As recently as 2010, a mention of Pinterest might have gotten the response, “Who?”
Today, you’d be hard-pressed to miss mentions of this ultra-hot “online scrapbook,” the new darling of social media marketing.
Pinterest is an invitation-only network (you can request access from the site) in which you aggregate, create or stumble upon images you like and “pin” them to your wall. Your followers can “like” or “comment” on your images, and “repin” them to their wall. Hyperlinks on your wall can take followers to your website or other location where you might provide content that contributes to your inbound marketing strategy.
No less an authority than HubSpot, the top source of inbound marketing research and information, declared Pinterest essential to business in 2012. “In fact,” HubSpot noted in an eBook on the subject, “early research indicates that Pinterest is more effective at driving traffic compared to other social media sites, including Facebook.”
Some stats suggest that Pinterest draws more traffic to online stores and brands than Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
Not bad for a relatively new social site that depends on graphics, not text, to draw attention.
Looking to create a “Pinteresting” presence?
Follow these best practices:
Before your rush into a Pinterest account, determine if your brand aligns with such a social media marketing tactic. If your B2B company produces a product, Pinterest can be a great showcase. But if you provide a service, you may be challenged to find images that aptly represent your company.
If you target women in particular, you should know that women make up some 80 percent of the user base. Other statistics point a relatively low percent of college degrees, a household income in the solid middle class, and a Boomer/Gen X age majority that far outstrips young adults and those of retirement age.
Pinterest’s focus on graphics instead of text allows you to think outside the boundaries of your usual messaging. You want to make an immediate, even visceral, impact – the kind that great images produce.
That doesn’t mean pinning endless shots of your product or service. “Some of the worst users I’ve seen on Pinterest are pinning mostly their own content/ products/ promotions,” writes Mikinzie Stuart of PR Geek Speak. Instead, find images that represent the benefit or value of your offerings. Create boards that speak to the interests of your audience – how their personal or professional lives will benefit.
Collecting and sharing images just for Pinterest creates an exclusive experience your audience won’t find repeated on Facebook or Twitter. Designer Beth Quinn told CIO that photography is her preferred visual media. “Eye-popping photos will spark more interest,” she said. “And by using props and making sure that the photos are very pretty and aesthetically pleasing, people are more likely to repin your items.”
A one-time pinning is not likely gain you much traction. Just as with other social media marketing efforts like Facebook or Twitter, a good, consistent schedule of content can gradually build an audience for your images. And because Pinterest is the most transparent of social sites – as a member you can view anyone’s wall with no invitation – you can follow the trends of your customers, colleagues and competitors as well.