Pinterest is a small business marketing tool, social media site and multimedia collection site all at the same time.
In fact, anyone can try to “pin” just about anything on a Pinterest account.
Individuals use Pinterest to collect images that interest them. They organize the images on “boards”. The boards consist of “pins”, which are images that people upload, identify on other sites or copy from someone else’s board on Pinterest.
Marketers quickly saw yet another opportunity to promote their websites and businesses.
The size of the site is part of that opportunity. Pinterest announced late in 2016 that it’s total monthly user base had exceeded 150 million people including more than 100 million in the U.S.
It still has a long way to go to catch up to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. But that shouldn’t stop any business from using it as a marketing tool.
How to Use Pinterest
Individuals use Pinterest to collect information that they want to store for personal use. Travel is a big category because people want to see where they might go on vacation. Recipes are popular because people want to see the dish. It’s all about visual appeal.
When the user pins an image or video from another website, the pin includes the source, meaning the path to the website page or video page with the original content. Therein lies the business opportunity.
Marketing is a combination of branding and response. The branding begins with the Pinterest account home page. It contains the name of the account (i.e., the business name or specialization), a link to the business site and a description that can take advantage of search engine optimization.
The response begins with the ability to encourage clicks to the business website or specific pages in the site via pins on the Pinterest boards.
Few users get excited about seeing a photo of a storefront. They do get interested in pins about a subject. Any business can collect images or videos related to what the business sells and post them in the account.
Pinterest Branding and Response
Three types of pins have three types of direct responses from least to most responsive.
- An upload of an image without a link or phone number is pure branding with no direct response.
- A pin from a source such as another pin or website will usually include the source link. That source gets the response.
- A pin from the business’s own website will get the response to the page from which it came.
The third option has the greatest value to the business, but it doesn’t mean the account should have nothing but its own pins.
Search engines index Pinterest accounts and boards. Larger boards attract more Pinterest and search engine users. Boards get larger with more pins, sometimes reaching into the hundreds.
Quantity Drives Audience
Those boards often use both their own pins and others to get the maximum amount of attention. Boards with pins from other sources will attract more visitors, who are likely to click more often on the pins belonging to the business. Quality matters in addition to quantity.
Like all social media accounts, Pinterest offers value equal to the effort put into it. Also like all social media accounts, Pinterest works better for some businesses than others.
A small business marketing plan prioritizes social media efforts according to return on investment of time, labor and money. Pinterest belongs on the list. It’s just a matter of figuring out how much to give it and for how long.