This guest post is by Michael Perulli, account executive at Cision.
Pinterest is still relatively new and barely two years old. For those that don’t know, it’s a social networking site where users can upload pictures and videos or bookmark pages they want to share with others. These are categorized for browsing (ie. technology, photography, etc.) and when a user finds something interesting, they can “pin” it to boards on their profile for their followers to see.
After months and months of resistance, I joined Pinterest last week. It’s actually a big step for me to admit this in a public forum (although I was unaware when I registered with my Facebook account that an email would be blasted to all my friends who are also on Pinterest, notifying them that I joined). Why is it such a big deal for me to admit this? Because most guys don’t join Pinterest. Somewhere along the line, it was determined that Pinterest was primarily for women.
This is something that I’m sure the marketing team at Pinterest is well aware of. After all, the company has stated that their current goal is to grow Pinterest and focus on making money later and it would be much easier to grow the user base if most men weren’t hesitant to join.
Using the Cision Social Media tool, I analyzed mentions of “Pinterest” in the last 30 days on Twitter and 70% of the mentions were from women. Competitors are well aware of this and several sites, such as Gentlemint and Manteresting, have emerged positioning themselves as the “Pinterest for men.” I visited these sites and they are a lot like Pinterest (if not exactly like Pinterest), with the exception of a “manly things” category on Manteresting.
I’m going to make the argument that Pinterest is, in fact, a place for both men and women. I just think that a few refinements to the site should be made before it can get popular with men:
More Content That Appeals To Guys
When I first joined Pinterest, I felt like I had to pin really manly stuff like cars and tech gadgets and more cars. Eventually I found my way to the “geek” section, the “humor” section and I even dabbled in the “men’s fashion” section for a bit (yeah, that’s right). Aside from those categories, I felt like there wasn’t a lot of content targeted at what the typical man traditionally likes. For example, I went into the health and fitness section and the first thing I saw was a recipe for gluten-free parmesan rolls. I went into the sports section and saw a few pictures of some soccer players with their shirts off, a woman’s golf outfit with emphasis on the “cute white details” and a woman who painted her toenails like baseballs for the start of the MLB season.
As with all social sites, the user base determines content and with 83% global users being female in 2012, the content should come as no surprise. With that said, if more guys join the site there will naturally be more “guy stuff” posted, but men won’t want to join if there isn’t any relevant content for them. So what comes first, the chicken or the egg?
Revamp The ‘Popular’ Section
As it stands right now, I will never be able to use the “popular” category to see things I like because some of the first items that popped up on my feed were “DIY maternity pants” and “braided bun” tutorials. Again, a simple suggestion could be to have a “recommended for you” section, which would display content based on what you have pinned to the boards on your profile.
There is no reason that men and women can’t mingle in social media bliss on Pinterest. We share similar interests and if worst comes to worst, you can always unfollow certain boards if you don’t want that content displayed on your feed. Perhaps they need a male spokesperson to get the word out? I don’t know, I don’t have all the answers and if I did I’m sure the Pinterest marketing team would be knocking on my door. In this man’s humble opinion though, the two suggestions I made above would be a good start.