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Using Pinterest in Social Media Marketing

John Coon

July 3, 2014

Social media can engage the visual senses and no platform does it better than Pinterest. Since launching in 2010, Pinterest has quickly become a social media giant, combining both news and images. Pinterest users love the idea of having their own digital bulletin board where they can pin images to their heart’s content. 

The platform gained 70 million users within three years of launching and had 30 billion pins as of April, 2014. The rise of Pinterest is evidence that social media is trending in a visual direction as a whole. And that can mean good things for businesses looking to get their products in front of more consumers.

In fact, according to Pinterest, 47 percent of U.S. shoppers made a purchase based on a Pinterest recommendation in March 2014. The average sales order value per purchase from a Pinterest recommendation was $58.95. These numbers represent a $10 higher value per social referral than Facebook. One reason is the visual elements defining Pinterest make it a more natural outlet for shopping than other social media channels.

Catching Eyes

“The big advantage Pinterest has over the over social media players like Facebook and Twitter is their core is visual,” says David Mink, CEO of Avalaunch, a Lehi-based marketing firm. “Facebook and Twitter have tried to add more visual elements to stay up with that curve. But Pinterest’s core is visual and that’s what gives it such a big advantage.”

A pin on a Pinterest board, for example, can show a necklace being worn by models in a couple of different outfits. Instead of seeing a stationary necklace with a product description like on a typical website, users can see how the necklace matches their own outfit.

The first step to making a Pinterest board work for your business is to make all aspects of your website visually appealing and pin friendly. Create visuals that are different than what is already out there, and give people a reason to pin images associated to your business and brand. For example, offer project blueprints or do-it-yourself ideas, or show pictures of your product being used in real-world situations or in unique ways.

The goal is to get users to pin these images, making use of Pinterest as a virtual billboard that will catch the eyes of other potential customers. So your role is not so much focused on pinning others’ images. “You want to do some of that for sure, because you want to fill up a board. But the goal is to get people to pin your images,” says Mink. “That comes back to optimizing your site to be social media friendly. If you put together an image and think this image can do really well on Pinterest, the next step is to make it easy for somebody to pin this image to Pinterest.”

Targeting the Demographic

Exposure on Pinterest can be the shot in the arm a business needs to build its brand within its target demographic. “They spend more time on it,” says Pauline Ploquin, COO of Struck, a Salt Lake-based marketing firm. “Many products are discovered through Pinterest. It converts much higher than other social media channels on first contact.”

Knowing your audience is important before diving in on Pinterest. For example, 80 percent of Pinterest users were women in 2013. So it makes sense for a business that heavily caters to a female demographic to spend more time and money engaging people on this social media platform.

Browsing and Dreaming

“In marketing, we talk about that dreaming phase when people are just exploring where they want to go and what they want to eat and what they want to wear,” says Ploquin. “So it’s a great space to be able to put things on. It has that aspect of dreaming and expressing yourself in an easy way.”

Pinterest enables users to hold onto those dreams, to save them for later and perhaps try to bring them to life. For businesses, that dreaming can translate into greater brand exposure—and sales.

Mink notes that one of Avalaunch’s clients, BuildDirect.com, saw a huge boost in business after setting up a Pinterest board. The company specializes in home improvement, and it finds that the average Pinterest referral visits six pages on its site and spends at least 10 minutes browsing those pages. By comparison, the average referral from StumbleUpon—a popular internet bookmarking site—visits just one BuildDirect page and stays for 10 seconds.

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