by Melanie Wolske June 2nd, 2017
Social media has become a major part of digital marketing, with each social media network offering distinct avenues for organic storytelling. For small businesses, social media can be a very accessible form of marketing as it may drive traffic to their website and reach audiences relatively effortlessly, especially since people spend 28% of their time online on social media. 1 Furthermore, social media platforms like Pinterest increasingly integrate features for direct social sales.
Pinterest is a web and mobile application that allows users to create a “catalog of ideas,” CEO Ben Silbermann explains. 2 As the name implies, Pinterest serves as a virtual pinboard that businesses can use to showcase their products, services and interests using visually interesting campaigns. So, how can Pinterest be part of the conversation with your target audience?
What Is Pinterest?
The image-centric platform was created in 2010, and is now one of the most popular social media networks:
- As of September 2015, the site had reached 100 million users. 3
- Pinterest is especially popular among women, with 44% of female Internet users active on the network.
- Almost one third of adult pinners have an annual household income of at least $75,000. 4
- The platform made news in the 2012 presidential election when the wives of both candidates, Michelle Obama and Ann Romney, created accounts.
- The company is currently valued at $11 billion. 5
How to Use Pinterest
Users can add, save, sort, and manage online content, such as images, videos or links. These “pins” can be sourced through various channels: users upload original content, share content from other “pinners” or post content from around the web.
For sharing content internally within the platform, pinners simply click on the “Save It” button and pin it directly to a board of their choice. If users wish to share external content from all over the web to a pinboard, they can install the “Pinterest Save Button” extension for their browser. Pinboards can be organized according to different themes (like “Fashion Ideas” or “Pinterest Recipes”) and may also serve as a collaboration platform for multiple users.
People can like, share (“re-pin”), or comment on pins. They can also send each other pins or boards via Pinterest direct message or email. Pins can be shared directly to Facebook and Twitter. All these activities affect a pinner’s “pin feed,” which consists of unique, personalized results. Pinterest actually updated its algorithm in April 2016 to attract more visitors and keep them on the platform longer.
Is Pinterest Right for Your Business?
Does your brand enhance your audience’s lifestyle?
On any social media network, it is crucial for marketers to figure out if their product/service is compatible with the site in question. The main thing to know about Pinterest is that it serves as a platform for inspiration—users aspire to an elevated lifestyle, whether that concerns travel, fashion, or interior design. Even if your brand might not be considered a “lifestyle brand,” you can still frame your content in a way that invites pinners to enhance their lives. Be creative! A local home repair business, for example, could create boards with seasonal tips for safeguarding and decorating customers’ homes, such as “How to Winter-Proof Your House” or “Safety Tips for Installing Holiday Decor.”
Can you stay engaged with users?
Despite a plethora of networks, social media marketing is still confounding to many because effective ways to measure ROI remain somewhat elusive—especially for small businesses. Do a large number of followers or likes translate into more sales? Tracking success on social media is a bit more complicated than that. Most importantly, you want to strike up a conversation with your customers rather than just boost your follower counts. Quality trumps quantity when it comes to digital marketing, including social media. Fortunately, Pinterest makes it easy to monitor user engagement. User engagement can help you identify popular content, improve your SEO, and indirectly produce conversions. On Pinterest, businesses can see how often your post was repinned, who the pinners are and who they follow, or if pins lead to a website or purchases.
Do you have the time and energy to devote to Pinterest marketing?
A lot of the frustration with ineffective social media campaigns comes from brands’ failure to evaluate whether a platform suits their marketing needs and goals. Don’t just jump on board because a particular platform is trendy. Also, don’t treat social media as an afterthought in your marketing efforts; social media marketing requires as much planning and effort as any other marketing strategy. So, ask yourself the following questions in order to find out if your business should join Pinterest:
- Can you market your product/service as a lifestyle choice?
- Can you create inspiring, appealing visual content?
- Is your target audience using Pinterest?
- Do you have the time and resources to stay active on Pinterest?
- Do your Pinterest posts offer information that is distinct from your other online content?
If you have answered these questions with yes, then Pinterest may very well be a highly effective social media channel for your brand. If this sounds like too much of a challenge, particularly if you are a small business, then consider redirecting your energy towards more traditional approaches and/or biding your time until you are ready to dive into Pinterest.
Let Your Brand Inspire
These days, Pinterest offers plenty of features designed to help business accounts improve their social media outreach. Once you have determined how you want to tell your brand’s story on the virtual pinboard network, you can begin to familiarize yourself with the best practices for Pinterest business accounts to formulate a strategy and maximize your efforts.
1 – http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/time-spent-online/613474
2 – http://fortune.com/2015/07/13/pinterest-ceo-ben-silbermann/
3 – https://smallbiztrends.com/2016/05/popular-social-media-sites.html
4 – http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/08/19/the-demographics-of-social-media-users/
5 – http://www.businessinsider.com/pinterest-worth-11-billion-valuation-revenue-grow-5x-2015