Is Pinterest Relevant to Printers?

By on December 18th, 2012

It seems that you hear about Pinterest and its 25+ million users everywhere now.  Whole Foods has 86,000 followers. Michael’s Stores has 7,000 followers. Social media strategist Ted Rubin has 2,600 followers. Ted Rubin’s sock board has 2,300 followers.

There is no doubt about it. Pinterest is fun. I’ve seen some very interesting things on there. Certainly there are a few pairs of socks owned by Ted Rubin I’d like to see on my husband. But is it for printers?

Print is a visual medium, and since Pinterest appeals to visual thinkers like designers, you’d think there would some great overlap there. Yet look for a printer on Pinterest and, well, if you find one, let me know.

Consumer marketers seem to have figured out what works on Pinterest: a mix of product-oriented images and lifestyle boards. People come for the quirky lifestyle images, the fabulous design ideas, and the images of the really “out there.” But with every image viewed comes branding, too, and if consumers go through the marketer’s main Pinterest page, they get exposed to product information, as well.

I like Ted Rubin’s mix of content. His popular sock board sits alongside the board for his book Return on Relationship, his Collective Bias blog, his conferences appearanches, and other fun things like holidays, “just to be nice,” and “other things I like.” Go for the socks, but get exposed to his professional expertise along the way.

I can see this really working for printers. Different boards for different types of products alongside quirky boards about unusual uses for recycled paper, unorthodox employee activity, contest results for the most creative use of empty ink cans, things like that. It would be killer for dimensional mail, I would think. Especially considering the visual- and design-focused audience. Alongside the boards for the quirky, thought-provoking, and unusual, you could add images that lead to white papers, case studies, and video tutorials.  Think of it as branding and accidental exposure.

So why aren’t printers using Pinterest more? Probably the same reason they don’t tend toward any kind of self-promotion. New, untried, uncertain return on investment. But particularly if you’re targeting designers and agencies, I’d think Pinterest would be somewhere you’d want to be.

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    7 Responses to “Is Pinterest Relevant to Printers?”

    1. Deborah Corn Says:

      Hi Heidi…

      Ive posted and had this discussion many times with printers, as well as the “online portfolio” one. Most of the concern from those who do not participate in such things is based upon not wanting to make their clients mad by posting their work, and, “proprietary” reasons. Im just telling you what they tell me (over and over again).

      Like all social media, there are those that get, and those who dont. But I agree with you very passionately that we are in a visual industry. Even though print has tactile qualities as well, pictures will always say 1000 words, and no pictures will make me say “Why dont they have any pictures?”

      As a Print Buyer, I can assure you that I am going to do as much research as I can before I make contact. I check for an online portfolio first, and that could very easily be on Pinterest, as long as its indicated for me to look there. If I can get a basic sense of what they print, I will go to “About Us” next to see a little of who they are and make next step decisions from there.

      To be fair however, there are very well known and amazing Printers out there without online portfolios, Pinterest or any social media presence. How long they will be well known is another question, and perhaps for another post.

      Happy Holidays and thank you for providing awesome content for all of us to absorb!

    2. Heidi Tolliver-Walker Says:

      Thanks, Deborah! I really appreciate the buyer’s point of view here. I went to your site and noted the “Pin It” icon on top. Awesome!

      Also, I posted this to Facebook and Katherine O’Brien responded with a link to the publication’s Pinterest page “Best Business Books for Printers and Other Smart People,” inviting others to post their favorites, as well. Glad to see some printing industry activity on Pinterest. Check it out: http://pinterest.com/amprintmag/best-business-books-for-printers-other-smart-peopl/

    3. Deborah Corn Says:

      You might like this as well from MDG Advertising: A Marketer’s Guide To Pinterest: Pin It To Win It [Infographic] http://www.mdgadvertising.com/blog/a-marketers-guide-to-pinterest-pin-it-to-win-it-infographic/

    4. Dena Says:

      I found your article on Pintrest and there are printers on Pintrest already. Knepper Press is one of them. You are correct about designers loving visuals and a lot of other people only have time for a quick look to find ideas so this works well. The Knepper Pintrest Team put up boards that we felt would appeal to our customer and prospect base. It’s a great addition to Social Media for us and our clients. Dena
      http://pinterest.com/knepperpress/

    5. Patrick Whelan Says:

      Great article. I have several clients using Pinterest to varying degrees. Initially I think some printers were spooked by the potential copyright and trademark issues. Used properly in a manner you describe, this is not something they have to fear.

      At the end of the day, I just think that many printers are still dipping their toes in the whole social media pond and in time, Pinterest and social media in general will be almost universally utilized in the print industry.

    6. David Dilling Says:

      Great blog post and good comments. A printer does not need to post their clients images (and certainly not for corporate jobs) – although I bet you if they *asked* their designer clients, they would LOVE the fact that their printer is helping spread the word. An added value service. There are many designers on Pinterest and thus a great opportunity for printers.

      Friendly Regards,
      David DIlling
      Markzware
      http://pinterest.com/Markzware/
      http://pinterest.com/pijnacker01/

    7. Christine Alexander Says:

      Great blog post! I agree with David as Pinterest being a value added service for a printer’s clients. At Metropolitan Printing Service, we use it to spread inspiration to our clients and prospects. We also utilize it for our internal campaigns, for example, we have a Trimdown Challenge where we invited our customers and community to participate in our own Biggest Loser if you will. We share motivation, exercises and diets. It’s also just another great way to let you company’s personality shine through.

      All the best,
      Christine Alexander
      http://pinterest.com/MetroPrinting