Pinteresting Opportunity for Small Businesses
By Gabe Aldridge
Co-Founding Member of The SUPERGROUP
Pinterest has quickly risen as a revolutionary leveler of the marketing world that embodies an enormous opportunity for small businesses. A small company can conduct a promotion that is every bit as effective as a much larger company because innovative thinking and true creativity (and not budget dollars) rule the day on Pinterest. Its users don’t even have to write a single character to be incredibly effective communicators. And, it’s become quite clear that people on the Internet would rather “see” than “read.”
It could be easily argued that smaller companies actually have an overall advantage in the world of Pinterest (and perhaps in social media in general) because smaller businesses tend to be more willing to take creative risks and are often forced, due to a lack of budget, to operate using non-traditional tactics. Unlike many other channels, Pinterest openly rewards this kind of creative thinking and actively encourages innovation by the very fabric of its construction.
Never before have small businesses been afforded this kind of advantage in the marketplace, and they must take care not to squander so precious a gift. As with all invaluable, intangible strengths, the danger of not acting upon that which is difficult to traditionally qualify and quantify abounds.
The All-Important Interest Graph
So why do I claim that Pinterest’s very make-up encourages innovation? Pinterest users and commentators have often used the phrase “interest graph” to describe the core of the Pinterest experience. Users can follow people and content based on topics they are interested in rather than just people they know.
This is one of the most important characteristics helping to set Pinterest apart from other social platforms. In a market-speak nutshell, Pinterest is tailor-made for curating user-generated content around brand-relevant passion points.
Build it and they will come – honest!
Another key strength is experienced each time you log in to the site. Pinterest users might have noticed how quickly one can become engrossed in other people’s boards (which inevitably leads to more of your own pinning and re-pinning). This common behavior is no accident because Pinterest uses algorithms that are designed to serve up content that matches the pins and boards you have been recently viewing and creating. Not that there aren’t valid and important ways to direct Pinterest traffic, but even without a media spend to help push your program off to a good start, other Pinterest users are going to encounter your material, if you take the time to pin up some well-thought-out content.
Case Study – Rent The Runway
RTR is a fashion site that rents high-end designer pieces for special occasions and provides a great example of how to harness the social power of the Pinterest model. RTR organizes their boards around interesting topics that encourage other Pinners to comment on and share their content. One of their current boards, Spring Trend: Neon, is as great example of this tactic.
They definitely show off their dresses, but also include other relevant, non-product pins that make their boards feel more social. They intersperse other people’s content with their own and avoid the easy mistake of making their pin boards look like product catalogs.
Case Study – Curvy Girl Guide
Another great example comes from Curvy Girl Guide (CGG). CGG is an online women’s lifestyle magazine that was one of the earliest brands to realize the amazing marketing potential of Pinterest.
Not only is CGG a Pinterest pioneer, but it’s also a Pinterest role model for much larger brands. Major brands, such as Lands End, have publicly cited CGG as their impetus for beginning to use Pinterest as a marketing vehicle.
Interestingly, CGG has a much larger and more active Pinterest community than many other companies ten times their size. CGG claims Pinterest as their #5 highest traffic source (ahead of Twitter) for their site.
Pinterest is not simply another site for amateur photographers, or this year’s latest Facebook copycat. It’s an addictive social destination for anyone that thinks a picture is worth a thousand words (a.k.a. 98% of the population).
One of the many reasons why Pinterest has become such an effective brand-marketing tool is because it allows the average user to easily broadcast themselves using brand imagery. Most people aren’t even aware of how much they passively help the brands with which they publicly identify.
Pinterest is already built for business, and there is no need to wait on a “Pinterest for business” version before beginning to take advantage of this fascinating newcomer. So go right ahead and dig in — and by all means, Happy Pinning!
Gabe Aldridge is an interactive visionary, futurist, entertainer, and co-founder of The SUPERGROUP, (www.thesupergroup.com), an award winning agency that specializes in using technology to draw an audience and generate buzz – something they call interactive attractions. While savvy in all things interactive, Gabe specializes in creative consulting, next-gen marketing, digital strategy, and general innovation. Clients include Disney, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, The Weather Channel, and the U.S. State Department.