One of the most fascinating discussions at Social Media Week New York last week was around the value of Pinterest marketing. Pinterest, naturally referenced obligatorily in every session, was the sole SMW topic of conversation for Tailwind, a marketing and analytics tool who are so confident in the value of Pinterest marketing that they’ve built an application dedicated to it.
So why start a business around Pinterest marketing? Tailwind argue that Pinterest is an aspirational platform. If Twitter is about ‘what I’m doing right now’ and Facebook is ‘who I am and who my friends are’ then Pinterest is ‘who I want to be.’ The proof is in the pudding (a much pinned after dinner delight):
- Pinterest already drives more referrals to external content sources than Twitter (despite the fact that almost 10 times more people use Twitter) *
- 69% of Pinners have found an item they’ve bought or wanted to purchase through the site; and 70% actively use Pinterest to inform and inspire purchases
- Pins that include price tags generate 36% more likes than those without
- The average purchase value of a Pinterest referral is $179 compared to $80 on Facebook and $69 on Twitter *
So Pinterest is not just ‘who I want to be’; but also ‘what can I buy to be that person?’ And not only are Pinners more likely to click through to your point of purchase than users of other major social channels, they’re actively on Pinterest to inform a purchase and are probably going to spend more money! Why? Because as Business Insider put it: “<Pinterest> users are rich, female, and like to spend.”
Pinterest also puts a bit of fun back into ‘social marketing’; rewarding creativity and long-term strategic thinking over spend. For starters Pinterest content lives longer; much longer. The average Tweet has a life span of 5-25 minutes, a Facebook post lives for 80 minutes, while a Pin lives for one week or more*. That’s because Pinterest promotes browsing; all Pins have links to other related Pins, and other Pins from the same board, so your content can be discovered long after the initial Pin.
Secondly, Pinterest analyses user interests and displays relevant Pins in a user’s stream, as opposed to paid adverts. And, finally, as Pinners can follow specific boards without following all of a brand’s content, you have direct feedback about what content consumers are interested in.
What does this mean for your Pinterest strategy? Beyond the obvious first steps of…
- Get the ‘Pin It’ button
- Make sure there’s lots of ‘pinnable’ content on your website
- Set up a Pinterest account for your brand
… It’s important to think carefully about your long term Pinterest strategy. Longevity of content means that any Pins you put out will reflect on your brand in the long term, not the very immediate term, so only post very brand-relevant content. Your Pinterest strategy should not be ‘whichever cat meme is picking up speed on Twitter’.
Also, as you can’t pay your way into a user’s feed, you must ensure that your content is relevant to your target audience to ensure Pinterest’s algorithm will amplify it to the right people. Furthermore you should analyze your successful and unsuccessful boards and adjust your content strategy accordingly; listen to what your Pinterest community is telling you. Finally make sure your purchase-driving Pins are out there at key times in your sales cycle; remember Pinterest isn’t about the real-time ‘I’m so excited that it’s Christmas today’, it’s about ‘what am I going to buy the kids for Christmas’. Make sure to tailor your content calendar accordingly to maximise sales via Pinterest. And needless to say, it couldn’t hurt to call in an agency with 10 years of social experience to help out ;)
*Figures courtesy of Tailwind. Big thanks to Tailwind for a great Pinterest discussion.