A quick course in the latest ‘pin-ultimate’ social platform
Social media platforms are fascinatingly demographic in origin and popularity. The latest example of this is Pinterest, quickly becoming the online cork board of choice for women of all ages. In recent meetings, first with an e-commerce developer in Atlanta and then with an advisory board of colleagues, I was surprised that some had not yet heard of Pinterest. Yet in my daughter's college dorm, "Pinterest Parties", where recipes and photos are shared and compared, have become routine. Could this be the next Facebook? In the floor covering industry that lives and breathes with the opening and closing of a woman's checkbook, this is worth noting.
So far, Pinterest is attracting marketing interest with its impressive performance. It's been called one of the fastest growing websites in history and according to comScore, its achievement of 10 million monthly visitors has happened faster than anyone to date.
How it works
For the as yet uninvited, Pinterest has been described as an online scrapbook or bulletin board where one can "pin" things that interest them. For example, you could create a "Bedroom Makeover" pinboard and peruse Pinterest for ideas to add to your board. You can also find visuals anywhere online and add them to your collection, just as a previous generation would have ripped them out of a magazine. So now instead of a customer walking in with pages from back issues of Better Homes and Gardens to show you, she's walking in with her iPad to scroll you through her pinboard.
Another interesting aspect to Pinterest is that you have to be invited to join (or you can go to pinterest.com and "request an invite." After you're invited and register via Facebook or Twitter, you install the "pin it plug in" to your bookmarks bar to get started. Facebook has noted that its membership accessing Pinterest each day has grown by 60% since the two platforms integrated. Note that to be "in" to Pinterest, you're already socially online as a prerequisite. And of course, there's also the smartphone app allowing the user to photograph and pin ideas while shopping.
According to AP, Pinterest sent more traffic to marthastewart.com than Facebook and Twitter combined and House Beautiful has seen triple-digit referral increases. That's because every image is tagged and linked to its source. It's a search engine optimized bonanza. According to Adweek, Pinterest is now the second largest referral source for Real Simple magazine, after Google. No doubt publishers targeting women are pinning their hopes on Pinterest activity with "repins" and "likes." As the editor of Weddings magazine, quoted in Adweek put it, "Pinterest keeps you really tapped into what people like right now."
Leaving (hopefully) this latest recession behind us, manufacturers and retailers are shifting their focus to the next generation of consumers: Gen Y. We know that message delivery will be primarily digital, and of that, overwhelmingly mobile. To understand their customers and market to them more effectively, marketers must stay abreast of where customers gather (in this case women with home improvement and decorating on their minds) and share their likes, desires, ideas and inspirations. Pinterest is rapidly becoming just such a place, even on college campuses. The question is, are you there too?
Bio: Paul Friederichsen, owner of BrandBiz, Inc., a marketing communications firm, brings over 30 years in advertising experience as a creative director and strategic planner. Paul’s work in the home environment area is built upon experience gained from flooring accounts such as Milliken, Poliface, Kronotex and brands for the Dixie Group; as well as appliance brands such as Jenn-Air and Frigidaire. He is responsible for one of the most successful proprietary brand launches in Home Depot history, Traffic Master, and has been called upon by category-leading companies such as Crossville Ceramics to orchestrate their re-branding efforts.
My daughter Chloe with two essentials for every college co-ed: her Mac Book Pro and Pinterest account.
SURFACES is the largest US event serving the floor covering industry. Held annually in Las Vegas, NV, SURFACES brings together buyers and sellers from all over the world to see the latest floor covering products, tools, services and technologies. SURFACES also offers an unrivaled educational program and networking opportunities focused on increasing business opportunities and driving sales.
The official sponsor of SURFACES is the World Floor Covering Association, the floor covering industry's largest advocacy organization representing floor covering retailers, contractors and allied service providers throughout North America.