Pinterest, the image-based social network, has further enhanced its discovery capabilities by adding an animated “Follow” pin that it hopes will be used to pick up users when they are elsewhere on the Web.
In a blog post announcing the move, Pinterest explains that the new Follow pin will pop up a dialog box previewing its most recent pins. With the click of a button, visitors will start seeing the company’s activity in their feeds, without searching on Pinterest or even leaving the site. The new functionality is designed for businesses and brands.
By offering this new way of previewing pins, users will be more likely to follow a brand, as they will have a better-defined idea of the exact content they can expect to see.
“Helping people find the latest pins from their favorite brands and publishers on Pinterest is an important way for them to discover stuff they like, and we’re hoping [the Follow button] will make that easier,” says Jason Costa, project manager at Pinterest.
Commenting on the new functionality, Tessa Wegert, communications director at digital agency Enlighten, says Pinterest is likely looking to cement its reputation as a content marketing platform. And even though this new feature isn’t being monetized, it should help brands drum up a bigger following, much the same as on Twitter or Tumblr.
She adds that many companies don’t post enough content to attract and sustain an audience, and that this “improvement to Pinterest page discoverability” will nudge companies to become more active users.
Not everyone agrees, however, and some believe that Pinterest’s Follow- button update will not have any impact on brand growth or discoverability whatsoever.
“It would seem that improving the ‘pin it’ experience to easily enable a more general brand follow would be a great place to start,” says Marko Muellner, vice president of marketing at ShopIgniter.
He adds that the difficulty of following brands after seeing their pins in his feed has always been a pet peeve. “Since the primary use case is pinning a product or image from a brand’s website, this seems like an obvious place to enable follows, rather than introducing a Follow pin.”
Muellner pointed out that by analyzing their before and after numbers, brands will be able to see if the change has had any effect on their followings.
LLBean has been lauded as one of the top companies using Pinterest and has amassed nearly 5.4 million followers since January 2012.
Asked whether the company believes the new Follow button will make a difference to their brand, Laurie Brooks, social media public relations program manager at LLBean says it’s too soon to spot a difference, but the pop-up box is certainly an interesting idea.
“While we don’t publicly release social media performance metrics, Pinterest is our second most organic traffic referrer to llbean.com after Facebook,” Brooks comments. “It is an important mix to our digital strategy, not only in driving sales, but as a way to build brand awareness and engage with our brand advocates.”
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