Interest in Pinterest

Interest in Pinterest

Yes, that’s right, you’ve heard the news by now. A “new” social media platform has burst on the scene — in fact, not just a new platform, but a platform lauded breathlessly by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Mashable in recent weeks, to name just a few.  A new platform that’s grown faster in its first months than any other stand-alone site before it, according to ComScore, which credits Pinterest with more than 11 million unique users as of January 2012. The final proof came for me recently when, among all my hotel clients, the marketing director with the least (to date) interest in social media emailed to ask whether the hotel ought to be on Pinterest. 

Well, the answer is yes. In the short term, I’ve encouraged the marketing director himself to dive in to Pinterest and get a feel for the content on offer.   

I should offer a true confession: This is not the advice I was originally intending to provide to him, nor was it the approach I was planning for this blog post. As word has continued to spread about Pinterest, my initial reaction for clients who are still finding the best ways to maximize their impact on Facebook and Twitter (much less Google+) was, “Let’s improve your engagement on existing platforms before leaping on to the next.” But a funny thing happened on the way to the blog — I found I was using Pinterest more and more myself. Its ease of use, visual impact and compelling ways to link to interesting content are a perfect fit for travelers and the travel industry alike.  

Very briefly, Pinterest is an online “pinboard” (or, “corkboard,” if you prefer) in which you can “pin” photos to a board for others to see. The platform allows you to create as many boards as you wish on any topics you find interesting (“best museums near our hotel,” for instance). The platform allows you to easily grab photos from any website as you browse online and then post those photos to a board of your choosing. Photos that you post will automatically contain a link back to the website they came from. It’s a marvelous way, for instance, to offer a form of online concierge service and establish your hotel as a resource for advice on the best restaurants, sites and recreational opportunities nearby. It’s a simple process to embed a Pinterest button on your hotel’s website, encouraging visitors to explore your Pinterest board(s). At its most basic level, this allows you to create a much more engaging “recommended links” section than you may already have on your website.  

Pinterest has cautioned its users not to be overly “self-promotional,” but this sort of curated content — or advice to hotel guests — can be a great first step. National retail brands have already gone further, with Gap, for instance, offering boards that link directly to catalog purchase options.  

So, if you’re suffering from Social Media Fatigue (SMF), then the bad news is there’s another social media platform you really should explore. The good news? It’s easy to use and holds great potential — and your customers are headed there already. If you’re already using Pinterest and having success with the platform, I’d love to hear more about it!