest, such as Wanelo, but Pinterest has prevailed because it is an interactive website and anyone can pin their special photos.
            Anyone can join Pinterest and they only require that you log in with a Facebook account. Then once you are a member, it syncs and lists all the friends you have on Facebook that have Pinterest and allows you to follow or unfollow these friends. This way you can continue to stay connected with friends online in other places other than Facebook. On Pinterest’s Home page, one can begin to pin their favorite things that they like. On their Account page, they can organize and name folders, or pinboards. This way, they can pin their photos onto the correct board. Pinboards can be named by one’s heart consent: “My Style”, “My Wedding”, “DIY”, etc. Because Pinterest has their users log in with their Facebook account, everything syncs and when a photo is pinned, liked or comment, it usually shows up on the person’s Facebook. Pinterest was smart to use the piggyback method to gain recognition and trust, especially because one can go back and forth from Pinterest and Facebook.
The reason why there are more women members than there are men members is because Pinterest first targeted women as their audience.  Most pins are of women’s interest such as wedding ideas, do-it-yourself crafts, fashion styles and/or trends, décor, etc. There are, of course, photos catered to men as well, but these photos will only build if men begin to pin these to their boards. Most men who do use Pinterest pin photos of cars, women and work-out ideas. While most women can repin work-out photos, most men would not repin wedding ideas or do-it-yourself craft photos. Therefore, it is much easier to target women who have a lot of interests.
Advertising on Pinterest
Most photos are repined for their great ideas, visual aesthetics, colors, and quality. Most photos without these qualities will fail and will not get that many repins, therefore it does not get circulated. Circulation is the most important aspect of Pinterest. Small and large companies are adopting Pinterest as their new advertising platform. They can pin photos of their product on Pinterest and others can comment, repin and like these photos. Eventually these photos circulate and begin to advertise on their own. Forever 21, a retailer that offers the most current fashions for women and men, have their own Pinterest. They recently started pinning their seasonal and popular apparel on their account and can link their Facebook and Twitter to their Pinterest account. This way, within a quick glance and scroll, their followers can see what is trending on Pinterest and can click on the photo which would immediately send you to their website, ready for you to add the product to your cart.
Other Effective Ways to Advertise Thru Pinterest
Although this is a very effective way of using Pinterest to advertise their products, Pinterest can be used for much more than that. Of course, it is easy and popular for a business to post pins for the products they sell. But eventually that will get old and all their boards will just be of their products. New ways that advertiser can take advantage of Pinterest is by posting interesting news tidbits, tips and products from other companies. This way, their account is more versatile and will not overwhelm their followers with blunt advertising. Plus, businesses can eventually build relationships with their consumers with these tidbits and tips.
Building relationships with the brand is a more successful way to get consumers to purchase their products. As soon as the brand is little more personable, people will be more interested. As the brand become more popular, more and more people will want to support it. For most small companies, raising awareness is one of the biggest goals. Pinterest is very similar to Twitter in the sense that when a person follows a popular figure, and that popular figure follows that person back, other Twitter users get the message and follow the leader and eventually the amount of followers build. As an advertiser, it is important to find out who is “pinning” your products and to follow them to establish a relationship with your followers.
After you have built these relationships with consumers, they will keep coming back. Another way advertisers can use Pinterest to their advantage is by posting photos or designs of eye-catching coupons or promotions. Because people receive so much email these days, email blasts from businesses tend to be looked over and sometimes are never opened. Sometimes they even get sent to the spam folder. On Pinterest, advertisers can create a sort of flyer, and pinners can repin the sale. This way, it can get circulated, and even if it does not get repined, a friend following a friend who repined it, will still see it. Take Forever 21 for example. Say they have a sale, “20% off $75 Purchases!”  All it takes is for one friend to see this, and once they repin it, it will be on their friends newsfeed on Facebook and Pinterest. And even if their friends do not repin it, they would see the pin. Very effective.
Success Story
Just from personal experience, I often find myself on Pinterest. Usually it is to kill time, but sometime it is to find new inspiration in décor and design. A few months ago, I came across a piece of apparel that caught my eye. Since I did not want to lose the photo through all the other pins, I repined it to my own board, “My Style”, I clicked on the image and found myself on a site I am surprised I have never come across before. I found myself clicking through the different apparels and signing up for their email list. I eventually ordered from this online apparel website and got my friends hooked, since they have great deals on designer apparel. Needless to say, I probably would not have stumbled upon this website on my own if it weren’t for Pinterest and the people I follow on Pinterest.