According to the comScore study referenced in this Mashable article, Pinterest hit a new height of 72.8 million active users a month in the period between March 2014 and March 2015. That’s a 25% increase on the previous year.
Even back in 2012, Shareaholic published a report that found Pinterest drove more people to websites and blogs ‘than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined’. It’s a growing channel that isn’t going anywhere fast and businesses of all scales can make use of it.
Pinterest is a simple, fast and fuss-free way of being able to share information. It is a visual bookmarking tool that helps users discover and save creative ideas. It is also often untapped by businesses that could cash in on its potential.
Photos, Videos, Drawings and Infographics are just some of the most popular posting options available. Have a look at our own Pinterest account for an example of the visuals you can share. Pinterest can be a powerful marketing tool as it lets companies connect with people based on their interests, through the immediacy of an image.
To prove Pinterest’s value, I turned to Twitter to collect examples of how companies are using it to market their business. If you aren’t using it yet, these success stories may just encourage you to give it a try.
Create an activity or task
Carla Bradman, the Marketing Manager for Paramount, an estate and lettings agency in London, created a Pinterest campaign that aimed at engaging the local community and utilised the (then) new Pinterest map feature.
The campaign sees their customers given an illustrated tote bag showing a map of West Hampstead, Paramount's local area. If they snap a photo of the bag in an exotic location and tweet the image along with #WhampPlanet, Paramount then pin it onto their Pinterest map and enter them into a monthly prize draw.
Carla admitted that it was something of a shock, but the campaign was (and still is) a huge success! It increased Paramount’s engagement on Pinterest and helped them secure press coverage in the Guardian after they were shortlisted in the Marketing and PR Excellence category at the Guardian Small Business Awards.
This is an amazing example of how Pinterest can be used to promote small businesses and generate great coverage. It really shows what an incentive and some real world interaction can do. Take a look for yourself by visiting their Pinterest account.
Tip #1: Involve your users by creating activities which require them to be physically involved. This brings your business into the real world and encourages users to feel a greater sense of community and engagement with your brand.
Pair with influential figures in your industry
While working with a former client, Tom Bourlet, the Senior Digital Marketing Executive at corporate events business Eventa, built a bot which handled a number of tasks. This included posting to both their own and community boards once per hour, whilst also liking other people’s images.
After increasing their presence and activity, they set out to build a relationship with a number of influential figures in their industry who had strong profiles on Pinterest and work out how they could both work together. One successful method proved to be competitions that used the Rafflecopter widget. By getting the competition widget hosted on a number of relevant sites, they increased their reach and got entrants that were largely from their industry.
They far exceeded the targeted metric increases set out at the start of the project. The biggest success was that Pinterest became their fourth biggest avenue of site traffic, but it was also their sixth biggest channel for revenue! This innovate approach is another great example of how Pinterest can be used to promote your brand, increase traffic levels and grow a lasting audience.
Tip #2: Use Pinterest to involve influential industry leaders with your company and form partnerships with them. This will further engage your users and generate interest.
Build a lifestyle
The National Hockey League (NHL) also uses Pinterest to raise their profile. The NHL is known for being male-dominated and Pinterest is known for being female-dominated. However, the NHL are clever in the way they use Pinterest to their advantage.
First things first, the NHL really understand their audience and how to engage with them on Pinterest. As the majority of Pinterest users are women, they have created boards in the most popular Pinterest categories, including Food and Drinks, Weddings and Fashion. Their Hockey Treats, Hockey Pets and “I Do…hockey style” boards are excellent examples of fitting a brand to popular, seemingly unrelated themes.
They don’t use Pinterest as a hard sales channel and users are not on there to shop and buy products. They promote more of a lifestyle on their Pinterest, which is supported by the boards they create and getting famous figures involved in pinning their favourite things. NHL use Pinterest to promote a lifestyle which users will be interested in engaging with.
The NHL has had huge success on Pinterest and have attracted just less than 1.2 million followers. Companies should follow their example and look for unlikely places for effective strategies that combine their brand, product or service with what people want to see. The NHL and Pinterest may not seem like a match but it is obvious that what they are doing is working.
Tip #3: Create boards and pins that your audience will want to look at by creating a showcase of lifestyle ideas and inspirations. This will attract new audiences and keep your regulars coming back for more.
Reveal your inspiration
Ruth Günay, one of the owners of Lokanta, a Turkish meze bar and restaurant, told me about the success they have seen on Pinterest for menu launches or specific projects. They use the platform to display their own food as you’d expect, but primarily focus on showcasing traditional Turkish dishes and inspiring locations. If their boards don’t leave you pining for some fresh meze then nothing ever will.
They use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share most of the photos of their food, but they turn to Pinterest to share other people’s images and paint a picture of what inspires them at the restaurant. By making a board about something new they are working on, such as their unorthodox Christmas options, they can share visuals of their food and get mouths watering.
They recently ran two successful pop ups at Sheffield Food Festival that focused on real doner kebabs. In contrast to the fast food served up in the typical late night kebab shop, their pop up stall used 100% British Beef and was inspired by traditional Turkish food. By using Pinterest they could show they were bringing an authentic idea to Sheffield and drive interest in their stall before and during the event.
Tip #4: Show your audience what inspires you. Create mood boards and share any images that influence or motivate you and your business.
Visual marketing is on the rise and Pinterest is a perfect platform for this. From challenges and competitions to just getting their audience, these examples from a range of industries show Pinterest’s huge potential to engage people through image sharing.
Even if you are a smaller company or don’t have obvious visual content, there is so much you can do. By thinking outside the box, crafting innovative ideas and exploring unlikely areas to market your company Pinterest can be key to capturing the attention of your audience.
Creative Commons Image: Roxanne Ready