Sunday, February 26, 2012

I am the 4%. A Chaps View of Pinterest.

I’d hate to feel this is jumping on the ‘lets write an article on Pinterest' band-wagon, but I’ve got something I wanted to say - and that’s that ‘I like it’

I’m a 45 year old married Englishman. I’m not a scrap-booker, not genetically disposed to care about soft furnishings, and I’m not planning a wedding. I am, however, quietly addicted to Pinterest. Admittedly I’m quite rare. Out of the 12 million monthly unique users only 4% of are male, and it’s a platform populated with aspirational graphical content offering little stimulus to most chaps. These stats are based on US users, however, so there may be some cultural deviation here


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being dismissive of the content or the audience – far from it – but the bulk of content in general streams isn’t stuff I’m interested in and that’s just how it is. I’m fully aware - as a strategist of all things social – that this platform is a pure fried gold if I want to target the lifestyle market, people with families (50% of users have children) or women in general.


So, what do I find so good about it? Here are 6 things:
  • It’s easy to sign up. Do I want to sign in using my Facebook details and be able to find my friends? Why yes, don’t mind if I do. Over 9 million monthly Facebook-connected users so far, and rising.
  • It’s visual. It appeals to the graphic designer in me. As developers we should be optimizing our web images for Pinterest starting immediately – especially if you or your clients are in ecommerce.
  • It’s always there. Pinterest uses a browser-based snipping tool I just click on, pick a category, and it’s saved and shared. Very clean and simple.
  • It really is social. My friends are my friends because, on the whole, we share at least some similar tastes. It’s adding to my life and helping me find things that I care about right now. It seems to be genuinely providing me a service. Honestly, how often does that happen?
  • Repinning, liking, commenting – just the right balance of information to make it friendly, but without loosing track of what my content is about due to other peoples irrelevant activity in my stream.
  • I rather like the iPhone app. It’s good for a browse on the train after Flipboard’s given me my aggregated daily ‘need-to-know’. As with all platforms built to promote use, it’s easy to access and fills a gap in my casual browsing. If it ever pulls into Flipboard with image import (and sharing out to Pinterest) I’d be a happy man.
The problem of being outside of ones demographic is self-replicating. I sometimes find myself in social media channels talking to other social media people about social media if there’s nothing else to do. However, that’s not happening and I put some of this down to the way I’ve deliberately made my boards and what I opt into. I am a bit of an RSS and feeds-geek, admittedly. I follow a lot of actual boards (which are far more targeted) than ‘individual people’. Pulling in their niche interests that correspond with mine as opposed to the total stream.

As a guy it’s initially hard to find content in the general content, and when you do it tends to be culinary related, clothing, or the more aesthetic side of gadgettery. Where are the fast cars, and gentlemen’s grooming accessories? A new service still in beta might be the answer. Gentlemint pitches it’s self as a ‘mint of manly things’ and has promise. I started playing with it last week. It has a good stream of moustache products, classical and impractical automobiles, cocktail making and real ale tips, and other visual treats that appeal to my content tastes. While it currently lacks the well balance features set of Pinterest this appears to be only because of it’s age and I’ll be keeping a friendly eye on it as it develops. Also worth a look, professionally, is Fancy - less popular but with a head-start at moneterization through a built-in deals platform with notable ecomms already signed up.

For business Pinterest has great promise. There seems to be some ambiguity on ownership of content that still warrants investigation for clients, but if you have a lifestyle brand or service appropriate to the audience there’s real social potential (and an SEO boost as a possible hidden extra). Pinterst could offer a nice client service as well as being a place to share your wares with a growing audience.
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