The latest social media portal to create a marketing frenzy is Pinterest. Many Indian marketing executives, social media enthusiasts and even brand managers are currently looking at Pinterest as an integrating social media platform.
Commenting on Pinterest’s differentiation, Anil Nair, Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer, Digital Law & Kenneth said, “Even though social networks are born with the principle of connecting like-minded people, Pinterest works on the principle of sharing interests. Users can explore and showcase new facets to their hobbies and interests and be inspired. At the end of the day what Pinterest does is connect personalities. In a nutshell, Facebook is a place where you are connected with the people you went to high-school with, while Pinterest is the place you are connected with the people you wish you went to high-school with.”
The trend that has been observed by industry experts is that Pinterest is a very women-centric tool. According to ComScore, 80 per cent of Pinterest users are women and hence, verticals such as travel, apparel, art, food, restaurants and even wedding planning are flourishing on the network and generating a lot of buzz along the way.
Digital Law & Kenneth recently ventured into Pinterest with one of its social media clients ‘Lavasa, The first planned city in India’. “Since it is a very visual tool, the strategy was to showcase the facets of what a future planned city like Lavasa has to offer and promote the offering. We realised that Lavasa as a brand inspires a lot of people to share content, especially visual and lifestyle, and we wanted to leverage the same,” added Nair
Pepe Jeans India recently held a contest on Pinterest called the ‘Pin It to Win It’ contest, where they encouraged people to follow them and re-pin content from the specially created contest board.
Largely Indian brands are experimenting with Pinterest and are trying to put down some key learnings to leverage it to its optimum in the near future. According to Sabyasachi Mitter, Managing Director, Interface Business Solutions, Pinterest is somewhat like Twitter which is a difficult medium to gain traction on because brands cannot advertise to get followers.
“Right now the numbers at least for India are very small, just under three lakh users. Once more and more brands start promoting their Pinterest presence and start putting ‘Pin It’ buttons next to images on their website, usage would increase. Brands can only keep communicating back to followers via new pins. In that context, the expected number of followers of even successful brands would be a few thousand at best. So, for some time to come, it will be a niche medium, unlikely to majorly change the social media mix strategy of many brands,” added Mitter.
Sanjay Mehta, Joint Chief Executive Officer, Social Wavelength shared a different point of view. He said that Pinterest can become the most significant driver of social traffic to e-commerce site. "The most relevant reason why Pinterest is working for one of our e-commerce clients in India is that the brand has a large (more than 50 per cent) base of customers from outside India, mainly in the US. Due to this factor, and the fact that Pinterest definitely has a larger number of users in the US, it has been relevant to use Pinterest for that brand."
Interface Business Solution has started using Pinterest for two of its clients Croma and Vivanta by Taj. For Croma, the agency has planned to create boards for gadgets of desire with a link back to the product purchase page. The idea is to come up on pinterest search for people looking for gadgets and then take them to the website.
“A good way to see if your brand is already pinteresting to users is to see if any content has already been pinned by users from your website. So for example, for Vivanta by Taj checking Pinterest tells us that users are already pinning content from the website, an indication that the brand should follow an active Pinterest strategy,” said Mitter.
Pinterest is thereby considered to be a content-driven marketing channel. The most important element is to have a continuous content generation plan. If the brand in its general course of business or otherwise does not generate visually rich content, it’s going to struggle on Pinterest.
If the brand has a website with equally compelling visual content, a prominent ‘Pin It’ button should be deployed next to such content to make it easy for users to pin the content from the website itself. The pinning strategy needs to be well defined with each image linked back to the relevant website destination page. Lastly, enough resource time should be deployed to interact with those who engage with the brand on Pinterest by repining, following and commenting.
Early adopters on a new social media platform have always been very few but interestingly quite a few Indian brands have already adopted Pinterest. The wait is to see how quick other brands come aboard and how effective marketing communication can generate interesting brand pins.