Pinterest in iPad.

By Paul Parcellin, Staff Writer
November 23, 2015

You may not think that Pinterest is as important as the others at the top of the social media heap – Facebook and Twitter, for example, but Pinterest can be just as effective a marketing tool as its top-tier rivals. 

Perhaps you write off Pinterest as nothing more than a picture book for armchair travelers, foodies and arts and crafts enthusiasts. But it’s important to remember that it is ranked the fourth most popular of all social media sites. It boasts 70 million users

If you’re more inclined to focus your social media campaigns elsewhere, you might want to rethink your strategy.

Spreads Easier

According to KissMetrics, Pinterest pins are 100 times more shareable than a tweet, with the retweet average hitting only 1.4%. Some claim that a Pinterest “Pin” has a “half-life” of 3½ months – more than 1,600 times longer than a Facebook post. 

Instagram vs. Pinterest

Perhaps Facebook’s purchase of photo sharing site Instagram has helped boost Pinterest’s credibility as a marketing tool. Instagram occupies a space similar to that of Pinterest, and there’s nothing like a large investment by a top social media player to send the message that photo sharing is a big deal.

Corporate America has been climbing aboard Pinterest to the tune of a 27% increase in new accounts for Fortune 500 companies over the last year. Major players who are hopping on the Pinterest bandwagon include AT&T, Wal-Mart and Apple

Feature Filled Business Accounts

While pictures of food and swanky resort destination are in abundance on Pinterest, what may be attracting business to the site are the integrated features you can get with a Pinterest for Business account. Pinterest claims that half a million businesses worldwide have signed up.

If you’re inclined to get in on the action, the first step is to open an account of your own. It will give you access to a suite of Pinterest marketing tools, including educational materials to help you create stronger campaigns.

The Power of Analytics

You’ll also have access to Pinterest analytics, so you’ll be able to see what parts of your campaigns are working best and what needs improvement. The tracking software that you’ll use is aimed at putting that information directly into your hands.

In Jan. 2015, Pinterest launched a new program that allows marketers to buy ads on the site. Some of the big, colorful pictures you see on Pinterest may no longer be mere user-posted photos. Sponsored materials target those using the social media platform for amusement, e-commerce and social networking.

When you buy Promoted Pin ads, you can target specific demographics by location, gender and their topics of interest. If you are marketing food, say, your ad could be posted on a Pinterest board for cake recipes. A shopper in a grocery store who is browsing that board from his or her cell phone may see your message and be inclined to buy the product you’re selling.

 

 Social media logos.

Get Connected with Rich Pins

Among the new features that are either up and running or in the works are the Pinstitute, which provides interactive workshops to help you connect with others on the site – they’re sometimes called “Pinners.” Also, “Rich Pins” offer marketers more tools to reach and interact with others on the site. Features include real-time price and stock updates, direct links to your site as well as interactive maps.

Actually, there are five different kinds of Rich Pins: movie, recipe, article, product and place. Each has its own individual features aimed at increasing engagement and driving traffic to your site.

Pinning an Article

While Pinterest is oriented toward photos and graphics, you can also choose to use “Article” pins that let you promote a blog and drive Pinterest users to your text postings. Article pins allow you to use a larger title than standard pins. You can also publish your logo, a description of your offerings and a call to action. You can also link directly to your site.

What’s in Store?

Pinterest’s new tools, which are either now online or are planned for the near future, include Promoted Pins (paid ads), the Pin It Button (a browser button), and the Widget Builder, which allows pinning at the touch of a button on your site. Keep abreast of what tools are being offered and what is to come by reading the Pinterest newsletter.

Settings

Pinterest business accounts free you from the convention of using your first and last name on your account, and you can instead use your business name. That means that your Pinterest account won’t have an automatic link to a Facebook page, so you might want to include a Facebook tab on your Pinterest home page.

Surprising Stats

Research indicates that marketers who are not including Pinterest in their campaigns might be missing out on a wealth of opportunities. The University of Minnesota’s Pinterest study says, “ … a higher proportion of Pinterest users click through to e-commerce sites—and when they go there, they spend significantly more money than people who come from sites like Facebook or Twitter.”

The study goes on to say that, although some 80% of Pinterest users are women, men are beginning to take an interest in the site, too. In the year previous to the study, 2013, the number of male users doubled, and men are the fastest growing demographic on Pinterest.

Smart phone with social media.

 

Post Script

Marketers who have been limiting their campaigns to the top two social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, might tap into an entirely new vein of contacts by using Pinterest. The images you can share on Pinterest, “pins,” are visible longer than most Facebook and Twitter posts, and they are apt to be more frequently shared among Pinterest users. Pinterest users tend to click through to e-commerce sites more frequently than do users on other social media platforms. In addition, Pinterest is offering special accounts for businesses and is rolling out a host of tools that are designed with marketers in mind. All of that may be enough to persuade you to take a look at what this growing site can offer. You just might find that Pinterest can open many new opportunities for you.

 

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