Interest grows in 'online scrapbook'
Business users are starting to recognise the potential of the internet’s fastest growing website
You’re on Facebook, you’ve a company profile on LinkedIn, you’ve uploaded corporate videos to YouTube and you tweet regularly. Is it time to bring your business on to the latest social media sensation, Pin- terest? Or should you bother?
Pinterest is the fastest growing website – ever. It started off on an invitation-only basis, but is now open to all, and posted growth of 4,000 per cent in just one year to bring its total users to more than 10 million.
What’s more, for companies with an e-commerce element to their business, Pinterest may be a more compelling platform than its peers. For example, users tend to spend longer on Pinterest, at about 15.8 minutes compared with 12.1 minutes on Facebook and 3.3 minutes on Twitter, while surveys have suggested that users are more open to engaging with retailers or brands on Pinterest, as opposed to Facebook.
What is it? First, think of it like an online scrapbook. With Pinterest, rather than collect “friends” à la Facebook, you collect items of interest, or “pins”, which can range from pictures or videos of clothes, to books or recipes, which you then post on to a board. So, if you’re planning a wedding, for example, you can create a board dedicated to the event, and pin pictures of related items ranging from shoes, hotels, photographers and so on. Then, just like Facebook and Twitter, people can follow your boards, or you can follow theirs, creating a Pinterest community.
From a marketing perspective, the joy of Pinterest is that it is visual and so ideally suited to companies with attractive goods to sell.
Book retailer Eason, for example, became one of the first Irish companies to launch on the site when it opened its account earlier this year.
“It’s the perfect platform for us to communicate what we are about,” says David Field, head of marketing and retail development with Eason, noting that the retailer uses the site to categorise its book catalogue into boards such as the “Best Books of all Time”, “Beautiful homes” and topical ones, such as a recent board dedicated to books about, and by, US president Barack Obama.
“We thought it was a fantastic fit for what we want to do, as we wanted to show the breadth of books we have,” he says.
But it’s not just about product shots. Companies also use the site to build on relationships with their customers and sell a lifestyle. Starbucks, for example, has pin-boards dedicated to “Beautiful Objects” and “Inspiring Spaces”, while Ikea UK has a page dedicated to Indian culture as part of the launch of its new “True Blue” range of products.
Companies, however, shouldn’t stray too far from what they’re trying to sell. Many of Starbucks’ beautiful objects have a coffee twist to them, such as teacups or coffeemakers, while Irish chocolate producer Lily O’Brien’s has a “Wedding and Events” board which includes some of its chocolates. Similarly, Eason has a “Favourite Places to Read” board as well as one for “Great Book Storage”.