Pinterest is a virtual corkboard where users (“pinners”) collect pictures that they find on the Internet.
They can create new boards, virtually ‘pin’ pictures to the boards, re-pin pictures from other people’s boards, and like and comment upon pins.
What Do People Use Pinterest For?
Most people use Pinterest for planning weddings and home decoration projects, sharing travel experiences and aspirations, and sharing information and comic pins.
CEO Danny Maloney estimates that Pinterest has 70m users in his 2013 slide presentation, “Establishing Your Brand and Raising Your ROI on Pinterest.”
The number continues to grow, with popular subjects on the site including cookery, fashion and crafts. As a business, you may be able to use Pinterest to showcase your products and to promote a lifestyle that complements your brand.
Is Pinterest Good For Your Brand?
Pinterest can be a very effective tool in publicizing your products or services and driving customers to your company websites. According to the May 2012 “Are You Pinterest-ed” slide presentation, CEO of home goods company Wayfair, Niraj Shah, states that “shoppers who are referred to a site from Pinterest are 10% more likely to make a purchase than visitors who arrive from other social networks.”
However, unlike Facebook or Twitter, this particular social media platform may not be an essential part of your marketing strategy. Should you be using Pinterest? It depends upon two factors: the nature of your products and the nature of your customers.
Visual Products Work on Pinterest
Pinterest is most suited to businesses that have a highly visual content. Obvious examples are the fashion and travel industries, where pictures of clothes or holiday destinations can appeal directly to customers.
But the visual appeal is not restricted to the product itself: Pinterest is as much about creating aspirations as about displaying pictures of products. So, for instance, a drinks manufacturer could create a lifestyle association by including pictures of romantic sunsets or deserted beaches.
Pinterest can also be used to provide information – recipes and infographics are popular – making it useful for knowledge-based businesses.
Where Are Your Customers?
You also need to consider your customer base. The demographic of Pinterest users varies considerably from one country to another.
Using traffic data from Google Doubleclick Ad Planner, the infographic creator Visual.ly has shown that in the US, 83% of pinners are women and 43% fall between the ages of 35 and 54; whereas in the UK, 56% of visitors are male and the largest group (42%) is aged between 25 and 34.
It is worth checking the age and gender profile of your geographical market before deciding whether to invest time in Pinterest.
Getting Started With Pinterest
When you first set up a business account on Pinterest, you will need to create a profile and add a picture that reflects your brand image. You can then start to create boards.
Use different boards for different themes: this makes it easier for your followers to find pictures that interest them. Remember that the names and descriptions of your boards (and of individual pins) will show up in Internet searches, so be descriptive, and include terms that will help people to find them.
You can maximise your “likes” and repins by providing content that is visually appealing. Tall pins (“portrait” style) are more popular with pinners and tend to get more repins. If it fits in with your branding, amusing pictures or cartoons can also be effective. Remember, too, that social media is about sharing, and don’t just pin your own pictures. Look at other people’s boards for images that complement your business, and repin them.
Make sure that you have a “Pin It” button on your website and include pictures that visitors to your site will want to pin. You can increase participation by inviting others to pin on your boards or by running contests such as asking people to create boards on a particular theme.
On Pinterest, Avoid the Hard Sell
As with all social media, you should avoid hard sell advertising.
Pinterest is more about connecting with a wider audience and encouraging people to identify with your brand ethos.
However, if you are selling consumer goods it is acceptable to include pictures of new products on your boards and even to add pricing information. But let the product speak for itself: don’t be tempted to add lots of advertising slogans!
Include Information in Your Pins
Pinterest is increasingly about information as well as pictures, so you want your image descriptions to be informative. However it remains primarily a visual medium, so make sure that you keep your descriptions short.
You can include hashtags to help people find your pictures.
Consider adding your logo or website address in a corner of your pins as branding, but make sure that the branding does not detract from the quality of the pictures.
If you are getting a lot of repins, this branding information will bring your business to the attention of a wider market. Some pins, such as recipes, are mostly information. You might also want to include inspirational quotes, quick snippets of information or infographics in your pinboards.
Monitor Your Results
As soon as you have set up your business account and verified your website you can start to use Pinterest Analytics. This shows which pictures visitors pin from your website, enabling you to track interest in particular products.
Bringing Your Brand to More People
The more that you use Pinterest, the more you will become familiar with the types of picture that your customers are happy to pin, repin and like. This will help you to choose your images carefully, bringing your brand to as many people as possible.