On the surface, Pinterest is a photo-sharing site, with a few significant deviations from competitive products. But beneath the surface, Pinterest is a crucible of our hopes and dreams. It’s the designer outfit we want to own, the car we want to drive, the gourmet meal we want to cook, and the travel destinations on our bucket lists. Unlike other popular social platforms, Pinterest emphasizes interest over activity (Facebook) or connections (LinkedIn). But more importantly, Pinterest expresses specific aspirations: it says, In order to become the person I want to be, I intend to buy these things.
This signifies a major change for marketers, as we shift from traditional market segmentation to consumer micro-targeting. Simply put: it’s no longer about reaching broad demographics, it’s about engaging individuals. “The interest graph is our new frontier, a better alternative to traditional spray-and-pray,” observed tech journalist Jolie O’Dell in a SXSW panel she moderated on How to Harvest Consumer Intent From the Social Web.
A tremendous benefit for brands that embrace interest marketing is the ability to not just identify qualified leads, but to drive action. “A million Facebook likes is not a metric,” says Farrah Bostic, panelist and founder of The Difference Engine, “The brand needs to sell its products. If it isn’t, it’s engaging in the wrong way.” What Bostic is referring to is the tendency for brands to simply create content and hope for return on investment…in other words, stopping before the homestretch.
While presence and publishing continues to be a struggle for some brands just beginning to use social media, the point of engagement is truly the moment that matters. Brands need to create conversation around their content, and participate in that conversation. Here’s where the interest graph comes in: the interest graph is a treasure trove of data. The brands that can effectively learn from and market to the data by creating content worth sharing, are the brands that are effectively leveraging the interest graph to drive action. The relevant content not only leads to higher conversion, but gains the brand increased trust from its consumers.
So what does the roadmap to effective interest marketing look like? Here is how the panel broke it down:
- Foster Discovery: Be both a content producer and a content curator
- Engage in the Platform: Become a trusted source by going outside your brand
- Learn from the Data: Continuous engagement and improvement
Before you deploy your interest marketing strategy, here are just a few issues to consider:
- Interest marketing should work in tandem with other approaches to audience growth – focusing on what the user is already interested in hinders your ability to discover other potential customers and expand your horizons by engaging with new interest groups.
- Not every brand should utilize interest marketing – decide whether or not this approach is relevant to your business goals.
How do your brand currently use the interest graph to engage your consumers? What are some other potential issues that you’ve experienced? Let me know in the comments section below!