As marketers, we’re pretty excited about all the buzz surrounding the latest social media giant Pinterest. In just two short years since its beta launch, Pinterest has catapulted to become the third most popular social media platform on the Internet. And it’s still growing at a remarkable pace. In January 2012 comScore reported the site had 11.7 million unique users, making it the fastest site in history to break through the 10 million unique visitor mark.
The social photo pinboard has an average of 1.36 million users daily, the majority of whom are female mothers, and Mashable reports that 28 percent of them have an annual household income of over $100K. These are very often the decision makers marketers are aiming to reach – and they’re fully engaged. According to a recent Shopify survey, Pinterest sends as much traffic to Shopify stores as Twitter does, and shoppers coming from Pinterest are 10 percent more likely to make a purchase compared to those coming from other social media sites. Oh, and they’re spending twice as much as shoppers coming from Facebook.
So why is Pinterest so popular?
As an avid Pinner, I can speak first hand on this. While Facebook is a tool for catching up with old friends, wasting time, and flat out being a voyeur, Pinterest is actually useful. In only 15 minutes on Pinterest, I can find a fabulous pair of shoes to wear to a party this weekend, read tips on how to get my 4-year-old to stop interrupting my adult conversations, discover which perennials are best to plant in NY in the month of May, pull down a great baked cod recipe for tonight’s dinner, and see the best way to clean my glass cooktop stove. Now that’s the kind of multi-tasking any working mother can get down with!
We already know that consumers prefer short, “snackable” forms of content, and Pinterest provides them with just that. Because it is visually driven, users can scroll down a page and quickly “repin” whichever items appeal to them, whether it’s a photo of a mouth-watering meal, beautiful dress, must-see travel destination, tips on how to improve their golf game, or any number of things that can be depicted in a photo, video, or infographic. The best “pins” are accompanied by short but detailed descriptions, and users can pin them to boards they create themselves based on their own interests. They can either take action immediately by clicking through to the website the pin hyperlinks to, or they can pin it to their board and visit later when they are ready to make the purchase, book the vacation, prepare the meal, etc.
How it applies to your business
We recently introduced Pinterest to a residential moving company client who had never heard of the site. We explained to them how they could use Pinterest to build a relationship with consumers early on in the buying process. A photo of someone packing items in a box with a tagline “7 Tips on How to Pack China” could go far on Pinterest. Someone who is planning a move within the next year would very likely be searching for this, or they may just stumble upon it and pin it for later. We told the client that if they started a blog and posted information such as this, they could begin to establish a relationship with prospects that’s based on trust, which would obviously give the company an advantage over its competitors when it came time for a prospect to hire a mover.
This type of strategy carries over to a vast array of B2C industries. Retailers with e-commerce sites have the luxury of pinning photos of items for Pinterest users to click on and purchase. And the best part is it doesn’t cost anything but time. You could easily have someone within your organization or your marketing agency start turning your attractive goods, compelling blog posts or informative videos into useful Pinterest pins.
But why take our word for it?
The best way to realize the value of Pinterest is to join the site and start to understand how it works. We’re fairly certain you’ll not only be personally hooked, but you’ll soon find a way to incorporate it into your business marketing mix.
Have you ever been simultaneously intrigued and repulsed by something? It’s a disconcerting combination of emotions to have. A newsletter I recently received from AdAge Digitalcontained an article that stirred these contrasting emotions in me and spurred me to share them with you.
The article was about a new use for front-facing cameras. We have become accustomed to these cameras on laptops, computers, cell phones, video games and other such personal electronic devices, but what about on your TV? What if that camera monitored you?
The article, whose title Soon Your TV Will Watch You, Too, immediately gave me a momentary feeling of dread. Is it just me, or does that title have a decidedly negative connotation? It’s very Big Brother. But the article goes on to highlight some very positive aspects of this technology on this recently revealed addition to future TVs. Positive to the world of advertising that is.
As all advertisers know, it’s practically impossible to tell who sees your commercials once they are out in the world. With so many distractions, like smart phones and tablets, even if people are in the same room as the TV, most of the time they stop paying attention at some point, likely during commercial breaks. The new front facing camera would have software, developed by Cisco, that would recognize which members of the household are watching what and what their facial expressions say about their reaction (or inattention) to the show or commercial. The idea being, if advertisers know who is watching, they will be better able to direct specific content at each particular consumer. If the ad is more targeted to you, you’ll find more value in it; less pointless ads about tampons if you’re a guy, less inappropriate pharmaceutical commercials if you’re a kid. Seems like a pretty solid benefit for both consumer and advertiser. But what if you’re a consumer, and you watch something you don’t want your friends to know about (ie. a tough guy watching Glee)? What you watch and do in your own home on your own time is personal and private. I don’t think anyone wants their TV commercials blowing up their spot that they are secretly into musicals.
But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and remember that this is still in the developmental stages and the advertising industry is hesitant to even broach the subject. Also, there are some pretty cool features that it would allow to consumers, barring the whole being watched constantly thing. The Lenovo version of the new TV revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas offers a feature that has an ID service that blocks access to certain content or channels if a child is in the room. The Samsung TVs require only that you walk into the room and say “Hi, TV” for it to recognize who is there. They could automatically log you into Facebook, pull up your favorite channels or websites. Now that stuff is pretty cool and pretty handy and easily foreseeable in regards to where technology is headed.
So as you can see, it’s easy to be both excited and repelled by this new step in technology. On the one hand, being in the advertising industry, I can easily see the benefits it could bring and the priceless data it could provide about the impact of commercials on the audience. As a consumer, I can also see the benefits of ease of use and advanced features, but at the same time, the apprehension of allowing something so intrusive into my home puts my consumer mindset in front of my advertising brain. We want our industry to do well and to advance, but not at the cost of the trust of the consumer.
Oh, and I almost forgot to bring up one little point… let’s see a show of hands… how many of us have TVs in our bedrooms? Thought so.
The impact of social media is undeniable. These days it seems like everywhere we look, there’s an opportunity to Like this, retweet that, or get LinkedIn to someone. And here I sit writing a blog post about all of it. But are Facebook and Twitter really going to help you drive sales? When used correctly they can, but first you need to evaluate what else you’re doing to market your business online. Here are some questions to ask yourself before making the leap into social media.
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