Between Social Bragging and Utility Lies Pinterest

Social media has accelerated the introduction of new products and brands. Success (or failure) can happen at the speed of light. And Pinterest is a great example of this acceleration: it has now become the third most popular social media network behind Facebook and Twitter. Having surpassed LinkedIn and Google+ in traffic volume, Pinterest is also driving more referral traffic to websites than YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn combined.

But what’s driving the interest behind the hottest website, as CNN describes it? They say that Facebook knows who you’d like to be and Google knows who you really are. If that’s the case, Pinterest is definitely taking advantage of leveraging those two worlds.

Pinterest: Between the Ideal You and the Real You


Facebook can be a great way to keep your friends up to speed to what you’re up to. By sharing (most of the time, trivial) updates, Facebook has become an on-the-go network, where people feel free to share what they’re doing, what they want to do, where they’ve gone, how successful or smart or (fill in the blank) they are. Facebook has become a “cry for attention.” Even the most insignificant person can have her 15 minutes of fame thanks to this self-centric social networking tool. Facebook has become a synonym of social bragging, showing to our world of “friends” our curated version of ourselves: “the ideal me.”

Google (the search engine) on the other hand, plays the role of a utility. It’s about finding the right solution or answer to a specific need. Activities on Google are interest-centric (professional, personal, entertainment, etc.) and information-driven. Based on all the searches we perform on Google, we can say that Google knows the real version of ourselves: “the real me.”

Pinterest is an effective marriage of utility and social bragging. Interest-based visual content is curated, allowing consumers to search for recipes, decoration ideas, images for inspiration, and discover original products or cool designs. It also facilitates sharing the “ideal me” by providing smart quotes or cool pictures to brag about. The boards are a great source for sharing your latest “achievement,” and the competition for who gets the most repins or likes has that sense of “social bragging” à la Facebook.

Let’s see what’s happening with online Latinos who are twice as likely to have a Pinterest account, according to comScore.

Latinos Are Pinning

Latinos are fast adopters, rather than early adopters, when it comes to social media. They weren’t the first to adopt Facebook. But when Latinos discovered Facebook, their adoption rate tripled in one year, reaching penetration levels higher than those of the general population. And Pinterest is no different: penetration among Latinos grew twice as fast as the general market (8,506 percent) in the past 12 months.

Although women make up the majority of users (64.4 percent), male users are growing too. Actually, there’s a higher incidence of men among Latino Pinterest users (35.6 percent) compared to the non-Hispanic whites (25 percent).

Almost half of Latinos on Pinterest (48.3 percent) are 25 to 55 years old and/or have children (53.3 percent).

In terms of engagement, Latinos tend to spend more time and be more active on social networks. When it comes to Pinterest, so far, the behavior seems to be similar to that of the general population when it comes to time spent pinning and number of pages viewed.

But once again, when Latinos started using Facebook, their pattern was also average. Once that social media network started to explode among this demographic, engagement levels went way above that of other ethnicities.

My guess is that the same will happen with Pinterest. Marketers need to understand how this fast-growing network provides an opportunity that lies between social bragging and utility.

Pinterest: The Latino Opportunity

  1. Maximize Facebook. Considering that Latinos love the largest social networking tool, link your brand activity on Pinterest so that your brand pins and repins will show up on your Facebook wall.
  2. Leverage Latinos as creators. Today 80 percent of pins are repins, meaning that most Pinterest users are simply joiners or spectators. We know Hispanics tend to over-index in being creators of original content. Tapping into Latino Pinterest users could help increase your exposure by having more boards or pins associated to your brands and not simply the same pin repinned over and over.
  3. Empower the cultural connection. Bicultural Latinos are chameleons willing to share their culture (in the form of recipes, music, etc.) and learn to adapt to the colors of a different culture. There’s still very little Latino content on Pinterest; brands that can create “bicultural boards” that visually represent this duality could definitely strike a home run.
  4. Allow Latinos to influence. Latinos are sharing their way of living. Partnering with Latino bloggers in specific areas of expertise (fashion, parenting, décor, etc.) could definitely bring more newness to your Pinterest presence and stimulate more repins.
  5. Share your visual content. Some brands unfortunately are still lagging behind when it comes to having online catalogs that target Latinos. Pinterest can be an easy way to start connecting your products with the Hispanic audience.
  6. Leverage the best of both worlds. Finding the right combination of utility and social bragging could definitely be a winning formula. Latinos are searching for solutions but they want to be the first to share with their friends too.

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