Pinterest – the most underestimated consumer PR tool in 2013

Pinterest isn’t going away, it is just growing. Initially being smiled upon as a digital scrapbook for teenage girls, who could pin shoes, horses, outfits and flower bouquets, Pinterest quickly conquered the hearts of ‘older’ girls (and boys!), who pinned their dream houses, cars, interior decorations and holiday destinations.

Digital pin board

Digital pin board

The majority of Pinterest users are yet female with men catching up. From inspiring quotes to complete fantasies, some psychologists have recently found that Pinterest has a strong effect on people’s minds and wellbeing.

It’s a form of digital escapism that is more accessible and satisfying than playing SIMS.

Small wonder as Pinterest offers easy escapism into a fantasy world, that adults normally would refuse. It’s a form of digital escapism that is more accessible and satisfying than playing SIMS. And just like a video game, it’s highly addictive, drawing greater and greater audiences.

Facebook is grabbing 37% of all e-commerce traffic. And Pinterest?  Drumroll… 41%! Some talk about Pinterest being a niche market, claiming “It’s a wonderful game where women can build their digital wonderland, their wannabe life.” Let me repeat:

41% of e-commerce is grabbed by Pinterest – Facebook’s share is just 37%

Women simply are the biggest market and with women working full time and often juggling family life at the same time, they decreasingly go shopping in the classical sense but shop online!

How likely is it that women use Pinterest to find inspiration? Remember, it’s addictive. And once one had success in finding inspiration and actually being able to purchase something from the digital fantasy world, one is likely to do it again.

Digital shop window

Digital shop window

Pinterest is the shop window of the modern world

Think of Pinterest as the shop window of e-commerce, of the modern world. It’s the market place where people look for inspiration on what to buy, what to have, what is new and what is needed.

“If Pinterest were a magazine, I suspect it would be kept very close to a toilet”,

Brian Hall

Pinterest is the new magazine, and as such, a new tool in consumer PR. Repins and likes suggest the items’ level of popularity. Something a magazine wouldn’t be able to truly demonstrate. Whereas a magazine is static and forces the reader to swallow all that is being written, Pinterest is interactive and allows the viewer to participate, to showcase their favourite things (hallelujah, market reseachers!), to evaluate others’ pins and likes, to comment and give feedback. This makes Pinterest the probably most under estimated consumer PR tool this year. 

Just like blogs, Pinterest have their influencers and gateholders , influential individuals whose opinion and recommendations count. And PR must target them!

There are many industries that can benefit from Pinterest. Some I’ve already mentioned: Clothing retailers, travel industry, automobile, interior design and furniture (check out IKEA for example). Other things people pin are books, food, movies and music as well as do it yourself products such as knitwear, crafts and pottery. People showcase their work. What a great opportunity for small businesses and craftsmen!

From recipes to “how to…?”, if done creatively, Pinterest can be the tool for almost any business’s marketing. Arts, culture, food and retail… the list of topics and themes is endless and users are just as diverse. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival society have pinned their whole programme under the appropriate categories (boards), an inspiring digital guide for the culturally aware and art lovers who are heading to the festival city this summer.

In my next blog post I will look into these examples in more detail and pick some best practice as well as make some suggestions on how the less obvious industries and organisations could make effective use of Pinterest.