Posted At: June 25, 2012 2:52 PM
by Julia Gardial
Google+ couldn’t find it. Twitter strives for it. Facebook dominates it. So what is it?
Since the dawn of social media, every Web developer has been trying to figure out the “secret sauce,” so to speak, for making social sites shine. When they do, it’s time for professionals in the PR world to turn those sites into communications magic.
There’s no arguing that social media is fast becoming the star of many PR plans, but we have to be both careful and choosy. With hundreds of social media sites internationally, not all of them are a good fit for the client. PR practitioners must pick with great care the tools they need to use to best represent their client or cause.
So in all this picking and choosing, who really has room in their social media plan for Pinterest? The digital pinboard site may be somewhat of a newcomer to the social media game, but it definitely packs a punch. To learn more, read Mariah Fairweather’s Platform blog post on Pinterest.
Pinterest’s popularity has increased so quickly that it’s breaking records left and right. According to TechCrunch.com, the site’s visitors have grown by more than 4000 percent in only a few months. In ComScore’s March 2012 “State of the Internet” infographic, we see that Pinterest’s sudden rise to fame happened almost exponentially between the months of October 2011 and March 2012. This meteoric rise in popularity is unprecedented, and Pinterest’s numbers are only getting higher.
So with these amazing numbers in mind, how much PR stock do we put into Pinterest? At the start of my research, I would have said almost none. Since so much Pinterest content is user-generated, most of the pinned items are from blogs or independent websites that have highly visual content. Honestly not much of the content that comes up on my feed is from anywhere else. However, after talking to Charley Sexton, creative director for Tennessee-based PR firm Moxley Carmichael, I had a slight change of heart.
Going into our conversation about Pinterest, I candidly informed Sexton that I thought Pinterest had no real place in PR. Sure it’s pretty and has three times the retainment rate of active users over Twitter, but really how valuable a tool could it be? Other than leading people to a website, I didn’t see how it served a purpose.
“It all comes down to curation and share-ability,” he said. “Your company’s boards can become a really solid visual representation of your brand, and keep your products circulating around for a while. That’s why Pinterest is great for companies that sell a visual product. People will pin images of products that they use or admire and wear them like a badge for their board followers to see.”
As for share-ability, Sexton said that “Pinterest makes it easy for people to share their favorite brands, especially if the brands are producing good products or services.”
He’s not the only PR professional to see the advantages of Pinterest in our field. There are multiple blog posts about the pros, cons and strategies behind using Pinterest in a PR initiative. In a recent blog post, Gini Dietrich warns her readers that Pinterest alone does not a social strategy make. The beauty of Pinterest is that it makes on-site, real-time sharing so easy. Because of this, making Pinterest an extension of your social media plan, not the main body, will go far with your fans.
Pinterest can easily feed users and fans into your main website as well as your social media profiles, but you need to make sure they have somewhere specifically to go. Integrating Pinterest into an already robust social media presence is definitely the best choice. While Pinterest may have started out small out in Silicon Valley, it’s big and getting bigger all the time. While it’s still hot, it just makes sense for brands and causes to jump in and start pinning.
By interacting with other pinners and creating boards with interesting and valuable content, a brand can go a long way with building relationships with the public. Sharing tips about your field, interesting blog posts or content or even just some nice art that captures the culture of your brand will enable users to see a more fully developed company personality than they could on simply a Facebook or Google+ page.