While social media websites were only a novelty 10 years ago, almost all marketers no longer doubt its importance as they realize it takes more than a great website to spread the word about their products and services. Social media networks are a way to help you increase the extent of your marketing strategies, generate new ways of traffic, and encourage a dialogue instead of a dialogue.
There are numerous social media channels on which marketers are trying to get their consumers engaged, and most of these channels are obvious in their strategies and goals. However, there is one social media platform that is just in its infancy of full potential, and this social media network is one that deserves a much closer look: The Power of Pinterest.
What is Pinterest
Pinterest is website with the style of a pin board that functions a place where visitors can place, view, and share image content. Users can create, and manage theme-based image categories of hobbies, services, or interest, but they can also browse through the pin boards of others to like an image, place a comment, follow that specific category, or re-pin the images to their own pin boards.
How it started…
Even though Pinterest did not have the easiest start in being accepted, its owner Ben Silbermann is now allowed to describe Pinterest as the third largest source of referral traffic to be found online.
Silbermann left his job in 2008 to start working on his concept that would eventually become Pinterest. The website went online in 2010, and had a difficult start at first as there were only 3.000 registered users within the first three months – a number that does not impress anyone in today’s social media world.
Pinterest was something new and completely different. It did not focus on real-time streams such as Facebook, and Twitter, instead Pinterest focused solely on images and it was not real-time. This was the reason why most rejected it. However, the 3.000 individuals that did register loved the concept and thus Silbermann took on on a different strategy: “Instead of changing it, we’d find more people like them.” (Ben Silbermann). With that being said Silbermann put all focus on this small group of dedicated users – a strategy that became a huge success in the end.
The company had meet-ups with its fans to get their feedback in order to improve the website. Besides that, Pinterest also set up a campaign called “Pin It Forward,” where people could create a pinboard and get more invites by getting friends to create pinboards as well. Silbermann realized he did not need to build a better product; he needed to work on building its user base and connecting with them to create valuable relationships.
At first this new strategy gained the interest of mainly women who shared images with each other, but eventually the enormous rise of Pinterest as a social network got attention from different parties as well: including marketers who saw the opportunity to share ideas in a visual context.
Only two years after its launch, Pinterest got so much interest of various parties that it was able to compete with other social media giants. At this moment Pinterest is a vastly expanding online social network that connects over 70 million users. This results Pinterest to be an outstanding interactive platform through which companies and marketers can promote their businesses.
Pinterest as a Marketing Tool
The pure essence of Pinterest makes it an interesting special media platform for all kinds of businesses, and social media marketing. Being a member on Pinterest, engaging with customers, and growing in followers can benefit the business in many ways, such as driving more traffic to the website, increasing sales, generating leads, and building a Pinterest brand. In general it provides an original method of social networking by following a sequence of several steps
Step 1. Share relevant content
It is important to analyze what pins are currently the most popular, because this allows companies to learn about the types of products or services in which users are interested, and which they share across Pinterest or re-pin. If some of these trending topics are suitable for certain companies, their marketers can decide to contribute by tailoring their Pinterest content and associate that company with the popular trends. This way users will be more likely to notice the company and its website, share its personal pins for others to see and hopefully also repin, or even convert to the companies’ professional services.
Step 2. Involve customers and encourage traffic
First of all, readers of any website are interested in images because it draws their attention, and encourages them to read whatever content comes with the image. The moment people enjoy being on a specific website, it invites them to come back more often. This is what any marketer essentially hopes for because it forms a foundation for valuable relationships, and creates the opportunity to have a new platform for their products and services.
When a website contains images, each image is “pin-nable.” This makes it important for marketers to always implement a ”Pin It button” below the image, encouraging customers to pin this images. It is a new way to engage your customers. Customers cannot only pin their favorite images to your boards, but they can also comment on them and share it with their friends and followers. This means Pinterest socially connects, and the benefit for companies in this context is that ones users see a companies’ image, and click on it, they are fast-forwarded to the original website through affiliate links. This thus also allows companies to get new visitors to a company’s website – perhaps visitors that may not have visited the website otherwise.
Furthermore, a company can create themed boards on Pinterest, that are based on the categories of their website. This enables them to gain traffic for different categories that are already on their original website, to give new usages for their products and services. For example, a company that sells wedding favors can show what the company does with a picture of a table setting of the customers’ weddings, and the wedding favors it used at the various weddings, which is more inspiring than a simple product image. This way, users get ideas that they may not have gotten otherwise.
Step 3. Being active on Pinterest
The moment a company decided to involve itself on Pinterest, it is of high importance to maintain active participation with other members to improve the businesses’ online presence and popularity. A company can do so by following the activities of other boards, frequently re-pinning pins that are relevant to them, placing comments on other boards to originate contact, and consistently placing their own images.
If a company continues to post interesting and relevant content, other users will soon recognize the business and develop a loyalty with it, which will help in establishing an online status and overall reputation. However, it is important to focus on generating original content that users want to share with others across Pinterest. In this context, a company can choose to create an interesting info-graphic, entertaining memes, or other visually creative photographs that will capture attention and trigger curiosity.
Approximately 80% of all pins on Pinterest are re-pins, and thus it is vital to the success of your online business that you generate interesting original content that others will notice and motivate to re-pin.
Step 4. Integrate your social media
To further promote the company, marketers can also integrate their other online social networking sites with Pinterest, stressing the popularity of the business across its network to further establish a strong reputation.By sharing its Pinterest board on other networks, such as Facebook or Twitter, a company can engage its already existing “followers” with the goal of generating as much online traffic as possible.
As mentioned before, the power of social media is not possible to ignore, and thus online popularity is crucial to the success of any modern business. Combining fans from across plural social networking sites is a successful tool in promoting a company, and creating online awareness.
Return of Investment – Use Pinterest for Profit
Companies and marketers are constantly looking for new ways to engage consumers in order to reach their specific goals, and of course gain profit. Question is: how can a company find out if their efforts are worth it when it comes to Pinterest? In other words: What kinds of measurement tools are available to see your success of your Pinterest return of investment (ROI)?
There are five ways to measure your Pinterest ROI:
- By Pinterest itself (http://analytics.pinterest.com/)
On its website, Pinterest offers metrics that will give each company making use of Pinterest all kinds of statistics, including re-pins, impressions, clicks, likes, comments etc.
- With the website http://repinned.net/pins/
This websites allows any member of the Pinterest community to track the success of their re-pins. This tracking can be done per category, by all time favorites regardless to the category, or even to measure the success of one specific pin.
- Via http://buzzsumo.com/
This website enables each user to search on their domain or specific URL, and then sort all statistics out by the number of shares on Pinterest.
- Through the use of the Tailwindapp
This app will show the top pins of the user of interest, and also the number of re-pins from his or her domain, which are both insightful metrics to measure success.
- With Ahalogy
Ahalogy helps any company or brand to identify their most interesting and relevant content. This content is of high importance as it is often the content that other users re-pin. Ahalogy provides the Pinterest user with more than solely statistics, it will measure your results but also assist in improving the performance.
Success story of Sephora
With over 250 brands and 14.000 products, Sephora is one of the world’s market leaders when it comes to a diverse selection of beauty products. Sephora includes Pinterest usages in its overall marketing strategy by pinning about beauty to engage their customer to generate traffic.
In the beginning of 2012, Sephora saw an emerging beauty trend: Pinterest users were frequently pinning their favorite beauty products and inspiration onto their Pinterest boards and many others re-pinned them – most of these images were from Sephora. As a consequence a growing number of potential clients were introduced to Sephora products on Pinterest, and started visiting the original website to get more information. As a smart response to such opportunity, Sephora exploited this discovery of their brand by redesigning their website design, and adding a “Pinn It button” on all their product pages
Sephora managed the introduction of Pin It buttons through the use of a campaign: “The Sephora Color Wash Campaign.” This campaign was aimed at assisting pinners to get familiar with the new look of their website.
Pinners that participated in the campaign were stimulated to find and pin beauty images of the Sephora website, and within a few months Pinterest became a top 10 referring site for Sephora.com
With currently over 140.000 followers and 2.500 pins, Sephora understand what their beauty community desires, and by using Pinterest Web Analytics they observe the kinds of content that get the most pins and re-pins so they constantly learn which content is most popular with pinners. Sephora puts its focus on sharing a beauty expertise to an interested audience, and due to this strategy the average Pinterest follower now spends 15 times more money on Sephora.com than the average Facebook fan.
“Pinterest is the perfect venue to visually share shoppable new products, how’to’s, and cool images. It’s a place to get inspired by beauty.” (Julie Bornstein, CMO & Chief Digital Officer).
As you can see, there are many reasons for companies include Pinterest in their overall social marketing strategy. Pinterest gives new insights, opportunities, and resources. Of course, each company has its own set of goals, but there is never such thing as too much awareness, and thus as a last statement:
Good luck pinning!