Pinterest has had an astonishing rise to prominence since it started as a closed beta operation in March 2010. In March 2011, Pinterest launched an iPhone app that proved very popular, and by December 2011 Pinterest was one of the top ten social networking sites. By August 2012, Pinterest was the fourth largest source of traffic worldwide.
Having a Pinterest strategy as part of your overall social media strategy addresses audience development, improves audience engagement, increases conversions, and builds brand awareness. Optimizing Pinterest use requires more than creating an account and adding pins. Here are some tips for building a strong Pinterest strategy.
Note the Demographics
Nearly 80% of Pinterest users are women, and over 80% go there for advice and information. Almost half of shoppers in the United States have purchased items based on recommendations from Pinterest, and furthermore, the average household income of the Pinterest user is $100,000 per year, according to statistics collected by Wishpond. If your products or services are designed for men, however, fear not. Some of the most popular Pinterest boards include those of custom motorcycle maker Bike EXIF and Yahoo! Sports.
Learn to Showcase Services on Pinterest
If you sell products that lend themselves to beautiful photographs, like wedding dresses or high-end furniture, it's easy to showcase those products on Pinterst. However, if you are a digital publisher or trade publication/ association website, you'll need a slightly different approach to drive traffic to your site through Pinterest. A good start is to ensure that each content piece on your site includes a high quality photo or graphic that can be pinned to your Pinterest page. You should also pin images related to your publication or trade. Don't be afraid to be creative and pin visual content that shows off your brand. It can drive traffic that leads to subscriptions or brings attention to your site's sponsored content, ads, or custom job board.
Track Pinterest Metrics
Just as with other social media sites, you should track Pinterest metrics. You can use Google Analytics to find out how much traffic is coming to your site through Pinterest. Services like ShareRoot and Curalate allow you to track important Pinterest metrics like:
- Average repins per pin
- Average likes per pin
- Average comments per pin
- Top fans and influencers
- Reach (number of unique newsfeed impressions to expect with each pin)
- Number of your site's pins seen each day on Pinterest
- Most-repinned pins
- Most-clicked pins
Three Pillars of a Good Pinning Strategy
Earlier in 2013, Bruce Daisley of Twitter presented a three-pillared strategy for building your brand's social media personality at Social Media World Forum I. The three pillars, which Daisley laid out in the form of a triangle, were ''fun,'' ''give info,'' and ''help,'' and he advised choosing two of these three pillars to concentrate on. It doesn't mean you ignore the third pillar, but by concentrating on two, you develop a consistent social media voice. This is particularly useful if more than one person works on your company's Pinterest strategy, because it helps ensure your brand has a consistent voice. Examples of each pillar could include:
- Fun: quotes, funny pictures, cute animal pictures
- Give Info: recipes, tips, instructions
- Help: travel advice, fashion advice, advice on how to improve a sports technique
Tips for Images and Descriptions
Color images that are lit properly are repinned more than monochrome or poorly lit images. Taller vertical images are repinned more than shorter images, and images with less than 10% white space in the background are repinned more than images containing a blank background. Pins without faces are repinned more than images with them.
Pin descriptions can boost audience development and engagement. Including a call to action makes a pin more engaging than a pin without one. Including important keywords in your descriptions can augment SEO efforts. A shortened link to your website in your descriptions is helpful, even though clicking the pin itself sends users to your site. Including two or three hashtags in your description can also boost pins' search availability.
Boosting Ecommerce With Pinterest
If ecommerce is part of your site's revenue development plan, be sure to add ''Pin it'' buttons to every item. Cosmetics maker Sephora found that Pinterest users spend 15 times more than Facebook users, but smaller businesses report success too: Etsy seller Rachel Ball of Elephantine reported a 20% increase in sales after analyzing Pinterest metrics and focusing on pins consumers were more likely to be interested in.
Don't think that because your business isn't interior design, clothing, or gourmet food that you can ignore Pinterest. Pinterest is useful to every business's social media strategy. As with other social media sites, goals and a clear plan help you optimize Pinterest use in building your brand. Whether you use ecommerce as an adjunct to advertising, job boards, and other revenue streams, or whether you run a service business, you can use Pinterest to broaden reach and build brand loyalty.