When Bros Pin: How Men Use One of the Web’s Favorite Social Networks
At first glance, it’s obvious why Pinterest is a beloved pastime of the women of the world. You can’t scroll through more than a few pins without seeing tasty baked goods, cute animals, fashion, hair, nails, art projects… you get the idea. I admit that my friends and I have begun multiple conversations with, “guess what I saw on Pinterest?” and that I have a full board dedicated to all arrays of fluffy critters and creatures. I know I’m not alone.
However, despite the fact that roughly 70% of Pinterest users are women, there is a small but mighty faction of guys who are finding their way and making their mark on this visually-driven platform. In a recent Ragan article, Russell Working tells readers of a conference session led by communications consultant Shel Holtz, during which a male attendee told Holtz, “there is nothing for men on Pinterest.” Determined to show the value of the network, Holtz led the man to interesting, guy-friendly content in seconds… and another devotee was born.
Men often shy away from Pinterest, but once they take a moment to tailor content to what appeals to them, they’re not just prolific users, they also tend to be more productive – driving results and traffic – from a commercial and communication POV.
How Guys Use Pinterest
While women tend to use Pinterest to get inspired and fuel creativity, guys are more likely to pin with intention, explains social media expert Jay Baer. In summarizing The Social Habit’s “Pinterest Users in America” report, Baer says, “men… use Pinterest like a visual bookmarking tool,” focusing on items they want (to track and catalog) or own (to showcase).
However, inspiration isn’t out the window in any sense. From DIY projects and snack recipes to fitness tips and travel articles and photography, there is a veritable world of manly content to enjoy on Pinterest. It’s also great for planning – men can create a communal board and plan a trip with friends or convene with siblings over the perfect holiday presents. A friend of mine and her fiancé used Pinterest to plan their honeymoon.
… And What That Means for Communication Pros
Whether you run a brand with a male-centric focus or are a professional trying to distribute your business ethos to men in a creative way, Pinterest may make a much greater impact than you’d think, Pinterest drives more referral traffic to websites than Reddit, LinkedIn and Twitter combined. It accounts for a quarter of all retail traffic and about 7% of all web traffic – as in all web traffic, ever. Tack on the added bonus that one click on a pin goes straight to the original website, and that’s a goldmine of potential sales for businesses in the retail space. People like fitness trainers, photographers and consultants can easily get eyeballs on their websites (and subsequently, feet in their doors) with a well-placed infographic pulled from their blog or a cool picture cataloging their adventures to exotic lands. For example, travel blogger Gary Arndt, who rules Pinterest with over 45,000 followers, pulls in sponsorships for more trips and more content. Eddie Rosetti, a PR pro by day and hopeful fashion journalist by night, connects with more than 85,000 followers (and catches the eyes of powerhouses like GQ and Banana Republic) by pinning his own styled photos.
Want to meet up with the men of Pinterest? Here’s how:
- Keep it simple – Make your boards well-organized and intuitive. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to get carried away with all of the types of content on Pinterest. Dudes will appreciate the inherent browse-ability and make your content a go-to.
- Keep it fresh – Beyond history enthusiasts, people aren’t going to Pinterest to look at old photos or check out outdated blogs. They want new content, and it’s so easy to put up. You don’t have to spend hours each day on your account, but at least a few new pins a week will hold your fans’ interest – and keep traffic flowing to your external sites.
- Keep it real – Don’t try too hard to make your content “Pinteresting” – if mason jars and cupcakes shaped like elephants don’t make sense for your brand, don’t do it. Pinners will enjoy a well-executed project or outfit that stays true to who you are far better than something that fits the general Pinterest aesthetic but looks as though it belongs on Pinterest Fail… or worse, makes them say, “huh?”
- Keep it smart – If you’re showcasing your product, be it a blog or a clothing line, cover all of your bases: 1) Make sure your pins link back to your website 2) Put all of the necessary info in the pin description – great for repins and for SEO 3) Make sure your profile is complete and optimized. Pinterest rolled out new business features and benefits fairly recently, so brush up and take advantage of how they can help you stand out. If you started out as a human user and want to switch over, that’s simple, too.
Men may not dominate Pinterest, but there’s still a great deal of value to be had for brands. Have you had success connecting your brand with pin-loving bros? Tell us about it!