Should your startup be on Pinterest?
If you have heard of Pinterest, then chances are you have a preconceived notion of what it’s about. Weddings featuring candles in jars, gorgeous cakes you could never recreate in a million years, and ideas for perking up your living room or dropping a dress size – all common themes on Pinterest, but they only scratch the surface. In reality, there are many, many advantages of Pinterest for marketing.
As a form of social media, Pinterest often gets overlooked, possibly because it has a less diverse user-base. But marketers who discard Pinterest because they think that it’s just for women, should take a second look, as the male population on this platform grew by 120% over 2016. Over the past few years, Pinterest has become a powerhouse of imagery and inspiration for much of the world, so don’t underestimate it.
Should you have a business account?
One of the most interesting statistics about this platform, is that 87% of Pinners have bought a product because of Pinterest. If you are a startup with a product to sell, then this alone should make you realise that you need a Pinterest marketing strategy. As with all social media platforms, you simply need to look at whether your audience is active on there to make it worth the effort of curating.
The audience on Pinterest is vast. Millennials are the top age demographic regularly pinning, with 36% of users between 18 and 25, and (even better) they prefer Pinterest over any other social channel for shopping.
As Pinterest is highly visual and meant as a tool to create moodboards, you will be in a particularly good position to garner interest if your product or service is good-looking. If your branding or logo is beautiful, then showcase it on a board. If you are in the food industry, then create boards labelled ‘food porn’ and ‘healthy breakfast’ and pin Instagrammable plates to your heart’s content. As a general rule, if your startup works particularly on Instagram, then it will probably transfer to Pinterest too.
How to use Pinterest
Pinterest should be used as a place to collect inspiration on a range of topics. Before using it as a marketing tool, you should sit down with your team and consider the best boards to focus on building. For example, there is no point pinning images of sunsets if you sell children’s snacks – it just won’t make sense to your audience. On the other hand, you could have a board dedicated to rainy-day activities for kids or best child-friendly holidays. It is easy to get boxed in to thinking you should only pin highly relevant information (e.g. kid’s meal ideas), but broader thinking will make your profile a one-stop-shop for anyone interested in your industry.
If your product is continually changing (for example, in the fashion industry), Pinterest can be a great place to view previous products alongside current styles, or simply to update images easily as they evolve. For a clothing line, you could have a pin board full of images from a promotional photoshoot – while the board might go out of date with the following season, it will serve as a reminder of what might come next year.
Building a following on Pinterest
Having a popular profile on Pinterest is a lot harder than on other platforms. Following users is not as common because pin boards are often personal and don’t need much validation in terms of ‘likes’ or ‘shares’ as with other social media profiles. But they can build a large following over time – it just takes patience.
There are two ways to gain influence, the first is by having a popular profile, and the second is by having a popular board (or boards). Enticing more users to follow you is a similar process to any other social media account. The focus in your activity needs to be providing useful and meaningful content, engaging with other users and being authentic in any interactions. If you are consistent in your efforts to be a part of the Pinterest community then you will eventually begin to see results.
Commenting on pins and adding your own insights to a conversation are ways to be seen as an authority in your space. The more you add value to a platform, the more likely people are to follow in order to see more of the same. Consistency is key to maintaining your reputation (otherwise your follower count will just decline), so if you take one piece of startup marketing advice, let it be ‘consistency’.
To get a large following for a particular board you should aim to pin original content. If a user sees pins on your board that they have never seen before it will push you up in their esteem. There are themes on Pinterest that recur and lose distinctness as time goes on – if you are out there pinning new imagery on a previously unexplored topic then you are likely to be popular.
Monitoring your account
Depending on how active your target market is on Pinterest, your account will probably not need strenuous monitoring. If you login a few times a week and add more pins, then you will be on your way. Take it up a notch by entering conversations and dropping comments around the site to stay involved in goings-on and trending topics. But, once you have done the hardest part and fleshed out boards enough to provide ample scroll-time, you will be able to sit back a bit and take a more relaxed approach to Pinterest.