Pinterest: Powerful Marketing Tool or Just for Girls?
Pinterest.com has exploded onto the social media scene within a year. It is the most visual of the networks, and also the one with the highest proportion of female members. This has led many to dismiss it as a craft and hobbyist's site with no real importance to marketers. Others hail it as the future of social media marketing. So who is right?
Pinterest is currently the fastest growing website in the world, according to Comscore.com. It is also climbing Hitwise.com’s list of the ten most important social networks. It now has over 12 million users and added a million new ones between December 2011 and January 2012. 70 percent of its users are women!
Whether Pinterest is relevant to your marketing plan depends largely on what industry you are in. If you sell lifestyle goods or services that appeal to women then you need to get pinning! The site inspires massive loyalty, largely because it has resisted allowing any advertising on its on-line pinboards.
Marketing on Pinterest is all about creating attractive collections of images and video that enhances your brand image and products. An excellent example of successful Pinterest marketing is wedding resource website Stylemepretty.com. View their pinboards, full of attractive product and lifestyle photos relevant to weddings, on Pinterest.com/stylemepretty.
Anyone attempting to sell their wares without contributing to the community, by repining other users’ images and commenting on their boards, is wasting time: Only contributors that are valued by the community benefit from the viral effects of their images being shares over and over again. Because Pinterest changes links from its pins back to the original on-line source to affiliate links, it cannot be used directly by third parties to make money. This does prevent it from getting over-commercial, but limits its usefulness to affiliate marketers.
For most marketers and content providers, Pinterest is currently just another website that they can use to create and share attractive content. In this way it is similar to Slideshare and Youtube. You can use it as a content creation tool without any need for social interaction with other members. Because each image on a pinboard contains a link to the source of the image, Pinterest is a valuable source of SEO backlinks for content marketers.
Interestingly, 56 percent of Pinterest’s UK users are men. Most of them are using its on-line pinboards for business purposes such as presentations and proposals. The site’s current female user base may simply be due to its initial marketing strategy. As the site becomes more popular it will attract a broader demographic of users. Whether they will get involved in the social side of Pinterest remains to be seen!
One question that looms large in Pinterest’s future is whether its pinboards are unique enough to maintain its growth. Clone websites appear every day and it is hard to see what Pinterest can do to stay ahead of the game. There are also unresolved copyright issues with its pinning technology. Many photographers and artists are angry that their content and intellectual property can be shared from user to user without their permission.
If you are interested in marketing to Pinterest core of female users then a Pinterest presence is vital. Until its future direction and popularity among other demographic groups is clearer, other marketers can use its attractive boards as content, but don’t need to actively engage with other users.