Pinterest- a Guide for Johnny Come Lately
What Pinterest Is
Pinterest is essentially an online, visual scrapbook. Users Pin images and videos from all over the Web to Boards, which are organized collections of categorized Pins. Users can browse categories, follow other Users or their Boards, and socially share Pins and Boards via Facebook, Twitter and RSS.
Use Case: A bride-to-be is making all of the decisions that need to be made leading up to the wedding. So that she can collect everything in one place, she sets up a Board called “Wedding Dresses”. As she surfs the Web, she can Pin images or videos of wedding dresses that she likes to her Board, giving her an easy place to go back and reference later, and also a centralized place for sharing. If she wants the bridesmaids’ opinion on their dresses, she can pin several to a Board and then direct her bridesmaids to check out the board and leave comments. She can also Follow other Pinterest users or Boards that have a similar focus, for suggestions.
Ultimately, Pinterest is a site about curation and discovery, both important activities as we move into the next iteration of the Internet- the social Internet.
Why it matters
Pinterest is appealing for 3 primary reasons- there’s no urgency or information overload, it’s less personal and more fun than other services, and it’s extremely easy to use.
Pinterest Users skew heavily female, and most are in the 18-44 demographic, with household incomes between $25,000 and $75,000, generally. About 60% of Pinterest Users have “some college” under their belt. If you have a visually appealing brand, especially one that appeals to Females, you must optimize your site for Pins, or you will be missing out on what is a rapidly expanding source of referral traffic. Nearly 1.5 million unique Visitors a day hit the site and spend almost 14 minutes there. Recent studies have shown that Pinterest is a better source of referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn, Reddit or YouTube. This is in spite of registration for the site being by invitation only. The number of unique Visitors to the site increased by 329%- to 7.21 million- between September and December of 2011.
Get Started Now!
Start using Pinterest now, while the User base is still rapidly growing and buzz around the service is at a fever pitch. The same rules for other social media services apply to Pinterest- say something meaningful, interesting and honest with your Followers, and try to represent your brand’s personality.
Specific Use Cases for Pinterest Integration into your Marketing Strategy
Brand Engagement- show the customer who you are, rather than telling them. Use images and video to convey your brands’ personality and drive engagement.
SEO- looking at referral data can be a great way to identify brand influencers.
Market Research- Pinterest provides an opportunity for companies to engage their customers with Boards about fashion trends, for example, allowing Users to post to their Boards as well- merchandisers can than look at what is posted there to make decisions about buying, sales and special offers.
Trend Watching- Pinterest makes it easy for companies to search and understand what type of content Pinterest Users post- not just about their brand, but about competitors, seasonality, current events as well- trend watching on Pinterest makes all marketing decisions easier.
How to use Pinterest
A “Pin” is an image or video that links to the original content that is assigned to one of the User’s Boards. The User is able to write a short description of the item, and the pin can be from another User’s profile on Pinterest, from any website, or uploaded directly by the user.
A Board is simply a collection of pins that the User has grouped under one category- think “recipes”, “favorite books”, “shoes I’d like to buy”, “bathroom remodel ideas”, etc.
Users have the ability to Like, Repin, or Comment on Pins.
“Liking” the Pin adds it to your “Like” section, rather than to a Board.
Repinning a Pin lets you add someone else’s pin to one of your Boards- the original source link is kept intact and this action is marked as a Repin for the original Pinner.
Users can comment on their own or other’s pins.
Mentions allow you to shout out to specific Pinners- if you put @Mom on a Pin, Mom will get a notification that you Pinned something she may want to look at
Much like many established social networks, you can follow other Users, or even individual
“Pin this” button- allows Users to pin a product photo or video to a board for future reference.
The Pinterest Bookmarklet allows users to Pin to Boards directly from their browser.
Things to Remember
Pinterest lets Users follow topics and concepts in addition to as individuals. Compared to Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin, there’s no pressure to stay on top of a constant barrage of comments and status updates if the User doesn’t want to.
Pinterest lets Users participate without having to create, removing a barrier to interaction
Pinterest allows Users to explore their options earlier in the purchase cycle.
Pinterest’s non-linear view of the web makes it feel “easier” than other sharing platforms.
Pinterest is a visually appealing, simple alternative to storing browser bookmarks.
How your Brand can Leverage Pinterest
1. Promote a lifestyle that your brand or products contributes to. Give people ideas and provide inspiration to promote sharing!
2. Use Pinterest to run a contest where people pin your images or take pictures of themselves using your products.
3. Share content from others that you wouldn’t want on your site, then direct your site’s Users to your Pinterest page to share.
4. Think of Pins as a “Visual Tweet”- instead of Tweeting an image out, Pin it, and then Tweet the Pin.
5. If you add a $ or £ sign to your description when you pin something, Pinterest will auto- generate a price tag on the pin.
6. Make sure content is pinnable! When you use the bookmarklet Pinterest will try to ascertain which is the largest image on the page- if you have a bunch of products on the same page it will be harder for the program to figure out which image you meant to pin. All products and product variations should have their own pages.
7. Add the “Pin It” button to your other Social Media sharing icons.
8. Add a “follow me on Pinterest” button to your site with your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and G+ buttons.
9. DO NOT JUST PIN YOUR OWN CONTENT. Provide value to customers by allowing them to discover new things.