Why Women Prefer Pinterest (or how to gain popularity by pinning what women want)Posted: May 8, 2012 | |
At a recent gathering of social media colleagues, when I mentioned up-and-coming social media platform Pinterest, a male colleage said “Pinterest!? I can never find anything on it. Just a fad!” Some of that might have to do with the fact that he’s, well, a guy: according to a recent report on National Public Radio, anywhere between 58 percent and 97 percent of Pinterest users are women. And if that’s the case, well, they’re probably not pinning pictures of people, places, and things that he’d be most interested in finding.
Which might also have lead my friend Geoff Livingston to one day mention on Facebook that he didn’t quite get the appeal of Pinterest….
What could it be that brings women–many from the Mid-West–to Pinterest, and keep them pinning and sharing everything from wedding venue photos to pictures of the latest Hollywood hunks? Could it be that women are quicker than men to adopt new social networking platforms, or that women are more social online than men? Well, that’s partly true. If we consider Foursquare, women were, after a time, less entralled with the geo-location platform than men. Two factors accounted for the drop in women’s particiaption on Foursquare: women’s reluctance to give away their geo-locations, and the platform’s gaming aspect–get a badge that says you’re “Mayor” afte a certain number of check-ins–did not have broad appeal to specifically to women.
And why does that kind of gaming aspect appeal to men? It’s simple: the old “hunter” mentality. To bag a Foursquare Mayor badge was to some guys like conquering a village.
So, yes, women are, overall, more social than men in social networking environments, but that doesn’t fully account for Pinterest. Once I started to “pin,” it became evident to me that by gathering, pinning, sharing, and gathering up other people’s pins, and sharing those, that I was participating in good old “gatherer” behavior. I was working in a group of others, gathering up what was interesting to me ( its value to the group unknown to me at the time) and then sharing that bounty with the group.
It was basic, simple, and a heck of a lot of fun to see other women re-pin what I found worth pinning…
Which leads me to shirtless Channing Tatum.
It seems that, if one spends a particular amont of time and attention cultivating a kind of pinning expertise, or “eye” for what others want, one can become quite popular on Pinterest. Given some of my interests, I noticed that I quickly gathered likes and repins on three boards: Oscar Best-Worst 2012, Shoe Fetishist, and CrazySexyCute Guys. At first I thought it was my cheeky little comments that interested pinners, but it was after I posted this pic, that I realized my growing popularity on Pinterest had nothing to do with what I was saying, and everything to do with what I was gathering and sharing……
So far, this pic has 124 likes, 13 comments, and 490 repins. I posted it around the time when Tatum’s recent pic, 21 Jump Street, hit the theaters. Little did I know that pinning shirtless hunks would become a great way not only to relieve stress before big writing projects, but also a great way to build a fun little community for myself. I love seeing how other women gather up the pics I post of Hollywood hunks, professional athletes, male models, and others who are, to me, just beautiful to look at. As I pinned this stuff, as well as great looking shoes, funny pictures of babies, and cute kitty pics, I ventured into the Popular section and found that one of the most re-pinned pics had to do with wedding decorating. Other popular pins were of wedding dresses, tasty-looking edibles, gorgeous non-couture dresses, and anything a girl could think of.
Yes, a girl. Pinterest has the odd effect of bringing out the girly girl in me, and Ibet that it does for a lot of women.
Maybe that’s a reason, too, that we like it: Pinterest is a diversion from the workaday adult world into a world of fantasy and inspiration. Depictions of the possible and the impossible that fuel our daydreams and night dreams too. Pictures of stuff that we want to remember, for whatever reasons. It isn’t about winning, or losing, or gathering important information for our professional enrichment (maybe that’s why infographics don’t get repinned as much as shirtless hunks.)
It’s just plan fun.
Which leads to the question: does Pinterest have any value as a social media marketing tool?
Answer: YES! Depending on the business. Does your business appeal to women? Does it have a strong visual component? Yes to both, or either, could indicate that Pinterest will work. My personal favorite use of Pinterst is on Fab.com. Sometimes it’s tough to find things on Fab, but by browsing their Live Feed–an active Pinterest board–I can browse what others have found interesting and want to remember, such as this octopus pendant. Fab has other ways for me to share what I find on other social networks, but for me that’s a little superfluous. I like their pinboard just fine.