Pin your Customer's Interest with Pinterest and CRM

Pinterest is being termed as one of the most recent entries into the arena of Social CRM. Many esteemed international brands like Gap, Scholastic and Whole Foods have already begun their campaigns on the platform and others are on the verge of following suit. Pinterest backs itself by its popularity - a 429 percent escalation in unique page views in a span of 3 months (September '11 to December '11), but, its effectiveness requires more innovation and strategy than some of the other social media.

There are some unprecedented benefits of incorporating Pinterest in your Social CRM strategy. Businesses can now listen to their customers more effectively and understand their likes and dislikes with greater precision. Sharing deep knowledge about one’s area of work, business or industry becomes possible by the use of 'infographics', which are becoming increasingly popular in the market today. Share images of current customers using your product (by pinning their photographs) or link that image with a case study of your organisation. This and much more make Pinterest highly effective for both Business 2 Consumers (B2C) and Business 2 Business (B2B) firms by strengthening their customer relations.

Pin your interests
Before we unravel the manifold benefits of integration of Pinterest with Social CRM solutions, let us understand the basic premise on which Pinterest works. This social networking site is basically meant to help users organize and share various things, they like, in the visual format. Therefore, if they have read a great blog; they can use the picture, integrated with that blog, to pin it to their Pinterest pinboard. Alongside, they can create separate pinboards for various interests like cooking, sports, reading, work and much else. What else? One can also browse pinboards created by others, which can lead to an effective sharing of information and knowledge. In short, Pinterest is all about organizing, sharing and exploring visual imagery of different kinds.

Pinterest with social CRM
The benefits of the integration of Pinterest with Social CRM have already been chalked out above. Let us now try to put them across with more details:

Intrigue visitors and get pinned: By integrating the pin code on your website, you can allow your visitors to share some intriguing visual imagery that they come across. The prerequisites for the same, though, would be to make your content and images easy to pin and make them all intriguing. Unless they enthrall your visitors, they are not going to be worthwhile for the visitors to pin.

Be social on the all new social network: Socializing on Pinterest can also pay rich dividends to a company. You can create your own account and share items of interest. With regular sharing, companies can create a pool of fans, who comment and repin (share on their pin boards) the images and content. This can lead to an extensive brand reach and top of the mind recall among the prospects of the companies.

Escalated brand awareness: The more frequently a company’s visual imagery is shared and visited by people, the higher would be its brand awareness. The spiralling effect; that Pinterest can create, works in favour of the companies, exploring the platform.

PR opportunities: One of the most fascinating elements of Customer Relationship Management is the opportunity of breaking ice with the customers (and prospective customers). Contests and games are one way of doing so. Pinterest makes it simpler and more convenient to share these contests and games with the help of eye catching images which could be shared to gain more exposure.

Listen to customers: Pictures speak more than words. Therefore, by following the pinboards of the customers, forward looking companies can derive valuable insights. The preferences of the customers could be known and one can also explore the products and industries which are garnering the highest level of interest of the customers. All of this would lead to better relations with the customers and customized services.

Referral due to individual nature: When you are socializing on Facebook, you have to 'like' the whole shoe store to get updates on your favourite pair of shoes. However, on Pinterest you can 'like', 'repin' and comment on individual items (eg: a pair of shoes) without being required to do the same for the larger entity. This makes it more convenient to share and can hence lead to the generation of more referrals.

A last word..
While all of these benefits are worthwhile and can generate unprecedented value for companies, innovative use of the platform is imperative. Pinterest does not directly offer corporate use of the website and one can, hence, not simply link one’s visual imagery to one’s ecommerce stores or other platforms of marketing. Innovation rules on this platform and sans that the stay is going to be bumpy. Though I believe many CRM solutions in near term will start integrating with Pinterest to derive intelligence which can be used to understand the consumer needs and behavior to help target them more intelligently.