The Social Network to Watch in 2014? Pinterest
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes, 36 seconds
Pinterest got better. A lot better.
Since its initial release, this social network has been making larger and larger ripples in the social space, and, in late 2013, they made their biggest splash yet by introducing Place Pins and Map Boards. This is truly a network to watch over the next 12 months; and because I like to be useful, here are some compelling arguments over why your brand should – and could – start using Pinterest today.
Who Uses Pinterest
In case you’re new to this network, Pinterest is a user-generated, image focused, ‘notice board’ style social network. The premise of which is to build content around specific keywords, phrases and trends. It’s very popular with ladies, especially those who enjoy food, photography, art, inspirational quotes, and shopping, crafting and getting married. The boards below epitomise what you’ll ‘typically’ see:
Pinterest presents a very large market for brands wanting to target their audience indifferent way to the traditional ‘Text & Sell’ method adopted on other social networks. Image based updates with very little text mean products rely on their good looks and brilliant photography to speak for themselves to entice customers to buy, share and build brand awareness through this network.
But it’s not just lady-stuff that keeps this network moving. The network attracts people with Children, causes, chefs, designers and DIY-ers (is that a word?).
A look into Rich Pins and why they are AWESOME
No doubt due to the successful conversion rate for brands, December 2013 introduced Place Pins to Pinterest’s growing range of rich content Pins, designed specifically for business. Rich pins have opened the door for industries who may not have considered Pinterest before.
You can choose from:
- Place Pins – synced with Foursuqare, these Pins are hosted on a pretty map style Pin board with information hosted on a foursquare (or other) page, great for travel companies, retailers, libraries, universities, any brand with affiliates or partners – the list is endless:
- Article Pins – cracking for Authorship, brand awareness and a bit of authority behind your Pin, article pins give you the capacity to add a headline and description to a story. Add some HTML code to your blog and away you go! Remember to add your keywords for easy searching within the social network:
- Product Pins – or Price Pins as I like to call them. Product Pins are real-time, price based and editable. Also statistics show that Pins with prices on them are more likely to convert. If you are a charity, a celebrity a retailer of clothes, food, fishing rods – Price Pins are for you. Use them to highlight sales, deals of the week and fantastic new products:
- Recipe Pins – these do exactly what they say on the tin. If you’re a chef, a food blogger, a care home who makes incredible food or even a film company who likes to show off their on-set food creations, recipe pins relate to the most popular keyword on Pinterest ‘Food’ so shouldn’t be overlooked.
- Film Pins – showing reviews, information on the actors, Directors and certificate, Film Pins are great for keywords, information and re-pinning.
In case you don’t think your niche will translate to Pinterest, there’s a diverse range of brands and industry sectors effectively optimizing their presence, including marketing, retail and even agriculture.
So ignoring Pinterest is no longer an option. Here’s the low down on Pinterest, and why you should add it to your marketing mix.
Why Use Pinterest?
You can Become a Market Influencer
Whoever said you have to be influential about one topic on your social network presence should take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror and think about what they just said.
Being an influencer on Pinterest transcends much of what you would traditionally consider ‘targeted Marketing’ because you are dealing with a very fickle, very fast and very vast audience. People aren’t looking for test, they are looking for a flash of something to get their attention in a sea of content. The typical user of Pinterest seeks share, re-share and bite-size information; they’re not looking for a sales pitch.
As the image-based nature of the network has made that approach virtually impossible, brands must work hard to explore and relate to their customers more than ever. A personal approach will thrive, while an impersonal ‘salesy’ approach will fail.
Pinterest forces you to be creative
You’ll be marketing your brand with truly amazing visual content.
Having a ‘creative’ manning your social media presence is essential because Pinterest, or any social network, success does not happen overnight; it requires something pretty special to stand out over the hundreds of thousands of Pins and posts already there.
The advantage of having creative and bespoke images on Pinterest is that it is a network that relies more on good content than brand awareness to make it a success. KPIs such as Cost Per Acquisition or CPC is not a great way to measure success of creativity on this network; instead look for metrics that relate to Pin engagement, customer sentiment and baseline mentions (mentions of your brand without your initial input) these will represent the true reach of your brand influence and your success with customers who will be more likely to interact and recommend your brand in the future.
Of course, the likes of ASOS.com, Mashable and other globally recognised names doing amazing things with their boards, but we also have SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises), independent artists, bloggers and fashionistas who are taking on the big brands and forging a name for themselves.
A few of my favourites are:
Social interactions increase
Much of the success on Pinterest is determined by how much you interact with others; re-pins are key to success. If you’re a smaller company or brand, and you’re struggling to gain traction on Pinterest, start interacting on a more personal level.
Chatting to brands, the people who follow the brands and influencers on Pinterest is a great way of introducing a human element to your Pinterest presence. Users feel more encumbered to interact with a human other than a robot. Similarly, it’s not going to get your anywhere if you set up an automated Pinterest account:
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
There is no way you will be able to know the success of your Pinterest campaign if you don’t have a way to track metrics such as Interactions, CTR or Reach. So, I will give you some suggestions of which Analytical tools are the best to give you the optimum amounts of data for the least amount of time and that are still easy on your wallet.
Pinterest Business Analytics
Since Pinterest launched its Analytics in early 2013 – they have made analytical data available to every Pinterest Business account out there. Providing you have switched your account to a Business account and added the short amount of HTML analytics code to your site, you will be able to access such data as Pins, Re-Pins, page Impressions, Pin Clicks and Visitors.
Additionally, data such as network reach, the amount of re-pins of your re-pins and number of pinners contributing to your boards is there for the taking. You can access your Business account analytics quite easily from your drop down menu in the top right of the screen:
For a step by step guide to switching your Pinterest account from personal to business to access analytics check out my blog post Pinterest Business Profiles, now with added Analytics
This analytical tool reads the social signals your image data brings to Search from your Instagram, Pinterest and other image-based networks.
This nifty tool does something that the others don’t – applies an approximate revenue estimation to your Pins. Perfect for shareholders, managers and social media cynics.
Curalate also allows to you benchmark your competitors so that you can see what kind of content is working for them and their followers and adjust your future campaigns accordingly.
This truly is a data treasure trove; while the tool claims it can assist in your customer acquisition – which it can don’t get me wrong – it is always important to remember that it cannot replace the human element a social media officer can bring to a campaign, therefore combining this data with strong customer insight will vastly improve the equity you gain from each Pin.
PinReach (formerly PinLeague)
PinReach’s ‘USP’ is their ability to track the ROI of your engagement on Pinterest. Content for contents sake is not a concept that you can ‘sell’ to your shareholders or to your customers; there has to be some value.
It’s features include measuring the traditional metrics of many of the Pinterest analytical tools I have come across such as organic growth, trend data and the obvious KPIs such as follower growth and re-pin data. But it doesn’t stop there – it also hosts brilliant little feature that I think will be useful to anyone who uses Pinterest – image recognition technology.
This feature is great for tracking shares of bespoke images that you may not realise are happening! After all, many social shares occur outside the brand meaning that one person simply saves a Pin as an image and Pins it rather than re pinning it from your source – there nothing bad about this behaviour of course, however it makes tracking true reach a bit harder to do!
There are a myriad of analytical tools out there at your disposal for any social network and Pinterest is no exception; utilising 1, 2 and even 3 really good ones gives you the best possible chance of proving the ROI, customer growth and brand awareness capabilities of this network which are, in my opinion, really worth the effort for any brand.
Setting up your Boards & Using Pinterest
It can be tempting when revisiting or starting on Pinterest to make 156 boards based on every keyword or subject you think your customers will like and may potentially re-Pin and convert.
This will not work unless you have man power to do it.
Instead, start off with five and populate them with top quality content. Keep them informative, fun and friendly. If the image content is yours, a small watermark in the image wouldn’t hurt either!
After you have found what works well, start expanding and improving your boards until they become a resource that customers visit organically:
Remember what Pinterest is
Pinterest doesn’t have to be a huge mountain that you have to climb in order to make it successful. Pinterest is an image-based social network, with a demographic all of its own. It’s designed as a space to allow brands to leverage their products to the customers that will care, not spam users with a hope they will buy from you.
As 2014 progresses, you can bet your bottom dollar that this network will start getting some attention. Judging by the changes we have seen so far, Pinterest recognise the amazing e-commerce tool they have on their hands and are producing more products to assist businesses. My only hope is that it doesn’t go too far towards keeping brands happy and forget about the people who use it; after all many of us use Pinterest for fun, and our buying decisions are based on gentle prompting rather than blatant sales pitches.
I will be telling all my Clients to start getting on ‘board’ with Pinterest, will you?