To Which Social Network Should E-Marketers Pin Their Hopes?

Should you pin your hopes on Pinterest?You’re targeting the wrong social networks.

Actually, I don’t know if you’re targeting the wrong social networks. I can’t possibly know that. It’s a sweeping statement that should be qualified with all kinds of disclaimers and “depends”, and taken with fistfuls of salt. I would need to have done my research on your target audience.

The last few weeks has seen several findings that have made interesting reading:

  • SteelHouse®, an American “behavioral commerce” company, issued the results of a survey which said that Pinterest users were nearly twice as likely to buy a product or service they had seen on Pinterest than Facebook users were on Mark Zuckerberg’s social site (although users shared more ideas and pictures of their purchases on Facebook).
  • A comScore US report stated that Pinterest saw 4,377% growth from May 2011 to May 2012 compared to 58% for Twitter and 4% for Facebook. comScore also found that Pinterest buyers spend more and carry out more transactions.
  • According to Callan Green from Sony Electronics at the BlogWorld & New Media expo this month, plenty of time and money has been ploughed into Sony Europe’s Pinterest strategy, including a soft launch that lasted for three months and tests on timing, frequency, and knowing what their fans wanted.
  • Research that will be launched on June 21st at the Youth Marketing Strategy 2012 has shown that young people have trust issues with Facebook.The survey of 1,698 students at universities is part of The Beans Group’s Youth Insight Report, and showed that 68% of the scholars didn’t like using sites that relied on a Facebook API to share personal data about them. 91% of them didn’t want to make purchases using their Facebook profile as part of the process, and 39% didn’t even want to talk to brands on the world’s largest social network in the first place.

There are many reports about social media research every day. Some agree with each other, some appear to be at odds with each other.

It’s vital to understand the small print and detail behind each investigation though and whether it is specifically applicable to your business.


Looking at the stories above (and even, deliberately, the title of this post) they seem to say that Pinterest is the hot, hyped new network on the block and the one that ought to receive the most attention in your strategies.

It seems that there might be backlash against Facebook. Maybe Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ aren’t as important. In general, that might well be the case – but is it the case for you?

The only way you are going to know which social sharing buttons ought to appear on your product pages, on which networks you ought to have a set up an optimised profile, and which social services ought to be integrated into your email marketing, is by having research carried out that is specific to your brand and your audience.

It’s far too easy to believe in a catchy headline when you’ve not got time to read an entire article or blog post (well done if you’ve made it this far down the page).

Your audience will obviously be on different social networks according to age, gender, location, and most importantly how they use that website.

Yes, Pinterest may well be attracting more hype, purchases, and faster growth as a proportion of its userbase. Pinterest is most often used for sharing styles and making plans for the future.

Other than referring traffic to sites, it doesn’t really get involved in the buying process further down the funnel. Little wonder that while it’s driving conversions, Facebook is bogged down in a buyer’s mire.

Where is your audience online? How can you target them best?

And what tools, time and talent do you need to reach them?

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