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June 18, 2013

What You Don’t Know about Marketing and Pinterest

Pinterest is a social network that facilitates sharing through the use of a virtual pin-board. Users can group content into various boards by “pinning” pictures they want to save onto them. Pinterest’s focus on visual content makes posts quickly and easily consumable and can be used to promote visual sites and services such as makeup tutorials, recipes, quotes, and infographics. Over the last couple of years, Pinterest has become a social force, with over 12 million users in the United States as of February. In fact, in terms of traffic, it is the third most popular social network in the country and it is one of the most effective sites for engaging customers.

PinterestBusiness and Pinterest

Pinterest is a great resource for businesses because the level of brand engagement is high and users do more than just look at things; they actually buy products as a result of what they find. For businesses in fashion and retail, 18% of content engagement is driven by brands and the other 82% is driven by the community. Furthermore, 70% of brand engagement on Pinterest is not driven by brands, but by the users themselves. Pinterest users have no problem sharing and pinning content from brands they love, so branded content moves rapidly.

When compared to brand engagement from other social networks, Pinterest does better. Data from Sephora showed that Pinterest followers spend 15 times more on products than Facebook fans do. This trend has been borne out across other businesses as well, with the average per checkout coming out between $140 and $180, compared with an $80 average from Facebook-based customers and $60 from Twitter.

The average Pinterest user follows around nine retailers and has a high level of trust for information he or she finds. Finally, top brands in fashion and retail are averaging 46 repins for every pin (meaning individual users pin the brand content to their own personal boards), which means that brand visibility is high.

How to use Pinterest

It is not especially difficult to get the hang of Pinterest, but it does operate differently than, say, Facebook. Here are some tips to get your brand effectively engaged in Pinterest.

Go visual. Pinterest is focused on visual content, which means that you should primarily use images (or video!) to promote your products or content. However, visual content does not have to be limiting. You can use pictures with a layer of text to promote a sale or display a product’s price, create inforgraphics about how products are used, or share gifs of your business in action.

Add buttons. Your business should include the Pinterest “Pin it” button along with other social sharing buttons on its website. There are lots of widgets available for this and it should not be hard to install. Anything that lowers the difficulty level on social sharing is good.

Be active. The more you pin, the better. You can share a lot of your own content on Pinterest, as well as repin the content of others (great for cross-promotion!). Pinterest uses an “endless scroll” so older content doesn’t really get buried the way content does on Twitter or Facebook.

Curate interests. Pinterest users organize boards around interests like food, fashion, art, or whatever suits them. You can do the same as a business. This shows users that you’re not there just to push your own products, but that you are engaged in the Pinterest ecosystem.

Share customer images. Create a board featuring customer comments or pictures of customers using your product in action. It will make the customers happy, build good will for the brand, and make pins that people will be happy to share.

There is a lot of room for brand development on Pinterest. While almost every business already has a Facebook or Twitter account, there are not as many on Pinterest yet. However, considering the high level of brand engagement, there has never been a better time to join Pinterest. Share images, engage customers, and build your brand using Pinterest!

John Gower is a writer for NerdWallet, a personal finance website dedicated to helping business owners save money with financial tips on everything from social media marketing to the highest cd rates.



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