The Marketer’s Guide & Tools to Pinterest Success
Pinterest is the latest increment to the social media world. Its growth is being the fastest standalone growth in history with reaching more than ten million monthly unique visitors. In fact, it is now so popular that only Facebook and Tumblr have more social media time on site per user (420 minutes and 150 minutes respectively to Pinterest’s 98 minutes). It has grown over 40 times in the six months to the end of the year and in February 2011 and the site’s unique registrations were close to 18 million. This article covers some of the useful Pinterest tools which may ease your drive to the success on Pinterest.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest’s success is based on the simplicity and popularity of ‘sharing’, and in particular sharing images and photos. Sites are becoming increasingly visual over time, timelines and newsfeeds in Facebook are dominated by imagery, Instagram and Tumblr have created an entire generation of amateur photographers and even Flipboard turns news into an illustrative experience on the iPad. Pinterest is a visual network, organized by topic, with a one-click sharing feature.
Who is Pinning?
For the most part, the assumption is that Pinterest users consist of middle-aged American women whose posts centre around recipes, crafts and home décor. This assumption is correct of the US audience but for example, in UK over 50 percent of Pinterest users are male, versus 83 percent female in the US. The largest group (42 percent) of the UK audience are aged between 25 and 34. More importantly, from a gambling/affiliate perspective, the UK audience is much wealthier than its US counterparts, with 29 percent in the highest income bracket as opposed to three percent. In fact, more than 50 percent of UK Pinterest users earn more than $100,000 per year.
From Personal to Business – What’s IN on Pinterest
The optimum business process for companies and brands using Pinterest is to post images of products and link them back to their website. While this typically works best for retailers who can, in effect, create a Pinterest store catalogue, this is a medium that gambling affiliates cannot afford to ignore given its fast growing reach and correlation to gambling demographics in the UK.
While home décor and recipes dominate the site from the US perspective, the UK users favor a wider range of topics including technology, pictures/photography, business, venture capitalism and, of course, humor.
As with other social networks like Facebook and Twitter, affiliates should decide what topics they and their audience are most interested in, and then commit to those spaces.
Pinterest – Top Traffic Driver
Pinterest now drives more referral traffic on the web than Google+, YouTube, Reddit and LinkedIn combined, and the site is fast gaining ground on Twitter.
While gambling and the affiliate business are not necessarily visual in a retail sense, there is definitely an opportunity to generate business by creating a ‘personality’ and social hub which subsequently drives traffic to core sites.
Pinterest is also recognized as being the latest victim of spam-bots and black hat scripts which are being used to generate significant daily revenues in affiliate commissions. This is against Pinterest’s Terms and Conditions and is possibly reaching the point of being addressed and stopped.
10 Best Practices when Using Pinterest
- Try not just to broadcast to your target audience; engage with them. This includes contributing a range of content and sharing other users’ ‘pins’. Pinterest is not a forum for sales pitches.
- Create relationships and build loyalty by treating Pinterest as a user not a brand/seller.
- Find ideas for trend stories by using the ‘Popular’ button or to narrow down the focus, search by topic (e.g. casino, gambling, bingo, etc).
- Capitalise on the widespread trend and interest in photography by pinning and re-pinning Instagram and other photos.
- Use Pinterest’s Chrome browser extension and once you see an appropriate or suitable image on the web, you can click ‘Pin It’.
- Connect Pinterest to your Twitter and Facebook accounts, along with your personal/brand website. The widgets appear below your profile bio, and you can also choose to share your pins across the networks and/or embed them onto your website.
- Add contributors (who you are following/monitoring) to your board by editing a selected board and then adding a Pinterest account. This is a good way to generate further interest, acknowledge key clients and inspire loyalty.
- Similar to both Facebook and Twitter, mention users you follow by typing ‘@’ in front of their user names. The user will receive a notification.
- Maintain your account simplicity by following a ‘Pinner’s’ specific boards, instead of their entire content output. Target Pinners with similar tastes and interests by checking out the users behind your favourite/relevant pins. Pinterest doesn’t have a suggested users tool, so this has to be done manually, but you can then follow and target your follower’s followers.
- Add new Pins as often as possible. ‘Recency’ and frequency are key to Pinterest.
While the likes of Starbucks and Coca-Cola are the heroes of Facebook, one of the well regarded brands in the Pinterest sphere is the retailer Whole Foods. The key to Whole Foods is that it uses Pinterest like a user, not a brand. The company’s pins acknowledge its core values – natural, organic and sustainable, amongst others – but the content isn’t promotional; it is often collated from third-party blogs and other Pinners. The end result is that Whole Foods Pinterest is a lifestyle, food and homemaking resource – people need no other incentive to follow the brand.
Pinterest Tools of the Trade
Pinterest doesn’t offer business features and the search function prioritizes pins over people (or in this case brands); however, there are many tools of the trade:
- PinReach measures influence. It yields an overall score, and outlines your most popular pins and boards using charts and tables.
- Pin a Quote will convert any highlighted block of text into a good-looking ‘quote’ to pin to a board.
- Pinstamatic lets you add Twitter profile links, Sticky Notes and websites to your boards.
- Snapito and url2pin both enable users to pin a screen grab of a website (rather than just one image from that site) to a board so that you can push your entire core/home site to your Pinterest board.
- Pinpuff tracks reach, activity and virality of your pins.
- Pinerly measures click-through-rates, likes and repins for campaigns created through the service, making it a very interesting tool for brands and businesses.
Since smaller niche networks often convert a higher percentage of traffic allowing you for excellent targeting, you may consider Pinterest, given its obvious success in driving referral traffic, as one of those sites.
And as with all social networks, though it might be free, it will only work as part of an overall activity mix, and requires commitment. It isn’t easy, but it is free, and it can be successful.