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Mike Stiles

Pinterest: Oh God Not Another One!

Pinterest: Oh God Not Another One!
(by Mike Stiles) 


So we start out with a rather unique concept that took off like a rocket, Facebook.  With over 800 million users globally, it is still without question the biggest dog in the pound.  And with an IPO expected this week, the sudden creation of numerous millionaires will probably remind us all of the power of a brilliant idea well executed.

Then theres
Twitter, a platform driven by users who tweet short bursts of activity to faithful followers who care.  It was a concept different from Facebook, and worked.  Today, we have Facebook incorporating Twitter-like functionalities (the Ticker), and Twitter taking more steps toward expanding into more Facebook-like functionalities.  Both brands seem to be moving toward a world in which the other one isnt necessary.

Along comes
Google+, roaring out of the gate with all the power and cache that Google brings.  Its differentiators were that contacts could be organized into circles (as opposed to groups?), and the Google+ platform would capitalize on all the existing powerful Google tools, all working together.  Google+ numbers are steadily going up butadoption has not exactly been overwhelmingly vast or rapid.

Into that environment, what other social network could possibly introduce itself and gain any attention or traction with users at all? 
Pinterest.  Thats right, yet another social network that we have to assess and decide whether or not its a sandbox our stations need to play in.

In as small a nutshell as I can get it, 2-year-old Pinterest is a social bookmarking site.  You see something you like on the web, you pin it to your board so other people can see it and go to it.  Its very visually drivenlots of pictures, hardly any copy.  Women make up 58% of the traffic, so theyre loving it.  Traffic quadrupled from September to December to 7.51 million unique visitors just in December.  Retailers also love it.  Pinterest has become a top 5 referrer for several apparel retailers.  This
infographic tells you the story.  Visually of course.

So heres my take.  Pinterest is proving itself as a potentially successful driver of social commerce (I say potentially because no data bears out the conversion rate to sales of Pinterest referrals).  While the site is plenty sticky and users spend lots of time on it, its value is that it sends people to other sites to buy the pretty clothes or whatever they saw a picture of.  At its root, its a catalogue.  And people, especially women, like looking through pictures in a catalogue.  The site is also set up to find quick and easy gift ideas, categorized by price.

As a radio station, youre dealing primarily in audio content, not visual.  And youre not selling anything direct to the public.  You sell ads to businesses.  So as much of a social network lover and proponent as I am, this time I can say you can sleep like a baby if you havent established a Pinterest presence or are executing a Pinterest strategy.  If you want to play on it, if you want to create boards, if you want listeners to be able to follow what you pin on your boards for funknock your lights out.  But is it as critical for the deepening of the relationships between your station and your listeners as Facebook and Twitter?  Nope.

Now if youll excuse me I have a floral sundress to buy.

Mike Stiles is a brand content specialist with the social marketing tech platform,
Vitrue. Check out his monologue blog, The Stiles Files & follow him @mikestiles

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