“Tweeting” and “Liking” are so 40 seconds ago. Now, the buzz phrase flying across the social media galaxy is “Pin It,” referring to Pinterest, the online pinboard that invites users to collect and display their own images or those found on the web.
Founded two years ago, the social media site has soared in popularity in recent months, growing to more than 10 million users at the start of 2012, many of them women, according to Inside Network’s AppData tracking service.
As Pinterest’s popularity continues to grow, more retailers and brands are jumping on board, adding Pin It buttons to their product pages and websites, thus creating another touchpoint between brands and consumers
“Pinterest is changing the way that shoppers find inspiration and express their style,” says Andrew Bornand, director of digital strategy and development at WD Partners (Dublin, Ohio).
But just as retailers can’t slap a digital screen into their store environment and call it in-store technology, retailers should also use caution in posting just product pictures on their pinboards.
“Retailers who use it exclusively to drive sales run the risk of turning customers off to their message,” says Bornand. “Using it to extend the reach of their brand, they can increase engagement and achieve higher sales through a stronger relationship with their customers.”
To do that, designers suggest creating mood boards that show a current season’s line or inspiring images that relate to your brand offering. For example, West Elm creates pinboards under such themes as urban backyards or color blocking, while Anthropologie covers the latest fashion trends with pinboards on neon and stripes.
“That’s so much more inspiring than a product on a white background,” says Mary Lynn Penner, senior designer, brand communications, Chute Gerdeman (Columbus, Ohio). “You’re more likely to say ‘Oh my god, I want that’ when you’re using Pinterest than Facebook.”
Although it’s difficult to track sales related to a “pin,” 47 percent of users say they’ve made a purchase based on a recommendation on Pinterest, according to a BlogHer’s study on women and social media.
Many designers say they’re also using the platform, turning it into a 21st Century idea file to replace that paper-based folder that used to sit on their desks. “It’s a great way to keep track of everything,” says Penner, who has created boards on her page for everything from retail and exteriors to graphics.
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