Pinterest is, without a doubt, the hottest new thing in social networking. It’s so hot, in fact, that it’s the third most visited social networking site in the US, according to Experian. That puts it right behind Facebook and Twitter, and ahead of LinkedIn, Google+, MySpace and Tumblr.
Pinterest is a site that allows users to “pin” images onto an online pinboard. As Oliver Blanchard over at thebrandbuilder.wordpress.com said, “It’s like advertising without the advertising. It’s word-of-mouth publishing. Compared with the relatively low cost of being there, a platform like Pinterest can yield enormous dividends.”
He’s right. While Fortune 500 companies spend huge amounts of money to find out what consumers are saying, looking for or talking about, you’ve got the 12 million consumers on Pinterest available to provide you with feedback – for free. It’s chock full of areas for trend spotting and is a hub of consumer insights. You just have to know where to look.
If you already have a page, it’s easy to see what activity has been going on with your products and brands on Pinterest because every Pin links back to its source. If you click on the image of the pinned item, it will take you back to its original page; additionally, below each pinned item you’ll see the number of “likes” and “repins.” (If you don’t have a page… what are you waiting for?)
Use this information as great (and free!) consumer research. With those insights, you can now ask yourself questions like:
- Creative uses/new ideas: What types of Boards are people Pinning my items to? Home? Craft projects? Technology? Do my products end up in categories I didn’t expect? Why?
- Influencers: Who are my heaviest Pinners? Those are your brand advocates. Find them and reward them.
- Customer Service: What are Pinners saying about your products? Suggestions? Praise? Complaints? Be helpful; resolve problems and questions that you see in the comments.
- Trends: What are my most-Pinned products?
- Category Trends: Search Pinterest for product/service categories that you carry to see what’s popular overall. This might give you a heads up on the competition.
- Test New Products: Looking for feedback on a new idea or product? Create a “love it or hate it board” and ask Pinners for feedback.
- Revise/Enhance Existing Products: Use the comments section to engage with Pinners by asking questions like “Why do you like this product more than [that product]?” Or, “What other sizes/colors would you like to see this product in?” Perhaps they’ll clue you in to a tweak or a trend that might just help your product or business soar.
- Competition: See what’s being Pinned from your competitor’s offerings. How do you stack up against them? What is your price point compared to theirs?
- Surf: Pinterest lets you instantly “Explore” and search pins by anyone in categories like Art, Food & Drink, Hair & Beauty, Kids, and Technology. This helps you find what people are interested in throughout the categories that are most relevant to your brand. You never know what you’ll find, or what will inspire you.