Though established back in 2010, online social scrapbooking site Pinterest has gained wild popularity in the past few months. As a huge fan of Pinterest for quite some time now, I’d like to dedicate this entry to discussing how Pinterest has the potential to, with very little effort, nurture a brand’s popularity with just a few pins + shares.

For those of you who haven’t been exposed to Pinterest, here’s a brief overview of how it works: The user starts out by creating a free account through requesting an invite, or accepting a friend’s invite (which is much faster). Once an account has been created, one will be prompted to select categories they are interested in; e.g. cooking, DIY crafts, fashion, home decor, etc. Pinterest will then generate some people for you to follow who have your same interests, and, if you link your Facebook or Twitter to your Pinterest account, you will automatically follow/be followed by your Facebook friends who are also on Pinterest. Next, for ease of pinning, one can download a “Pin It” button to their bookmarks bar for easy pinning. Then, the user creates “Boards”, which serve as a means to categorize your pins. “Pins” are images with descriptions. So for example, if I were to create a Board called “Recipes to Try”, and then while browsing through a food blog one day I come across a recipe I think looks great, I can click my “Pin It” button on my bookmarks bar, which will then upload an image and link to my board, and I can go back and look at the recipe again later when I want to use it.

And since advertising and marketing, for a lack of a better word, weasels its way into any hot-at-the-moment trend, brands are finding a way to have a presence on Pinterest and let users essentially do the marketing for them. Popular boards on Pinterest often include fashion, cooking, and favorite products, all of which are easy for brands to tailor to their own pins in order to be shared by pinners. For example, Greek yogurt brand Chobani has begun posting fun, easy, and healthy recipes which include Chobani yogurt. Other fashion brands, such as Fossil, will post new clothing, accessories, and seasonal looks to get followers to not only share looks they’re interested in, but increase traffic to their websites.

One of the main reasons I feel Pinterest is a fantastic marketing tool for brands is that everything is highly visual, and people are, for the most part, LOOKING for products, goods and recipes to try out. Also, if someone is pinning something to their board, it means they either believe in the product, have heard good things about it, or intend to try it, which sends a positive message to their other Pinterest followers.

Overall, just as with any social media site, when used correctly by brands and companies, Pinterest can become a fool-proof, effective, and FREE marketing method.

Source: AdWeek