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September 15, 2014

Should You Use Pinterest for Business?

Author: Kristen Bachmeier

I’m a huge fan of Pinterest (I’ll have you know that I just reached my 3,000th pin). I use it as a resource for a variety of things: recipes, new workouts, funny pictures, outfit ideas, etc. I saw this article on TechCrunch about Pinterest launching a new Analytics dashboard for business users. Since I use Pinterest quite frequently for personal reasons, I got to thinking: does it make sense to use Pinterest for business?

The answer is yes (and no).

First Things First: What is Pinterest?

Pinterest Logo“Part of Pinterest’s appeal is that it’s beautiful. Enter the lovely world of Pinterest, and all the trouble of your day-to-day life just seem to slip away in a stream of perfect little black dresses, baby otters, and cherubic children who never seem to get dirty or mouth off to their parents.”

(The best definition of Pinterest I’ve seen, courtesy of CopyBlogger.)

Pinterest is an image-based social media platform that allows users to save images to their account (saving = “pinning”). Within a user’s account, they can create different boards based on different categories (i.e. a board for clothing, a board for recipes, etc.). The social piece of Pinterest is that pinners can follow other pinners and repin their content. Users also don’t need to be on Pinterest to pin – a lot of brands are utilizing the Pin It! button, a tool that allows users to pin items directly from a website.

It’s also important to keep in mind that these images – or pins – are not just pretty pictures. They often link to related content, or in most cases, a place where you can purchase the item you’re pinning.

Is My Target Market on Pinterest?

According to Search Engine Journal, Pinterest has approximately 25 million unique monthly visitors. That’s a great statistic, but out of those 25 million, how many of those users do you expect to be your potential customers?

We once had a client that wanted to use Pinterest for online marketing. At the time, social media marketing was exploding and was the “thing” to do. In my opinion, this made no sense – this client operated within the auto industry and was trying to reach local users with deals on certain auto services. There may have been ways to utilize it, however, the marketing budget allocated at the time would have been better spent on marketing with a higher ROI.

(Our goal – and our mindset as a company overall – is to help our clients see a return-on-investment with their online marketing. Therefore, if we don’t see that happening, we typically will not advise it.)

While this might seem like the simplest question to ask and answer, you would be surprised to find out that many people forget to consider this when exploring new marketing initiatives. Think very, very hard about who your target market is and where these people spend their time – if it’s not on Pinterest, then it might be time to think about marketing elsewhere.

Do Images Sell Your Product/Service?

On Pinterest, users engage with this content based solely on images. Depending on the nature of your industry, you may consider Pinterest as a viable online marketing option. Using high-quality images of products/services (or even of things related to your business), you can expose your brand to hundreds or thousands of users.

Another one of our clients operates within the home improvement industry. If you take a look on Pinterest, you’ll find thousands upon thousands of pictures showing before/after photos, dream homes, dream home décor, etc. When selling home remodeling, you can bet that photos are important – and why Pinterest would be a great option for a business in that industry.

Even if your business does not reply on images/photos to sell your brand, you may be able to take advantage of what Pinterest has to offer. See below for an example from the Walt Disney World Pinterest account. Even though you won’t find your Disney World vacation tips displayed on the images themselves, you’re given enough information as a user to click to the destination to access these tips. By creating visually appealing pins, you can guide pinners to your website and promote your content (and hence, your product/service).

Walt Disney World Pinterest

Are You Willing to Invest the Time? (Or Hire Someone Else To Do So?)

Pinterest – as well as all the other social networks out there – requires time to be spent. It’s all about customer engagement and if you’re not there to engage, you’ll quickly learn that Pinterest will not provide the value you’re looking for.

Spending time on Pinterest does not necessarily mean pinning for hours on end (although I wouldn’t mind it). It does, however, require activity from your end. This includes pinning pins from other sources as well as uploading your own content. When you’re uploading pins, it’s also important to use high-quality/accurate imagery, link to the right place, and provide an accurate description of what you’re pinning.

As with other digital marketing, you can always hire an agency that knows all the ins and outs of Pinterest – allowing you to spend time on your business, while they focus on getting the ROI you’re searching for.

We want to hear about your Pinterest accounts – has your business used Pinterest? Did you see the results you were looking for? Leave your answers in the comments below!

Kristen Bachmeier

Kristen Bachmeier is Atilus' Director of Operations and helps to oversee all client accounts and day-to-day operations. Kristen also has a background in digital marketing, and has been working in the digital marketing space since 2012.

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