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First, we’re glad Pinterest backtracked. Pinterest’s pinmeister and co-founder, Ben Silberman, is no longer asking followers to " avoid self promotion."
The CEO and his fellow pinners are saying that the Pinterest etiquette that frowned on pinning ones own content, is dead.
Originally, the fast-growing site wanted its members, as Hotelmarketing.com put it, “to share all the beautiful things they find on the web,” and eschew pinning their own content, thus the advice against “self promotion.”
But what followed was predictable: big questions about the copyright violations by enthusiastic Pinterest users who were pinning other people’s content and images, with no license to do so.
So, in a recently unveiled set of new Terms of Services, the site reversed itself, and asked its followers to go ahead, forget the previous rules of etiquette, and pin their own stuff.
The Wall Street Journal noted that the shift in policy from posting curated content to members’ own content reflects a maturing company which, in February, became the third, fastest-growing major U.S web site when its unique users jumped 52% to 17.8 million.
But here’s problem one.
Social Technographic Profiles across the board (Alpha Moms, men and women, Asian and European users, etc.), show that social media Creators - those who actually publish a blog, upload a photo or video, Tweet regularly- are a significantly smaller population than Joiners, Spectators or Inactives.
Will the shift to pinning one’s own work, rather than those of others, be too challenging to Pinterest members?
Was it less stressful, easier “to share the things you love,” which meant other people’s (better?) stuff, and not one’s own?
And could this shift to posting original content reduce member growth?
From the perspective of travel, there’s another problem.
In a recent post, Why Hotel Content is So Boring, we argued that hotels play it safe by posting images of empty hotel rooms, empty pools, impossibly gorgeous but fake families on the beach, and smiling photos of reception desk staff, who are very likely paid models.
Hotels want to play it safe. Why, as one observer noted, show a happy family in the dining room when a potential childless couple could be turned off by the image and not chose that hotel.
Pinterest encourages beautiful photographs, lovely images. Hotels and destinations will populate their Pinterest boards with such glossy, but empty images.
Furthermore, Eric Leist, an emerging technologies specialist with ad agency allen and gerristen, says that travel industry professionals should be paying attention to what Pinterest users in their target market are pinning. Doing so will give them a better sense of what that members in that target market want, what styles and colors appeal to them.
Basically, he says, “Pinterest is a free focus group for the travel industry, and professionals should tap into it.”
Pinterest has the potential to surpass Faceboook and even Amazon in terms of helping people discover what they want and what they may want to buy...instead of just talking to each other
While the site may give travel brands a great opportunity to show off their beauty and promote their brands, they must also bring the user/traveler closer to sharing the real-life, emotional travel experience of being at a destination or property.