Like many, I avoided Facebook for quite awhile before joining the ranks of followers. I feared the dreaded “time suck” as so many have called it. But one day I finally joined and I hopped on Twitter, too. And now, I have another addiction: Pinterest.
Pinterest, a shareable virtual bulletin board, is the newest addition to the time sucking family of social media sites. It has become a daily habit for me and, apparently, for many others. According to compete.com, which provides web traffic statistics, Pinterest received close to 20 million unique visitors in April.
Despite warnings against advertising and self-promotion during Pinterest’s sign-up process, businesses are beginning to explore ways to capitalize on its marketing potential, restaurants included.
Pinterest seems like a viable marketing avenue for restaurants. Post photos of food or daily specials and let the “pinners” spread the word by adding those photos to their own boards. Those photos will then be viewed by all of their followers, and placed again on the main screen for all Pinterest users to view. The potential customer reach extends far beyond Atlanta.
Besides being a simple marketing tool, Pinterest can tell a restaurant’s story and provide a window into a chef’s perspective. Depending on a chef’s pins, you could potentially see places he/she has traveled, plating ideas, culinary pursuits and explorations (curing hams, making cheeses, etc.). Chef Jay Swift of 4th & Swift has a pin board documenting the progress of his garden. Who wouldn’t want to see where their food is grown and know that the chef values sourcing so highly?
Let’s see photos of the farmers and their products, share preparation techniques and see the staff in action. Pinterest opens the door for a new type of branding — a more personal one that tells a story through collections of photos and website links.
After speaking with a number of publicists for Atlanta restaurants, it seems that many eateries are currently exploring the possibilities of Pinterest. So far, I’ve found pin boards for RA Sushi, Corner Tavern, Murphy’s and HH Desserts, the newly launched boutique dessert business by pastry chef Heather Hurlbert. Searching for businesses on the site can be difficult, however, so there may be others. Have you found any?
Would you welcome Atlanta restaurants to Pinterest or is it just one more marketing intrusion?
–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog