We at Firefly love discovering the latest social media trends that can help with effective public relations. The current toast of the web seems to be Pinterest – a visual pinboard for collecting and sharing content online. We also see Pinterest as a great resource and platform for brands.
Launched in March 2010, Pinterest has been included in the top 50 websites of 2011 by Time Magazine and has recently been valued at $200 million. What started out as a fun way to post things you liked – from clothes to interesting websites – or an easy way to organise to-do lists, get ideas for events and make wish lists, has now turned into a platform that companies can use to build their brands.
Pinterest is simply a virtual pinboard where people can “pin” the things they like onto their own board – either from other people’s boards, websites or by uploading photos. So far, we are mainly seeing US companies like Nordstrom, The Travel Company, Urban Outfitters and Whole Foods use this platform to unlock brand success; but it won’t be long before Europe catches on. It really is an effective way for bloggers, designers, retailers, small businesses and even restaurants to PR their products and increase awareness of their brand.
Pinterest is a great outlet for sharing and discussing ideas, and once a photo is re-pinned, it has the potential of being seen by a growing online community. In the PR space, there are lots of potential uses for Pinterest:
• Images form part of our PR content, and have the power to say things that words cannot. Take infographics, as an example. They have the ability to gain traction and provide sharing opportunities on social networks.
• For FMCG, retail, travel and other consumer brands, pinboards can capture the brand essence or personality and inspire the viewer to action – be it a how-to on building your work wardrobe, ideas for budget decorating, or gift guides and new Christmas recipes to try this season. Nordstrom uses its boards to post seasonal trends on fashion, whilst Whole Foods posts recipes, seasonal decor ideas and how to use food as art.
• On the B2B PR side, Pinterest could give another dimension to business leaders and public figures. For example, through themed photographs of a personality during their downtime, or performing charitable work.
• PR and marketing agencies could use Pinterest for their own publicity, too. Different pinboards can help show the individual employees and communicate the firm’s culture ; or they can be used to post “idea” boards to disseminate free ideas for campaigns.
• Pinterest can be used to reach out to bloggers in relevant sectors.
• Contests could also be launched around creating the best pinboard; alternatively, brands can build relationships with their evangelists by inviting them to collaborate on boards together.
Pinterest has the potential to be a very worthwhile channel for brands to figure out what their audience is interested in sharing and providing content for them to curate. Mirroring this practice, smaller brands can also achieve product exposure, drive traffic and – most importantly – build brand culture and awareness.
In short, it’s like tweeting a blog post, but you’re sharing it through images rather than words.
I was just saying yesterday I feel like Pinterest’s value to brands is being over-hyped right now so it’s interesting to see a few more ideas about how to use it.
Personally I’m much more excited about niche moodboard sites like Polyvore who, for the fashion space, have developed the tech with a link to the retailer so you can click-to-buy. 10x more valuable with that context. My bet is that next will come something for home interiors and other visual products & services while sites like GoodReads collate book collections – albeit less visually.