Brands, get ‘pinned’ for profit with Pinterest

Brands take note. Pinterest is showing all the right signs of becoming a mainstream player on the Social Media front. " Pinterest - Best Practice Guide", by leading independent digital marketing agency, Greenlight, spells out why this matters. Brands serious about leveraging this medium to boost revenues from online and mobile channels are advised to get themselves firmly 'pinned' to the Pinterest 'board' as opposed to hanging on its fringes.  

Conceived in November 2009 and launched four months later, this 'visually styled' social network platform is already driving the social shopping experience. It offers a way for consumers to share images of anything - from fashion to pets, pots to plants. Users can create their own online pin boards to suit any theme and share it with likeminded people.

"Users are often 'buy hungry' when they visit Pinterest. As such, it presents a very 'ready' opportunity for brands to sell products to users actively seeking them out," explains Charlie Elliott, Content and Creative strategist at Greenlight and co-author of the guide.

"By joining Pinterest and sharing, brands can learn a huge amount from their followers as they are offering up a whole load of information into their personal interests. It is typically the sort of insight and intelligence a brand needs and would have to go to great lengths to get, in order to create and/or tailor its product offering to its target audiences taste. Among others, those retailers early to the game include Gap, ASOS and Etsy."

However, Greenlight points out that this social platform is not a broadcast mechanism in the same way as other social networks.

"Pinterest does not encourage product pushing. Therefore brands will need a different approach to the likes of Twitter and Facebook and will have to be creative in their output," says Elliott.

There is proof aplenty that Pinterest already has a sizeable and importantly a loyal user base.

Gian Caprini, head of Off Page strategy at Greenlight and co-author says:

"Exact user numbers have not as yet been released. However, Pinterest is one of the top 10 social networking sites currently being tracked by Hitwise (who estimate visits in December 2011 reached 11 million). It featured in TIME magazine's 2011 top 50 websites. Moreover, it has also just been introduced as one of 60 new apps available on Facebook's Open Graph. This is bound to vastly increase user numbers and raise awareness of it further."

The authors note the pace of change within the Social Media sphere is rapid and impacting extremely on retail and brand visibility dynamics.

"In all of this remains the constant competition for a share of the customer wallet. Brands would therefore do well to steer clear of coming in late, playing a costly game of catch up or worse still, being completely left behind as this sphere continues to evolve."

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