Social Media

The un-social network: Is it time for your business to pin its hopes on Pinterest?

Fi Bendall /

Social media platform Pinterest is less about connecting with people than it is about sharing visual ideas. It’s growing fast, and the reason for that might be it is providing a space where people can get away from the politics, trolling and bullying that happens so regularly on other platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram.

“At a time when the internet can feel increasingly negative and politicised, we think it’s remarkable that a quarter of a billion people are choosing to spend their time on Pinterest, a place that helps them feel positive and optimistic about the future,” Pinterest co-founder and chief executive Evan Sharp wrote in a recent blog post.

“Other apps are about connecting with friends and inviting more people to join. Pinterest is your place to reconnect with yourself.”

That is a compelling point of differentiation for Pinterest. Think about the sea of narcissism that confronts you on Instagram, or the endless scroll for something interesting on your Facebook news feed, or some of the juvenile stuff you have to wade through on Snapchat (it is Snapchat after all) — it is easy to get a sense of where Pinterest’s appeal to ‘Pinners’ lies.

Pinterest is far from being the biggest social media platform. According to its figures, it has 250 million active users globally, which is a long way behind Instagram’s one billion and miles away from Facebook’s monstrous 2.2 billion. But Pinterest added about 50 million users over the past year, making it one of the fastest growing social networks.

However, that’s not the point of interest for Pinterest. The platform caters to visual people with a creative bent. That artistic bent might be for fashion, home interiors, food, beauty and cosmetics, or arts and crafts.

According to a Nielsen study cited by Pinterest, 98% of Pinterest users go out and try ideas they find on Pinterest compared to the 71% social media platform average, which indicates a very strong level of engagement, making it perfect for brands in those creative spaces. That means Pinterest users are more likely to answer your call to action.

As well as creative types, Pinterest is very popular with women, with various stats showing women account for about two-thirds of Pinterest’s users, with that figure trending far higher in areas such as fashion, beauty and cosmetics.

In an interview with Fairfax, Pinterest chief executive Evan Sharp addressed what some analysts have called Pinterest’s ‘woman problem’ by saying: “It’s a really great problem to have, and I don’t think it is a problem.” Hooray to that!

Sharp also outlined plans to start targeting smaller businesses, positioning Pinterest as a high traction alternative to the other social networks.

“If you are a business trying to find customers Pinterest is really great because people are on Pinterest actively considering what they can do or buy next,” he told Fairfax.

“As a business, I think it is a particularly good place to get discovered by people who are looking for products and services,” he said. “We have promotor pins and we have ads and a lot of SMBs are using promotor pins to find their customers and to get discovered and that is relatively easy to scale because it is targeting people using advertising technology. I think as we get bigger, we are getting better at it and we will be better for businesses.”

Pinterest might be the trick for businesses that can market themselves visually, and that are looking to diversify their social media channels and boost engagement.

Australian businesses have been relatively slow to take up Pinterest as it has flown a little under the radar in this country, so now might be the time for your business to get pinning.

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Fi Bendall

Fi Bendall is chief executive of The Female Social Network and a Westpac/AFR 2015 100 Women of Influence, who was described by CEO Magazine as 'The CEO's Secret Weapon'. An expert and pioneer in digital strategy, she has over 23 years’ experience in the digital and tech sectors.

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