Take Pinterest for example. Pinterest is now the third-largest social network, behind Facebook and Twitter, and is home to many of the web’s most passionate curators. The site also attracts desirable demographic segments, like moms, and marketers are finding that it’s great place to reach these audiences.
Chad Stoller, Managing Partner at IPG Media Lab said, “Brands know that a robust social ad strategy means reaching customers on their favorite platforms. But for CPG and Home audiences, that often isn’t Facebook or Twitter — it’s Pinterest.”
At the same time, there has been early criticism about Pinterest being an ecosystem for “cupcakes and quilting,” where people play around but don’t buy. The question is, do “pins” actually translate to sales?
One promising data point comes from eConsultancy, which published a case study last May conducted by the jewelry and accessories retailer Boticca.com. The study showed Pinterest can generate more sales than Facebook.
According to the study: “[Boticca] compared engagement statistics from Facebook and Pinterest visitors to see how their behavior differed. They found that after integrating ‘pinning’ buttons across its website, Pinterest became its number one social referrer, assisting roughly 10% of sales, compared to 7% from Facebook.”
In fact, shoppers referred by Pinterest are 10% more likely to make a purchase than visitors who arrive from other social networks, including Facebook and Twitter (Wayfair, 2012). Turns out they spend more too: Pinterest shoppers spend $170 per session on average, significantly more than Facebook at $95 (Reuters).
So if you’re a brand advertiser and haven’t moved Pinterest from your block list to your to-do list, you may be overdue. The question is how do it well, and drive pinning effectively.
Here are four tips to make driving pins a cake walk:
1. Invite existing fans on other channels to follow you on Pinterest. Your followers on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter are likely on Pinterest as well. Create a special post geared toward moms, on each social platform, asking them to follow your brand’s Pinterest profile. For example, you might say: “Hi Mom, check out our new ‘mother board’ created just for you on our Pinterest page, where we’ll post special updates on products and early-bird discounts.” You can also encourage engagement by publishing a “We’re on Pinterest” announcement, as a main story in your customer newsletter.
2. Grow Pinterest fans through paid social advertising. It’s important to grow your base beyond existing followers, so you should work to win new fans by running well-planned ad campaigns in other social networks, sites or apps. In terms of targeting, you can rely on basic demographics, such as “women over 20,” or you can target based on people’s interests – what they like and who they follow – to target more specific segments such as “eco-moms who’ve ‘liked’ an environmentally safe brand of laundry detergent on Facebook.” Also, go wide with your advertising. Be sure to advertise on all social networks and properties relevant to your brand, and always use ad units that include an image — the bigger the better.
3. Pin Pinterest-friendly content. No doubt you’ve heard this advice, but it bears repeating. Photos should be high quality and have a concise and compelling caption, and all content should be linked to a relevant page on your site. Most importantly, stay focused. Make sure all content speaks to what moms care about, and is relevant to your brand, and/or within your vertical.
4. Optimize owned channels for pinning. If you’re really dedicated to scoring more pins, you can get down and dirty with site optimization and add “Pin it” buttons to owned channels. If you have a page that allows moms to give product reviews and feedback (something studies show moms are keen to do), you can integrate a “Pin it” button into the review form. You may even want to remove “tweet” and “like” buttons to maximize pins. And for the most detail-oriented content manager, make all image filenames as obvious as possible. This will improve Pinterest search rankings for brand-relevant terms.