Pinterest, the social image-sharing board, has been incredibly successful at creating a loyal community of users who love to organize and share ideas with other users. I’m a pretty active user, and if you haven’t started using it, I encourage you to try it out (though I warn you, it’s incredibly addictive). Pinterest does an excellent job of communicating with users in a way that is both engaging and informative. Of course, they always have a little nugget about themselves (new features, a new partner, etc.), but it always includes something for me and something about me.
Why I Always Open the Pinterest Newsletter
Pinterest sends me tailored recommendations on users and boards I might want to follow, based on my usage behavior. My hands-down favorite section, is my popularity summary. It’s my own little data-driven leaderboard that shows me what was most liked and re-shared by other users. Even though I’m no celebrity on the site, I like seeing stats that quantify my interaction with others and their interaction with me. It gives me immediate feedback when other people appreciate the content I put out there. This little section ensures that I always open the Pinterest newsletter, which is a rare feat for corporate newsletters, making it a win for Pinterest, yet also a win for me.
Real World Social Connections
A while back, I went to an art show displaying a series of large-scale photographs. One shot that got a fair amount of attention was a wide-angle shot of a Madonna concert with over 50,000 fans. Rather than a typical close-up shot, the photographer captured the tremendous scale of the concert. Four women were crowding around, each taking pictures of the photo on their cell phones. It turned out that they had all been at this concert in 2001 and astonishingly had managed to find their tiny images in this giant photograph. They called another friend in the group, “We are in an art show! You are, too!”
All of a sudden the art show was personal, and something to talk about. This was a reminder that art is as much about the audience, as it is about the art. In business, we often forget that we will never be as interesting to our consumers as they are to themselves. How can we use this knowledge to be more engaging to our target audience? Perhaps by providing them with easy access to more tools, like data analytics, to learn about themselves and those closest to them.
With communication fatigue running rampant, trying to reach consumers and get their attention becomes more challenging every day. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are leaders in constantly looking and adapting to the way they create a personalized newsfeed for each of its users, but haven’t yet opened up their wealth of individual data to their users. These companies understand the Madonna fans that I saw at the gallery, and the human desire to feel our impact on the big stage. Each company has the opportunity to engage with each of its users, when they find a natural way to showcase how each customer is a star in their own right.
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