Rewind a year to December 2011 and Pinterest users stood at a mere 4 million, 2012 has seen the sites popularity explode beyond all expectation to hit around 25 million, making it a major player within the social media arena. Laura Brown, Social Media Manager at KISS Public Relations explains how the platform is changing the social outlook this Christmas. The old adage ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’ seems to be truer than ever. With apps such as Instagram and Tadaa, and smart phone cameras with the visual quality that equals that of many digital cameras, consumers are documenting and sharing their day-to-day life in a visually appealing way. The expectation is that companies and brands should do the same. Fuelled by consumer’s desire for beautiful imagery and design, known as visual social media, the popularity of sites such as Pinterest is growing by the day and retailers cannot afford not to be on it – especially during the Christmas season. Pinterest has positioned itself as the go-to social media for the festive period. In anticipating that users would be taking full advantage of the site to plan their Christmas festivities online they recently launched ‘Secret Boards’ which allows users to shield public eyes (users can choose to invite others to pin to the secret board) from projects and plans, while also working effectively for Christmas shoppers gathering gift ideas from across the internet. The site also unveiled another Christmas marketing push, ‘30 Days of Pinspiration’, a calendar that day by day reveals Christmas boards from people, businesses, charities and celebrities, across Pinterest. Laura explains, “The opportunities the platform offers retailers are fantastic. This is the first Christmas where Pinterest has been seen in the same league as the likes of Facebook and Twitter and presents a real turning point. Companies should be posting festive content such as Christmas gift guides, ‘how to guides’ and video tutorials, contests and giveaways, while also employing wish list tactics to attract attention.” Laura continued, “Type ‘Pinterest Christmas wish list’ into any search engine and the results come flooding in, providing a wealth of valuable consumer insight. The question is how can brands use this information? Giveaways provide a fantastic opportunity to attract attention and encourage sharing. Brands can pick influential Pinners and giveaway a product that they pinned to their wish list. Alternatively, create a board named wish list and encourage users to repin to win the product, a tactic seen often on Pinterest known as ‘pin it to win it’.” Pinterest is now the third biggest referral source to Shopify. What is particularly interesting is that users not only buy the products they pin, but spend more on average than their Facebook and Twitter counterparts. “It’s clear people use Pinterest for shopping in a way that they have never used Facebook and Twitter.” Pinterest is actively trying to help retailers make money through the site by launching Pinterest for Business, currently providing free tools and analytics designed to help businesses drive traffic to brand pages and encourage sharing. Laura concluded, “Any commerce business that relies heavily on driving traffic to their website should certainly consider utilising Pinterest and its Christmas draw to their advantage.” If you are interested in developing a social media strategy for your business then call Laura Brown on 0208 12345 75 or 01223 911123 for an informal, no obligation chat or alternatively email laura@kisscom.co.uk. Follow KISS on Twitter at twitter.com/kisstalk, and keep up-to-date with the industry social media news by following Laura at twitter.com/KISS_SocialM. Or follow us on Pinterest pinterest.com/artofsimplicity.