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Why We Pin It? Takeaway Lessons from Pinterest

Pinterest is now the third largest social network. It's ahead of both Linkedin and Google+, as measured by number of users, according to a new report from Experian. Its rapid success has led to a proliferation of clones. Will any of them come anywhere close to garnering the same attention? If they do, it won’t be because they just copycatted Pinterest, it will be because they understood and integrated the same formula for success. Let’s take a closer look at 6 key factors driving the success of one of today’s largest social networks:

1) Continuous Involvement – Most social networks have you create a profile and once you’re done filling out your basic sign-up data that’s literally the end of the engagement process. The signup process at Pinterest is just that and then the real fun begins.

2) Self Expression – On the surface Pinterest appears to be just about pining individual pictures to boards. However, this is one case where the sum is greater than the parts. Your complete collection of boards and pins can effectively highlight an individual’s tastes and style all in one web page. The information conveyed about your personality by your Pinterest profile is a leap ahead of the text based information that other social networks compile when it comes to actually capturing some essence of your character.  

3) Social Feedback Loop – Pinterest creates a positive feedback loop where if you post something great it can easily go viral. Short of going viral a few repins or likes can be satisfying and rewarding enough to keep most users going. Communication is kept to a minimum and as a result users feel safe that they can broadcast content without fear of criticism. If you’re the kind of person who feels uncomfortable posting updates to friends then Pinterest might work for you as it feels more like it’s about individual expression then social broadcasting.  

4) Passive Creation – People have a natural drive to towards creating and modifying their environments. The great thing about Pinterest is that it rewards us with the feeling of being creative but does not require us to actually do much work. Jon Crowley the Digital Strategist at Klick Health commented on Quora that “It’s successful because it feels like you're being creative, without the related effort.”

5) Visual Engagement - Image and video on other networks like Facebook have always shown higher degrees of interaction then text status updates. Pinterest picks up on this important fact and the platform is basically just the visual element.

6) Great for Marketing – Attracting people looking to promote themselves is always a great marketing strategy. Pinterest makes it easy for marketers to get attention by posting compelling content that ties back to the brand and can result in direct traffic. While we find some spam on Pinterest most marketers have great boards. In general, marketers can be valuable members in a community if there activities can be structured to create value for everyone and Pinterest has largely been successful on this front.

Join The Conversation

  • Jul 26 Posted 2 years ago Susanne Rector

    Hi David,

    cicely written article.

    I do agree with some of the comments about copywrite. I know some 'pinners' are trying to monitor their work very closely to make sure they get the opywrite credit when their images are pinned. Watermarking would be another way I can see to protect your content.

    Susilbelati's comments are also interesting to think about. If you're using Pinterest for marketing your business, these things are of great concern. We are always happy to promote ourselfes in different channels, but what's the impact? What if our products get re-pinned and is the copywrite/credit pinned with it? (See my comment to that above)

    And I agree with windycityparrot, as a stand-alone Pinterest is not a high value for a business, but in addition to other SM channels, I find it a great tool. It created 'buzz' and interaction with people who would have not seen you in other channels.

  • yoavburger's picture
    Jul 24 Posted 2 years ago joelburger

    I love Pinterest, and believe that many similar knock offs won't make it.  For me, the self expression aspect the most attractive element.  I have 23 boards, but find that a majority of them are repins into 'Fun Art' and 'Designs and Patters' http://pinterest.com/yoavburger

    Thanks so much for this blog.  I have included it in 'Best of the Web' http://j3webmarketing.com/best-web to share with my audience.

  • Jul 22 Posted 2 years ago Michael Vaughn

    So, what are the three best examples of enterprises effectively incorporating Pinterest into the fabric of their social media plan? Anyone?

  • Jul 20 Posted 2 years ago SusiIbelati

    Hi David, thanks for an interesting article, but what's your opinion on the copyright aspect of pinning photos that aren't your own. There's been concern recently that Pinterest have protected themselves against copyright enfringement, leaving posters open to legal claims. Having just got off the starting blocks with Pinterest, we've become slightly wary at Bussroot about pinning anything that isn't on our own website. 

  • Jul 19 Posted 2 years ago marjie2

    I would love to "pin" this article, but there is no picture to pin or "pin it" button to click.  ;o(

  • Jul 19 Posted 2 years ago windycityparrot

    We're finding that Pinterest can act a a catalyst for other platforms like Twitter & Facebook and must be looked at and used as a component in SM marketing. Using it stand - alone does not maximise it's value.

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