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Pinterest is the hot new social media channel everyone is talking about. But what exactly is Pinterest and is there a role on Pinterest for large companies or B2B brands?

3 recent articles cover these questions: B2B Marketers Guide to PinterestShould Big Brands Use Pinterst? and 20 B2B Marketers Losing Their Brand on Pinterest. This last article identifies the lack of coverage at SAP and our peers who do not have a corporate presence on the site.

My view: while the copyright issues are a concern and should be considered when “pinning,” the inbound link potential of Pinterest should not be under-estimated.

According to Hubspot, “inbound links are the new currency of the web” because they generate more pull-based traffic to our websites – if we can figure out a way to deploy valuable content.

Unlike last year’s social darling Quora, I think Pinterest should be taken very seriously with it’s power to help businesses like ours reach a whole lot more people in a much more human context.

Pinterest is the fastest growing website in history and has quickly become one of the top referring websites across the entire web! I think we should pay close attention to Pinterest.

Click here for a collection of articles on Pinterest. Or follow me on Pinterest!

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17 Comments

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  1. Steve Rumsby
    It is interesting that you mention Quora, because that got a similar amount of attention last year but where is it now? I can see why some people find Pinterest useful, although it doesn’t do a lot for me personally as yet. I’m not a very image-oriented person, though.

    What I’m really struggling to understand is how business-oriented businesses, like SAP, can use it to engage people. Consumer oriented businesses will likely have lots of compelling product images they can “pin” to bring in traffic. There aren’t so many compelling images of ERP or BI products, though:-)

    It could easily be that I’m missing the point of Pinterest (if you’ll excuse the pun!). If so, somebody please educate me!

    Thanks for the blog, though. It is interesting to know that people even in the SAP world are thinking about this stuff. I wasn’t expecting that…

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    1. Emma Dowey
      I also wasnt expecting pinterest to be used in the world of SAP so it will be interesting to see exactly what is pinned and how valuable it is!
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    2. Michael Brenner Post author
      Hi Steve and Emma,

      We are all citizens of the same world and Pinterest is getting a lot of attention so it shouldn’t be so surprising that we are paying attention 😉

      Quora was something I tried and just saw as a huge time-suck. But Pinterest pays rewards every time you show up. Maybe it is because I am a visual person but I abandoned Quora after about a week. Pinterest has me hooked.

      Here is why i think Pinterest is getting so much attention. First, it is so simple to use that it took me about 10 minutes to figure it all out.

      Second, I think the point is that it is a simple way to display visually compelling ideas that people can consume in milliseconds.

      Third, is that the quality of the content (at least for now) is pretty high since it is filtered by us users.

      And so if you accept that all content is intended to convey an idea, Pinterest is an easy, compelling way to gain access to or to deliver powerful ideas to a large number of people and drive traffic back to your main destimation like a website or a blog.

      I hope that helps!

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      1. Steve Rumsby
        It could easily be that I’m just not enough of a visual person to see the potential. I do like the way GE had used their pinboards. There must have been a lot of thought and curation gone into those.

        From an SAP point of view, I guess all the “Company X runs SAP” posters would make a good pinboard, or set of them. That would be a good way to display customer success stories.

        GE do have a more visual set of products that SAP, though:-)

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      2. Steve Rumsby
        It could easily be that I’m just not enough of a visual person to see the potential. I do like the way GE had used their pinboards. There must have been a lot of thought and curation gone into those.

        From an SAP point of view, I guess all the “Company X runs SAP” posters would make a good pinboard, or set of them. That would be a good way to display customer success stories.

        GE do have a more visual set of products that SAP, though:-)

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  2. Emma Dowey
    I really like pinterest for non-work related interests – mainly crochet and craft! For this, it works very well for inspiration. I can see it working though for screenshots of products and results/charts generated but find it hard to envisage using it in our marketing mix right now. We are only just starting to get some leverage with using sites like LinkedIn and Youtube. One thing that looks very interesting is the use of infographics to present data and info. this is something which looks very interesting and I can see infographics beeing “pinned”.
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    1. Michael Brenner Post author
      Hi Emma, thanks for your interest in pinterest (sorry, I couldn’t resist). I am starting to see lots of infographics show up alongside pictures of arts and crafts, fashion, food and amazing photos.

      I think GE has a great example of how to use pinterest for B2B: http://pinterest.com/generalelectric/ and also IBM’s Tumblr blog is another highly visual page that shows the application for brands like SAP.

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      1. Emma Dowey
        Thanks Michael. The GE page looks really good. I like the way they use images to show who they are, what their company is about.

        Do you have any recommendations for infographic generators? This is sometihng I would like to look at but don’t have a lot of experience with it as of yet. Any advice/tips would be much appreciated!

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        1. Michael Brenner Post author
          Emma, I’m not an expert but I can tell you that some of the ones I’ve seen from designers Flowtown, Jess3 and Voltier Digital are very well done.

          Anyone else have any ideas for Emma?

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  3. Marty Etzel
    I think we should experiment with pinning topics where pinterest users might already search such as “healthy proudcts” “food safety” etc. 

    I am not a high pinterest though my wife and daughter both use quite a bit – interestingly my wife is a speech pathologist and they hav several professional boards for trading ideas on how to treat autisitc kids, neat workbooks etc. 

    By parallel thinking, let’s not try to force fit our events, products, technologies (“How SAP helps you”), but instead post around topics where the traffic is at – sort of an extension of pull marketing (people become more healthy/safe etc by using SAP”)…

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  4. Stephen Johannes
    I know a few heavy pinterest users personally and honestly I’m also laughing at all the B2B marketing articles on using it for more of the same old marketing.

    The problem I see is you assume that everyone wants your advertising shoved down their throat at every moment of the day.  I’m almost finding some of the recent social media marketing ideas/concepts are about the digital equivalent of “stalking your customers”.

    I’m only saying this is because personally I think a lot this comes off as how can we be effective in a new medium, vs focusing on the customer experience period.  I’m just concern the focus is not about customer-centricity, but rather pushing some made up metric of achievement(like page views).

    Take care,

    Stephen

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    1. Michael Brenner Post author
      Hi Stephen,

      I agree with you. Any marketer who uses *any* social “tool” for the “same old marketing” should be laughed at, probably is being ignored, or scorned or worse.

      That’s the great thing about all bi-directional channels. We all (as users) have the ability to ignore or even strike back out at *bad* marketing.

      But there is a difference between marketing and bad marketing (see previous post  Will Content Marketing Destroy Social Media?)

      As a marketer, a consumer and an avid social channel user, I am not interested in brands using these new channels to talk about themselves either.

      And every business owner should be asking how we can reach our customers in new ways that add value for them.

      I think Pinterest offers a unique opportunity for brands to deliver visually compelling information for those who are seeking it.

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    2. Michael Brenner Post author
      Hi Stephen,

      I agree with you. Any marketer who uses *any* social “tool” for the “same old marketing” should be laughed at, probably is being ignored, or scorned or worse.

      That’s the great thing about all bi-directional channels. We all (as users) have the ability to ignore or even strike back out at *bad* marketing.

      But there is a difference between marketing and bad marketing (see previous post Will Content Marketing Destroy Social Media?)

      As a marketer, a consumer and an avid social channel user, I am not interested in brands using these new channels to talk about themselves either.

      And every business owner should be asking how we can reach our customers in new ways that add value for them.

      I think Pinterest offers a unique opportunity for brands to deliver visually compelling information for those who are seeking it.

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  5. Sam Ko
    Pinterest lets users engage at a very human level and the images he/she pins is a visual extension of their thoughts and ideas. You may like some parts of it, and you may not, but the platform is flexible enough for customization.

    There’s a big opportunity for pull marketing.  I could pin a picture of myself on the go, taking meetings on their device while pulling data at the same time from an SAP mobile app.  I’m selling mobility and flexibility, but SAP helped make it mappen.

    Over time, one could build a pretty granular user profile of the typical person who follows SAP pins.

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