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How and why luxury brands can leverage social network Pinterest

January 10, 2012


Pinterest is quickly becoming the preferred picture-posting blog platform for luxury retailers and trendy consumers everywhere, and for good reason.

As the newest social network to surface in the fashion and art worlds, Pinterest makes sharing photos easier than other sites such as Tumblr, Flickr and Instagram with its ability to let users re-post any picture from the Internet to their followers. Plus, the invite-only social network boasts an air of exclusivity to help entice affluent consumers.

“One of the reasons why I think it’s being looked at and getting so popular is because I can collect things from anywhere I see them on the Internet and 'pin' them,” said Mark Curtis, founder and creative director of Enter: New Media, New York.

“Then I can organize them into buckets of my choosing which you cannot do on Tumblr or other social network sites, so it makes it fun,” he said.

“It’s very much a social discovery tool of images and products and a way to organize your universe in a way that makes sense.”

Taking it for a pin
Luxury retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman and Nordstrom have pioneered Pinterest, turning the the social platform from a creative tool used among bloggers and fashion insiders into a marketing tool rapidly gaining interest amongst luxury brands.

For example, Nordstrom creates pinboards for specific brands, trends and items. Some of its pinboards include Top Trends - 70s, holiday sparkle and coats.

Competitor Bergdorf Goodman is also using Pinterest to engage consumers by creating lookbooks that contain a little more personality, such as things "I never forget" and "I have a weakness for."

The retailers can easily link the images on their pinboards to their respective ecommerce stores. Every image on Pinterest automatically links viewers to the URL from which it was pinned.

This means luxury marketers do not have to download images from their ecommerce store, re-upload them to the platform and then include a link underneath the photo as they would on Faceook or Tumblr.

Pinterest is a social media network that allows members to take images from the Web and pin them to their profiles.

To receive an invite to Pinterest, a luxury brand can fill out the form on the Pinterest homepage or be invited by someone already using the social network.

Once the brand has received a link to join via email it can use its Facebook or Twitter accounts to sign in.

By linking to a pre-existing social media network, the brand can more easily find friends to follow and expose the Pinterest account to fans.

After creating the account, a brand is asked to select categories in which it is interested to help Pinterest make suggestions of accounts that the brand will find interesting.

There are categories such as art, design, fitness, women’s apparel and humor.

Next, a brand is asked to create names for its Pinboards, the categories into which it will place images.

Pinterest suggests original categories such as for the home, my style, books worth reading, favorite places and spaces and products I love.

A brand can change these names or create personal ones. Pinboards can be added or changed at any point.

The last critical step for creating a Pinterest account is to install the “pin it” button onto a Web browser.

To do this, a brand must drag the pin it icon from the page into its bookmarks toolbar.

Now, a brand can use the icon to pin pictures and place them into its pinboards.

Pinterest video: how to install the "pin it" button

Discovery channel
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, on which a brand must always be signed on and responding to its followers, Pinterest works in the background and requires less of a marketer’s time.

A brand can pin an item from any Web site at which it is looking and add the image for its followers to view, like, comment or repin.

The marketer does not have to be on the Pinterest site to be actively contributing to its page.

Pinboards act as a sort of scrapbook for luxury brands, allowing them to create a page of images from its spring collection or a page of images that inspired its spring collection.

Additionally, items pinned or repined always stay linked to the original URL on which the image was found.

Therefore, if a brand links a product from its ecommerce store, pins it into a pinboard and then its fans repin it to their followers, the ecommerce URL is being spread throughout the community.

Overall, the most impactful asset of Pinterest is the sense of discovery it gives consumers.

“I think that the discovery aspect is a critical one, especially for luxury brands,” Mr. Curtis said. “Google is a great way to find a product once a consumer knows what she wants – if she wants a black leather watch, she can type that in and find it.

“But if she’s just looking for information and inspiration and she comes across an amazing Hermès scarf, it creates that desire of, ‘I see it and I need to have it,'’’ he said.

Final Take
Kayla Hutzler, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York