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Monday, December 03, 2012

Pinterest: a Different PR Tactic

Sad to say, but I probably spend at least an hour on Pinterest per day. Whether I’m wasting time online, on my phone in between classes, or simply in need of some inspiration, Pinterest serves its purpose. The social media site launched in 2010, but in 2011 they reported such a dramatic traffic increase that not even YouTube could compete. Within a matter of a few short months, Pinterest became a dominant social media tool. While I initially looked to Pinterest for style or cooking inspiration, the social media site has proved to be not only a place for inspiration but also a Public Relations tool.

Pinterest is a very different type of social media because the focus is not on verbal communication, but rather on connecting with a target audience via use of visuals. Scrolling through a Pinterest page to me is basically like flipping through a magazine. Pins can offer anything from workout advice, recipes, clothes, an infographic, home/garden décor, etc. Each Pin is linked to an outside website, many of which are businesses and blogs. If a picture receives multiple repins, Pinners are likely to further explore that site or business.

Take Glitter Guide, for example. Glitter Guide is a fashion and lifestyle blog that has promoted itself and its partner sites by using pins with article captions to drive their Pinterest followers to their site. Glitter Guide is one of Pinterest’s most popular Pinners because they balance promotion and inspiration on their boards. For example, one of Glitter Guide’s recent popular pins photographs a woman with cat-eye makeup, captioned “how to: cat-eye.” Click on the pin and you’re directed to a step-by-step blog post from one of Glitter Guide’s partner sites. By posting that pin with that caption, Pinterest users have been directed from Pinterest to the source and are bound to further explore.

Unfortunately for a student on a college budget such as myself, I have used Pinterest to purchase products like I never have before with Twitter and Facebook. Promoting brands and a product is one strength that Pinterest reigns over both Twitter and Facebook (check out these statistics!). That said, Pinterest may not enable the PR professional to directly communicate one-on-one with their market, but it is the ideal tool for promoting site traffic and visual branding.

Claire Hassel
University of Minnesota
Jour 3279
Blog Assignment