To date, Pinterest, the digital bulletin board, has excelled as a platform for visual content establishing a loyal fan base on the strength of outstanding usability. In recent months, this slightly different social network has grown increasingly useful to companies and brands, too. Interesting new features are being added all the time, and the levels of active use are impressive. We already compiled lots of facts and data in this Pinterest article. Now, the platform has unlocked its feature for communities.
Instagram and Facebook are still far in the lead, of course, but their orientation is different, too. And, as everyone knows, it is precisely the niches that must be discovered and occupied: Where does marketing work especially well for my brand? Where can I reach my target audience effectively?
After all, Pinterest ranks behind Facebook in second place among the social sources as a supplier of traffic. The developments in the area of shopping are exciting, too:
“If you discover something on Pinterest that you’d like to have, you should be in a position to buy this product (or one similar to it) at a price that’s acceptable to you. And that’s exactly our vision of shopping with Pinterest.”
That’s what Pinterest wrote about itself on the occasion of the “product pins” that were only recently introduced. With these product pins, users can simply click through to a retailer’s website and shop for their discoveries directly online. According to Pinterest, clicks on the products of the shop websites have been up by 40 percent since the start of the test phase of these new pins.
Further development of the features is thus far from complete. There is one area in particular in which Pinterest still lags far behind the competition: interactions! Here, the dimension that made Facebook and Instagram really big to begin with is still in an expansion stage that is significantly downstream. Perhaps this is also why Pinterest communities were introduced so quietly.
Pinterest communities should stoke interaction
Actually, it’s extremely strange that there has been so little exchange and interaction on Pinterest thus far; after all, images are considered to be emotionally charged content. And if these are then sorted thematically and compiled onto easy-to-consume bulletin boards, then naturally this ought to lead to interaction. This was not the case in the past, however. Even users with a broad reach receive comparatively few comments. The numbers of interactions reported by Pinterest are impressive in some respects, but they are a reflection of re-pin activity. There is no such thing as a “Like” function any more.
Either Pinterest simply failed to develop a useful way to integrate interactions, or it initially set other priorities. But that’s now set to change. At any rate, the “Communities” feature launched without any announcement whatsoever is well-suited to the purpose. After things didn’t work so well with comments on individual Pins, Pinterest now bundles interactions on particular topics on a Community page. Every user can create a Community and invite other users to join it. The only requirement at the moment: for the menu item to be visible at all, a user first has to have been invited to join one of the existing communities. Then one can join any community, because they are all public.
Why marketers should become active now
It is still unclear just how well this new feature will be accepted in the end. Nevertheless, there are several good reasons to become active right now:
- a Community name can be assigned only once
- there will be thematic duplications
- many people want to try out the new feature and will gladly accept invitations
- early experience yields an edge in expertise
- restrictions instituted after the fact are possible at any time
The bottom line: Pinterest is moving closer to Facebook
Pinterest never wanted to be a Facebook killer, nor will it become one with this new feature. Nevertheless, the communities are exciting for purposes of B2C marketing, because if you make proper use of them, they offer direct access to the target group. One should devote some thought beforehand, however, to the people one wants to reach, with what, and in pursuit of which goals. Or, in a word: Pinterest must be meaningfully integrated into the strategy that governs communication and content.