For this month’s Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly social media column, I talked to a group of Pinterest users–Amber, Andy, Ashley, Lauren, Jason, Jill and Tiffany–to get their perspective on the hottest site in social media.
Made to Stick: A Conversation with Pinterest Users
So far in 2012, no social media site has generated more buzz than Pinterest. The “virtual scrapbooking” site generated 11.7 million unique monthly visitors in January, becoming the fastest independent website ever to exceed 10 million unique monthly visitors. In addition, Pinterest has proven especially popular with women in the 25-44 age group, making it a very attractive destination for retailers in categories such as fashion, home decor, and entertaining. And as more men join Pinterest, it has the potential to have a much broader impact.
What’s driving this growth? To pinpoint the site’s potential, I sat down with a group of Pinterest users. Here’s what they had to say.
AJ: Why did you get started on Pinterest?
Tiffany: I learned about it through Facebook, and I kept seeing the little icon pop up.
Jill: I have a do-it-yourselfer friend, and she got great ideas from it. Then she shared it with me, and I was hooked.
Amber: Somebody sent me a recipe, then I ended up spending a couple hours there.
Jason: I had been hearing about it from friends and co-workers. I decided to check it out to see what it was all about.
AJ: For those unfamiliar with the site, how would you describe the difference between Pinterest and more well-known social media tools like Facebook and Twitter?
Jason: Pinterest is different in many ways. It’s social in a different sense. I see it as a gateway to different ideas of things to try and create or replicate.
Amber: It’s like a digital bookmark system—picture bookmarks.
Lauren: Other sites are more about you. Pinterest is more about stuff.
AJ: Tell me how you use Pinterest.
Amber: Pinterest is a huge escape for me. When I get home tired from work and just want to sit down, it’s a good way to relax my body while keeping my mind entertained. So it’s a good transition “tool” to switch gears between work and home. It’s really just a bonus that I get to be inspired by recipes or crafts.
Ashley: The way I use it today mimics the way I used it starting out a year or so ago: as a virtual scrapbook/photo album for creative ideas. It’s a repository for home improvement ideas, crafts, recipes, and artistic creativity. I know that when I feel like trying something new, I can hop on Pinterest.
Lauren: It’s my “nice, pretty” area of the Internet. It’s like getting a magazine every day.
Tiffany: It makes things a little more accessible, too. When you look at a magazine, you think “I could never do that; that doesn’t seem like anything I could ever pull off.” But then you see people who have actually done it, people who are actually like you.
AJ: Have you seen any content from brands that got your attention—favorable or unfavorable?
Jill: I saw a pair of earnings and said “oh, I want to make those!” But then I clicked on the link and I would have to buy them. That would have been understandable if it were on a fashion board, but it was on a do-it-yourself board.
Ashley: I like when brands associate prices with their items. It’s clear that it’s for sale. Honestly, though, I haven’t seen a lot of direct marketing. I see more indirect marketing, which I think is smart. For example, Lowe’s showing you a home improvement project that you can make with their products.
Andy: Brands need to know to stay away from marketing their own products. People don’t want to see that. They want to see complimentary products.
AJ: Would your opinion of Pinterest change if the site added ads or sponsored content?
Andy: Not if they’re smart about it—if they make recommendations based on what I like.
Jill: Not as long as it’s content driven, relevant to what I like. But you need to know what you’re looking at. If I think it’s something I can make, and I have to buy it, that would be bad.
Jason: I’m not a big fan of seeing a lot of ads everywhere, but I do understand the need of doing so. As long as they don’t go overboard and have ads all over, and keep the integrity of the site and the idea of what the site is supposed to be, I don’t think I would have issue with it.
AJ: What’s the one thing you enjoy most about Pinterest?
Jill: It’s a resource. It’s my escape.
Ashley: It’s visual ADHD—but then you can turn it off.
Lauren: There’s no clutter. It’s exactly what I want it to be.
Andy: There seems to be a LOT of people using it enthusiastically. You can find visual inspiration for almost anything, and the things you pin are almost guaranteed to be seen and “liked” by all sorts of users outside of your network.
That’s a brief overview of what Pinterest users are saying about the most-talked about site in social media. So, the big question is, is Pinterest worthy of your time, attention, and resources? I’ll cover that next month, with the eight questions you need to ask to determine whether Pinterest is right for your business.