Social Media River Blog

Posts tagged Brand

Pinterest User Base is Growing Fast and Brands Are in The Game

Image sharing social media site Pinterest, that started in 2010, is boasting some impressive numbers (and much media attention) in the first quarter of 2012. As of early 2012, Pinterest is driving about the same amount of traffic as Twitter to retailers’ websites, and its user base is growing fast. Twitter’s growth in its first two years of business from 2006 and 2008 was 3 million users where as Pinterest has grown its user base from its launch in 2010 to today, 2012, with 10.4 million users.

Pinterest has earned its status as a real social media player, and now has brand retailers and corporations looking into the site’s possibilities in more detail. Although there has been some very valid discussion about the copyright dilemmas of the rather free-spirited image sharing and bookmarking practices, not all retailers regard image sharing as a negative, but in fact have taken steps to encourage the “pinning” of image product content on their websites. Many brand retailers targeting young female adults have gone ahead and integrated Pinterest’s “Pin it” button system to their website for easy pinning of their site’s image content. For instance, Anthropologie just recently (as of March 2012) added “Pin it” button integrations to its website thereby clearly regarding Pinterest social media sharing with an equal level of importance for brand marketing as Facebook.

Pinterest website integration

Integrating “Pin it” Button Image Sharing System To Your Website

If your company is in the retail business with a target audience consisting of female and/or young consumers, it is worth considering adding “Pin it” button integrations to your website’s product catalog. Pins created from your website’s image content have a potential of producing significant traffic to your website.

Becoming an Active Pinterest Member

Some brand retailers have also joined the Pinterest user base with their own Pinterest boards. If your audience is using Pinterest then this might be a good idea as well. Pinterest users have their ideas of good pinning practices, and most likely, will not appreciate any heavy target marketing via Pinterest’s pages. The person in charge of your company’s Pinterest account should be a Pinterest lover who enjoys pinning and interacting in Pinterest beyond any hard sales goals. The spirit should be inviting and inspiring, rather than targeting and hard-selling. An in-between solution would be to use Pinterest as a personal taste and style board with a link to your “work” website such as the case of Interaria’s web designer Meri’s Pinterest style board that is a collage of professional and personal interests.

Social Media Promotion Beyond Widgets: Community and Brand Lifestyle Pages

A new website architecture trend is to promote social media engagement with a distinguished section or a community page in addition to placing social media icons and various social media plug-ins on a website. These engagement pages typically carry an inviting name such as “[Brand name] Life” or “Community”.

This new trend and pattern in promoting social media engagement is increasing especially among popular youth brands that build their brand image specifically on the premise of sharing and breathing the same life style as their audience. For these youth brands, social media “fans” are their brand image, and at key in staying relevant in the minds of their audience. Let’s take a look at the following samples of promoting social media engagement on a website beyond icons, widgets, and blog links.

1) Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters recently redesigned their website with a greater emphasis on navigation on mobile devices and integration of social media engagement. Urban Outfitters builds up a strong image as a social media savvy company by featuring a Community area with 11 unique interaction points for action, 8 of them related to social media engagement on their blog, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter. Rather than just displaying social media icons or links to the first blog posts, the Community page acts as a front door to seamlessly step into the the world of social media by Urban Outfitters.

2) Armani Exchange

Armani Exchange, who has also recently been re-shaping their website, had created a portal page that emphasizes news, events, giveaways, behind scenes and social media. The page offers several action points to deepen the engagement with the consumer and the time spent on the website. The page is not titled as “social media” but as “life”, sending a message: Media engagement is a “natural” part of the Armani Exchange brand, not an extension.

3) Hollister

Hollister’s rather minimalist website architecture also emphasizes social media as a home base for the Hollister community. Out of four main tabs for the website’s navigation (Dudes, Bettys, Cali Looks, HCO Life), the last tab “HCO Life” is designed as a simple yet strong gateway to integrate social medial engagement. True, Hollister is not integrating that much of social media onto their website but their strategy to emphasize social media engagement on its own page is powerful. Where as Aramani Excahnge offers multiple engagement options on their “AX Life” portal page, Hollister has chosen to foster an opposite strategy: “Everyone, go to Facebook, and Facebook only”. This website’s message is further re-enforced at Hollister stores by the staff who is time to time instructed to finish each transaction taking place with a phrase such as “Check out us on Facebook”. Each buying customer leaves a Hollister store with a paper bags with a similar message: “Check out HCo. on facebook”. The social media strategy has been extremely successful: With over 5,468,600 likes, Hollister has one of the largest fan bases on Facebook with an ongoing lively chatter and commenting on various wall posts, new products and new models.

4) Marimekko

Although the last example, Marimekko, doesn’t belong to the category of companies creating social media portal areas, Marimekko’s use of the concept “tribe” belongs to this same social media philosophy of identifying and building communities and talks perfectly, in this case, to Marimekko brand’s modern and urban fashion community. (Perhaps at a later point, Marimekko will be integrating its tribe of fans further on their website.)

© 2011. Meri Kuusi-Shields /Social Media River / Interaria. All rights reserved.