Interest in Pinterest

22 January 2013

I love the phrase “pictures speak a thousand words” and I see Pinterest as the channel that has exploited the real potential of this mantra.
Last September I was invited with Tom Ollerton of We Are Social to speak at the Linkedin Digital Marketing Group event in London to talk about the value of Pinterest. We had an interesting evening with a very inquisitive audience. I thought I’d update you on some recent Pinterest developments and share some of the learning from this session.
Pinterest users by geography
For those in the UK, Pinterest is still seen as one social network too far and by many as the preserve of the Etsy “artsy crafty” female US community, but the Pinterest audience profile differs greatly in each country.   The greatest percentage of UK Pinterest users are aged 24-35, more wealthy and male than US users and heavy users of smartphones.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a type of online pinboard where you can pin your favourite images you come across on the web. You can “pin” the images into boards of your choosing and share them with other Pinterest users. The tie up with Facebook means that every time a Pinterest user posts an image this activity is logged on their Facebook wall and it can also be shared on Twitter, greatly enhancing the visibility of Pinterest pins. You can also create a Company Board aswell as a personal one.

How popular is Pinterest?
The Pinterest network has grown very quickly [1] (by over 40% in last 6 months of 2011 according to Techcrunch) and now has over 25million users[2] and joined the ranks of the top 50 US websites by traffic in Q3 2012 according to Comscore. 
Why should I use Pinterest?
The more appealing the imagery you use in your blogs, posts and webpages the more likely it is that a Pinterest page can help you to drive traffic to them.  Sharing of social content is the golden metric of social media. It is the sharing by fans rather than sheer fan numbers that will drive up your rankings on Facebook and enable more of your posts and pages to be seen by your intended audiences. We have to remember that on average your fans are only going to see 16% of your posts in their news feed.
Not all categories are created equal - Pinterest as a retailer’s dream
Pinterest is more popular for certain product categories such as home goods, arts and crafts, style fashion and food. Travel is less popular but still offers opportunities. It’s surprising that the high street retailers are not using Pinterest more to drive shoppers to their pages although Harrods, Debenhams, and Zappos are notable exceptions and many are starting to feature pins on their web pages so Pinterest users can pin and share them on their boards.
How is Pinterest used in the Travel Industry?
Many travel players started to use Pinterest in 2012 such as BA, Virgin and Royal Caribbean with varying degrees of success. Some ran one off promotions but once these had expired they did not have a sustainable community building plan of action or content plan and engagement tailed off. Mashable[3] identified the Travel Channel as one of the best practice Pinterest sites in 2012 with over 31,000 followers and 35 boards. 
How to use Pinterest
There are many opportunities to use Pinterest to:
-          Share events
-          Share gift/treat ideas  
-          Create lists
-          Share inspiring places – drive traffic to travel blog
-          Build email subscribers
-          Share ideas for special events (e.g. weddings)
-          Launch new product/service
-          Link to your YouTube videos

The key is to organise your imagery around lifestyle and visitor interests rather than just your product and use humour, new quirky viewpoints, and visual appeal to engage and differentiate what you do. Be careful about infringing copyright if you do not own the IPR[4] and credit the source as the Pinterest user is liable. Make sure you provide links to your images so that they can help to drive traffic to your website.
Tips to leverage PInterest
Some companies have used infographics, tall images, mosaics and added text such as “click here” and prices to improve click through from their Pinterest boards. Others such as have integrated their Pinterest page as an app on Facebook using to get greater visibility.  Brands are also ensuring that their YouTube videos are shown in Pinterest and film companies such as Lionsgate have found that this can more than double their visitor views of their content.
The key is to start learning. Work out what beneficial role Pinterest can play in your customer journey. Find out how your imagery can be driving more eyeballs to your shopping basket and delivering a return on investment.
Contact us on 0207 274 6302 if you want to overhaul your social content plan or need help with getting the most out of Pinterest and your social channels.

[4] IPR = Intellectual Property Rights 

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