Facebook is very much personal, LinkedIn is professional, and Twitter lies somewhere in between. Pinterest, on the other hand, has lots of very nice pictures of food; something that could belong on these other social networks too.
In that light, it’s difficult to see a real use for the platform. It becomes yet another box to tick off when it’s time to promote your products. Yet, what makes Pinterest unique is how its users interact with it.
The other platforms have an emphasis on sharing and communicating with others, but what makes Pinterest special is that it’s a place to share the things you like; a small but important difference.
To backtrack a little, all the other platforms enable users to publicly express their likes. Facebook has the infamous Like button, Twitter has the new heart-shaped favourite option as does Instagram (and really it’s become a given element of every major platform out there).
Instead, Pinterest relies on that “like” function to create a profile of content for its users. As a user continues to use Pinterest, he or she discovers more and more content, thus refining their profile so it represents personal tastes.
I think I’m going to call it content refinement. It’s the process by which long-term users craft a social media profile into one that expresses their tastes through the content they like.
Think of it like this: you start a brand new profile, choose your interests, and start to explore. You find a thing or two you like here and there. So you pin it to your personal page. Then after some more exploration, you find more and more things you like. Whether those things are steel-toed boots or wedding cakes, after a while you’ll have a profile that reflects your personal preferences.
And This Relates To Market Research?
The clever thing Pinterest has done, intentionally or not, is created an ecosystem in which the ideal customer just creates themselves.
Opening a bakery? Look for popular muffin pins. Those Pinterest profiles, those people, are logically going to be your biggest fans. Explore their other pins and you’ll get a sense of what else they like. Then look at other similar profiles. Rinse and repeat, and before you know it, you’ll have your very own ideal customer personality profile.
Do you use Pinterest? If so, for what? It’s still a smaller platform than the rest, but it has built up a little niche and seems to be sticking around for a while. Whether you use it as a market research tool or just as an avenue to get your content out there, if you haven’t started a profile yet, you’re missing out.