Marketing Trends, Thoughts and Opinions
This page provides our thoughts on the latest marketing initiatives and trends. If you would like to submit some research or propose an article please just drop Kathryn a note.

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Pinterest for Marketers – Can You Get a Slice of the Action?

In this blog post, Kasey Cassells explores the amazing growth of Pinterest and discusses whether marketers should see the social media platform as the next big opportunity.

You’ve probably heard a lot about Pinterest in the past few months – and if you haven’t, you haven’t been listening properly. On its website, Pinterest describes itself as a virtual pinboard, which ‘lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web’. The one thing you need to know is it’s the next big thing in social media.

Pinterest is a place where users create virtual pinboards and ‘pin’ things that appeal to them – you can pin recipes, how-to guides, product pages and everything in between, and many people use it to collate ideas for their weddings, dream homes or holidays. You can make your pins public, meaning other users can re-pin, like or comment on them, and you can explore their pins too. And like any good social network, it’s addictive.

So what’s in it for marketers?

Pinterest is only two years old, and experienced an amazing growth spurt in the second half of last year – in February, Pinterest hit 10 million unique monthly users faster than any other independent site. By doing so, it’s captured the interest of marketers, who want to get in on the action. This is not surprising – Pinterest is now the third most popular social network in the US (behind the big boys, Facebook and Twitter), and brings in more referral traffic than YouTube, Reddit, Google+ and LinkedIn combined. But arguably the most impressive trick Pinterest has up its sleeve is its ability to keep its users online – in March the time on site per user reached an average of 15.8 minutes, compared to Facebook’s 12.1 minutes.

…and what’s the catch?

Looking at the numbers, Pinterest may seem to be a marketers’ dream. Unfortunately, despite the quick growth, interest in Pinterest already seems to be waning. At the end of April, monthly active users were down to 8.3 million compared to the previous month. Numbers are still high, but the huge upwards growth seems to be plateauing.

Data from Compete.com

Due to the image-heavy format of Pinterest, the platform works best to showcase food, crafts, clothing and other products. For those in B2B, creating eye-catching pins could be a challenge. Due to the nature of the most popular pins, the market is quite niche – an overwhelming 78% of users are female, and the key audience is aged 25-54.

Marketing on Pinterest can also be more difficult than it seems. Like many social media sites, the dedicated users are not keen on marketing messages and anything they might deem to be spam. There are strict rules on self-promotion, and if you don’t have a physical (and beautiful) product, people may not be interested pinning anything you do. However, there are companies which have made been successful in marketing on Pinterest – so is it just luck? Partly, but there are some things you can do…

Tips for marketing on Pinterest

Marketing on Pinterest is all about subtlety. There’s nothing worse than getting accused of spamming, so the secret is to create ‘pinworthy’ content. If you create a company profile on Pinterest, be sure to mix images of your products with other pins which reflect the personality of your company.

With a focus on images, it’s important to create eye-catching, visual content which users will want to pin. If your industry is short on visual products, you can create and collect infographics and videos relevant to your industry. Infographics are a perfect format for Pinterest, and you’re able to pin videos as well as images.

Don’t just use Pinterest to get your product/service out there – use it to understand and engage your customers. Once you’ve gathered some followers, be sure to follow them back to see what they’re pinning in order to determine what interests and inspires them. You can get your current users and other social media followers engaged on Pinterest by running a contest to create a pinboard inspired by your company. Remember, it’s more about building a personality for your business than taking the hard-sell angle.

So is it worth it?

At first glance, Pinterest seems like it could be the next great social media platform for marketers. But marketing on Pinterest isn’t straightforward, and of course there’s a danger that the hype will die down and users will drift away.

However, there’s no need to shy away from Pinterest. There are things you can do to maximize your chance of success, and something might just stick.

 

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7 Responses to “Pinterest for Marketers – Can You Get a Slice of the Action?”

  1. Luke says:

    I have never been able to get my head round how to use Pinterest for work!

  2. Dexter says:

    The speed at which Pinterest gained so many users is phenomenal, but from the demographics, it seems opportunities might be limited.

    If there’s any stats on how all these people are employed that could be helpful. But from what I’ve seen and heard from users, it’s niches seem to be fashion, decorating and food. Nothing wrong with these of course, and people in those industries could probably do very well there. But for a majority of marketers I think it’s a hard thing to do well, and clever money is most of these people are on other social networks where things are easier and more established.

    Wonder if all this buzz might mean they get bought out or floated soon? The social media bubble seems to have burst a bit since Facebook’s attempt but you never know

  3. Rita says:

    I know people who have already begun using Pinterest professionally to promote papers and blogs within their industry. However, I struggle to see how the Facebook Tweeting youth of today will take to pinning and publishing analytical research papers or recipes of their favourite cake when they can share this content via their ‘timeline’

  4. Alex says:

    As a wedding planner I use Pinterest to display venue ideas, fabric swatches, travel options, menus, etc. It works well, and is a good way to display the many different aspects of a wedding. Having said that, I’m not sure that I’m really making the most of the Pinterest as a business tool – I feel like I should be doing more.

  5. Jessica says:

    Those are great tips for using Pinterest. I have seen a few businesses that use the site and focus mainly on infographics, which is great. It could become a very useful tool for marketers if users stay active.

  6. Pinterest is another interesting and in many cases useful tool for the end user. The media hypes all new online services beyond their value as if a new Google was born. Explore it in depth but don’t buy the hype or the stock until you understand it.

  7. Jose Jimenez says:

    It will be interesting to see how Pinterest progresses over the next 12 months. I agree its more challenging for the b2b sector but there might be an angle somewhere that may be worth pursuing. Infographics as suggested are a good idea as they are very popular.

    I attended a webinar recently and they claimed that any business can use Pinterest but I’m not sure I agree. The webinar included best practice tips, measurement tools, stats and, if anyone is interested I did a write up for it:

    http://www.thedigitalpost.co.uk/2012/06/07/best-practice-tips-for-using-pinterest-for-business/

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