The New Pinterest
By Aleksandra Weglarz
Pinterest unveiled a new look in early April, and later in the month, changes were instituted again. The new Pinterest had some basic changes, many behind the scenes, such as updating the system so it would be bug-free and strong enough for its incredible following. The changes in appearance have been minimal. The design is only slightly different, although the overall effect is much more streamlined and sleek. Hashtags and linking features have been eliminated. Before the change, hashtags were present on the site but for many users it wasn’t clear how they should be used or if they were relevant. Ridding the site of unsightly hashtags no doubt helped the new layout look as clean as it does. For marketers, the only relevant design change is that photos are larger, which does provide slightly more flexibility when choosing a display image.
Another reason the design differences may matter for marketers: users loved it. And Pinterest quickly fixed the aspects of the change they didn’t love. For example, users demanded the ability to discover users from whom they pinned, and a mention feature in which to tag friends. Pinterest quickly obliged. This response to feedback is uncommon for social media websites. To users accustomed to Facebook’s incessant changes, seemingly unconcerned with user opinion, a social media site actually adjusting to user opinion is revolutionary.
Further, it continues to encourage the personalized feel of Pinterest. Every pin is an item a user picked, labeled, and pinned to a board, which they also hand designed. When Pinterest as a whole changes, it also only does so with Pinner approval. The end result is that items on Pinterest come recommended by simply being there and they are rendered more appealing every time they are repinned. An item pinned is an item put on a pedestal—and the opportunity to have your product, company, and brand on the personal pedestal in the mind of thousands of Pinners is an opportunity that cannot be missed. This is the reason Pinterest is proving vital to marketers. Unlike other social media sites, individuals go to Pinterest to find products and ideas rather than friends. Further, pins remain relevant and in the Pinterest “feed” for days as opposed to minutes or hours on Twitter and Facebook, which provides for more potential viewership.
However, according to Shoplet.com founder and CEO, Tony Ellison, the most important change in the new Pinterest for business is an elimination of the “like” feature. “Formerly, a business could link a board to Facebook and quickly gather “likes” from Facebook. This is no longer the case, and businesses can no longer leverage their Facebook following to grow their Pinterest following in this way. Luckily for us, Shoplet.com’s Pinterest page was not built in that way. We have grown organically and become very successful by keeping with our fail-proof strategy. What marketers need to do when working on Pinterest is take into account how Pinterest works, and this is what we do.”
As with every social media channel, there are specific trends and interests that are leading on Pinterest. As news may be a priority for tweeters, on Pinterest the content is lighter and oriented for the future. Recipes, home decor, fashion, and photography dominate. “We capitalize on those and blend them with our company values and products to create our own personal image. DIY projects, office humor, and environmentally friendly products are our strong hold,” says Ellison.
Shoplet.com has certainly been successful on Pinterest and they attribute it to their three-point image relevance strategy. The image has to be relevant to the season, brand, or Pinterest. And the more of these points it hits, the better. Additionally, the images pinned must be extraordinary. Your blandest product on a white background will not do. It must evoke feeling from the viewer and have a bigger purpose. Your pin must be useful or beautiful, preferably both.
For an example of Shoplet’s strategy in action, we can take their Cinco de Mayo board. Users were looking for appropriate celebration ideas leading up to the recent holiday. The board was relevant to Pinterest because it was filled with the things Pinners love most: recipes, decoration ideas, even a puppy in costume. Finally, it was relevant to the brand, because amongst the margarita recipes,` they included a few pins from their website, for example for discounted plastic cups with a description suggesting their use as disposable margarita “glasses.”
Similar boards can be made for any holiday. Tagging every photo with “Brought to you by Shoplet.com—everything for your business,” promotes brand awareness and loyalty. And because of the nature of Pinterest, the several thousand Pinterest users that follow Shoplet don’t just say, “This is a company I use.” They say, “This is a company whose values and tastes reflect my own.” This is the magic of Pinterest that every business should aim to capture.
Aleksandra Weglarz is a Tulane University graduate currently working in the Marketing and P.R. Industry. She has held several positions handling social media accounts in various stages of development, and is fascinated by the different user experiences and expectations every platform fosters. She specializes in creating the content the users want to see, creating the brand loyalty every company is hoping to develop.