When one thinks about social channels suited to marketing, common, household names like Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter are likely to come to mind.  However, few are likely to mention Pinterest, a primarily graphical social network founded only four years ago, making it the youngest of these networks.  Though most marketers are yet to hop aboard the Pinterest train, the fact that its red “P” symbol is starting to make an appearance, and with 2.5 million page views per month (and growing), Pinterest may well be the next biggest thing in digital marketing. As for marketers themselves, statistics have shown that content posted on Pinterest has double the conversion rate of content posted on any other social channel, with images posted on Pinterest able to lead via a click to a website, blog or conversion page.

 “Social shopping” Users tend to use Pinterest to find “inspiration” – such as a new outfit or a new recipe – which they’ll then “pin” to a “pinboard” to remind them to buy it; that, or they’ll click on the content, which will link them to the website in which the transaction can be performed.  Fashion retailer Topshop recently made the most of the rise of Pinterest by inviting customers to pin the items that they liked, advertising the “most pinned” products in store, giving them some insight into their customer’s favourite items of clothing.  Not only that, but when their customers pinned something, that customer’s Pinterest network would also be able to see it, thus drawing attention to the product and allowing them to pin the product themselves.  This is known as “social shopping”, and it’s entirely possible for a product (or any image, for that matter) to go viral.

Marketing on Pinterest There are two types of account on Pinterest; business and personal.  The benefit of a business account is that Pinterest actively helps you market your business through the use of tutorials and helping you to define yourself in terms of keywords, so that search engines and other Pinterest users are more likely to come across your page.  You can also link your official website to your Pinterest page, by adding a “PinIt!” button to your web content and a button to encourage users to follow you.

It’s important to consider Pinterest’s graphical interface; your page needs to be eye-catching, as well as on-message; consider turning your content into a colourful and eye-catching image, or something thought-provoking that people are likely to want to share.  However, beneath that, there’s also the usual keyword optimisation to take into account; when pinning other content from around the site, make sure it’s appropriate to what you’re marketing yourself.  This way, you’re far more likely to attract a stream of potential leads who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.  Using Google Analytics will track how much traffic is coming to your website via your Pinterest page, which opens up the opportunity for somewhat risk-free A/B testing with your Pinterest content.

Sponsored pins This month, Pinterest will be introducing a system similar to sponsored posts on the likes of Linkedin and Twitter.  For a sum depending on how far you’d like the reach of your sponsored pin to be, your pin will have a prominent position in  your target audience’s eyeline, drawing in more “pins” from all over the web.

The big benefit of Pinterest to marketers, of course, is that Pinterest is a site generally concerned with leisurely browsing across interests.  Its high conversion rate is likely to do with the fact that leads from Pinterest don’t feel “pushed” - they’re clicking through to your content at their own leisure because they found something that you posted genuinely interesting!  Pinterest could easily be the next biggest thing in building your brand’s reputation online, as well as for general marketing purposes, so now’s as good a time as any to get involved!

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