Everyone's a-twitter about social media's darling du jour, Pinterest. On the off-chance that you don't know what Pinterest is, here's a quick intro.
Pinterest is hot stuff. It won Best New Startup at the Crunchies Awards, and it is one of the top 10 social media sites, with staggering growth in page views and a deluge of buzz. And for the ultimate tech street cred: Mashable curates an "Everything Pinterest" board on Pinterest. Added to all this recognition are scores of LOLcats and Ryan Gosling memes.
Did I mention that Pinterest is still invite-only? And it's already inspired spin-offs, including eerily similar copycat Pinspire, and the testosterone-infused Gentlemint ("a mint of manly things") -- mustaches, sports, and leper colonies (for real).
For pinners, it's an addiction. There's a delightful voyeurism in browsing through peoples' visual wish lists ("I never knew Carl liked aardvarks!"). Pinterest is a place to make discoveries, organize cravings, and drool over things you never knew existed, but now, must have. The verbing of "pin" is upon us, and it's changing the way people learn about and interact with brands.
For marketers, Pinterest seems like the Promised Land. Social bookmarking is the confluence of so many buzzwords:
There are a lot of reasons why brands might want to consider setting up shop on Pinterest, identifying and influencing tastemakers, soliciting consumer feedback, and sharing what makes them tick. Before you make the leap, simmer down and consider the following question: How clean (or cluttered) is your digital house?
So, how can your brand benefit from Pinterest today? There are a lot of insights that you can glean without pinning a single image:
If you do set up branded pinboards, remember to take advantage of the social plugins. When you pin or repin an item, you can send that content to your Facebook and Twitter pages as well, fueling your other social networks and driving traffic to and fro.
Authenticity is a conundrum when we're talking about curation. Every artist (and marketer) is a thief, to some extent. Repinning (or retweeting) isn't enough to establish a good reputation. The key to authentic curation on Pinterest (or anywhere) is the personal spin you put on the content you share. Whether it's via insightful comments, or grouping a collection of images or themes in new and surprising ways, building an ownable voice is key to attracting and growing a loyal following. What's a story that only your brand can tell? That's the secret sauce for social engagement.
Committing to another social network requires incremental resources. A dedication to providing quality content and to taking the time to share and socialize in order to build and maintain an engaged following. Earn respect. Nurture a fanbase. Respond and reciprocate. Can your brand commit?
The moral of the story: Brands, think before you pin.
Diane Walter is digital strategist for Brunner.
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