Are you on Pinterest?
If you’re going to embrace social media to promote your business, consider including Pinterest as part of your marketing strategy.
Evaluate the Pinterest option
Here are questions to ask yourself to help determine if marketing with Pinterest could be valuable to your business:
• Is your business B2B or B2C?
• Will you use Pinterest to get more traffic?
• Is your target customer mostly men or women?
• How do you think you will benefit from using Pinterest?
• Is your business, product or service based?
• Are your products or services mostly related to fashion, weddings, cooking or crafts? »
• Do your products have strong visual appeal? (Do you have time to improve the content and visual quality of your website and other social media sites, especially photos?)
• Are you already using social media for business?
• Why are you interested in using Pinterest?
• Will you pin things that aren’t entirely about your business (news, trends, ideas from others, etc.)?
If you have clear answers to all these questions, you can find value in developing a social media presence based on Pinterest. However, if you’re overwhelmed, annoyed, or burned out on “another social networking site,” you can put Pinterest aside for a while.
What do you know about Pinterest?
Pinterest fulfills a slightly different function in social networks. It’s not the place where you chat to the same extent as Facebook or Twitter and it’s not another blogging site. Pinterest is a social/visual “virtual bulletin board” that allows users to post (pin) images or videos from the web to their own (and others’) boards and explore Pinterest.
Once a Pinterest account is created, the virtual boards created within the account can be categorized and the user can add descriptions as reminders of why an image or video was saved. Many (but not all) images/pins link the Pinterest user to the website source for easy access at a later time. The account owner-user may invite others to pin content of interest related to the forum, or may restrict it to personal use only.
One media writer describes Pinterest as a “database” of intent. An individual often uses their Pinterest board to collect ideas, specifically visual images, of something desired. For example, he may want to see images of wedding dresses (a popular topic on Pinterest). Images of interest can be “pinned” on the whiteboard.
Many website images now include a Pin It widget on their pages that allows the visitor to pin content from that web page. And users can upload pins of their own content: the amazing dessert, a picture of a recently finished oil painting, or images of a new line of winter fashion accessories.
How does marketing come into this?
As a business promoter, your goal is to increase viewer traffic to your social networking site. Once there, it’s up to your web content to influence visitors to make purchases. Pinterest is now seen as an extension of an individual or business website and is credited with increasing page views by up to 29 percent.
Etsy’s increasingly popular online marketplace is considered one of the best performing brands on Pinterest, growing Etsy’s revenue by 9.4% in 2013. Why the interest? It’s the photos!
People love the images in advertisements for DIY projects, posting them with crafts, instructions, and recipes. Viewers want images on all platforms. Brands must embed images on Pinterest and all social media sites used for marketing.
where to start
• Knowledge – Start by building your knowledge base of the types of interests and potential customers who might use Pinterest.
• Pinterest has more than 70 million “beings. That is a large base of potential customers/consumers.
• Female users repin (pin images found on the web and in Pinterest searches) to their own boards more often than males, but have fewer followers.
• The three most popular categories on Pinterest are DIY & Crafts, Hair & Beauty, and Design.
• The most popular categories on Pinterest are babies, beauty, crafts, fashion, fitness, food, home decor, kids, pets, and travel. Seasonal themes are also very popular: holidays, season changes, current events.
• The use of categories differs a lot between men and women: women focus on fewer categories while men spread out their pins. Additionally, the top five women categories account for more than 56 percent of all their activity on Pinterest; all five major categories of men are below 40 percent.
• Male users prefer the photography, art, design and home decor categories.
• The time of day to pin can be important. In the United States, the best time of day to dial is between 2 pm and 4 pm (Eastern Time); the best time of the night is between 8 pm and 1 am (Eastern time).
Do extensive research online. Take a look at some of the popular retail sites and see their use of PinIt widgets. Search the Internet for topics from one of the most popular categories. Your search will likely show Pinterest links. Click and view the theme on the Pinterest site and study the content, layout, and look.
Create a Pinterest account and get verified through the business section of the site. You can set your Pinterest boards private, tweaking them until you think you have them ready to display. Then “change the display state and start monitoring your PinIt results.
You’ll have access to some exciting business development tools, including analytics. Use the analytics tool to view pin activity data on your Pinterest website and boards. Analytics can help you better understand what pinners like (“Most Repins & Most Clicks”). Customize and tweak your pins to get more conversions.
Your customers are browsing your site for items to pin and re-pin on other Pinterest boards. You should focus on creating content that reflects the passions of your customers. Pinterest users often share content that has educational value and practicality for them. How can you align your content with customer interests?
Preparing your Pinterest content
• Website evaluation – Is your website pin-friendly, up-to-date and rich in current content, especially quality images? Get your website in good shape.
• Content organization: Organize all your Pinterest boards by topic to make it easier for other users to find and explore specific content.
• Brand Photos: Brand (add your logo) in one corner of each image you pin to your board. Researchers have noted that large watermarks on images are Pinner offsets.
• Shopper-friendly content: More than most social networking sites, Pinterest is about shopping. Each board must
Shopper-Friendly Content: More than most social media sites, Pinterest is about shopping. Each board should be designed and filled with content with “shopper friendly” in mind. Describe the product or service and use only clear, quality images.
• Join the community: While you spend time each day updating and reviewing your social networks, interact with people in the communities: post and answer questions and comment on others’ content.
• Repin: When it comes directly to Pinterest, invite others to repin content on your board. Repinning your account brings your account to the attention of the person you repinned (that person receives a notification and/or email). The person you blame may also return the favor.
• No Broken Backlinks – Make sure your links on Pinterest are properly backlinked to your websites, Facebook, or Twitter. Fix broken backlinks!
Let’s clear up the images. There are a few key points to know about posting images and videos on Pinterest:
• Branded images (on Pinterest) are more likely to get a repin if the image doesn’t contain a face: 23 percent more likely. By the way, a study showed that Pinterest has 4.25 times more images without faces.
• Color: Images with a lot of color are preferred. Red, orange, and brown images are twice as likely to complain; blue images are less likely. Medium light images will refix 20 times more than mostly black images, eight times more than white images.
• Background and Texture: Influence repaint options. Pinsters prefer images with less than 30 percent background; the abandonment rate was two to four times for images containing 40 percent or more background content. Smooth textures are preferred over rough textures, getting up to 17x more repins.
• Image Size – According to studies, taller images and vertical images are more repaintable. Smaller images and infographics get more clicks because they are harder to read on the Pinterest site. An infographic headline is key to getting more clicks.
• Traffic Response – You can control traffic response by including a specific call-to-action on your bookmark landing page.
keeping your presence
A large company with its own marketing group or consultants may spend a considerable amount of time studying ROI analyses, putting up the most professional photos and copy, and updating content almost every day.
The smallest business person should plan to spend at least two hours daily, monitoring comments, responding to comments (where applicable), and updating content. This is a fairly small investment of time and effort for potentially good results.
Over time, the comments and number of visitors will start to show which areas of your content are effective, such as which products are ignored and which are purchased. Rather, they may reveal a lack of interest and a limited number of purchases.
If your traffic is still slow, evaluate every aspect: text, design, images, links, everything. You may want or need to consult with an online marketer or web/media designer for help updating your content.
It’s easy to overwhelm viewers with information, and oversaturation is just as ineffective in marketing as too little valuable content. Once again, the comments will let you know what works and what doesn’t.
One more thing about those numbers: Marketers can buy likes and tweets to inflate the number of legitimate likes and tweets from viewers. Those high numbers you envy may not necessarily be an accurate representation of who really follows a brand. More importantly, they do not accurately represent purchases related to that brand.