I admit it: I am one of those girls with a Pinterest wedding board – and I am not engaged. I love Pinterest, and I am not alone.
Pinterest has, on average, thirty million monthly visitors. According to Nielsen’s 2012 social media report, Pinterest’s number of monthly PC users grew by 1,047 percent between 2011 and 2012. The number of monthly mobile app and mobile web users add an additional five and 14 million, respectively, and the virtual collage website is showing no signs of slowing down.
The concept of Pinterest is simple: see something you like and pin it to one of your boards. Through these “boards,” Pinterest gives people the chance to show their personality, interests and who they aspire to be. For example, I am a terrible cook, but if you looked at my Pinterest board, you might think I am a gourmet chef.
As my colleague Mamie discussed in her blog post last fall on the growing importance of graphics, businesses are also jumping on the taffeta-draped and bedazzled bandwagon. According to socialfresh.com, more than 250 brands are now on Pinterest, and the number continues to grow. Restaurants, hotels, beauty brands and retailers are finding a perfect fit in the aspiration-based social network, but even the unlikeliest of organizations are benefiting. For brands whose fans are already on Pinterest, the website has now made it easier to target – and inspire – potential consumers.
With the release of Analytics for Pinterest earlier this year, brands can now easily and accurately view traffic data and discover how many visitors are viewing their website by way of Pinterest. The free, web-based tool allows brands to track the number of pinners and pins sharing material from their website, as well as the number of repinners and repins those pins received. Businesses can also track total impressions, reach and referral traffic.
Armed with this data, businesses are better equipped to use Pinterest. While it is important for brands on the site to build boards with their products in the hope that people will pin them and click through to their website, there are better ways to catch a pinner’s eye and engage the Pinterest community:
Sell the Whole Package.
Paint maker Benjamin Moore (more than 23,000 followers) has 58 pin boards. Only nine of these boards consist of their paint products. The other 49 are what inspires them to make the paint colors.
Benjamin Moore’s pins include painted or stained objects, such as doors and furniture or entire colorful rooms in all areas of the home. There is a board dedicated to interior designer Candace Olsen that features video tutorials, Olsen’s designs and her favorite colors.
When people choose to pin their photos, they dive a little deeper into Benjamin Moore’s brand and personality. The paint maker is subtly showing potential customers their brand, without shoving it in their faces, while also helping consumers to envision the brand in their lives.
By using Pinterest as a marketing tool, Benjamin Moore is helping potential customers envision the brand’s colors in their homes or office. Imperial Yellow in the can is just yellow, but in a photo of a child’s bedroom, it suddenly promises a future filled with soft baby blankets and wind-up toys.
Make Your Brand Approachable
Humor can give a brand an endearing trait and show people that the organization doesn’t take itself too seriously. Because one funny board usually leads to another, humorous boards can drive users to the brand’s Pinterest page.
For example, Major League Baseball’s Pinterest board has reached more than 29,000 followers by focusing on some of the fun, quirky aspects of the game. With boards themed “Out of Left Field,” “Mascots are People too” and “Majestic Mustaches,” the league pins less than serious photos of crazy fans, mascots doing silly things and players’ ridiculous mustaches.
Far from a “typical” pinner, Major League Baseball strikes a chord with its Pinterest followers. The boards give fans an exclusive look into the elite world of baseball, to find that those involved are not much different from themselves.
Challenge Your Followers
Everyone wins with Pinterest contests. The pinner gets the chance to beef up their followers, create new themed boards and perhaps even win a prize, and the business drives more of their target audience to their Pinterest page and – ultimately – website, which increases SEO. And best of all? It’s free. Win. Win.
One successful campaign was the Ann Taylor Dream Wedding Wardrobe contest. The call to action was simple: create a dream wedding board. The boards were then judged on creativity and the use of Ann Taylor imagery, and the winner won a wedding dress and two bridesmaid dresses. The contest was such a success that Ann Taylor ran a second contest this past Valentine’s Day.
From paint makers to sports franchises, brand owners on Pinterest are discovering new and exciting ways to reach target audiences. It is important to remember: Pinterest is not a one-size-fits-all social media tool. Every organization will have to gauge their audience’s Pinterest use and see what attracts them to certain boards, but by taking advantage of analytics tools, intuition and great imagery, businesses can engage fans and convert aspirational pinners to customers.
Image credit: Flickr member Si1very