Pinterest, according to its own CEO, Ben Silbermann, is a platform where people find inspirations. From DIY projects to pretty people and everything else in between, users can actively participate in the Pinterest community simply by pinning interesting items from their virtual bulletin board. The simplistic concept behind Pinterest wasn’t expected to woo users. In fact, many lobbyists thought Pinterest is just a fad, something that will eventually fade, like other trendy social media sites of the past (Friendster, anyone?).
However, Pinterest never stopped growing. As of April 2013, Pinterest users has grown to a jaw-dropping 48.7 million with 40% growth per annum, easily making it one of the largest social networking sites in the world.
But why is Pinterest growing at such a seemingly supernatural rate? What’s the secret behind Pinterest’s unprecedented growth? Most people attributed Pinterest’s success to effective algorithm but Ben Silbermann, debunked this notion, crediting grassroots marketing as the reason why Pinterest became the social media juggernaut it is today.
What is Grassroots Marketing?
Grassroots marketing, often referred to as “guerilla marketing” is a promotional campaign that starts from the ground up, rather than broadcasting marketing messages to a wide audience. This type of marketing campaign requires working with a small group of people, hoping that this group of people will spread the word about your message to a much larger audience. In short, Pinterest grew because of word of mouth marketing, which happens to be the holy grail of marketing campaigns.
Pinterest started its campaign by instigating meetups with users at local boutiques, engaging people through common interests and inviting influential bloggers to “Pin it Forward”. Rather than establishing superficial relationships on more popular social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, Pinterest banked on real conversations, creative projects and complete engagement between users.
Fueled by the fact that Pinterest is more of a visual platform than anything else, the generated result is steadier, longer lasting, as opposed to results yielded from algorithm. Pinterest is considered as addicting by many users because the platform established a compelling, extremely sticky approach to marketing.
Just like anything, grassroots marketing starts with a great product to inspire it. In the case of Pinterest, the seemingly simple concept of creating a channel for online inspirations is something that not a lot of social networking site offers. Despite what many believed to be just a trend that will pass in its own time, Pinterest has, time and again, surprised fans and detractors alike with longevity and remarkable growth throughout the years.