Pinterest: Your Virtual Pinboard - Social Media Stage
Pinterest's goal is to "connect everyone in the world through the 'things' they find interesting." As a Social Networking site, users can collect, organize and share photos of anything that intrigues them, from fashion inspiration and wedding ideas to favorite recipes and creative DIY projects. Behind Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest has become the third most-popular Social Network in the U.S. since it launched in March 2010. With 104 million total visits in March 2012 alone, Pinterest is the fastest standalone site to surpass the 10 million U.S. monthly unique users mark.
Many marketers have already jumped on the bandwagon, taking notice of the countless benefits Pinterest has to offer a business, including the chance to reach a significantly large audience. In fact, Pinterest daily users have increased by more than 145% since the start of 2012.
For most businesses, incorporating Pinterest into a brand's Social Media strategy is a smart move. Before diving into Pinterest, it is important to identify your organization's needs and goals for Social Media Marketing so you can be confident that Pinterest will provide value to your business.
Pinterest is not as interactive as other Social Media Websites like Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest does allow brands to listen to both current and potential customers and gauge their target audience's interests and online activity. In order for Pinterest to be a valuable marketing tool, not only should you be an active Pinner, you should follow those who are interested in ideas that revolve around your brand. Interact with your fans through Repins, likes and comments. Here are a few more creative ways brands can successfully use Pinterest to interact with its fans:
Market Research - Pinterest can be used as a market research tool. For instance, brands can introduce a new product to its followers and collect valuable firsthand feedback before the product hits the market. Additionally, knowing what your target audience is pinning is important for effective content curation; dig deeper into the 'Categories' tab or use the search function to discover what people are pinning related to certain keywords.
Board Collaborators - Another creative way to interact with fans is to invite them as collaborators to a selected board. For example, create a board that focuses on customers' interpretations of your product, then encourage fans to pin images of their favorite way to use your product.
'Pin it to win it' Contests – Hosting 'Pin it to win it' contests is a fun way to get fans involved with your brand. A creative way to pick a winner while increasing fan interaction would be to Repin the best board entries to the brand's account and have fans vote on the winner.
Pinterest has become a powerful branding tool for many businesses. To succeed on Pinterest, a brand cannot directly promote itself; instead it should share the idea behind the brand and help consumers better understand the brand's image.
Your Pinterest account should contain a variety of boards that will appeal to your target market's lifestyle. Show consumers what your brand is all about, not just what products or services you provide. This shows the value of a brand, in a fun, social way.
Boards offer endless opportunities for brands to be creative in their approach to reach the right target audience. For instance, if your brand provides products/services to a wide range of target markets, using boards to segment your audience is a unique way to reach the different consumers. Another way to categorize your boards is to display the different sectors of your company, which is the technique E-Power Marketing uses to showcase their full suite of search engine marketing services. As you can see in the screenshot below, E-Power Marketing created individual boards to represent each service it offers its clients. These types of organized displays give those who do not want to follow all boards the option to follow only the boards that interest them. We also have boards that have nothing to do with our services, but allow our audience to get to know our company.
Pinterest has become a strong referral traffic generator for many brands. In fact, according to a study from Shareaholic, Pinterest generates more referral traffic than YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn combined. Pinterest offers an analytics tool, Pinerly, to track and measure the success of your Pins. Marketers can use Pinerly to identify the content that is favored by users and is most likely to generate leads and convert sales. Here are a few techniques to follow to ensure Pinterest is an effective source for driving traffic to your site.
To help drive traffic to your Website add the company's Website address to your profile and integrate your Facebook or Twitter account. Pin content from your own Website to your Pinterest account when it is relevant and educational or fun. Another technique is to install the "Pin It Button" and "Follow Me Button" on your Website and Blog to make it easier for visitors to follow you or Pin directly from your Website. Furthermore, research what's trending and Pin content related to that trend that is relevant to your brand. According to a Pinerly study, tutorials, DIY and recipe Pins see a 42% higher click-through rate, while Pins that relate to trending topics see an average of 94% increase in click through rates.
In the past Pinterest offered brands excellent SEO benefits through backlinks. However, in March 2012 Pinterest set both the image link and the link to the source of the image to "nofollow", causing the value of links to decrease for search engine optimization. While the linking benefits have diminished, there are other ways for marketers to use Pinterest for SEO benefits.
A well optimized Pinterest page can enhance your search visibility. Keywords are critical to this process. The keywords you use on Pinterest should reflect the keywords used on your Website. Be sure to include keywords within the brand's company description. As you can see in the screenshot below, E-Power Marketing filled the description with keywords that accurately reflect the keywords used within E-Power Marketing's Website.
Search engines also index Pinterest boards, making it vital to include keywords in both the board and Pin descriptions as well as categorizing the board correctly, putting the most relevant boards first. The descriptions of your Pins should be short and informative, yet intriguing enough to catch the viewers' eyes. According to a Pinerly study, a Pin description that includes a call-to-action sees an 80% increase in engagement. Additionally, including hashtags in the description is a great technique to make your content more search-friendly.
Have you created a Pinterest account for your brand yet? How are you using this Social Media platform, or what's holding you back? Let us know by using the #SocialMediaStage on Twitter, posting a comment to our Facebook Page or leaving a comment below!