Pinterest. We all know what it is: reams and reams of pictures arranged on a host of online pin boards. And as with all new social media platforms, we should be using it and loving it. Right? Well, that’s the big debate. What exactly is Pinterest, is it really worth all the hype and how can we use it to our advantage?
One thing that is certain is Pinterest’s extraordinary success since it launched in beta in March 2010. Its reach in the US is huge, but it’s growing by the day in the UK too and major brands are starting to take notice. These infographics from the eConsultancy blog offer a snapshot of the incredible rise that Pinterest has seen, but key statistics include:
- More than 80% of Pinterest users are female
- Pinterest accounts for 3.6% of all referral traffic online
- In the UK there are more than 200,000 active Pinterest users
Acccording to a Bizrate report 69% of online consumers who visit Pinterest have found an item they’ve purchased or wanted to purchase as compared to only 40% of online consumers who visit Facebook.
The basics of understanding and getting the most out of Pinterest are relatively simple:
- It’s all about images. Pinterest is essentially an online space for sharing images, categorised according to different interest.
- It’s not structured like a normal website. It’s geared towards discovery, and you can either choose to search in an organic fashion ambling around the site from pin to pin, or you can enter specific searches in the main navigation and see what comes up.
- There are a few easy terms to remember: pins, boards, pinners and followers. Pins are images and boards are collections of images grouped by a particular theme. Pinners are, strangely enough, those who are registered on the site and post or ‘pin’ images to their boards, and followers work in the same way as Twitter – if you like a pinner you can follow their boards and their latest pins will appear in your home feed each time you log in.
- The quality and content of your pins and the boards you create is important. If you’re representing your brand or your own interests on Pinterest it’s vital to show your personality via your pins but also ensure that what you’re pinning is attractive.
- It’s not about advertising, it’s about engagement. While Pinterest can be an excellent extension of your publisher website, perfectly geared to show that month’s titles in a much more engaging way than a normal site, this shouldn’t be the only thing publishers use it for. Think about creating boards which represent an imprint. For example, our Tinder Press Pinterest account is packed with boards which invite readers behind the scenes of our publishing and not only showcase our books but also the team, supportive booksellers, boards dedicated to specific titles and even our fantasy office!
- Do register your company as a business account. This will give you access to the new, much improved analytics tools available on the site and enable you to report back on your success as you now can with comparable social media.
- As with any social platform, keep it updated regularly, populated with lots of content, and remember that including links in your pins is the best way of turning initial interest in your image into an action.
- Remember it’s a social platform. Engage with your pinners, repin other people’s images to your boards and enjoy spending time with your audience.
Keen to get started? A simple search will return hundreds of blogs, guides and helpful information from Pinterest users, many of which are well worth a look. As with all social media there’s no exact science to Pinterest, but some brands are working with the platform particularly well. Take ASOS, the online fashion site. With young women making up such a huge section of Pinterest’s audience ASOS are well placed to extend their brand reach here and now have over 30,000 followers for their 18 boards. Their understanding of what content their audience enjoys has given them a great head start on many other brands on Pinterest and they’re using the platform very well.
So how can we learn from this for the publishing industry? We have more content than we could ever possibly share, our authors know the worlds behind their books better than anyone, and we know our audiences increasingly well. On the most basic level Pinterest enables us to showcase our covers and share them with people who love beautiful images, or if we’re feeling a bit braver it gives us the chance open our books up completely and invite readers in to the world behind the words.
And yes, some might say that it’s precisely these words which we should be focusing on rather than spending time on ‘nice to have’ creative endeavours. But in a world where fewer books are being bought, attention spans are getting ever shorter, audiences are constantly looking for shareable content, and we marketers are seeking new and creative ways to reach readers in a non-traditional way, surely it can only be a brilliant and exciting thing to have a tool like Pinterest at our disposal. It’s not perfect, it takes time to do well, and we’ll continue to learn as we go along, but let’s bring those fantastic words to life, I say.
Useful links you get started:
- Pinterest Guide http://www.pinterestguide.com
- Free eConsultancy guide: Best Practice for Businesses on Pinterest http://econsultancy.com/uk/reports/pinterest-for-business-a-best-practice-guide
- The Ultimate Guide to Measuring Your Pinterest Marketing Success from HubSpot http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/34262/The-Ultimate-Guide-to-Measuring-Your-Pinterest-Marketing-Success.aspx
Check out Qwantu Amaru’s pins!