The Essential Guide To Using Pinterest For Marketing
After getting $100 million in funding and a $1.5 billion valuation back in May, Pinterest is facing a challenging time, despite its popularity. The recent news from Amazon’s Zappos Labs which found that, in comparison to Twitter and Facebook, the site doesn’t generate that many sales. Also, throw in sites like The Fancy which shares many similarities, but has taken a more commercial route by allowing the seller to feature (if they’re the ones pinning it) and its’ clear that Pinterest has a lot to face as it embarks on the next stage of its life.
But there are a lot of positives relating to the site. With 11.7 million users, Pinterest doesn’t quite match the figures boasted by the other major social media sites, but with over 100 million visitors monthly, it has a large active fan base. How the removal of the ‘invite-only’ tag will affect the site remains to be seen – although you could base some of its success on its exclusivity – but there are many reasons for marketers to get in on the action, or to give it a second chance.
Create Boards Relevant To Your Brand
Pinterset prompts you to create boards when you start up, but don’t underestimate how effective this can be. An important thing to remember is that users can choose to follow boards instead of the company page so you may find that you have more followers on a particular board than on your page.
When you’re creating boards, make sure that they’re relevant to your brand, but think about what areas will provide brilliant images for you to pin. For example, if you’re a music store, you could have a board dedicated to live concerts and album covers. If you’re a furniture store, you can create a board entitled “Dream Homes” where you show beautiful designs. If you have a stunning or interesting board, people will repin it and start following you.
Interact With Users
Like all sites, Pinterest is a two-way street and while you can pin all the content you want, you also need to get out there and interact with your followers. Follow them, pin some of their content (if it’s relevant) and comment on their posts.
Use your Other Social Media Accounts
There are two reasons why you should feature other social media sites in your strategy. The first reason is for promotion. Make sure you’re linking to it on your Facebook and Twitter accounts so that people know it’s there for the chance of nabbing a few new followers.
The second reason is that if you regularly use sites like Instagram, Flickr, or Facebook camera, you can cross post those image on a separate board for everyone to see. Be selective with the images you post online though as not every image is going to be worth repining.
Install plugin buttons
If your site content is visual, you can have your visitors do the hard work for you by installing a plugin button on your site. The more people who are pinning your content, the more exposure you get
Focus on Indirect Marketing
If users think you’re just going to post your own content repetitively, then the chances of them following you is very slim. Make sure your content is diverse and interesting first before you try to promote your own stuff and even then, do it sparingly. What you should be doing is pinning content that your audience will find interesting, like gift ideas, cool gadgets and interesting campaigns.
Pin It Buttons
Like all the major social media sites, Pinterest has its own Pin it button which you can add on your blog or site. You can find it here on Pinterest’s main site.
Pinstamatic allows you to pin the usual webpages and images, but also create quotes, pin Spotily songs and even places. A handy way of diversifying your content and make it more than just images and pull quotes. Repinly
The Pinterest dictionary is probably the first place you should go to if you want to find content for your Pinterest page. Highlighting the most popular pin on different boards, it will show you what’s pins are trending so you can get ideas for your own board. You can also add yourself to Repinly’s dictionary if you want other users to find you.
If you ever looked at certain boards and wanted to make the photo layout do something different, then this tool could be what you’re looking for. It allows you to create an entire board that looks like one image, and it’s a good way to create eye-catching designs on your page without much effort.
Currently in Beta mode, SpinPicks is an interesting way of discovering new content from a number of platforms including Instagram, Twitpic, Flickr, Reddit, and YouTube. The site pulls in this content from these sites, but you can limit it to content from just Pinterest which will show you pins you can click through and introduce you to new people to follow.
There is a vast number of Pinterest plugins and extensions for both Chrome and Firefox. Here are some of the best:
- If you just want quick and easy pinning, Pin It for Chrome lets you pin any image that appears on screen while Right-Click for Firefox gives you the option to pin sites and images by simply right-clicking them. Also, Easypinner for Chrome give images a little Pinterest icon for easy pinning.
- Pinterest Pro for Chrome gives you extra features when you use your browser, including right-click images to pin and zooming in on pins by hovering over them.
- Pin Search for Chrome lets you use any picture from Chrome to do an image search on Google
- Pinzy for Chrome lets you enlarge pinned images by just hovering over them.
- URL2Pin.it lets you pin screenshots of web pages that you’re currently on.
If you want to see how influential you are on Pinterest, there are a number of services available. The first is PinPuff, which gives you a brief dashboard regarding how valuable your pins are, what your most popular boards are and scores rating your virility and reach. The handy thing is that you don’t need to sign in to use the service – just an email and a username – so if you wanted to, you could find out how other Pinterest pages are doing and compare.
Another way is to use PinReach, which helps calculate a score for you showing how popular you are. The score is calculated through factors like followers, repines, and boards. The site also lets you know what your most popular boards are, and how you compare to the most popular Pinterest users.
PinReach is a pretty nifty way to monitor the activity on your Pinterest page and boards. By connecting up to Twitter or Facebook and entering your username and email, you will gain access to a dashboard showing the stats of your page. Such stats include the history of your repines, your most popular pins and advanced analytics on your followers.
Another option is Pintics, which lets you see traffic and sales from your pins and boards as well as mange multiple accounts.
Feminine hygiene and toiletries company Kotex found a perfect ally in Pinterst, a famously female-driven social network in its relative infancy. Kotax, as directed by Israeli advertising agency Smoyz, sent virtual gifts to 50 influential females on Pinterest, and asked them to pin the gifts of their profiles.
Upon doing so, the women would be sent an actual gift, which they would then, without fail, post about on Pinterest, as well as Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram. The 50 gifts got upwards of 200,000 impressions across social media platforms, quite a return on such a small investment for Kotex. An innovative way of harnessing this fledgling social media that shows incredible knowledge of and desire to cater to a brand’s core demographic.
Peugeot recently hosted a scavenger hunt for puzzle pieces across the major social media platforms, but it was anchored by Pinterest and its image-driven ethos. Users had to scour the French car manufacturer hid parts of a main image on its website and Facebook. Once they had found them all, their task was to assemble the piece to form a whole on their Pinterest pages. The first five to do so won a prize. Overall, the competition drove interest in Peugeot’s social media brand to unprecedented levels.
Fashion house Guess asked its Pinterest fans to create boards inspired by four of their branded colours for Spring 2012. Users had to work in service of ‘Noir Teal’, ‘Hot House Orange’, ‘Red Hot Overdue’ and ‘New Plum Light’ to be in with a chance of winning a pair of colour denim jeans from the Guess collection. The winner was selected by a panel of judges and wasn’t just determined by popularity, though that was certainly factored into the decision and helped spread the word about Guess.
Honda recently created a Pinterest account and set about discouraging users from the site. The company offered $500 to the site’s top five users for them to stay off the site, or rather, take a ‘pintermission’. Honda wanted these five people to get away from the internet and accomplish some of things they wanted to do before they die. Of course, it was then their prerogative to post about their experience on Pinterest once they had done so. This creative campaign came in relation to the Honda CR-V, as Honda believes it is a car that encourages people to tackle their bucket lists, but maybe the campaign was just weird enough to pique interest.
British Midland International
Airline BMI surprised random Pinterest fans with trips abroad as part of a ‘Pinterest Lottery’. Posting images of worldwide holiday destinations as disparate as Beirut, Nice, Moscow and Marrakech, BMI asked its fans to re-pin all the images of holiday destinations that boasted the company’s logo that they posted (six in total). A lucky winner was then selected at the end of each week that the campaign ran, and they would be rewarded with a pair of return-flight tickets to any destination BMI flew to. You’re bound to be successful with such a great and sought-after prize, so it is no surprise that this campaign was as successful as it was.
Clothing brand ModCloth help a ‘pin it to win it’ contest that had several conditions for its participants to fulfill in order for them to stand a chance at winning. Users had to be following @ModCloth on Twitter, include relevant hashtags when pinning, etc. Participants then had to pin 20 items fitting the ‘Something ModCloth, Something You’ criteria. Categories such as ‘Something vintage’, ‘A lovely location’ and ‘A creative cocktail’ were all included in the list of 20. The contest presented a challenge to users that would take time and effort and prove a sustainable way of increasing brand awareness; it has been aped by other notable fashion brands since. Sephora
Another female-focused company, cosmetics brand Sephora, held a competition on Pinterest to boost its popularity. Sephora wanted its fans to create ‘Sephora Color Wash’ boards and spread word of the competition on their own boards. The chosen winners, of which there were ten, would win a $250 Sephora gift card. The boards had to be pinned in the hair and beauty category, and users also had to post five images featuring their favourite colours. The competition helped users to engage with each other and the promoted products.
As is the case with any site that explodes in popularity, at the start of 2012, the conversation about Pinterest shifted towards how can generate revenue and its potential as an e-commerce platform. While the former hasn’t materialised yet, the site already landed $100 million in funding off the back of a $1.5 billion valuation back in May. Its investors include Max Levchin, a founder of PayPal, Japanese e-commerce site Rakuten, and investment company Bessemer Venture Partners.
The reasoning for Rakuten’s involvement (and the lack of U.S. investment) was that Pinterest was looking for a ‘global strategic investor’ that would help the company grow internationally and help stave off foreign clones.
Currently, Pinterest is the fourth most popular social media network out there, behind Facebook, YouTube and Twitter respectively, which is no mean feat considering that many were fearing that it come crashing down once the hype around it had worn off. The idea of Pinterest being a medium for e-commerce makes sense. It’s highly visual, users do explore the site for new content ideas and repins can be effective way to curating a wish list. The fact that users visit for these reasons will mean that traffic coming from Pinterest will be more targeted than other sites.
However, that’s not to say it’s all plain sailing. A report released today (August 29th) from Amazon’s online store Zappos suggests that while consumers share more on Pinterest than on Facebook or Twitter, sales from Pinterest posts contribute the smallest amount of revenue.
On the Zappos platform, Twitter brought in the most revenue – an average of $33.66 an order – while Facebook posts garnered $2.08 per order. Sales from Pinterest, however, were $0.75 on average, showing that the endorsement per pin. Yet earlier reports have it that Pinterest users spend twice as much as Facebook users and have a higher conversion rate so it’s difficult to say which one is right or wrong.
But saying that, it’s easy to forget that Pinterest is still a site finding its feet after some explosive growth. Now that it has evened out, Pinterest needs to make sure it holds on to these users first and ensure it doesn’t let the last few months go to waste. If it can maintain and grow its current traffic, there’s nothing to say that Pinterest won’t become a valuable assist for e-commerce merchants.
We’ve given you as much detail and resources of our own above in this post, but we wanted to share some other wonderful in-depth posts and guides that others have written about the service..
- A really good look at how Pinterest drives e-commerce sales over on the Shopify blog
- This is a little site full of articles and guides that will help you get started or help businesses trying to understand the platform.
- Pinterest has a large percentage of female users so this post looks at it all from a male perspective.
- The guys over on Hubspot have a huge guide on how to use Pinterest for all your marketing needs.
- A good bumper list of 50 innovative ways to use Pinterest.
- eConsultancy has a good four part series on Pinterest. Here is a piece from that series about how the site makes money.
- If you are only starting out on the site, here is a good beginners guide to what you need to know.
- If you are a brand wanting to engage on Pinterest, here are nine tips that you will want to take notice of.
- Even Forbes weighs in on the debate with four tips for the site.