A social network for women? Yes. But men can benefit from Pinterest too. Pinterest just needs to tell them how to use it.
Pinterest, the virtual pin board site that allows users to organize and share images of the things they love, has already become popular amongst women. Being that the network was actually created by two men, I was quite skeptical about the growing genderization - So I signed-up. It only took a few minutes to understand why so many women love it.
How Pinterest became a utility for women
The gendering of Pinterest has everything to do with the way people, but mostly women, have started using the platform. The concept is absolutely perfect for women looking to plan their weddings, share a shoe collection or dabble in visual interior design. Since none of these uses sound appealing to most men, the opposite sex has taken over. In fact, women make up an astounding 80% of Pinterest users.
How does Pinterest balance out the spectrum? It will certainly take some time, but the network needs to come up with a few ways men can use it, and then heavily market those ways. The fact of the matter is, although women have taken the lead of Pinterest's early use, men can and will use the platform if they know what to use it for.
How Pinterest can appeal more to men
The intention surely wasn't to create a social platform solely for women, but the benefits of Pinterest seem to heavily favor the opposite sex. It's important to understand that men can influence the balance if they start using Pinterest for everyday things they enjoy. To get the ball rolling, Pinterest can reach equilibrium between the sexes if they focused on these ideas:
Discover value in the culture of man
A no-brainer. Pinterest needs to figure out what is most appealing to men. What are common problems all males face in their everyday life? According to society, men find value out of things related to money, power and success. They also like food, fitness, technology and humor. The current men on Pinterest are using it to pin funny content, share favorite beers and discover new products. But Pinterest needs to highlight the value of their platform to men - as it did for women.
For example, women can plan weddings, find DIY projects (a category that should be universal amongst the sexes, but isn't), share design inspiration and even express their identities through fashion. Excluding wedding planning, you can argue that men can also do those things. But design and fashion industries aren't appealing to most men. Not to mention, the aforementioned concepts are already dominated by women.
Why should men use Pinterest? What can men do on Pinterest that women can't also do? Discover the value of Pinterest for men and then leverage it.
Promote the value of Pinterest to men
The numbers already show that women are dominating the platform, but the numbers will show an even greater gap if it was judged on active users. Men will sign-up for Pinterest because they're interested in the social media phenomenon. However, after signing-up, there's a high chance men will either never sign into their accounts again, or do nothing to contribute to the visual conversations. Why? Simply because men don't know why they should be using Pinterest. Pinterest needs to show them the value.
If Pinterest takes a backseat in the way users are using the platform, the gap between the sexes will only deepen. Pinterest can benefit from promoting the value to men. Whether it's an engaging YouTube series or a few blog posts, Pinterest can win more men if they start focusing some of their marketing efforts on emphasizing the value of Pinterest to them.
Balance the content
I know the major concept behind Pinterest's functionality is letting its users express their own identity, but men will keep their interest in Pinterest if they aren't bombarded by feminine content as soon as they join (and thereafter). This is obviously a direct correlation to the dominant percentage of female users, and I'm sure men can just follow tons of boards created for men, but the ease of discovery isn't as easy as it should be. Logging into my own Pinterest account shows me boards from the pinners I follow - and since 90% of them are female, I'm automatically exposed to female content. As stated before, the search isn't as good as it should be, but a search for masculine associations almost always returns content with a feminine twist.
For example, a search for the term ‘work out' or ‘beer' will return fitness resources for women, ‘cute ‘ beer dessert recipes and other non-related results. Although the results simply reflect the user base, Pinterest is losing with men.
A future solution could be a better balancing of the content, or an optional filtering system required when signing-up. When you first join, Pinterest will allow you to choose things that interest you. But because a significant percentage of Pinterest's users are women, almost every interest will have a female influence. This isn't a problem for me personally, as I place a huge value on the woman's opinion, but it certainly is a reason why men aren't joining and staying on Pinterest. Perhaps Pinterest can ask users what they aren't interested in when they join as well and then use those answers to filter better content.
Pinterest can appeal to men if they start using the points I outlined above. The discovery of the value is highly important for Pinterest. Women have already found it. Place an emphasis on appealing to men as well and then watch the numbers increase.
Do you think Pinterest will ever be able to appeal to men? Should Pinterest even be trying to? Are there any other ways they can appeal to men? Please share your thoughts below or reach out to us on the Hudson Horizons Facebook page.