Virtual scrapbooking site Pinterest is a force to be reckoned with. That's why brands nationwide will integrate Pinterest campaigns into their promotional strategies this holiday season. This two-year-old social media phenom has already attracted roughly 20 million users, making it the third most popular social network in the U.S.
Not only is its user base massive, Pinterest is retaining and engaging users as much as two to three times more efficiently than Twitter at a similar time in its history according to SocialMediaExaminer.com. Plus, 80 percent of pins are reportedly "repins" (the equivalent of "sharing" in the Facebook world) demonstrating the viral activity in the Pinterest community. What's more, shoppers referred by Pinterest are 10 percent more likely to make a purchase than visitors who arrive via other social networks.
Once thought to be just for the retail community, nonprofits and even service-based businesses will be jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon this holiday season.
Nonprofit Samaritan's Purse leverages Pinterest to promote its holiday campaign called "Operation Christmas Child" where supporters pack shoeboxes full of toys and school supplies for children in impoverished countries.
The organization reports its Shoe Box Ideas pinboard generates 70-100 repins per post. Supporters upload photos of gift ideas for the shoeboxes, hosting tips for shoebox packing party, and pictures of the children receiving the gifts.
Last year, Land's End deployed a "Pin It to Win It" contest for the holidays. Pinners created a Land's End board with 10 to 20 pins featuring the brand's apparel, ultimately emailing the company a link to their board. Ten winners received sizeable gift cards resulting in hundreds of boards created.
AMC Theatres created a pinboard dedicated to contests and giveaways. Users following this board get the latest holiday offers, VIP ticket opportunities, and the notification of giveaways such as signed movie posters and even a signed director's chair.
Victoria's Secret encourages users to create a Victoria's Secret board and pin at least three images from the brand's Facebook fan page or website. Top boards are selected with those receiving the most votes (or likes) taking home prizes. Not only is the brand driving Pinterest traffic, but it's also increasing Facebook and website activity to boot.
Email solution provider, Emailvision, asks users to pin their favorite email campaign designs. The campaign, coined "Pin Your Inbox," reminds users of the company's primary service offering. The campaign with the most Pinterest likes wins a custom email campaign designed by Emailvision's design pros.
Pinterest offers opportunities for more than just the retail community this holiday season. With a little ingenuity and a small time investment you might be surprised at the impact on consumer engagement and sales.
Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and CEO/Founder of RedRover Sales & Marketing in Memphis, TN, www.redrovercompany.com. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).