So have you heard of Pinterest Everywhere you look, someone is talking about pinning or actually pinning. Yes, pinning has become part of our lexicon, just as tweeting, liking and checking in have. And this isn’t just anecdotal. Check out the hockey stick traffic growth from Compete.com:
Scary. But, it also means significant opportunity. When you see something like that in terms of growth, you have to pay attention, even when you’re not sure how successful the site/platform will be, long term. But, just because something is big, doesn’t mean that it’s the best for your business.
There’s no shortage of social signals to listen to. From tweets to check-ins and everything in between, we’re constantly looking to find a strong signal amid the noise.
While looking and listening for signals is one part of the equation, providing reasons for people/customers to interact with you is another part. Pinterest is unique in that it provides a solve to nearly the entire formula.
When we evaluate which networks and platforms to invest our time in and focus on, we look to see where are customers are, where they may eventually be and are there signals being created that help drive our business. We also need to carefully consider which part of our business will benefit from that investment and which parts of our business are a natural fit to how people will be using the platform.
With that in mind, we’ve launched two different presences on Pinterest.
One for our Photo Business and one for our Beauty.com business. Photo and beauty content are a natural fit for a platform like Pinterest that’s designed to provide rich visual stimuli and deliver inspiration. While both of those are key parts of our Pinterest framework, how we act on them is quite different for each presence.
For example, in our Beauty.com account, not only do we showcase products, but also the hot looks and how to recreate them using the products we sell. All of a sudden, we’ve evolved from just showing you product photos in hopes you’ll buy, to giving you a real reason to want the brands we carry. The easy thing to do for Walgreens photo would have been to simply pin every photo product we sell. Instead, we took time to understand our customer and how they were using Pinterest. That lead us to a content strategy that focuses on creative inspiration that’s served up in a fun and interesting way. We showcase not only what you can create with Walgreens photo, but also inspiration to help our customers become more creative in the photos they’re taking. With photo, it’s an end to end way to generate inspiration and creativity.
As I’ve mentioned many times before, being first is fun, exciting and often rewarding. But, it’s also hard being the company that’s leading the way. In this case, exploring Pinterest for Walgreens is not only aligned with our social strategy, but it also requires minimal cost and time investment to participate. That’s a definite win-win…low risk, low financial investment, but high upside.
John Bell, from Ogilvy has stated, “A lot of brands are running too quickly to Pinterest.” This was a similar rhetoric in 1997 when Yahoo, AOL and Google were just becoming household names and again a rhetoric in 2007 with respect to Facebook. Steve Ballmer, famously remarked with respect to Facebook, “I think these things [social networks] are going to have some legs, and yet there’s a faddishness, a faddish nature about anything that basically appeals to younger people.” I think we can safely say, Ballmer was wrong about his POV on Facebook and brands who headed his warning ended up spending significantly to play catch-up to brands that bet on Facebook early.
It’s too early to say, if Pinterest is here to stay or if it will become a Quora, Loopt or Oink! It’s also too early to say if it’ll become the next Facebook, twitter or foursquare. But, one thing that history has proven is getting in late to a social platform sets you back significantly. First mover advantage has exponential acceleration in social media. That’s a big part of why we’re investing our time into Pinterest right now.