WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Retailers have a new target market: pinners.
These are the growing number of people who use Pinterest, an online pinboard that allows users to organize and share images with others.
The social network has become a leading social media website, particularly with women. Pinterest.com made ComScore’s Top 50 chart (placing #50) of online properties for the first time with 25.3 million visitors in September 2012.
In addition, 12% of online adults said they used Pinterest, with nearly one-fifth of online women saying they used the social media site, according to the Pew Internet Project’s phone survey of more than 1,000 adults.
For business purposes, Pinterest is appealing since it drives users to retailers’ websites.
On its Pinterest site, Hy-Vee Food Stores , West Des Moines, Iowa, features luscious-looking photos of prepared dishes along with their recipes, which are sorted into categories, or “pinboards.”
Categories with the most pins include “Savory Suppers,” which includes recipes for soups, side dishes and entrees, and “Seriously Sweet,” which features dessert recipes. “Quench Your Thirst” highlights cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks including Oreo Hot Cocoa.
Hy-Vee also features a collection of recipes from celebrity chef Curtis Stone, who works under contract for Hy-Vee.
Users can then pin images they like to their personal Pinterest pinboards.
Content that originally appeared in Hy-Vee’s lifestyle magazine, Seasons, gets added exposure on Pinterest. The retailer’s social media sites are also interconnected. For instance, Pinterest users can find out how to make snowmen macaroons, which appeared on the cover of Seasons magazine, by clicking a link to a YouTube video.
“We’re watching what our customers are doing with Pinterest and making sure we have things out there that they’ll pin, and will be re-pinned,” said Ruth Comer, spokeswoman for Hy-Vee. “We’re exploring what the opportunities are.”
Hy-Vee has 691 followers on Pinterest, compared to 200,000 Facebook followers, and 8,000 to 9,000 followers on Twitter.
“Our Pinterest outreach is in its infancy but we expect that to grow,” Comer said.
Price Chopper Supermarkets , Schenectady, N.Y., features a similar mix of food and home-related content. One Pinterest board features links to blogs by Price Chopper shoppers who write about food and entertaining, home renovation and other topics.
One blogger wrote about saving money at Price Chopper in an article on her blog. “So many great ways to save at Price Chopper!! Had lots of fun shopping and sharing all the ways to save with my readers,” the blogger wrote on Price Chopper’s Pinterest site.
Visitors can also get tips on gardening and house cleaning using natural products.
While the site has only 700 followers, they are extremely active, said Heidi Reale, director of marketing and consumer insights for Price Chopper.
“When we see people actively pinning, we know they’re interested in the content we put up,” Reale said. “It gives you insights into what people are gravitating towards and what they like.”
Safeway , Pleasanton, Calif., promoted the Dec. 2012 launch of its Pinterest page with a daily $50 gift card giveaway. Shoppers could enter the “Pin2Win” contest by “pinning” Safeway dessert recipes — including pumpkin pie, owl cake, apple tarts and sugar cookies — to their personal Pinterest page. The contest ran Dec. 11–Jan. 2.
Brand marketers are also appealing to pinners.
This past Thanksgiving, Campbell Soup Co. used Pinterest to promote its popular green bean casserole recipe. Each time someone pinned an image of Campbell’s green bean casserole dish to a personal Pinterest board, the company donated the cost of one serving of the casserole, or $1, to Feeding America.
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