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Should You Publish on Pinterest

28 Sep 2012

Digital pinboard and online photo sharing platform Pinterest made history in January when it clocked up 11.7 million unique users in America in one month. It was an ascent more rapid than any other stand-alone site on record.

As reported in BRW, American retail giants Nike, Target, Kate Spade, Walmart and Wholefoods supermarkets all have Pinterest pages. Time magazine is on the site, as is furniture manufacturer Herman Miller.

But how close is it to rivalling Facebook's dominance over the social media? And on which platform is your marketing dollar better spent?

Pinterest was started in March 2010 by ex-Google employee Ben Silbermann and ex-Facebook employee Evan Sharp.

As the name suggests, it is a digital pinboard that allows users to "pin" images onto a personal page that can be accessed by all net users. The site is arranged in a grid formation, with each pinned image displayed as a thumbnail.

Pinboards make for a scrapbook of fantastic click bait.

"You just see this cool image and it's just like a thumbnail - there's no information other than the picture, so you click on it to find out more," furniture designer Henry Pilcher says.

Once users click on the image,they are taken to a page containing a larger version of the picture and more details about it, if the creator chooses to include it.

Enterprising companies such as American clothing retailer Gap and Australian stationery retailer Kiki K include product details of the items featured in the shot. Gold Coast-based active wear retailer Lorna Jane goes one step further and includes a link to its online store.

"We began experimenting with Pinterest about eight months ago," Lorna Jane digital strategist Sam Zivot says. "But by virtue of it's 900 million-plus user base, Facebook remains the dominant social medium for business."

Social@Ogilvy senior digital strategist Roger Christie agrees that for now at least, it's a numbers game that Facebook is leading.

"If you want a broad audience and a captive audience, [Facebook] has the largest demographic of the 25-34 year old age group," he says. "If you want to capture that audience, that's where you need to be."

Christie says Facebook features such as comment boxes and "like" buttons that encourage two-way interaction are great tools to build rapport with customers.

Christie also points out that the average stay on Facebook lasts 22 minutes.

"That in itself is a compelling proposition," he says, adding "if you can keep the audience there that long, then you've got higher chances of getting that sale."

Facebook is the fourth-highest driver of traffic to the Lorna Jane website and accounts for 9.5 per cent of the brand's total online sales.

Zivot uses Pinterest "more as a branding medium than a direct sales medium" for the Lorna Jane brand.

The intention is to communicate the brand's philosophy to existing customers and new audiences through inspirational images of exercise, an active, outdoor life and affirmations by customers.

Fledgling Pinterest had clocked up 360,000 unique browsers in Australia as of January 2012. It also was the country's 27th most visited site.

Christie believes the platform can perform well for particular industries.

"It lends itself more to the business-to-consumer and visual products, retailers, fashion, homeware and also travel," he says.

"And if you're linking pictures to drive traffic back to your website, then there are great opportunities."

Source: BRW

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