Recent reports indicate the Pinterest tidal wave may be receding, yet there is no doubt people are just as bananas about new, quirky and socially connected platforms as ever. Entrepreneurs are jumping at the chance to invent the next hottest start-up and one thing remains clear: Marketers must be just as interested in understanding best practices for using these emerging platforms.
Entrepreneurs are not alone in recognizing the potential for sites that offer high user engagement, often tied to social networking and e-commerce. The Fancy is a Pinterest-like site that monetizes user-curated images and allows users to organize images into lists and conduct transactions on the site. Two new digital start-ups, Pinstagram and Pingram, merge Pinterest and Instagram in the latest mash-up to reach investor’s eyes. It’s no wonder the venture capital world is bubbling and marketers are scrambling to understand how they can monetize emerging platforms.
Peer pressure: Everyone else is doing it-should you, too?
According to comScore, Pinterest users spent an average 89 minutes on the site in January, far passing Twitter and LinkedIn, tying with Tumblr and second only to Facebook. Just because Pinterest has more than 10 million members, should every brand have a presence? If so, how can it be impactful and ultimately drive brand participation?
Brands need to recognize that the power lies within the listening. Clients should sign in and listen/watch what participants create, how they share and with whom. At that point, you’ll have a more clear vision of your potential reach, engagement and competition.
Shift From Consumerism To Participation
Inherent to Pinterest’s intrigue and its commonality with other social sites like The Fancy, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, is the social connections and share ability. When marketers make content easy to share via the site, they tap into a new vehicle for raising brand visibility. The user experience is less about consumerism and more about participation (both active and passive). It feels organic, relevant, focused and socially driven.
Both marketers and participants post content and share it, which increases reach and relevancy, but also raises credibility of the message. A marketer doesn’t just have to share their own brand’s information or products. If you know your participants are seeking trend and style, why not also connect with content from leading stylists and fashion setters, within your branded page?
Marketers should harness and utilize available data to better understand new and existing customer behaviors on socially connected platforms like Pinterest. Pinterest users are estimated to be largely between 25 and 54 and the majority are women. Would a brand that caters predominantly to male baby boomers benefit from a Pinterest presence as much as a brand with a core customer base of millennial females? Probably not, so one size does not fit all and marketers must consider this before allocating dollars to the latest and greatest.
Leveraging the social analytics behind a platform can help guide where and with whom to invest time and resources. Marketers may be surprised and see that a small sub segment of their total customer base is male and drives a larger average order size within social shopping platforms like this than they do females. This is when we can make social data truly powerful for brands!
According to comScore, the typical Pinterest user profile:
•68% of users are women
•80% are 25+
•50% have children
•28% have a household income of $100K+
So You Begin to Pin: Now What?
Smart marketers harness the power of the pin, among other social capabilities, and capitalize on emerging social platforms. They engage with:
Visually appealing content: Startups like Pinterest and Instagram owe much of their success to presentation. High resolution, appropriately sized and clear pictures and video are a must.
Brand consistency: Emerging platforms, just like any digital platform, are an extension of your brand identity. Maintain consistency with your native site and other branding efforts. There is also no room to be stagnant on an emerging platform.
Original and shared content: Many emerging platforms are designed to mix both. As evidenced by the sign on partnerships with Facebook and Twitter, engagement begets engagement.
Test and learn: Emerging platforms are really a win-win in this area. Use analytics to understand site engagement, test new opportunities and learn the best way to engage with users on any given platform.