By: Donald Smith
Last week my PR communication professor brought up Pinterest while we were discussing potential strategies and tactics. Then I started thinking about how many times I have seen Pinterest on companies’ websites. After processing my thoughts I found I rarely see the social network. So, I began some light research on how useful of a communication tool it could be.
The answer… it could be a critical communication tool. Why are there not more companies on there? Granted the market is narrow, but we will get into everything in due time.
First, a Cision article found Pinterest ranked second among social networks in traffic referrals, second only to Facebook. Also, from the years 2011 to 2014 Pinterest and Facebook were the only two platforms to have growth all three years (Conlin, 2015). Another reason it is an effective tool is because it can host a multitude of content without the risk of overwhelming companies’ audiences. This is because the audience chooses what content they want to receive, which also gives companies’ content a longer shelf life. Some say half of the visits a pin receives occur after three months.
Next, although it is growing and can be useful, as stated earlier, the demographic who uses Pinterest is still narrow. An article from PRSay gives specific demographics on the app’s users. As of June 2014 the app had more than 70 million users, but 81 percent of the estimated 40 million monthly users in the US were female. Also, mothers share three times more than the average users (Snyder, 2015). Cision also had an article describing some of the demographics. The majority of daily active pinners are under 40 years old, but the median user is 40 years old. Another discovery was half of its users make $50,000 or greater per year. Also, Millennials use it as much as they use Instagram. As for categories the most pinned and browsed categories are Food & Drink, DIY & Crafts and Home Décor (Dougherty, 2015).
I list all of these demographics as a “heads up” because you need to know if your target market demographics are going to match up with those of the users.
Now, to give some tips on how to maximize the effect Pinterest will have as a communication tool in a companies’ strategic plan. These come from an article written in PR Daily by Gini Dietrich.
- Think visually first
- If the story cannot be told visually, then this is not where you need to be spending your time. I know this is harsh, but it is reality.
- Avoid obvious sales promotion
- Do not only have boards where you promote products you sell. Try and balance out your promotions with inspirational quotes or other activities.
- Pin interesting happenings occurring in your industry.
- Is something novel or rare occurring in your industry? If so then let people know.
- Use visuals from events, publicity stunts and news conferences
- There are plenty of images that can tell stories from events like these, make sure you use them.
- Do not forget about videos
- Yes, most of the content is still-images, but videos are even more engaging. So, use it, and most people still do not know you can pin videos.
- Put the “pin it” button on all Web properties
- Never let a “pinable” moment pass by you by putting the “pin it” button always in clickable reach. The toolbar is an effective spot for it.
- Share articles, blog posts and stories
- Do not be afraid of a little self-promotion. It also will help the person who wrote the piece get some exposure.
- Share best practices
- Help people by giving some solid advice. These could be the inspirational quote posts you need to balance out the other promotions.
- Pin and re-pin pins from key journalists
- By helping them get some traffic you could be starting a fruitful relationship.
- Take advantage of trade shows and conferences
- Same reason for using events, publicity stunts and news conferences.
- Make descriptions with SEO in mind
- Nobody searches for the phrase, “Simply beautiful.” So, do not describe it as such. Instead, say what the product in the image is (i.e. nail polish, decorating tools, etc.)
Thus, before getting into Pinterest make sure your companies’ story can be told visually, and the audience is a viable one.