blog: Online Marketing Strategies


DECEMBER 9, 2011

pinterestThe Power of Pinterest

Optimizing your online marketing strategy with the latest social media platform.

Kari-Lynn O’Neil — social media Strategist

If Pinterest isn't on your radar, you may want to bump elbows with your neighbor. With 3.5 million active monthly users on Facebook since it's launch in March 2010, and valued at around $200 million this may be one of the fastest, most addictive, social platforms to hit the web. Pinterest is a visual pinboard for collecting and sharing content online. With their app, you can even pin from your phone while watching tv, sitting at a restaurant...alas even at work. It's the modern day replacement of knitting for our generation, allowing you to "pick up and drop" one beautiful image after another, then sit back and admire a magazine like finished product based on your interest.

You can also spend more time cultivating images and videos from the web, or if it is in your best interest create content of your own creation for self promotion. Pinterest has made it user friendly for the average person to create boards to collect and share. Simply install the "Pin it" button to your tool bar and when you see an image you like, click the button. If you're after the highly coveted female demo with disposable income, straighten up. Here's who's pinning:

pinterest

How is it Different?

How is it different than the other social platforms your company may be investing in? From an audience perspective, Pinterest appeals for several reasons;

  • They trust their friend and peer recommendations over brands
  • People are shifting their attention from mass media to more personal and relevant channels
  • Pinterest is a more visual version of their experiences on Facebook

pinterestFrom a marketing perspective, Pinterest is primarily visual, focused on collecting products or ideas in a visual way and does it in a way that optimizes for search engines. The founders of Pinterest must have understood the shift in consumer online purchasing behavior. Many companies are floundering with PPC, site optimization and understanding where in the sales funnel to capture a consumer to optimize conversion. There is a clear understanding that social platforms are better with loyalty and conversion rates than Google PPC and that lies in the "friends/family" recommendation connection from those companies that have accurate measurements in place.

Google simply has no way of capturing intent in its "sorting/search" process, when we as consumers are looking for a product. A "discovery" platform like Pinterest provides like minded individuals (brides for example) to create boards of invitations they love with links to the places they found them. A bride searching for inspiration finds all the images she likes and repins them to her boards, then "shops" the ones she likes. A like minded bride already pre-filtered her selections and recommended them for her. It's a more natural way of shopping. It feels trustworthy and the community of like minded people sharing ideas and tips based on common interests and experiences is something Google search and PPC can't compete with.

It gets better. As it is designed now, Pinterest allows followed links. This means that every time something is pinned or repinned, the original source will receive a backlink to their domain from a powerful, authoritative website. Why is that important?

  • Along with content, backlinks improve the SEO of your website to improve page rank.
  • Increases traffic to your website
  • Increases conversion rate for sales because these are "recommended" products/services.
  • Each time the anchor text is linked, that keyword is ranked higher on your site. Good news for SEM bidders. Your CPC goes down. (Hint to webmasters- comb through your site and optimize your images and videos for pinners.)

Optimizing your site to make it more Pinterest friendly could help you improve your ranking and lower your SEM costs, especially if you're paying for a backlink service. But you could go much further.


Here are my recommendations for considering Pinterest as part of your online platform:

  1. At the very least optimize your site to make it "Pinterest Friendly." It's low hanging fruit. At least take advantage of any free activity fans of your business may give you. Make sure your images/ videos are "pin" worthy and properly tagged for SEO optimization.

    Then go to Pinterest's website, access the "Goodies" section and Install the "Follow" button of your choice and the "Pin It" button onto your website product pages and blog pages. If you aren't putting out good content, there's 3.5 million (and growing) good reasons to start.
  2. Create a Pinterest account for your company if it makes sense for you, and in a way that makes sense for your customer. I always advise my clients: "This is not your website. This is not your Facebook Page. These are not your Pinterest boards. It is your target customer's. Create them for your best customers." I don't really care what your favorite color is or what you like, it's not about you. Research. Survey. THEN create.
  3. A gallery of boards with a description about your product or services filled with keywords optimized for their search will create awareness. Sell it! Putting a $price in the description creates a flagged banner in the corner and makes it easy for people to shop through categories. (SEMer's: signals intent. Check out the holiday shopping boards!) Writing "FREE shipping + Returns" in the comment fields makes it easy to scan. Then track with analytics. You can promote with special offers here as well. Make sure to update images often. A flurry of repinning happens after an image is first pinned. Like a blog, "old news" gets left at the bottom and new content is rewarded. 4. Just like Facebook, content strategy is key. Creating a Pinterest account and leaving it alone is not going to get you results. Take time to understand the platform, the target audience and segment your customers into user personas. Then create boards to attract each one. Within 45 minutes of creating boards for a client, my email was drowning with Pinterest alerts of likes and repins. Conversion rates went from .01 to 1.01 in 2 days and Share of Voice increased 20% for the client.

Social platforms are not going away. The shift to more relevant and personal content and tighter social communities is a natural one. We are social beings and the technological revolution with all its tools and toys has in some ways isolated us and removed us from our old social patterns. As it has been throughout history, we as humans find a way to counter things that isolate us. We find new ways to connect and find comfort with others like ourselves. It's not a conscious effort, neither is it a mystery why we see "hockey stick growth" with platforms like Facebook and Pinterest. As much as we are curious creatures who embrace technology, we need to connect to feel complete. Social platforms allow us to utilize technology in such a manner. The companies that step back from machines and remember that we are in the end always connecting with people, are the ones that win. Know thy customer. Know where and how they play. Play with them and you will win.

About the author: Kari-Lynn O'Neil, Partner and Strategist for eightseconds, has two decades of sales, marketing and business development experience. Her combined education in Sociology, Psychology and Communications provides the foundation for her strategic plans and led to the creation of science-based branding system unique to the agency world. O'Neil was featured in the Business Section of several Wisconsin newspapers entitled "The Science of Selling" which focused on the 6 international awards since they've opened their doors in June of 08. The eightseconds approach is revolutionary and based on research and function, improving profitability for their clients and usability for their customers.

 

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