Social media isn't only for networking. It's also a powerful tool for gathering insights and observing results that specific search terms generate. Consider it social listening or even social trend gazing. Although all social networks offer perspectives, in this case I'll focus on social listening with Pinterest.
Why Pinterest for Social Listening and Trend Gazing?
Why Pinterest? Because it's visual and easy to use. Simply 'pin' images you like from sites you visit to your virtual bulletin or pin board. It's possible to search through boards without having to be friends with or followers of someone. It provides you with a window on what inspires people and on what captures their fancy on a broad range of topics.
(BTW, if you still don't believe that social media has merit and can be effective in tracking trends, check out How to Predict Trends with Social Media Monitoring about Sickweather which predicts illnesses based on analyzing Facebook and Twitter updates.)
What Got Me Started on Social Listening with Pinterest?
The article that first got me thinking about Pinterest for social listening and trend gazing was Pinterest Data Reveals The Most Common Home Decor Colors on PSFK based on an "infographic design project that mines Pinterest data to find the most common colors in homes by room." (More visuals are available on Colour and Space by Jotun.)
Shortly after that, I found Pattern Pulp: Finding Color Inspiration On Pinterest - PSFK which suggests that Pinterest could become "an influential source for designers and artists alike." I agree!
I decided to explore the topic of social listening and look for specific instances of Pinterest offering consumer insights...
Using Pinterest for Social Listening and Trend Gazing Examples
- Pinterest… Possibly the BEST Platform for “Listening”… mentions a wedding planner using Pinterest for ideas on how to help clients.
- Model Home Merchandiser aka the Lifestylist uses Pinterest to research trends, learn what consumers want and sharing the resulting observations with clients in Trend Tracking with Pinterest.
- Here's a Pinterest Board on Pinterest Trends...
- As reported in Pinfluence: the Complete Guide to Marketing Your Business with Pinterest, one blogger integrates trends noticed on Pinterest into her blog articles. Example: mustaches...
- Perhaps my favorite so far is Tracking Food Trends with Pinterest which observes which foods are becoming more popular (e.g., Kale and Quinoa). This article also refers to shared boards.
Shared or group boards are fascinating: others are invited to pin images based on a common theme. For example, American Made Products is a group board Kronotex USA is a part of. It has 653 pins and 1274 followers, supporting that "Made in the USA" is back, baby and more than a fad!
Putting Social Listening and Trend Gazing into Perspective
Social Media Examiner's 7 Social Media Trends for Consumers: New Research mentions that Social Listening is a Key Consumer Activity. That's right. It's not just for marketers; it's also for consumers.
"Social media is transforming the way consumers around the globe make purchasing decisions. Consumers are using social media to listen and learn about other consumers’ experiences (70%); find more information about brands, products and services (65%); and compliment brands (53%)."
Pinterest: when listening is more about seeing offers wise advice explains,
"What so many people are forgetting is that you don't need to look at this platform as yet another way to shout your message to your consumers, but rather, that it's a remarkably elegant and real way to listen to your consumers."
Grant McCracken says it best in Pinterest as Free Market Research:
"Pinterest is a treasure. It's a chance to see American culture as if from a glass-bottom boat.... Pinterest helps us build and share these categories and to specify what we mean in a medium more telling than language. And this makes Pinterest an observation platform from which to study a culture that becomes ever more liquid, responsive, crowd-sourced and generally speaking dynamic. And thispotentially makes Pinterest a place to detect early changes and to get early warnings, a pretty useful thing as our culture accelerates."
Do you use Pinterest?
Have you observed valuable trends from social listening on Pinterest?
Let me know what you've discovered and how you've used the information. I'd love to hear!