By Janette Speyer and Alison Brown, Web Success Team
Pinterest really gets back to the roots of marketing: selling a lifestyle through creative imagery. The platform has taken off, and that is true in every sense of the word. As the most rapid growing social network in history, the potential for online branding via Pinterest is increasing everyday. Millions of users spend hours each day on Pinterest sorting through fashionable outfits, do-it-yourself craft ideas, and healthy recipes. While the main demographic is primarily female, Pinterest can help strengthen your brand online by allowing you to share and organize your images in a visually appealing way.
Pinterest Sells a Lifestyle
For some companies, website referral traffic has increased tenfold. It’s especially true for impulse purchases since the website tends to inspire people into believing they need a certain product. But what is especially true about this social media site is that like Facebook and Twitter, it’s not so much about what your brand sells, but instead the content that you share. For example, yogurt company Chobani has Pinterest boards that don’t focus on yogurt or its different variations and flavors, but rather the lifestyle that is associated with eating yogurt. Since yogurt is a generally pretty healthy food choice, the Chobani Pinterest page focuses on health conscious recipes and creative ways that you can incorporate yogurt into everyday cooking. Overall, the company does a good job at portraying itself as a health conscious brand that is interested in food, and interested in engaging you about food.
Users Forget about Marketing
What’s great about Pinterest is the way that it’s designed — to let the casual consumers forget for a moment that they are being marketed to. One company that does this well is Etsy.com. This ecommerce website is specifically designed to host individual’s crafts, art, jewelry, clothing; you name it to sell for a profit. What’s great about Etsy’s Pinterest boards is that since the brand focuses on promoting unique and inspiring artists, their Pinterest boards can focus on just that. Their boards are a great blend of gift ideas to thought provoking do-it-yourself craft projects, and if you’re lucky, perhaps they’ll pin some of your products as well. But since Pinterest focuses on sharing unique and creative products, Etsy has the advantage of blending in so that it’s easy to forget Etsy is a brand that is ultimately trying to sell you a product.
Explain Your Brand and Tell a Story
Since Pinterest is primarily visual, it’s a great tool for explaining your brand in a succinct, simple and appealing way. Facebook and Twitter can do this as well, however sometimes there are too many words or ads so users get lost in the sea of information and miss what’s actually important. With Pinterest, you can tell your brand’s story through a collection of photos. One example of a company who is doing this well is Peapod in the United States which is the largest grocery delivery service. They have pinboards dedicated to “behind the scenes” scenarios that depict their delivery trucks in action and interacting with communities. Of course they also have a board dedicated to “pea inspired” recipes because of their name, but this Pinboard is actually branding at its best: selling your brand to people without them feeling like they are being sold to.
So, Is it Worth it?
Since Pinterest is still in its infancy, at this point it’s still hard to see what the exact ROI is. What’s definitely clear is that Pinterest is a great medium for engaging your audience on a one to one level and interacting with them about products that they find intriguing. It’s a great source for branding your company to people without them feeling like a targeted means to an end. Brands definitely appear to be a lot more personable, and at this point, since many companies are just starting out with Pinterest, individual users have the advantage of seeing a company create their brand from the very beginning. While it may take awhile to determine what your brand’s Pinterest strategy will be, just remember the social media rule of thumb: that you are selling a lifestyle by curating relevant content. Sooner or later you will build up such a solid following that will be hard to dispute Pinterest’s position as the new go-to social media marketing tool.
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