It’s easy to dismiss Pinterest as a bookmarking site, crafting wish list, or wedding planning tool.
But it’s also wrong.
Pinterest is a hugely valuable marketing and sales platform for e-commerce brands. Many people browse Pinterest with buying in mind. So they’re already primed to click through and purchase. And it shows: Pinterest generates a 10% higher order value than any other platform.
Why Pinterest Is a Valuable Social Marketing Platform
Is Pinterest worth it for brands? Yes. Here are a few reasons why.
- Pinterest is for everyone. 30% of Americans are on Pinterest, and a quarter of those users check in on a daily basis. While the stereotypical Pinterest user is still a woman, men are Pinterest’s fastest growing demographic. In 2016 alone, they grew by 120%.
- Pinterest boosts sales. Unlike other social platforms, users don’t find ads distasteful on Pinterest. In fact, pins with prices get 36% more likes, and 70% of people use Pinterest “to get inspiration on what to buy,” compared with only 17% on Facebook. Early research from 2013 indicates that a pin is worth 2 site visits, 6 page views, and 78 cents on average.
- Pinterest drives traffic. Unlike closed social platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest isn’t shy about letting users leave their page. They let you add a link to every single pin, and those links actually result in site visits. Pinterest drives more traffic for Real Simple than Facebook, over a third more traffic for HubSpot than Google+, and it’s the second largest social traffic referrer for BuzzFeed, where they see the longest lifecycle for their content. Over half of BuzzFeed’s Pinterest-driven traffic is on content from two or more months previous.
6 Best Practices for Marketing on Pinterest
Pins have the lifespan of an entire week, which is way longer than the 90 minutes on Facebook and measly 24 minutes on Twitter. It’s no surprise then, that they’re also 100 times potentially more viral than tweets.
Here’s what you can do to help your pins enjoy that kind of lifespan.
1. Create the perfect Pinterest image
According to research, the perfect Pinterest image includes a minimal background, multiple colors (with lots of red tones), and no human faces. This image of Paula Deen’s has been repinned hundreds of thousands of times:
Perhaps counterintuitive to most marketing, images without faces actually fare better on Pinterest, earning 23% more repins. And while they literally get the short stick on other social media platforms, vertical images (hello, infographics) have a bit of an edge on Pinterest, with 2:3 and 4:5 ratios doing especially well.
2. Remember SEO
Pinterest is a discoverability platform, and in some ways, a social search engine. Use keywords in your board titles and pin descriptions so people can find them. Leverage hashtags when you can. For all original images, include your logo and website URL to build brand awareness and site visits. A Chrome extension like Pablo can help with this.
3. Encourage sharing
Cross-promote your Pinterest board with dedicated emails and posts on your other social networks. Add the Save button and Pinterest widgets to your website, letting readers and users do extra pinning work for you. Don’t be afraid of CTAs: Ask people to repin if they like what they see. Join group boards to increase your following and get your pins in front of more people (PinGroupie.com is a great tool for this).
4. Keep the platform’s most popular categories in mind
Even if your e-commerce brand is focused on one specific industry, you can maximize reach by creating posts that adhere to the most popular categories on Pinterest. This measures the pinning activity of both male and female users on the site. The number 1 spot? Food, of course.
Food leads for both female and male users, followed by design and art for males, and DIY/crafts, home decor, and women’s fashion for females. Know your target audience, and make sure your posts are tailored to the categories they’re most interested in.
5. Optimize when you post
The afternoon slump and late at night are the best times to post on Pinterest, according to Kissmetrics. But don’t limit your self to solely posting at these times – Pinning often, between 5 to 30 times a day, has proven to be the best strategy for the platform.
6. Use Rich Pins
Rich Pins are specialized Pins for business Pinterest accounts and are available for movies, articles, products, apps, recipes, and places. Rich Pins make the important info on your post stand out just a bit more, and each one comes with advanced analytics.
For example, certain text fields are bolder and bigger, and you can see pricing and comments from other users.
The best thing about Rich Pins is that they can update with real time info (like product availability, available movie times, and other data), creating evergreen pins that you won’t have to update when, say, the price of an item changes.
Smart Ways Brands Are Using Pinterest
With the above best practices in mind, let’s take a look at how brands are enjoying success with Pinterest.
1. Stainmaster Carpet Care: Be Illustrative
Everyone loves a good infographic, and that especially goes for Pinterest users. Infographics display fully on Pinterest, so they’re better able to catch a user’s attention as they scroll. “Instructographics” are a subtype of infographics that visually show you how to do something.
“Boring” brands often have difficulty creating marketing visuals for social, but Stainmaster Carpet Care shows that it’s not only possible but profitable. The brand’s promoted instructographics are helpful, attract users who could use their products, and cover a wide variety of topics. 90% of their Pinterest referrers ended up becoming brand new customers.
2. Sony Electronics: Be Fun(ny)
You can keep it professional like Stainmaster Carpet Care, or you can find fun ways to showcase your product, like Sony Electronics does with their I can haz gadgets? board. It shows a playful side to the behemoth electronics brand, and it relies on the irresistible cuteness of animals to help it go viral. You’ve got to give kudos to the clever marketing employee who found a way to get paid for looking at adorable animal memes.
Whether it’s the dogs or the gadgets, this strategy works. Sony says Pinterest drives 2.5 times more traffic than Twitter (despite them having more Twitter followers), and resulted in an 800 percent increase in traffic to their website when they got started.
3. Anthropologie: Be Collaborative
One way to get your brand in front of more eyeballs is by partnering with other brands, users, and influencers. Let influencers be “guest pinners” for a day or invite your fans to group boards, where they do the work promoting your brand for you.
Anthropologie lets fans share their favorites on a massive group board of user-generated #AnthroFave content. Customers get to feel like they’re being called on as expert stylists while promoting Anthropologie products to their own followers. With 500,000 followers, it’s safe to say it’s going well.
4. Bank of America: Be Helpful
People use Pinterest to shop, brainstorm, and find solutions, and Bank of America recognizes that.
Their “Better Money Habits” campaign focused on helping millennials better understand their finances and develop good spending and saving habits. They created Pinterest boards for various life milestones, like Buying a Home, to drive traffic back to their site using Promoted Pins.
Smartly, they illustrated each piece of content with a pinnable vertical image to increase their likelihood of being discovered on the network.
5. Emailvision: Be Promotional
Pinterest contests encourage fans to pin or repin their favorite products in creative ways that help you build customer loyalty, promote popular products, and drive brand awareness.
In their highly-targeted contest, Emailvision asked email marketers to show off their favorite email campaigns using Pinterest to win a prize. This encouraged people to vote, and get their friends to like the page and vote, too.
This drove a lot of users to Emailvision’s Pinterest page, increasing their follower count (and likely their customer base, too).
6. Hubspot: Be Organized
Sometimes it’s good to go back to basics. For many users, Pinterest is a way to organize things you like or want. Brands can lean into that by curating related topics into a single board. E-commerce brands may develop boards of related looks (think “20 ways to wear a scarf”) or a board for their latest coupons and promotions.
Make Pinterest a visual RSS feed for your brand. Post your latest blogs on one of your boards, or create multiple boards for different topics. For example, Hubspot shares all their ebooks on a board with a keyword-optimized title:
7. The Land of Nod: (Always) Be Selling
Don’t forget that 55% of people use Pinterest to shop. You can use Rich Pins to promote your standard product gallery images, or you can stage your product in unique ways like The Land of Nod.
They showed their product in action, and they relied on what Pinterest says works best: multiple product pins get 30% higher CTR and 20% higher checkout amounts than single product pins. Pinterest says the pin above is the brand’s third most clicked pin ever.
Pin More, Sell More
Pinterest eases the buying process more than any other social platform. It lets your brand be fun, helpful, and collaborative. Ignore it at your own peril.