If your small business is not already active on Pinterest it is surely time for you to take the plunge. Regardless of the product or service you offer, you won’t regret investing your resources in this amazing (and addictive!) visual social media platform.
Before we start looking into the uses and advantages of Pinterest, I want to assure you that I totally get where you are coming from.
I am a small business too. I understand that you have finite resources to devote to your social media marketing and that you may be reluctant to experiment with a new platform. This is likely to be doubly true for those of you who run businesses that are not immediately ‘visual’.
However, I would still urge you to take the time to consider the potential Pinterest holds for your business. You may be surprised to find that many of your ideal clients are already there just waiting to discover your brand.
What's It All About?
Pinterest launched in March 2010 and, following a relatively slow start, became the fastest growing sharing channel in 2013 with over 70 million users (an estimated figure). Its co-founder, Ben Silbermann, describes the platform as “a tool where we can help people find their inspiration”.
Pinterest users create virtual pinboards and use those boards to collect (or pin) interesting visual information. For example, you might have a board of your favourite chocolate cake recipes or you might create a board to collect lots of ideas for your dining room redecoration or your forthcoming garden redesign.
A Very Social Media
You can use Pinterest’s search tool to find lots and lots (and do take this as a warning, this stuff is pretty addictive!) of information that is relevant to what interests you. Pins can educate, they can inspire, and they can entertain.
In addition to repinning the pins you find, you can create your own pinnable content. If that content is of a high enough standard, you may find that your pins are repinned by other Pinterest users.
Pinterest is a very ‘social’ social media platform. By searching for content that inspires, informs or amuses you, you will find other like minded people that you may want to connect with. You can do this by following a certain board that they have created or by following their entire profile (enabling you to follow all of their Pinterest content). You can also engage with these users by commenting on their Pins, or by repinning, liking or sharing their Pinterest content.
Pinterest users are extremely active and engaged. Indeed, on average, a Pinterest pin will generate more than ten repins. This makes a pin 100 times more viral than a tweet*. By creating and repinning great content you will soon build a loyal network of followers all of whom share your interests and passions and, crucially, many of whom may be interested in the product or service that you offer.
One of the key reasons why Pinterest has proved so popular and attracts such an engaged community of users is its focus on visuals. Images have really taken off on social media platforms and Pinterest is the master of informative visual content.
Pinterest is engaging because visuals are engaging. Images are powerful and can generate an immediate, emotional response. Indeed, we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text**. Just take a moment to let that sink in. I know I needed one when I first read that statistic.
In this age of content overwhelm, you can use the power of visuals to get your brand message across in an incredibly effective way. A picture speaks a thousand words right? Certainly handy when you have restricted time and space to work with.
Developing a Pinterest strategy will help you to harness the potential of visuals in your business. I would suggest that you then take that visual game plan and roll it out on all of your other social media platforms.
Hold on… this is all very well and good but what if your business isn’t particularly visual? What if you offer a service and not a product?
Well, if this is the case you just have to start thinking out of the box. Easier said than done? Well, not really.
Make a start by getting creative and think of visual ways to represent your brand. Show your community what inspires your business, add a strong and pinnable visual image to all of your blog posts, and take key information and statistics and place them on a stunning series of images. In addition, consider the interests of your key clients and publish boards that collate the things that they might find interesting and useful.
I passionately believe in the power and potential of visual social media marketing. Indeed, I am struggling to think of a single business that can’t reap the rewards offered by the use of visual content.
One of the most compelling arguments for using Pinterest in your marketing strategy is its high referral rate and significant conversion rate. Piqora, a marketing suite for Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr, conducted research looking at the Pinterest activity of hundreds of brands between 1 February 2013 and 31 October 2013.
The research concluded that, on average, a Pin “generates 78 cents in sales. This is up from 64 cents in Q4 2012 - a 25% increase”. Piqora also found that an average Pin drives two site visits and six page views.
In addition, a Pin has a much longer shelf life than a Facebook post or a tweet on Twitter. “We found that 50% of visits happen after 3.5 months of the first pinning, and 50% of orders happen after 2.5 months,” Piqora reports. “Pins get discovered long after they’re born and continue driving visits to sites.”
Quite simply Pinterest drives traffic to your website. This is, after all, what you want from any social media strategy. It doesn’t matter how many followers or fans you have, if none of them visit your website you will not see any return on your social media investment.
Many businesses are seeing impressive returns on their investment in Pinterest. By creating and curating high quality content on a consistent basis, these organisations are building a trusted social presence and earning valuable social currency.
Brands can build communities, engage with key customers and colleagues, and drive traffic back to their own websites where they stand an excellent chance of converting a viewer into a customer.
So, the advantages of Pinterest are clear. The only question that remains is can your business afford to miss out?
Thanks for reading! I'd love to know what you think about the potential Pinterest holds for your business. Feel free to leave a comment below!
Take care, Jane x
** I first heard this statistic from reading Ekaterina Walter’s awesome book The Power Of Visual Storytelling