Travel firms have been urged to exploit Pinterest, the latest darling of the dot com world, while being warned not to let it distract them from more pressing priorities in social.
The virtual pinboard which allows users to flag up interesting stuff they have found on the web to their followers, is the fastest growing social network in history.
Speaking at an Association of Cruise Experts digital seminar for cruise travel agents this week, Claire Riches of Travel Waves Marketing said the site was a good way for firms to engage with customers.
She cited how G Adventures (formerly Gap Adventures) is using Pinterest as an aspirational tool with quirky themes like penguins and as a promotional platform for its ‘You’ll Never Forget’ competition.
Riches said: “It’s about providing inspiration, showing stunning photography. People love great brochures to showcase product. Use that on your website as well.
“The best way to use it is to ask your customers. Get them to create a mood board of their ideal holiday. Post pictures and ‘re-pin’ them. Create a VIP board.”
Pinterest organises its content into around 30 different categories including ‘Holidays’ and ‘Travel & Places’.
A pinned image includes a link back to the website on which it was found and users can either ‘re-pin’ an image, ‘like’ it or comment on it.
Propellernet insight director Stefan Hull warned delegates not to just jump on the latest online fad and to make sure they are getting the basics right first.
He said: “There’s no doubting that Pinterest is currently a shining star in the social media firmament and it’s got lots going for it, but it’s important to remember it’s a tool and not a strategy.
“There are far too many brands that don’t have a clear idea about what social media means to them and their customers and haven’t even got to grips with more established channels like Facebook, Twitter and blogging.
“I’m concerned that the noise around Pinterest is distracting them around making more informed and strategic decisions around social media and marketing more broadly.”