From fashion designers to CEO’s, creating visual inspiration boards is nothing new in the creative world. Now social media fans don’t need pushpins or cork sheets to create their own brainstorming boards–2011’s social media darling Pinterest, less than 2 years old and now with 11 million visits per week, allows users to “pin” images that speak to them on their own virtual boards that friends may follow, plus like, Repin and comment on items. Already the site has a 0.39 percent market share, almost as much as Google+’s 0.41 percent market share, and experts predict it could become as powerful as social bookmarking site StumbleUpon.

Despite its quick growth, expanding its visits by 4,000% within the past 6 months, Pinterest maintains an aura of exclusivity by being an invite-only site. Getting an account isn’t too difficult, though–simply request an invite, and you’ll soon be added to the Pinterest community. Pinterest lets users pin what they find engaging and create collages tailored to them. Pinterest boards range from everything to recipe items, wedding accouterment and fashion styles, and multiple people may manage boards and collaborate on ideas.

Pinning doesn’t just happen on the Pinterest site–users may install the “Pin It” button to toolbars, which allows them to add images from any sites to Pinterest boards.

These images then link back to the original sites the users grabbed the images from. Facebook also recently added a Pinterest application to its site, allowing Facebook friends to share their pins and display what they added to their boards. Like Facebook and Twitter, accounts may tag other accounts by adding the @ symbol before typing that account’s name, adding even more interactivity to the social site.

Besides the networking properties Pinterest offers, it also may double as a site to sell wares on. Brands such as Land’s End and Gap have created boards featuring their fashions, and the site gives do-it-yourself designers another outlet to get their names out. Pinterest contains a “Gifts” section on the site, where any image that contains a purchase-able object may be included, along with a price tag and link to buy. By becoming more connected on the site, your brand can enlist passionate word-of-mouth marketers to drive more product sales.

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Marketing Implications

  • Does your brand have a lot of visual appeal? Create a Pinterest account for it. Brands, especially lifestyle products that appeal to the site’s dominant demographic of females between the ages of 25-44, have the opportunity to target new potential customers on Pinterest, as well as display a more intimate look into the brands since brands may display images that inspire their brands’ personality. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, it’s imperative to give your brand a visual identity on Pinterest.

  • Gain free customer insight through Pinterest. Pinterest allows brands to see what’s inspiring their consumers and make product developments based on those interests, host contests on Pinterest and entice customers to post images of themselves with their products. By viewing what affects customers directly, brands are able to make quicker adjustments to their products and how they market them to customers. Since boards may be managed by many Pinterest users at once, making a board that any of your fans can add to gives your brand a direct source of feedback and inspiration for future products.
  • Use Pinterest as a business-to-business marketing tool. Have you dreamed of creating a partnership with a like-minded brand, or just want to get on another company’s radar? Show off your appreciation by pinning some of their images as inspiration and tagging them in the captions. Host a joint contest that helps grow both your fan bases. Use a common inspiration to launch a new campaign together.

  • Show your customers you care. They inspire you, they advocate for you, and they give your business money: your customers are the reason your brand exist, and Pinterest gives your brand a way to personally connect with them. Feature them on a board that shows them using your product. Look at what they’re loving on their own pin boards, and Repin their images as a cue for your own inspiration.
  • Install Pin It buttons to your current products. Have a catalog full of merchandise on your official site? Let your fans share their love for your brand by giving them the option to “Pin It” to their boards. Does your brand have a blog brimming with gorgeous photos taken by a pricey photographer? Increase their visibility by letting your readers pin them and drive more pageviews back to the blog. As the relatively new Pinterest continues to grow in the social space, embracing the site now gives your brand an edge in becoming prominent on the fresh site.

ZOG Media’s social media department has avid Pinterest users who are eager to work with your brand to develop your presence on the site, gain new customers and connect in an innovative way with current customers. After doing a brand audit, ZOG will determine what types of content and products would be best to feature on your brand’s pin boards, as well as interact with other users on the site to create an organic buzz about your Pinterest brand. Pinterest isn’t just about sales–it’s about forging meaningful connections with other people in the Pinterest community and inspiring each other. That takes dedicated attention to the site, its features and its users and requires a genuine investment. ZOG would love to talk to you more about how to position your brand as one that inspires Pinterest users. For more information, contact us here.

  • William D.

    It’s too early to say definitively what will happen with pinterest, but anecdotally, a decent percentage of non-technical people seem to dig the concept and this helps with adoption. I’ll be watching it with some interest because it seems like its taking off so far.