Social media + strong imagery = a winning combination

Photo sharing sites like Pinterest and Instagram are growing very quickly and are on the leading edge of graphic social networks which host images uploaded by everyday people, your friends, your customers, entertainers, brands and the public. Savvy marketers have noticed how productive the sites can be in driving “social shoppers” to their clients’ sites and product awareness.  These image sharing sites do an amazing job of inspiring people to collect (and share) pictures of their favorite things and ideas.

Fashion chain Topshop collaborated with pinboard site Pinterest in November to encourage shoppers to pin their favourite products – that’s the equivalent of clicking Like on Facebook – from the retailer’s website on to their own Pinterest pages, which are known as “boards”. This helped shoppers create personalised Pinterest Christmas gift guides. The most pinned products were featured on the Topshop homepage and shoppers could enter their Christmas-themed Pinterest boards into a competition to win prizes at the store.


Pinterest has over 53 million monthly unique users globally, with three quarters of usage coming through its mobile app. The network has started limited tests of paid-for “promoted pins” in the US, but all other brand activity is free. The company is establishing an operation in the UK where it had some 2.6m unique users in October 2013, about 1.5 million females and over a million males, according to Comscore MMX.


While Facebook is mainly for posting about what has just happened and Twitter is great for talking about the here and now, the attraction of Pinterest is its use for future plans. “Because of how people use Pinterest, it is a tool which helps facilitate future planning – to plan what you are going to cook tomorrow night for instance. ~UK country manager for Pinterest Sarah Bush


So when you’re in the supermarket, you have the mobile app and you’ve created a pin board of meals with recipe pins and you can browse the aisle looking for ingredients.” She says Pinterest is also powerful for discovering new products and prospective experiences. “It is like Google, a search engine. It’s an environment where you discover and do things, because all pins have a destination. And it can work for a wide range of businesses.”

Meanwhile, Instagram says it has 160 million monthly active users globally, with 65 million photos uploaded every day and with a billion likes per day. The Facebook-owned company says users spend three times as long on Instagram as they do on Pinterest and twice as long as on Twitter.

UK brands that have used Instagram include Burberry, which has posted live pictures of its fashion shows including London Fashion Week. The fashion retailer has grown its Instagram following organically to over one million. Red Bull has documented a cliff-diving competition in Wales through Instagram. And Jaguar has published a series of short films as part of an Instagram video campaign to promote its F-Type Coupe launch.

Publishers are also active on the photo-sharing sites, with Random House getting 1.5 million Pinterest followers. Christine McNamara, director of partnerships at Random House in the US, says that many authors use Instagram to post teasers about upcoming books, and give a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a writer. And she adds: “Success on Pinterest is about authenticity and consistency – keep your following engaged with relevant content on a regular basis and you will find success. And it can’t hurt to find beautiful images to communicate with such a visually compelled audience.”

The social photo-sharing site Pinterest said Monday it was partnering with a bunch of new companies to make its pins more useful. The site will offer movie pins that show cast lists, recipe pins with ingredient information, and most relevant to eBay, product pins that show items like clothes or furniture with pricing, availability and where to buy. As the company explains, “From your feed, you can tell when a pin has more information by the icon that appears below the picture. We’ll also update all of your old pins so they’re more useful, too.” Happy pinning!

Brands may find that pictures speak louder than words when it comes to finding a lead with social shoppers.

Pinterest just got an upgrade that could make it easier for users to gather information by navigating in its site. Instead of exclusively linking back to the original source, pins from certain brands will now display information such as recipes, movie reviews and price information.


Brand Partnerships Bring New Pin Format

Pinterest has partnered with several brands, including eBayTargetModClothSony andNetflix, to introduce these more descriptive pins. The content of these pins will vary based on the brands who post them. For example, a pin from ModCloth could include the price of an item of clothing, while a pin from Netflix could provide more information about the cast of a TV series or the rating of a film.


In a statement to Mashable, a Pinterest spokesperson expressed her hope that the “community will now see more useful Pins at first glance, rather than having to dig around or click to other websites.” The option to list more information on pins will give brands the opportunity to advertise specific product detail to Pinterest users.


After the upgrade, you may see pins that look like this from the brand partners:

New Pinterest pin format


In this example, instead of leaving Pinterest to make your blueberry crumble, you can access the recipe in your news feed, courtesy of brand partner Leite’s Culinaria. These more-comprehensive pins could help brands establish a stronger Pinterest following by giving their pins an instructional edge in users’ feeds. A small logo appears on the new kind of pin to indicate the brand that posted it.


If these descriptive pins mean more time spent on the site, it could also be an attractive feature to future advertisers looking to work with the popular and overwhelmingly visual network.


An Increased Emphasis on Mobile

In an effort to advance its mobile presence, Pinterest is rolling out another new feature that gives users the option to pin from mobile apps. The popular “pin it” button will be added to other apps, making Pinterest’s content more ingrained in the user’s mobile experience. At launch, the button will be featured in apps such as EtsyFotopedia,Jetsetter and ModCloth. This update comes on the heels of Pinterest adding notifications and mention capabilities to its mobile app last week.

Pin It Mobile

Pinterest introduced a new web design in March of this year, and these upgrades indicate that more changes are yet to come. Do you think these new features will be useful? Let us know in the comments below.

All images courtesy of Pinterest


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Jennifer Goodwin

Jennifer is a 22 year internet marketing expert. She can "Organize The Internet" in under 15 minutes to make sure that no one gets confused, overwhelmed or taken advantage of again. Join her free FB Group-->