How People Youâ€™ve Never Heard of Got To Be the Most Powerful Users on Pinterest
J Thoendell stashed this in Tech
These social media â€śPinomenonsâ€ť differ from most Internet celebrities in a few key ways. First, they are not celebrities. And second, for the most part, they didnâ€™t hound the spotlight with so many self-promotional posts and â€ś#followforfollowâ€ť traffic schemes. Instead, in many cases, popularity was handed to them, without warning, by Pinterest itself.
Perhaps inadvertently, Pinterest gave these pinners a valuable assetâ€Šâ€”â€Ša captive audienceâ€”that theyâ€™ve been able to cash in on since. Vokolos, hardly the exception, says she can pay her Manhattan rent with the money she earns through Pinterest. Sheâ€™s beenÂ hired by brandsÂ such as Nars, Mr. Porter and Sevenly to share products of her choosing on her boards. Often, using affiliate links tracked by the company RewardStyle, sheâ€™ll earn a commission off of accessories she posts that her followers later buy. There have been fashion week party invitations and offers for free clothing.Â
Though Vokolos negotiates all her own deals so she can keep full control over what appears under the Veanad name, a suite of companies, includingHelloSocietyÂ andÂ Storylark, now exist to help brands inject promotions into popular pinnersâ€™ feeds. HelloSociety, for example, sells access to what it claims is an â€śexclusive groupâ€ť of over 350 Pinterest â€śinfluencers.â€ť
Pinterest also has its misgivings. Even as the site has sought to make money off its popularity, it has laid down a patchwork of often inconsistent-seeming rules that limit its users from profiting off their followings. Referral links that pay a commission, such as RewardStyle or ShopStyle, are a-OK. But Pinterest prohibits getting paid for pinsâ€Šâ€”â€Ševen, presumably, if the pinner gets to choose what items to post and when to delete them. The site seems keen to reserve this particular privilege for itself. Earlier this year, it launched â€śPromoted Pins,â€ť a way for Pinterest to charge companies for placing pins in usersâ€™ feeds. Members arenâ€™t allowed to do so, explained a Pinterest spokeswoman, because the company â€śwant[s] Pins to represent authentic interestsâ€Šâ€”â€Šnot just things sold by the highest bidder.â€ť
Several pinners quietly admitted to making money off their enormous followings but declined to share more on the record. Theyâ€™re confused about what Pinterest does or doesnâ€™t allow. And since they rely on the site for extra income, they fear saying the wrong thing could get their accounts closed, banned or purged of their followers.
With no consistent way (or incentive) to disclose paid deals, the lack of transparency filters down to pinnersâ€™ followers. Sponsored posts on Pinterest often seem to fall short of what the Federal Trade Commissionâ€™sdisclosure rulesÂ require, where even the pithiest paid posts are meant to have some form of â€ś#adâ€ť or â€ś#sponsoredâ€ť disclaimer. Earlier this year, the FTC chastised Cole Haan for running a Pinterest contest under the hashtag â€ś#WanderingSoleâ€ť that, theÂ agency argued, failed to highlight the financial incentive. Cole Haan escaped with a warning, as the FTCÂ admittedÂ that it had not â€śexplicitly addressed whether a pin on Pinterest may constitute an endorsement.â€ť
Pinterest is the top social referrer to e-commerce sites, and the amount of traffic it sends is on the up:
Meanwhile, as we can see from the graph below, Pinterestâ€™s traffic has more than doubled between June 2013 and November 2014.
With this in mind, expect social sharing (and Pinterest in particular) to be of even more importance to e-commerce sites in 2015.
eCommerce is becoming more social.
No wonder brands want to pay top Pinterest users for their help!
What's interesting about the original article is that Pinterest created its power users by giving them traffic. And yet Pinterest doesn't really do any power user community management.Â