First it was MySpace, then Facebook and, later, Twitter. In recent years the social media phenomenon has attracted millions of users and thousands of brands. While consumers join to connect with friends, share photos and post content, brands join to engage with fans in real-time, among other things. So it’s no wonder Pinterest is the latest social networking site to make it in the big leagues with both users and brands.
Brands began to join the invite-only, scrapbook-like site as another avenue to communicate with the public and raise brand awareness. But, before I go into more detail, I’d like to preface that I’m not against brands using Pinterest or any social media outlet for that matter; I am against brands using them incorrectly. Social media sites are set up with the sole purpose of connecting individuals. Whether it’s for dating purposes or strictly photo sharing, if a brand is going to participate, it needs to blend well with the audience and the outlet. We all know that users are reluctant to purchase a product or service from a brand that promotes itself in an obnoxious or overt manner. Fortunately for you, I have examples of the best of the best! So, sit back, relax and enjoy the Pinterest ride!
Here’s a quick re-cap of how the site works in case you aren’t familiar with it.
Pinterest is so easy to use you could do it in your sleep (some women might). It’s full of images, which are referred to as pins. Pins might be an image of an adorable house, a funny comic, insightful quote or a hipster outfit. Users post these pins, which are linked to their places of origin, whether that is a blog or a website, to themed boards. For example, one of my co-workers (cough, cough Ambur) organized her boards using the letter “L.” She’s got “live” for housing goods, “love” for romantic things (“like hydrangeas and wedding dresses,” she says), “lust” for sassy products she adores, and “loud” for her stilettos, tattoos, funny jokes and “chic rocker ” looks. Not only does she have impeccable style, but she definitely has an eye for the latest trends. It’s people like Ambur who make Pinterest a fun outlet for brands to participate on.
Users like Ambur pin items from multiple users including brands, but how do brands find content since Pinterest doesn’t allow for promotional products? Marketers circumvent Pinterest’s “no promotion” rule by pinning items that relate to their brands’ personalities and cultures. If done well, it’s a smart move. Here are several examples from brands that do an excellent job of using Pinterest appropriately:
Known as one of the most friendly and customer-service-oriented airlines, Southwest has an innovative marketing team that isn’t afraid to jump onto a new social media site. This board is an example of promoting their brand while staying true to the Pinterest’s form. In addition to its “from the window seat” board, there’s also a “travel style” board and “destinations” board. I’ll admit I’ve even re-pinned a few of them.
As one of the few brands without a product for sale, The Today Show is taking full advantage of Pinterest in a very creative way. From recipes to funny bloopers, the show has used its themed boards to engage with fans off-the-air. After all, who wouldn’t want to recall Matt Lauer’s infamous moment with Tom Cruise? No wonder it’s America’s top morning show!
Men and women can both appreciate a good recipe, which the grocer definitely kept in mind when creating its themed boards. Not only is it a great promotional outlet, but also a wonderful resource for last-minute dinner ideas and good looking treats. Who wouldn’t follow them on Pinterest?
At the end of the day, Pinterest is more than a pin-board. It’s a gathering place for users and brands to pin pictures of their favorite things. It’s a win-win for both teams. The user gains valuable information while the brand gets to interact with its audience in a creative and non-traditional way.
If we aren’t “Pinterest” official yet, be sure to follow me! I can’t wait to see what you pin!