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Pinning Down Pinterest’s Business Value

Here's an article I wrote for MarketingProfs:

What gets you interested in a new social media platform?  A mention of it from a friend? An article tweeted to you from a trusted social media insider? Maybe clever prose draws you in.

After trying out a new social media platform, you may then decide that it needs to be part of your routine. Likewise, all the big players online had that moment in which they changed their thinking about a new platform. They made the shift from “I’m going to create an account and check it every once in a while” to “This needs to be part of my daily communications routine.”

Is the popular online pinboard Pinterest needed in your daily routine? It just might be.

What I find encouraging about Pinterest right now is that it seems to answer the call for curation. After all, Pinterest provides a visual snapshot of everything you like all in one place. And avid social media users are now receiving information faster than they know what to do with—or, more importantly, than they can tell others about.

But what about Pinterest for business?

The Business Side of Pinterest

In a recent survey of businesses that described themselves as “active” in the social space, they were asked, “Is your business using Pinterest?”

They responded in the following manner.

  • No, and we’re not considering it: 40.38%
  • Yes: 30.77%
  • No, but we’re considering it: 28.85%

Currently, Pinterest claims over 13 million users. Having attained them in 10 months makes Pinterest the fastest social media platform to surpass the 10 million mark. Of those, in the United States, 83% are women and 3% report an income above 100K.

Pinterest’s sweet spot appears to be women aged 18 to 34, living in households with incomes between $25,000 and $75,000 per year. The site has a very feminine look and feel about it. The opening page is predominantly wallpapered with images of women’s outfits, DIY craft projects, recipes, and wedding dresses.

Though Pinterest may be best at driving engagement and sharing, it recently got beat to the e-commerce punch by Fancy. Fancy allows users to participate in many of the same activities as Pinterest, but Fancy lets users purchase the same products and services that enjoy “fancyings” directly on the platform. That is a major step towards fusing curating and commerce.

Two brands on Pinterest that caught my eye immediately were Bergdorf Goodman and HGTV. Pins from the former are a mixture of products from bergdorfgoodman.com and web images chosen to appeal to their customers. Images for HGTV subscribe to its self-described pinning strategy of “creating a team atmosphere and being inspirational.”

Both brands, like so many others right now, understand the importance of a coordinated cross-channel approach for retail within social. They know that building brand affinity leads to intent to purchase. But the brands have not solved the final piece of the puzzle: “Why should I buy what I pin?”

Despite this question, Pinterest continues picking up speed. Most insiders have already signed up. Probably because they are afraid to miss the next big thing (see Google+). Those folks who have not signed up are probably afraid to ask the question aloud.

I think Pinterest has a chance to own two niches.

1.) Pinterest could be the social media platform of choice for foodies. Pinterest seems to lend it itself to easily posting food pics, sharing recipes, and giving recommendations.

2.) Pinterest could establish itself as the de facto “scrapbooking” platform. For example, on Pinterest, you can easily display all the national parks or baseball stadiums you visited or planned to visit.

Additionally, businesses that have multiple destinations (e.g., hotels, chain restaurants, amusement parks) or that have visually appealing products should consider setting up an account and participating at an entry level.

Companies should participate in Pinterest without over-committing resources—yet. Using Pinterest to mirror your Facebook or Twitter activity just segments your audience and shows the early adopters that you’re not in Pinterest for the long haul. You need to use your Pinterest boards to show value, earn trust, and then refine your strategy.

How is your company using Pinterest?

Posted by: Dan Opallo at 9:40 AM
Categories: social media, pinterest, , social media marketing

Integrating Pinterest into Your Email Marketing

Pinterest is a frequent topic of conversation these days.  According to Hitwise, Pinterest is the third most popular social media site in terms of site visits, behind Facebook and Twitter.  Pinterest (as I am sure you are all aware) is ultimately a virtual pin board where consumers can grab images from their web surfing activity and pin them up on categorical boards that allow them to share and revisit the information as necessary. It is a channel that is visual in nature, currently draws a largely female audience, resonates topically with the home, fashion and food (amongst others) and is leveraged heavily for planning (think weddings, birthdays, vacation, etc.). So a good thing to remember is that it isn’t the best place to be for every brand…yet.

Pinterest Logo

According to a recent survey of over 4,800 US online consumers from the price comparison website PriceGrabber , 58% of respondents are not yet on Pinterest – and about 1/3 of those didn’t even know what it was.  But these numbers are anticipated to shift – making Pinterest a channel to watch – especially since the same survey found that 21% of those surveyed that did have Pinterest accounts had cited purchasing a product *specifically* after seeing the Pin.

The ability to integrate and leverage the email channel to build and grow a Pinterest presence is a relatively easy task to accomplish. Here are a couple quick tricks and “good-to-knows” about bringing these two channels together – beyond the act of adding a “follow us on Pinterest” icon in your standard social set:

1. Use Email to Announce Your Pinterest Presence
Your email subscribers are often your best customers. If your brand aligns with the demographic and psychographic make-up of the Pinterest user, there is no reason to not share your presence and the content available with your customers. One great example is how zulily has embraced its Pinterest presence by not only telling their subscribers what they can find on Pinterest, but also creating content specific to the channel via poster creation and even featuring an incentive to encourage Pinning from their site (See zulily email).

2. Include “Pin This” Icons on Individual Content Within Your Email
Including a Pinterest icon with a simple string of code is all you need to do to get your content from your email to your Board. You even have the ability to pass through a description to accompany the image – and descriptions in Pinterest are important. A few fun things to note here: if you include a dollar amount price in the description, Pinterest will automatically place a banner in the top, left hand side of the image feature the price; it will also place the Pin in the Gift Guides from the main drop down. Another fun note is that descriptions can also help impact SEO. Think the descriptions through as carefully as you choose your imagery.

3. Coordinate New Boards or Pins Around Email Deployment
If you are including references to Pinterest within your email communication, chances are your customers may visit your Pinterest Wall of various Boards following an email deployment. It is a good idea to have new content available when they get there. To that point, you should be putting up new content, arranging boards and managing the “above the fold” appearances of your Pinterest presence frequently to deter fatigue.

As you can imagine, this is an ever-evolving topic and new information is coming out by the minute it seems – we are just scratching the surface of what marketers can do with this channel, so look at this as a solid place to start and get to Pinning.

To hear more of my tips on marketing with Pinterest,  check out the on-demand version of StrongView’s recent webinar, “Put a Pin in It.”

Posted by: Kara Trivunovic at 10:20 AM
Categories: best practices, Pinterest, Social Media, Strategy

Pinning Down Pinterest’s Business Value

Here's an article I wrote for MarketingProfs:

What gets you interested in a new social media platform?  A mention of it from a friend? An article tweeted to you from a trusted social media insider? Maybe clever prose draws you in.

After trying out a new social media platform, you may then decide that it needs to be part of your routine. Likewise, all the big players online had that moment in which they changed their thinking about a new platform. They made the shift from “I’m going to create an account and check it every once in a while” to “This needs to be part of my daily communications routine.”

Is the popular online pinboard Pinterest needed in your daily routine? It just might be.

What I find encouraging about Pinterest right now is that it seems to answer the call for curation. After all, Pinterest provides a visual snapshot of everything you like all in one place. And avid social media users are now receiving information faster than they know what to do with—or, more importantly, than they can tell others about.

But what about Pinterest for business?

The Business Side of Pinterest

In a recent survey of businesses that described themselves as “active” in the social space, they were asked, “Is your business using Pinterest?”

They responded in the following manner.

  • No, and we’re not considering it: 40.38%
  • Yes: 30.77%
  • No, but we’re considering it: 28.85%

Currently, Pinterest claims over 13 million users. Having attained them in 10 months makes Pinterest the fastest social media platform to surpass the 10 million mark. Of those, in the United States, 83% are women and 3% report an income above 100K.

Pinterest’s sweet spot appears to be women aged 18 to 34, living in households with incomes between $25,000 and $75,000 per year. The site has a very feminine look and feel about it. The opening page is predominantly wallpapered with images of women’s outfits, DIY craft projects, recipes, and wedding dresses.

Though Pinterest may be best at driving engagement and sharing, it recently got beat to the e-commerce punch by Fancy. Fancy allows users to participate in many of the same activities as Pinterest, but Fancy lets users purchase the same products and services that enjoy “fancyings” directly on the platform. That is a major step towards fusing curating and commerce.

Two brands on Pinterest that caught my eye immediately were Bergdorf Goodman and HGTV. Pins from the former are a mixture of products from bergdorfgoodman.com and web images chosen to appeal to their customers. Images for HGTV subscribe to its self-described pinning strategy of “creating a team atmosphere and being inspirational.”

Both brands, like so many others right now, understand the importance of a coordinated cross-channel approach for retail within social. They know that building brand affinity leads to intent to purchase. But the brands have not solved the final piece of the puzzle: “Why should I buy what I pin?”

Despite this question, Pinterest continues picking up speed. Most insiders have already signed up. Probably because they are afraid to miss the next big thing (see Google+). Those folks who have not signed up are probably afraid to ask the question aloud.

I think Pinterest has a chance to own two niches.

1.) Pinterest could be the social media platform of choice for foodies. Pinterest seems to lend it itself to easily posting food pics, sharing recipes, and giving recommendations.

2.) Pinterest could establish itself as the de facto “scrapbooking” platform. For example, on Pinterest, you can easily display all the national parks or baseball stadiums you visited or planned to visit.

Additionally, businesses that have multiple destinations (e.g., hotels, chain restaurants, amusement parks) or that have visually appealing products should consider setting up an account and participating at an entry level.

Companies should participate in Pinterest without over-committing resources—yet. Using Pinterest to mirror your Facebook or Twitter activity just segments your audience and shows the early adopters that you’re not in Pinterest for the long haul. You need to use your Pinterest boards to show value, earn trust, and then refine your strategy.

How is your company using Pinterest?

Posted by: Dan Opallo at
Categories: social media, pinterest, , social media marketing