Managing a tech brand means you always need to be on the lookout for innovative and creative ways to engage your community. Lately, the rise of Pinterest, a social content curation platform, has been making headlines. As early adopters and community managers, we naturally jumped on board right from the start.
So far, our overall experience with Pinterest has been a positive one, and we realize its potential. But we’ve also found that it’s not yet ready for most tech brands – especially those that have no visual products. In other words, Pinterest seems to expect brands to adapt their content to fit Pinterest’s platform, rather than Pinterest optimizing their platform for brands.
1. People and brands aren’t the emphasis: Try searching for someone on Pinterest. Notice the order in which the results are displayed: ‘Pins,’ then ‘Boards,’ and lastly ‘People’. Brands are organized under ‘People,’ and since they appear last, they aren’t easily found. While we
understand that Pinterest is trying to emphasize the visual aspect, we believe the connection between people is even more important – and that’s hard to achieve on Pinterest.
2. It’s hard to attract followers: Typically, the goal of brands is to accumulate an active community of followers on the various social networks. If you pin something strikingly beautiful or that piques people’s interest, it’s likely that someone will ‘Repin’ or ‘Like’ your content — or maybe even follow one of your boards. But the ratio between repins and board followers to brand followers demonstrates that getting dis extremely difficult with Pinterest. Following a brand is an extra step that most people simply won’t take. Even if brands add the ‘Follow Me on Pinterest’ button, it’s not enough to convert followers to your brand within the platform.
3. Not all brands are visual: Pinterest is a powerful platform for brands with visual products. So if you’re a fashion designer, foodie, artist, etc., it’s a great place to share your work. But that leaves out an enormous portion of brands, especially those in tech. Granted, it lets you show the personal side of a brand – you can pin pictures of your team or office, or the things you love — but it’s hard to convey the core business offering of your brand if it can’t be shown in pictures.
4. Most tech brands’ homepages aren’t ‘Pinable’: You need to try this for yourself in order to understand, but it’s difficult to directly pin brands’ homepages. Most sites may have trouble pinning their images because they aren’t the right size. Most importantly, you can’t pin directly from Facebook. So trying to create a board with all your favorite websites just won’t work. For the tech community, that’s a huge disadvantage.
5. Your brand name might already be taken: We are sure that this is in their roadmap, as it took a while for Twitter and Google+ to sort this out themselves. But as of now, there is no way for a brand to be verified on Pinterest. As a result, anyone can impersonate your brand name and take your vanity URL. If you search for Conduit on Pinterest, you’ll notice that we
are “ConduitPin” because the username “Conduit” was already taken. Clearly, that’s an issue for
6. Support is hard to come across: Providing support at a growing start-up is always a challenge. Usually, there aren’t enough resources to respond to everyone’s technical issues. This is probably the case at Pinterest. We tried contacting them several times via their website and Twitter regarding our taken vanity URL. We still haven’t received a response. Luckily, “Wibiya” wasn’t taken yet!
7. Guys haven’t bought into it yet: What we are about to say is 100% sexist, so don’t say we didn’t warn you. Here it is: guys just don’t get Pinterest! We’ve spotted a few popular male Pinterest users, but they’re a rare commodity. Apparently, women between the ages of 25 and 44 make up 59% of Pinterest users. Remember the days when women used to clip magazines and put stuff they liked in a scrapbook? Pinterest has raised the bar from homemade scrapbook to a social experience that serves up brands in the fastest digestible format to date: digital images. Having said that, we still just don’t think that guys, regardless of the content curated on Pinterest, will be as interested as women. The fact that such a big portion of the users are female leaves out a huge market: men. In the tech industry, that’s a problem. (We warned you this would be sexist, remember?)
Still, Pinterest is an innovative, somewhat addictive platform filled with potential. But for tech brands, there’s still a long way to go. We hope Pinterest will take our points into account so that tech brands can also enjoy all the goodies that Pinterest has to offer.
What do you think? Is Pinterest ready for tech brands in your opinion?