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Pinterest has 10.4 million registered users.

A jackpot if you are a company, 10.4 million people to share your products and services with visually. No more creative postings, games or even shared stories (and other types of Facebook advertising). Just pin a picture.

American users of Pinterest spend an average of 1 hour and 17 minutes on the site, well ahead of Twitter (36 minutes), LinkedIn (17 minutes), and Google+ (six minutes).

Perfect! Not only is it easy to share pic, but companies have the sustained attention of potential customers. If you pin the right images you have a chance to reach out your potential customer for more than an hour. I would say that’s excellent brand awareness.

97 percent of Pinterest users are women.

No problem right? Basically, companies are talking to women and women can be the key decision maker when it comes to buying.

Unless you have been living in a social media cave for the past few months then you should already know about Pinterest the social media site that is simply booming right now. Pinterest is a pinboard-style social photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, hobbies and more. Users can browse other pinboards for inspiration, ‘re-pin’ images to their own collections and/or ‘like’ photos. Pinterest’s mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting. Pinterest allows its users to share ‘pins’ on both Twitter and Facebook, which allows users to share and interact with a broad community. Founded by Ben Silbermann, of West Des Moines, Iowa the site is managed by Cold Brew Labs and funded by a small group of entrepreneurs and inventors.

So Pinterest is a jackpot for companies right? But does it work for non-retail companies? I wanted to find out if this was true, I always buy into any type of hype and Pinterest isn’t short on that by far. But what about companies that sell banking services or car insurance, can these companies use Pinterest as a tool to target and brand products and services to consumers?

First let’s start with the easy low hanging fruit… for the most part Pinterest is flooded with brands, most of these are in retail. Companies like Pottery Barn for Kids, West Elm and Martha Stewart are doing a fantastic job of showcasing products. Two techniques being used with success are: Using collections to show products is one… Martha Stewarts’ page puts multiple product collections together in order to feature different product combinations to consumers. Organizing products by boards is another… Pottery Barn for Kids takes advantage of the ‘board’ feature that Pinterest has, companies can organize products by a ‘board’ so that they can gather feedback and stats behind each group of products.

Techniques are important on Pinterest, and smart brands understand this. Women thinking differently then men. They are better organizers of content and socialize with other women in order to come to decisions on products and services. Of the 100+ companies on Pinterest most of them are using these techniques to message to women.   Products like tupperware and bed sheets are easy wins on Pinterest but other services are a little tougher to show to a female audience.

Southwest Airlines does a pretty decent job on Pinterest. The airline’s strategy appears be about building and branding relationships. They feature pictures of:

  • employees
  • the CEO
  • in flight images
  • destinations

Just about anything that can brand the experience to a potential customer.

So is this working? It’s hard to tell at this point, has Southwest’s ticket sales increased since they started using Pinterest, hmmm I’m not sure. What I can say is that people (women) are commenting a ton on these pictures, in some cases ‘repining’ them and sharing them with other women. I like to refer to this as organic social media, this is when a company uses channels to organically reach out to customers and fans in order to brand themselves. Conversations, comments and sharing is what is important. The hope (goal) is to reach out to enough people in order to organically grow the brand so that when a purchase decision is at hand, the customer ultimately chooses the company based on the sum of everything they have seen. Will you get a lot of companies choosing this as a goal for there social media strategy (yes and no). It really depends on the company and the goals that they have.

Let’s go deeper… stick with me. What about banking? First, are there any banks using Pinterest? Second, what types of banking images are on Pinterest? let’s look at an industry that is finding a little sweet spot in Facebook and Twitter and let’s see how this translates on Pinterest. First, there are NO banks or financial institutions on Pinterest. Second, banking images are a PLENTY. There are images of banks, people in banks, money charts and graphs. You name it – and someone has pined it or ‘repined’ it on Pinterest. I honestly love this about social media – it’s almost like ants to a piece of food. You can’t stop and you can’t contain it. Like it or not these images are being shared about the banking industry, a mountain of information.

But again, it all goes back to how a company wants to capitalize on this information. Right now, it seems like the natural strategy for a bank might be to start producing and commenting on these images. Basically helping and lending (dare I say it) free advice to customers and fans via Pinterest.

Obviously this is just one technique and one industry, but the point I’m trying to get to here is that Pinterest has countless possibilities for companies and if you are a non-retail company Pinterest could be a goldmine in the wild, wild west that is social media.

I’m interested in hearing what you think?

  • do you have a company that is non-retail and are you using Pinterest?
  • have you seen other techniques on Pinterest?

Send me some feedback… also I wanted this article to be more of a resource for anyone looking for information and stats on Pinterest. Below are some good resources if you need them:

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