The following is a guest post by Kelly Smith. Her bio is at the end of the article.
Even though Pinterest has been with us for a while now and can drive significant traffic, many marketers are still unsure how to effectively incorporate this social network in their marketing strategies. They think Pinterest is a different version of Instagram or a more visually-oriented Facebook.
As marketers struggle to understand the user dynamics that inform the popularity of this social network, brands fall victim to mistakes based on some of the most prevalent Pinterest marketing misconceptions. To avoid this kind of marketing fail, have a look at these five popular marketing myths about Pinterest.
In 2014, Joy Jenkins, Pinterest’s head engineer, shared the following reflection about the nature of this social network: “Pinterest isn’t fundamentally about connecting people to other people. It’s about connecting people to interests.”
What does this mean? Essentially, that Pinterest isn’t social. It’s not about connecting people to others, but developing their interests and interacting with ideas by means of visual mood boards and pins.
Pinterest users will rarely ever comment or interact with your brand on Pinterest – if they repin one of your posts, it’s not an interaction invitation, but a simple gesture that means they liked your content. Don’t expect Pinterest to be just another platform for the same style of brand-consumer interaction.
Some marketers go crazy for hashtags, convinced that they work for every social network. The truth is that on Pinterest, they might actually lead people away from your pin and discourage them from clicking through the pin to your website.
Have a look at this board from ZARA – each and every pin includes two hashtags, which seen side-by-side can come across as redundant. Scrolling down, you’ll see another hashtag #ZARALOOKBOOK, which in the context of the board is a little too self-explanatory.
3. A verified account is useless
Many brands consider verifying their profile an unnecessary effort, but they have no idea what kind of benefits this action can bring to their accounts. Verified accounts on Pinterest get a wide range of analytics, covering top board for impressions, most repinned content and the interests of your followers. All in all, verifying your account is definitely worth it.
4. Board names and descriptions aren’t necessary
When uploading content to Pinterest, marketers tend to focus on visuals, forgetting that a proper board name and description will help users to make sense of the pins collected in that space. Board names must be simple and descriptions should include relevant keywords to positively affect your SEO.
Take inspiration from Random House and its board called Words to Live By. Described simply as ‘Quotes from some of our favorite authors,’ every user will immediately connect the collection of inspirational quotes to the world of literature.
5. Pinterest is a place for branded images
In order for boards to be truly inspirational, you need to limit the amount of branded images – 1 to 4-5 or 20/80 are both good rules to follow. Keep your board fresh by adding relevant pins that don’t try to market your products. If your board looks like a category page on your website, you simply risk losing the interest of your followers.
Have a look at Kohl’s Falling for Autumn board. A first look at the page already gives us 6 products out of 13 photos – this is close to 50 per cent. Just a handful of inspirational images is not enough. Kohl should consider changing their strategy to include more varied content, and limit their product pins.
All things considered, a presence on Pinterest is valuable for many brands, but only as long as they know how to leverage the characteristics of this predominantly visual social network to their advantage.
Kelly Smith works at CourseFinder, an Australian online education resource. She also provides career advice for students and job seekers and is passionate about the Australian startup scene.