Most e-commerce brands understand the importance of social media to their digital marketing strategy, but they may not have harnessed its full potential. One of the social networks many companies have yet to build a strong strategy for is Pinterest.
The popular image-sharing network has risen in popularity since its inception. But it still features a disproportionately high ratio of female versus male users. Pinterest and its fans are making efforts to rectify this phenomenon, but how can you do so without resorting to gender-based stereotypes?
Below is a discussion of Pinterest's gender problem and how brands can appeal to men and women alike on the platform.
How is Pinterest doing right now?
As of August 2014, Pinterest sits at #4 on the list of most popular social networks. It represents 255 million users, which is close to the entire population of the US. However, Pinterest continues to lag behind Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
According to Morgan Johnstonbaugh of Crimson Hexagon, Pinterest also presents significant crossover value in social media. For instance, "1.5 Tweets were written about Pinterest" in the past three months, Johnstonbaugh points out.
The most popular topics tagged on Pinterest these days consist of crafts, interior design, fashion, and food. Sixty-four percent of Pinterest users are women, which indicates a significant disparity between females and males on the platform.
But is this due primarily to users' self-selected preferences or does it suggest a systematic exclusion of men?
Pinterest's efforts to draw in more males
Fully aware of the limitations of domination by one gender, Pinterest has launched a concerted marketing effort to attract more men to the platform. Their goal is to show men that the site is about more than traditionally female-driven categories and encourage them to participate in the community.
Pinterest's campaign to bring more men to the pinning table has included:
Marketing imagery. Images on the registration and sign-in pages now feature noticeably more men than they used to.
New head of marketing. Pinterest recently hired David Rubin, the former VP at Unilever responsible for Axe advertising campaigns, to head up its gender-inclusive marketing efforts.
Encouraging a wider array of pin topics. Although Pinterest has developed a reputation for being a planning forum for weddings and baby showers, the network continues to market itself as a place for businesses and individuals to share pins on everything from investing tips to tech trends.
Does your business need to amp up its gender-inclusive Pinterest strategy?
Businesses currently active on Pinterest are among those that contribute the most to the diversity of content on the social network. Rather than focusing on traditionally "male" or "female" topics, they share their latest innovations, ideas, and inspirations.
Leaders in a variety of industries are helping to shatter stereotypes when it comes to which gender a specific kind of content appeals to. Whether you run a crafting business or an investment firm, your Pinterest strategy can (and should) come as close as possible to reaching the widest array of audience members.
Regardless of the dominant genders of their followers, brands succeed best at pinning as a market strategy when they:
Pin useful and relevant content. Although Pinterest is a fun place to peruse interesting images, the content that will most attract the interest of potential customers provides valuable advice or tips.
Share new products and inventions. Industry leaders such as GE use Pinterest to release initiatives to their followers. The people who interact with you on Pinterest should feel as though they are privy to the latest news with regard to your brand.
Encourage user-generated content. Rather than telling audiences what they should use or how they should use it, let them show you (and everyone else). Ask followers to pin pictures of how they interact with your product, and everyone will benefit from their ingenuity.
Create a community. Facilitating a forum where customers from all over the world can share their insights makes a brand's Pinterest page a gathering place rather than a marketing gimmick.
With authenticity and thoughtful leadership, Pinterest and the businesses that use it can transcend the question of gender and come closer to being the social network of choice for all users.
How has your brand leveraged Pinterest to appeal to diverse audiences?