Last December I saw a man frozen on the sidewalk. He wore a simple grey wool coat, his neck draped in a maroon scarf. The temperature nearly reached minus 40 and the winter wind engulfed him, slithering around each arm and in-between his legs, sandblasting him with blowing snow.

Yet he remained transfixed. Not even a shiver. I observed him wallgazing in this manner for nearly two minutes, until he walked away. I would later learn upon inspection of the wall that he had been staring at a poster.

The right image captivates, casting the beholder into an endless foray into his own cognition: the realm of identifications and associations. He explores multiple avenues, embarking on an examination of every possible link his mind makes with the image.

This deep connection we form with images makes it all the more imperative for organizations to capitalize on image-based marketing and absolutely crucial for them to explore the marketing opportunities offered by Pinterest.

What is Pinterest?

Picture a bulletin board teeming with images, memos, notes and messages. Now imagine the ability to save relevant posts on the board and organize them according to topics, relevance and your interest in them.

This image essentially summarizes how Pinterest works. Users engage in the network by finding, uploading and sharing multimedia. You can save posts in collections called pinboards related to your areas of interest.

While primarily image based, Pinterest allows you to share gifs, videos and much more. Best of all, including a link directing viewers to your own website or other content is incredibly easy.

Why Pinterest?

Pinterest has over 175 million monthly users.

The image-centered interface allows you to capitalize on the power of image-based marketing, with over 2 million users saving shopping or product-related pins on their boards daily and a vast collection of nearly 1 billion boards in which they’re shared.

Nearly two thirds of pins showcase a brand or product, making Pinterest the ideal tool for image-based marketing.

In fact, over 80% percent of millenials use Pinterest to find out about new products to buy and 71% turn exclusively to Pinterest for product and brand recommendations.

Pinterest For Businesses

First, Some Basic Terminology

Pin: Any multimedia (image or video) that is saved to pinterest. Clicking on a Pin links the user to the original source, so imagine the endless possibilities for referring traffic to your site.

Board: Collections of pins saved by pinners. Users can either follow an entire Pinterest account, or just specific boards from that account. The content from either the account or the board will then appear on the user’s feed, so design your boards carefully to generate the best engagement.
Feed: This is simply a depository of all the content a user has subscribed to.
Pin It Button: A button you can put into your site, enabling viewers to pin content from your pages to their boards. Think of this as an opportunity to make your community of social media followers do some of your marketing work for you.
Promoted Pin: A Pin that is displayed to users who are more likely to be interested in it based on visits to a company’s app or site. Think of this as a trackable research-based advertisement that displays on one of the fastest growing shopping networks.
Rich Pin: A pin loaded with relevant information such as product details, pricing and more directly on the Pin. Pinterest currently offers four types of Rich Pins for apps, products, recipes and articles.

Making Pinterest Work for Your Business

The Value of Quality Images

When using image-based platforms, ensure that image quality is near the top of your priority list in you content strategy. This is crucial for both your own pins and for all pinnable content on your website and blogs. The following considerations will help you.

Pinterest Image Requirements

While you may have packed your site full of images, not all of them will be pinnable. The best images will be at-least 600 pixels wide. Pinterest only lets you pin images that are 100 X 200 pixels.

Keep in mind that Pinterest resizes images in the feed, where they are 236 pixels wide, to a width of 564 pixels when users click on them, with the height being adjusted accordingly.

This means that your image resolution needs to be as high as possible to guarantee the best quality for viewers.

Dimensions and Orientation

Portrait works best, as it compliments the arrangement of pins visually in a user’s feed and images with this orientation are more likely to be repinned.

According to Pinterest, the ideal aspect ratio is 2:3.

Colors and Other Characteristics

Images with high color saturation are preferred.

Images rich in Reds, Oranges and Browns are twice as likely to be repinned as images heavy with blues.

Images with human faces are 23% less likely to be repinned, so keep the images relevant and product/service based to ensure maximum engagement.

Life Cycle of a Pin

The best way to understand how Pins work is to think of them as living organisms: digital idea spores that implant themselves into the minds of consumers, germinating into ideas that generate brand awareness, consideration and conversions.

We can divide the life cycle of these spores into three phases.

Creation: A pinner or business pins an eye-catching image to one of their boards. The Pin enters the digital reality and the idea spore is born.
Circulation: As the original pinners followers see the pin, they repin to their relevant boards. The idea spore is carried along digital currents until it finds a suitable environment to grow.
Exposure/Re-creation: The pin reaches a first-time viewer, who clicks the link and is directed to the original website. The idea spore implants itself and the idea begins to germinate.

New visitors may choose to pin additional content from the brand’s website, creating new idea spores and starting the lifecycle over again.

Advertising on Pinterest (The Power of Promoted Pins)

Promoted Pins

Pinterest offers users many opportunities for promoting your brand. There are five types of advertising pins available:

1. Standard Promoted Pin: This format looks identical to a standard pin on a user’s feed. Standard Promoted Pins are ideal for brands looking to test the waters of Pinterest to see what pinterest practices suit their needs.

2. One-Tap Promoted Pin: These pins are design to drive traffic to your site. These are ideal for campaigns driven towards lower cost per click rates, as one tap is all it takes to drive traffic to your site.

3. Promoted Video Pin: This enables users to incorporate video into their promotional efforts, making them more engaging and user-friendly. These can be very powerful tools for generating brand awareness and creating conversations among your audience.
4. Cinematic Pin: These pins allow you to use still images and give the impression of motion. Cinematic Pins are ideal for making you pins stand out better to audiences because they convey the impression of motion, making them more stimulating and engaging to look at.
5. Promoted App Pin: This enables app developers to drive installations of selected apps. Pinterest has developed a model that is install-optimized, meaning it predicts users most likely to install the particular app.

Promoted App Pin campaigns are structured around a cost per install basis and Pinterest reports over 70% of advertisers hitting their cost per install objectives.

80% of Pinterest usage occurs through the mobile app, so the more mobile friendly your images and webpages are, the more appealing they will be to your Pinterest traffic and the more likely traffic is to generate conversions.

Best Practices for Promoted Pins

While best practices can differ depending on your campaign’s goals and objectives, ensure that your images are visually appealing and engaging and mobile-compatible. The following are also valuable to keep in mind:

Consider Utility
Your promoted pins should answer a pressing question or provide the solution to a need in the mind of the user. Keep in mind that Pinterest serves as one of the key market research hubs for its users.

This is particularly true among millenials, 50% of whom use Pinterest primarily for making everyday decisions such as what to eat and what to wear and for discovering new brands.

To ensure your pins provide utility, establish what question or issue your brand or product addresses. Try phrasing your key messages as questions. Ask yourself: how might _______(your brand/product/service) help someone with _________(the relevant question/issue)? Finally, phrase the general need you are trying to meet as a question. Your pin should be designed to answer this question directly.
Use Text Overlays
Add text overlays over top of your image to give context and clarity.

This is particularly important for One-Tap Promoted Pins, as the right message can encourage users to click, generating more traffic to your content.

Aim for concise messages that clearly communicate the value of your brand, product or service and give users a good reason to click.

While the text and message you use will largely depend on what you are promoting there are a couple of considerations to keep in mind.

First, make sure the text overlay does not obscure key features of the image, such as your product or brand.

While you want the text to be readable, it should not detract from key identifiers such as logos. Second, keep the message brief.

Remember that Pinterest is an image-based platform, so users will be more engaged by stunning visuals than lengthy descriptions.   Save the longer descriptions for the captions.

Use Effective Pinterest Keywords
Keywords that are well researched ensure Promoted Pin delivery that is relevant and valuable to your audience.

Before creating the pin, review your keywords to ensure they have high click-through and engagement rates.

Pinterest also offers Dynamic-targeting, which targets an ad to people conducting relevant searches.

To summarize: you want your ad to be seen by the right people looking for the right thing at the right time.

Also consider the number of keywords you are using. You need a broad range of terms sufficient to connect your ad to as many relevant searches as possible. Pinterest recommends around 20-30 keywords per ad group.

Text Matters:  Images need captions giving viewers an idea why they’re seeing them.

Ensure that image captions contain enough information to sell pinners on the value of the image and the underlying message of the pin.

While concision is always a good practice, Pinterest’s limit of 500 characters gives you ample room to develop ideas.

Pins with descriptions around 200-300 characters in length tend to be repinned and shared more often.

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Applying the Pinterest-For-Business Approach

Pinterest is straightforward for businesses promoting their products or services. It has great potential for businesses, regardless of whether they are large, small, nonprofit, or profit….

Pinterest for Nonprofits

Pinterest can substantially enhance the marketing activities and reach of nonprofits.

Not only does this have the potential for enhancing conversations about your organization online, it also provides a means to build and grow with communities with shared interests, meaning nonprofits have ample opportunities to generate and maintain productive conversations related to their initiatives.

The following are some worthwhile considerations for using Pinterest for nonprofits.

Use Boards with a Purpose:  Boards add variety to the communities you create and interact with on Pinterest, as users can either follow your organization or just individual boards.

Ensure that your boards reflect specific topics tailored to the conversations you want to carry.

Quantity is also an important consideration here, as the more purposeful boards you create, the more conversations people will have around your organization.

Likes and Repins Matter: Both Ways: Like all social media, Pinterest is about effective and meaningful interactions.

An effective presence on Pinterest requires both starting and participating in conversations, so while likes and repins on your content are paramount, it is also crucial to be actively involved in other conversations related to your niche.

Repin and like pins that appeal to your cause and are relevant to your purpose. Keep in mind that other users will receive a notification when you like or repin their pins, which will create more awareness for your brand.

Pinterest Analytics: The Value of Data: Ensuring your site’s images are pinnable and that most if not all of your pages contain Pin It Buttons provides useful insights into visits on your website.

This is particularly useful for nonprofits as your site may not have a donations feature, making it difficult to track meaningful page interactions.

However, tracking pins from your webpages can fill this gap. A pin from your website indicates that your content was meaningful to the visitor and can provide a valuable metric for how you are getting your message across.

Pinterest for Small Business

Small Businesses can benefit greatly from generating communities centered around their product or service offerings. This particularly suits the way small businesses operate for two reasons.

First, small businesses typically offer very niche-specific products or services. Second, online commerce is increasingly rapidly and becoming increasingly reliant on social media.

Over half of pinners shop when they are on the site, creating an opportunity for small businesses to grow their own communities and connect with like minded interest-based groups online. When approaching Pinterest for your small business, consider the following:

Make your Website Pinterest and mobile-Friendly:  Ensure your images are pinnable and that you’ve embedded as many Pin It buttons as possible. Not only do these give you a valuable metric for measuring engagement, they also give followers a way to generate meaningful conversations about your brand.

80% of Pinterest usage occurs through the mobile app, so the more mobile friendly your images and webpages are, the more appealing they will be to your Pinterest traffic and the more likely traffic is to generate conversions.

Promote your offerings: Pinterest is an idea-centered platform. While using social channels to show the human side of your enterprise with office photos and other fun posts can be beneficial, Pinterest is not always the best place to do this.

Pinners are interested in ideas for shopping or solving problems, with nearly two thirds of users reporting they use the platform for ideas. Recall from the discussion of utility, your posts should be structured to convince viewers of your ability to meet a need or solve a problem they’ve identified.

Be mindful of the potential for generating shopping traffic to your site or e-commerce platform. Use captivating images of your product or service.

Also consider using buyable pins, allowing your customers to buy your products without having to leave pinterest.

Pinterest for Corporate 

Pinterest presents ample opportunities for larger corporate bodies. Not only is there exceptional community building infrastructure, the potential for connections increases with a broader niche.

Unlike smaller enterprises, corporations offer their products or services over many specializations, meaning offerings can be featured in a variety of different contexts to maximize awareness and consideration and extend your reach into a variety of markets. o

Pinterest provides increasing opportunities to take your brand abroad, with over half of the Pinterest audience in international markets. When exploring Pinterest’s potential for corporate use, keep in mind the following:

Promote Products and Services Individually:  While offering a variety of services and products across a broad niche can be beneficial for larger enterprises, your Pinterest strategy should embrace specificity.

Pinterest reports that pins with more specificity are more likely to appear in feeds. The discussion of utility above is paramount here.

Ask yourself where a particular product fits and how best to engage that user base and structure your post and keywords accordingly

Use Pinterest Analytics: Whether you wish to conduct a more complex Marketing Audit, or simply evaluate the success of your Pin engagement, Pinterest Analytics can help you glean many valuable insights into your marketing efforts, helping you maximize return on investment and understand your communities and audiences better.

Pinterest Analytics gives you valuable insights into several topics such as Pins from your website and how many Pinterest referrals bring traffic to your website.

You can evaluate the success of Pinterest ad campaigns and determine which content is most viewed. Get to know your audience and what resonates with them with Pinterest Analytics.
Show Some Personality:  While the majority of your Pinterest presence should be devoted to making your products and services known and engaging communities around your offerings, one third of Pinterest users see value in Brands that show some personality.

This shouldn’t be taken as a reason to overdo it on the personality, but showing a little of the human side of your organization can help boost your brand’s image.

This is especially important for larger organizations where individuals do not often stand out as much.

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