Happy Pinning! Why Social Discovery is Social Marketing’s Next Big Pinspiration

By Kirsty Piper

There is not much that hasn’t been written about the newest diva darling of the social media world – Pinterest. We know there are more than 3.2 million monthly unique visitors, 45% month over month growth, with page views growing 2000% since just this past June. We also know Pinterest is capitalizing on the same style of virality that sent Facebook adoption soaring in its early years, making it a favorite comparison of social media and tech writers over the last three months. However, get lost in all of these statistics and hot startup projections and you risk losing sight of the coolest thing about Pinterest:

This pinboard that two of my co-workers made for my baby, due this April!

Baby Pinterest Happy Pinning! Why Social Discovery is Social Marketing’s Next Big Pinspiration

You see, Pinterest represents the apex of what may be one of the most meaningful social marketing trends of 2012: social discovery. Social discovery is the act of using the social and mobile web to discover content and multimedia in a way that encourages social sharing and amplifies the virality of content. Moreover, it promotes conversion, making it a critical platform this year, in which brands can engage users with content across all media types, and draw them into the purchasing funnel.

Social discovery is a powerful platform for brands like Kate Spade, NBC and GE because it is so user-centric, leveraging the emotional triggers of users who are proactively and virally curating their life’s passions whether it be art, design or technology, and life milestones like weddings, holidays and babies. This is why social discovery indexes so highly for creatives, designers, DIYers, entertainment influencers, the media and moms. It is also why social discovery channels are segmenting across microinterests like fashion and food.

So say goodbye to Shark Week, Mythbusters and American Chopper, because the newest names to make up “discovery channels” include Snapette, Foodstpotting, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, Instagram and of course, our darling Pinterest. These channels vary wildly but resemble one another in important ways. They all focus on multimedia and take advantage of visual curation. They also all integrate with traditional social sharing on channels like Facebook and Twitter, proving that social discovery is just one ingredient in a social media recipe and not an entirely new recipe in and of itself. These social discovery channels also rely heavily on mobile platforms and even leverage location-based technology to amplify hyper-local sharing experiences.

They are also similar in that each of these channels – both veteran and emerging are seeing strong adoption by brands for a variety of use cases, including but not limited to:

On-site activation

SEO/Referral traffic

Product promotion

User-generated content procurement

Sponsorship integration

Activate loyalty

Insider access

Share deals

There remains great opportunity in 2012 for more brands to test and try strategies within these “social discovery channels,” connecting with consumers on an emotional level to activate brand awareness, conversion and ultimately brand loyalty. I say that with great confidence as I simultaneously navigate to my Amazon.com shopping cart and check out my cute baby Pinterest finds!

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