What is Pinterest?
Pinterest has evolved from a trending social media network and continues to grow as a go-to visual search engine for ideas, tips and inspiration. It is also a high powered marketing machine. Whilst it may not be quite as popular as Facebook in terms of the sheer number of members, Pinterest has a ton of powerful and unique features that present excellent opportunities for driving thousands of targeted traffic and generating qualified leads for all types of businesses.
Pinterest is used by millions of people who are looking for things to buy, plan and do. The typical user uses it to search for inspiration or solutions to problems. Essentially, Pinterest allows users to pin images of interesting content they find on the web. Each time a visitor pins a particular piece of content from a website, their followers can see it and repin it as well to their boards and their followers can do the same, leading to a kind of viral effect that over time, can have a tremendous effect on any business.
And therein lies the real power of Pinterest, because it means that you can capture the attention and engage people in your target audience with the right image, providing an incredible opportunity to get your business and products in front of your target market in a visually powerful and authentic way.
If you create images that solve specific problems for your target audience visually, this can be a powerful and effective way to drive qualified leads in the form of highly targeted traffic to your website. Each pin provides several ways to drive traffic to a website.
Some interesting statistics about Pinterest:
- As at September 2017, Pinterest currently has 200 million monthly active users.
- 71% of those 200 million users are female
- 88% of users purchase a product they have pinned;
- 49% have purchased 5 or more products they pinned;
- Each piece of content that a Pinterest user pins is worth, on average, 78 cents to the brand whose merchandise is featured.
- On Cyber Monday, Pinterest more than tripled the revenue sent to online retailers.
A Powerful Lead Generation Machine
Whilst Pinterest is categorized as a social media network, people do not share images on Pinterest in the same way that they do on Facebook. And this is what makes the platform such a goldmine for all kinds of businesses.
Three of the main reasons why people visit Pinterest are:
For example, on Facebook, people might share pictures of their big events such as weddings, birthday parties, places they’ve visited, etc. However, Pinterest is where many of these people go to search for ideas and inspiration when they are planning their big event. It is a search engine. Such users are usually at advanced stages of the buying funnel and if you’re a wedding planner or travel agent, you’ll want to engage these individuals with your content at the precise time that they are actively searching for the products and services that you sell.
And this also presents an excellent opportunity to various kinds of businesses that wouldn’t ordinarily think that their target audience would be on Pinterest. For example if you’re a financial advisor, you can create a visually engaging Pin (known colloquially as a tipographic) of the top 10 financial tips for planning the wedding of your dreams.
Similarly, an insurance company can engage users planning a trip with an attractive visual presentation of the advantages of buying travel insurance. It’s all about attracting attention with the right image. This is why Pinterest is widely recognized as the most powerful lead generation tool for specific types of businesses.
Do More With Less
One thing that is so special about Pinterest is that, unlike other social networks, you don’t need a lot of followers to get massive traffic and massive reach. Even though it is classed as a social network, people aren’t going to Pinterest to connect with other people, but to search for quality content and get ideas and inspiration for their projects. Of course, you need followers because of all of the benefits that a large social network can bring. However, the fact remains that you can still engage a large audience even if you only have very few followers.
On sites like Twitter and Facebook, you need to have more followers to be able to reach more people with your posts. This is not the case with Pinterest. Even without having a large following, you can leverage the content you post to potentially reach millions of users that can be targeted by interest, demographics, and keywords that they’re searching.
Pinterest Lead Generation Tools
Pinterest offers a variety of powerful tools that you can leverage to successfully generated qualified leads for your business.
Visual Search Engine
Pinterest is a powerful visual search engine. This means that by understanding how your target audience searches for the products and services that you sell, you can effectively optimize your business, products or services to be found by potential buyers who are actively searching for what you sell.
Pinterest rich pins are enhanced pins that add more information than usual pins to make them more helpful and more powerful for businesses. This extra information is automatically pulled from your website and included on the pin itself.
Rich pins provide free email notifications and highlight additional information which can be displayed in the Pinterest Pin Feed underneath the pinned image. Consequently, they drive significantly more traffic than regular pins, and this will often result in a significant increase in sales. Image as well as text-based content in a pin can increase relevancy which in turn can lead to more informed decisions.
Pins are never deleted
Yet another incredible feature that is unique to Pinterest is the fact that once you upload an image that proves popular with your target audience, you can keep getting leads in the form of targeted traffic to your website from that pin for years after you posted it.
This is because the pins last forever on Pinterest and can only be deleted by the user that published it. This is another powerful edge that Pinterest has over other social networks including Facebook and Twitter, and why Pinterest needs to be at the heart of your online marketing strategy.
SEO Benefits of Pinterest
In addition to powerful social signals that are factored into the search engines’ algorithms, Pinterest has tremendous benefits for organic SEO. Google and Bing crawl and index Pinterest pins because they are publicly available, and when they appear in Google searches, they typically appear at the top of the first page.
This means your search-optimized images can show up for relevant searches, increasing your visibility. But what is so powerful about Pinterest is that if you have an image that is repinned 200 times, this means that you have 200 boards with links to your website. The more popular images you have, the more links you’re getting to your site. A strong presence on Pinterest will have a truly delightful impact on your organic search ranking.
You can setup an advertising campaign on Pinterest to promote specific pins, increase brand awareness, drive targeted traffic and convert leads into customers. One way to approach an advertising campaign on the platform is to promote a pin that has already seen some success on Pinterest with repins or comments.
Since this pin has already proven to be somewhat successful with a certain section of the Pinterest community, chances are that when it’s shown to a larger pool of targeted users, it will be well received by them as well and will drive more traffic to your blog.
So, if you setup a succesful advertising campaign to promote a specific pin that has gained traction on Pinterest, the pins that you promote during and after the campaign are never deleted, and will continue to work for you for years after the campaign has ended.
With a promoted pin campaign, you can pay to have your pins show up in specific feeds or search results, and with this you’re able to target audiences that have visited your website, are on your email newsletter list or discover a whole new audience on Pinterest.
For example, using Promoted Pins, Adore Me, a monthly subscription service for stylish lingerie, saw:
- A 3700% increase in purchases coming from Pinterest
- A 6000% increase in email signups coming from Pinterest
- A 2600% increase in traffic coming from Pinterest
- A 50% higher click-to-purchase rate on Promoted Pins compared to other channels, especially on mobile
If you setup an ad campaign and audience targeting to target specific users, your promoted pins will show up in their home feed as well as in any searches they make that are related to your targeted keywords.
You can target people based on:
- Visitors that went to your site;
- Subscribers to your newsletter;
- An engagement audience that have engaged with your Pins
- An actalike audience that is based on your already created audiences. This is similar to the lookalike audience in Facebook ads.
Keys to Success With Pinterest
Success with Pinterest is simply about using it as a platform to increase brand recognition, build trust and credibility, and to engage your audience by providing high quality value. The mistake that a lot of companies make on social media as a whole is simply to try and use it as a platform reach a broader audience that they can sell to. This is the type of approach often leads to failure, especially if you’re a small business that no one has heard of.
It is important to always keep in mind that Pinterest is first and foremost, a social network. Like other networks, you need a marketing strategy to successfully leverage the website for lead generation. If you don’t have a proper plan or strategy, you’ll end up without any tangible or meaningful results.
The basic fact is that you want people to follow you on social media. If you want to build an audience and engender loyalty from your audience, then you need to give users a reason to follow and trust you. If all you want to do is to promote your products and services, then you’re not being social, and there is no reason for users to follow you or trust you.
What is really awesome about Pinterest is that if your board is providing great value then it will grow naturally. People will repin your pins, they will comment and they will discover what you’re posting through the search button. If you’re offering new content, if you’re staying on topic and if you’re providing real value by offering a genuine service of some kind, then people will gradually gravitate towards your brand and you’ll achieve the goals you’ve set out to achieve on the platform.