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Share Your (P)interests
May 21, 2012 | Posted By: Amy DiFrancesco
Category: In the News
If you frequently hear this, or are guilty of saying it yourself, congratulations! You’ve hopped on the Pinterest bandwagon. If it sounds like gibberish, you’ve clearly been living under a rock for the past five months.
In short, Pinterest is an image-based social network that’s essentially a virtual bulletin board. Popular topics include food and recipes, home remodeling, fashion, wedding and baby planning, design and travel. But what’s the big deal for marketing?
Who’s Using It?
Pinterest users are growing rapidly, with the site receiving over 10 million monthly unique visitors. Site users are typically women, making up 87% of traffic. The highest percentage of users (29%) is in the 35-44 age range, but 27% are between 25-34 and 24% between 45-54. Thirty-seven percent of users make $25,00-49,999 annually, but the site attracts users of all financial backgrounds. It is important to note for brands that Pinterest is now driving more referral traffic than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined.
Users also tend to spend a long time on Pinterest. American users spend an average of an hour and 17 minutes on the site. It is easy to spend a long time browsing, repinning and commenting. Therefore, being available on a site that users are both spending a lot of time on and that is converting users to product websites is a good business move.
An important obstacle to keep in mind about Pinterest is that users tend to not upload original content. The majority of Pinterest’s content is things that a user found elsewhere online and is recycling within Pinterest. When users do upload their own content, it is usually when they have completed or bought something they initially saw on Pinterest and want to upload their own efforts.
Etiquette and Best Practices
Pinterest is a visual board for a user to share the things that he or she likes. As such, these pins are recommendations and essentially user-promoted products and ideas for other users to browse. This means that Pinterest is not an overt advertising platform. Overly promotional content is not a Pinterest best practice.
Pinterest is also a generally positive platform. The sentiment is based on sharing and collaboration, not negative reviews. When interacting with other members (and posting in general), it is advised to maintain this air of positivity.
Other tips to keep in mind when using Pinterest:
- Pins should be visually appealing and engaging.
- Pins should be an accurate representation of a product or idea.
- Images used for pins should be properly attributed to the site from which it was pinned.
- Tag boards and describe pins accurately.
- Include price information on product pins when applicable.
- Utilize #hashtags and keywords for greater search potential.
- Include humor when appropriate.
- Follow boards related to the brand and products.
- Like, repin and comment on content that is relevant to the brand and its created boards.
- Always be looking for new ways to make content engaging and widespread.
- Do not be overly promotional and/or include direct purchase calls to action within pin descriptions.
- Incorporate a Pinterest button into social sharing options.
- Do not connect pins to automatically post to other social networks (such as Facebook and Twitter). Use other social networks to make users aware of a Pinterest presence, but do not auto-share and clog a user’s feed.
Companies Using Pinterest Successfully
Many brands are deciding to jump on Pinterest in order to effectively showcase their products and the surrounding lifestyle. Examples of this include Etsy, Southwest Airlines, Random House Publishing and Barney’s New York. What is unique to note about these brands is that they incorporate the main aspects of the brand (whether it is travel or apparel) but mix in associated elements. A notable example is Random House’s inclusion of a “Literary Tattoos” board. This is not a book that they publish, but rather how people are inspired by books, no matter if they are published by Random House or not.
Companies that use Pinterest effectively are very aware of what brand content appears on the site, either from their own accounts or from site users. They are also flexible and continuously evolving, and thinking of new creative ways to make their company exciting. Successful brands also help showcase their personality and can offer a look behind the scenes. Southwest Airlines has always been noted for its active social media presence, but its Pinterest account provides a special place to highlight employees, look back at the history of the company and see how much fun travel can be.
Companies are beginning to use Pinterest for different outreach campaigns, and since the site is relatively new for marketers, there are no real limits in doing so. One particular example is Honda, who wanted users to STOP pinning. For the campaign, Honda offered several top users $500 if they would stop pinning for a day and instead go out and visit places, use products and/or cook recipes that they had previously pinned. At the end of the 24 hours, the users were asked to pin about their day to receive the money.
Another unique campaign was done by Kotex, who selected 50 Pinterest users (who had repined the message from Kotex) and created personalized care packages for each of them based on what they had pinned on wishlist-type boards. The users then shared their care packages on their personal social networks. Like Honda, the campaign was available to pre-selected users, but the exposure associated with the campaign resulted in nearly 700,000 brand impressions.
What are you waiting for?
I’m not quite sure! While you’re signing up, make sure to connect with us on Pinterest so we can all share great content!
Written by Amy DiFrancesco
Amy has a strong love of vocabulary, punctuation and all things digital. She graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Convergence Journalism, specializing in Print Editing, and has minors in both English and French. She parlayed these studies into marketing, where she's been utilizing her words through new and social media, online content creation and the process of web strategy development for a wide range of industries. Amy hails from the shores of Erie and believes her Cleveland sports fandom helps build patience and strong moral character.