For those who didn’t see any papers, blogs, websites, news channels or social media this weekend, Pinterest is the latest social media phenomenon captivating the UK. Most of the news has focused on who uses Pinterest, i.e. mostly women, and whether men will follow suit. Interestingly, Metro newspaper today reported (infographic below) that although 83% of American users are female, a surprisingly high 56% of Brits are male. This indicates that the social media network is used differently around the globe.
What business owners and marketers need to know is whether – and how – we can use this popularity to generate traffic and conversions.
First of all, it’s already happening. eCommerce sites have noticed an exponential shift in the amount of traffic coming through Pinterest – and this has already overtaken some other more established social media sites such as Google+ and YouTube. By understanding why Pinterest has become such a phenomenon, we can work out how to use it as a valid marketing tool.
Why is Pinterest so popular?
Pinterest was on the radar throughout 2011 on an invite-only basis. Those who were ‘in’ could invite a limited number of others, and the main site also had a waiting list facility. Everybody wants to be part of an invite-only club; it worked for Google+ and it is working for Pinterest. Although the number of users has rocketed in 2012, there is still an aura surrounding the invite-only nature of the network which has spurred its popularity.
Another is the focus on imagery and design. The sharing of product images on social media has so far taken a backseat to the sharing of experience. Pinterest is a space to celebrate design and creativity; and to put across a sense of self based on what inspires you. It fills a gap by engaging those who scoff at the micro-blogging nature of Twitter and Facebook.
Pinterest is a very visual network, as shown by our Pinterest Photoshop board below:
The simplicity of Pinterest is another big selling point. Remember joining Twitter, having no idea of how to use it and, frankly, why you should? Not the case with Pinterest. It’s cleanly designed, simple to use, and you can be pinning away within just minutes. You can personalise your ‘boards’, follow your friends through links to Twitter and Facebook, and the ease of use makes it siple to while away hours creating beautiful collages and scrapbooks. Pinterest is the epitome of viral sharing, as shown by ‘humour’ board such as this one:
Google+ has demonstrated how much people like sharing funny pictures and Pinterest has taken this to the next level as a purely visual sharing tool.
Why should marketers use Pinterest?
See above re: viral sharing. This is why marketers need to jump on the Pinterest wagon before it’s too late. For every 100 users who pins an image of a beautiful dress, some will actually track back to find out who made it and how to buy it. Found another user whose book collection is almost the same as yours? You’re likely to try and get hold of the ones you haven’t read. Seen someone’s interior design board that makes up your ideal home? Of course you’re going to find out if any of the pieces are affordable.
Another reason to use Pinterest is the minimal time investment required. There is no time spent trying to come up with a snappy way to describe your content in under 140 characters, you simply have to click the ‘Pin It’ bookmark and you’re done!
So, what should marketers be doing?
Marketers should embrace Pinterest as a return to truly social networks. Pinterest is a new opportunity to follow trends, see which of your products are engaging and to market yourself on the basis of the quality of your product rather than how many links you can build. To an extent you have to let your babies out into the world and see how they get on – trends have shown that images with watermarks and/or price tags are much less likely to be repinned. You can’t force yourself on Pinterest, you have to put your images on there, keep an eye on what’s popular and let the traffic come to you.
The recent overlaps between social media and SEO mean that social media strategies have veered from their original course of watching, engaging to establishing expertise/identity. Pinterest allows you to run a whole different type of campaign of equal benefit, based on these first principles.
For more in-depth training in social media marketing and how it works with SEO we have some great training package deals. Book Social Media Training, SEO Training, Content Marketing Training and Google Analytics Training together for just £945 + vat (normally £1,380).
On the Social Media course you will learn how to put together a social media marketing strategy and why it is important for business. This goes well with SEO as social shares have become a strong ranking factor in 2012. Content Marketing will teach you how to write and market great content which will increase your backlinks and social shares (which you’ve already learnt about on the other courses). Finish off the package with Google Analytics training which will help you monitor your marketing efforts. You can use Google Analytics to track the huge increase in traffic you should see after signing up to Pinterest!
What do you think about Pinterest? Should marketers embrace it like Google+ or wait to see how it pans out? Let us know in the comments below.
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