We have been interviewing businesses, mostly retailers, on how they use Pinterest. But this time we talked with a magazine – Southern Weddings Magazine.
As a magazine, specifically a wedding magazine, they have quite the advantage on Pinterest. They have great visual content and are a part of one of the biggest categories of content sharing on Pinterest. And when it comes to Pinterest, Southern Weddings Magazine has it down. Their boards are full of great wedding ideas for every detail you could think of.
Throughout the month of March, Southern Weddings Magazine is running a My Dream Southern Wedding Pinterest contest. Pinterest followers are encouraged to create a board filled with 12 of their dream wedding details, including things like a wedding gown, a centerpiece, and one southern detail. We had the chance to talk to Marissa Kloess, Southern Weddings Magazine’s Editor and Director of Brand Partnerships, about this contest and how they use social media, Pinterest in particular, to connect with their readers and gain valuable insight from them.
Get Pinterested: How valuable do you feel social media is to a magazine like Southern Weddings?
Marissa Kloess: We feel social media is extremely valuable for us. The Southern Weddings brand is very personal and personable, and we genuinely enjoy interacting with our readers. We feel that personal connection is one reason why we tend to have longer-term-than-usual readers — most gals are with us for years, from before they’re engaged to long after their wedding. They often feel like they know us, and in many cases, they really do! We love that.
Southern Weddings has an impressive group of followers on nearly every social network. Can you tell us a little bit about your overall social media strategy and how you keep your social media fresh, exciting, and engaging?
MK: Why, thank you! As with everything we do, our “strategy” with social media is to be authentic and honest. That means that, yes, we genuinely delight with every reader who gets engaged, every gal who picks up a copy of our magazine for the first time, and every vendor who receives their first SW feature acceptance! We think our readers can see a lot of themselves in us, because we aren’t afraid to share who we really are. We also try our best to focus on the emotional and meaningful side of weddings and wedding planning, which our Southern brides naturally gravitate toward.
What kind of maintenance/time do you devote to it? Meaning, do you have a person or team devoted to maintaining your social media presence?
MK: We have a couple of editors who mainly run our social media accounts, but we all have our own personal accounts and contribute as a team to our Southern Weddings accounts.
What drove you to Pinterest?
MK: All of our editors were on Pinterest for personal use before we thought to create a Southern Wedding account. We figured, if we love it, our readers probably do, too, and my, it has grown from there!
Has your experience with Pinterest, or any social media for that matter, changed the way that you look at your business or how you market your magazine?
MK: I wouldn’t necessarily say that Pinterest has changed the way we look at or market our business, but it has definitely changed our business. For one, it’s now a HUGE source of traffic for us that just wasn’t there before. Secondly, it’s made us much more likely to create graphics for our posts, or overlay text on an image to summarize the content of a post (so that if readers liked our post on, say, romantic hair and makeup ideas, they could pin the photo with that text instead of just pinning a random photo from the post – and maybe forgetting why they did so).
Since Pinterest is the new kid on the block, is there anything you’ve done or anyone you’ve looked to for help getting started?
MK: Since Pinterest is so new, we’re always looking for more info on it. We thought this article and this article shared some interesting info. We are also inspired by how our peers and other players inside and outside the wedding space use Pinterest — seeing what sorts of boards they create, etc.
Pinterest is a place full of great inspiration. Does Southern Weddings use Pinterest for inspiration for content ideas and styles? Do you look to your followers for inspiration?
MK: I wouldn’t say that we look to Pinterest for inspiration for content ideas and styles — we try very hard to set trends, not follow them, with our editorial features. However, I would say that we follow very closely which pieces of content pinned from our site seem to be resonating the most with our readers. Looking at the number of repins on certain images is a great way to help choose future content, like real weddings.
We see Pinterest as a great opportunity for businesses to showcase their culture and lifestyle. We love what you are doing with your My Dream Southern Wedding Pinterest Contest; can you tell us your strategy and thought process behind this contest?
MK: Honestly, the strategy behind this contest wasn’t really a monetary one or even a brand awareness one, though the re-pins from boards being created will help with that! We just knew that our readers loved Pinterest, and thought this would be a fun way to see them interact with our content. We hope it will also be a great barometer for us of what, exactly, our reader’s ideal Southern wedding looks like – vintage? Rustic? Preppy? Modern? We’ll see! Like re-pins, we expect this will help us shape and choose future content.
Aside from simply growing brand awareness, is there a way you define success when it comes to Pinterest, or social media in general? What kind of results are you hoping to see from the contest?
MK: We really don’t really have specific results in mind per say. We are just looking for another way to interact with our readers.
As a magazine, do you feel that you have an advantage because you already have visual content? How important do you feel it is to pin and re-pin other content versus your own?
MK: We definitely feel that we have an advantage because we already have visual content. We are obviously biased, but our images are so beautiful we feel they make excellent ambassadors! We generally pin and re-pin only images from the Southern Weddings site to the SW Pinterest account, but each of the editors pin images from all kinds of sites to their individual accounts, and we encourage our readers to follow us on those accounts, too. Between those two options, we think we have a nice balance.
The wedding industry is huge on Pinterest and that is right up your alley. What do you do to stand out and be unique so that you don’t fall through the cracks?
MK: We don’t worry too much about this, actually! We know we are a niche, and we relish it. As long as we just keep digging deeper and deeper into all things Southern (and all things wedding!), our following grows larger and larger. We don’t try to be everything for everyone — in fact, I’d say our motto could be “do what you know and do it well.” It’s seemed to work for us so far!
We would like to thank Marissa Kloess for taking the time to talk to us. If you are in the process of planning your wedding or just dreaming about your wedding, check out Southern Weddings Magazine for some inspiration.