The Pros and Cons of Pinterest Marketing

Whenever you see a new social network getting a lot of press, you probably feel the same mixed emotions as we do: on the one hand it's a fresh new opportunity to reach your audience, on the other it's another potential time suck that could leave you with a lot of content and not much of anything else.

When the inevitable time comes to consider whether or not a new marketing channel is worth testing out, we rely on a series of qualifying questions:

  • 1) Is your target audience there, or likely to be there in the near future?
  • 2) Can you spare the resources to create content for this new channel, or will it detract from other efforts?
  • 3) Is it early enough in the platform's evolution that you can still test it out without paying to reach people?
  • 4) If you answered yes to all of the above, what is the full list of pros and cons of investing time and money into this new channel?

Four is where we'll get started today, referencing Pinterest in particular but following a process that you can use for almost any new marketing channel.

Pros and Cons of social media sites

The Pros and Cons of Marketing Your Business on Pinterest

Even if you have a strong personal interest in Pinterest, there's no guarantee that this means it's a good fit for your business.

On the cons side, let's consider some of the reasons you might not want to play with the platform:

  • Your target demographic is mostly male:  This falls back to the first qualifying question at the start of the post, but it's worth exploring again here, especially in the case of Pinterest. Surveys suggest that around three-quarters of Pinterest's active users are female, which is backed by the early stat that 97% of those liking the Pinterest Facebook page in 2012 were women. Though things have leveled out as the site has grown, any business with a mainly male audience can probably spend marketing time and budget more productively on other channels.
  • Your business has no hub: You’ll need a place to connect the visual angle you present on Pinterest, so that you can drive some of the attention to an online environment where it's more appropriate to sell. If you don’t have a site that you control, that's definitely something to develop before pursuing your Pinterest profile.
  • If you have abandoned several social networks: Why invest time if you have none to spare for social? Instead, review the sites you already have and decide against those you need to strip away. Spend more time developing those you keep and come back to this post in six to twelve months time, if you still have a passion for Pinterest!
  • If your brand has little visual appeal: In theory, every business can be aligned with a compelling visual in some way. In practice, many are less interesting than others. The basis of the rising image-based social platforms is communicating something via a striking visual, so if you have no inspiration to that end then feel free to excuse yourself.
  • If you can't stand puns: Prepare for everything to be prefixed by "pin-" . If you couldn't get on board with "tweeps," now is the time to run in the opposite direction from Pinterest!
1-800-FLOWERS on Pinterest

If you're still here, we'll assume that means you're interested in pursuing Pinterest for marketing your business!

We find that most businesses that embrace the advantages of vanity number marketing also have a strong connection to the visual side of their brand, so it's likely that Pinterest will indeed be a good fit for you.

Here are some of the areas to play with to make the pros for your business clearer, and prove that Pinterest will be worth your time:

  • Experimenting with different types of pin is definitely encouraged, just don't overlook the standard social media etiquette of any other network: share what others post, avoid selling too early or overtly (and avoid spam at all costs!), give more than you take and be ready to put in a lot of time browsing other accounts for great content.
  • Align your brand with striking visuals: If the business or product itself doesn't jump out as visually inspiring, think in terms of iconic locations near to your place of work, such as landmarks, famous buildings, outdoor spaces, etc. It's always better to start wide and shallow to find what works best, then delve deeper into ideas that your fans find engaging.
  • Explore influences (and influencers): Build boards that describe your brand values, rather than specific products or services. You can of course include what you sell in images, but they should never feel like adverts or forced integrations. Focus more on subject or wider concept and keep in mind that the better known your topics are, the more searched and visible they are on Pinterest. Remain authentic and true to the core of your brand, and the values that make it compelling to customers.
  • Write blog posts with imagery in mind: Start working images into the heart of your blog articles. Where permission is given, integrate the work of others you admire on Pinterest (and beyond), as well as anything with striking visuals that you can write around. The real world around your business provides great inspiration here, so start to snap away at any photos that give you a reason to write more about your business, or at least things to which you can relate who you are and what you do.
  • Repin others on a regular basis: Take time to follow people with similar subject interests and browse their pins for things that attract your eye. Share them and include your own thoughts as inspiration for the repin. Your account should always keep a stream of original content flowing, but sharing from others is a great way to make connections and fill the gaps on any days you feel creatively dry.
  • Create boards to represent different aspects of your business:  Pinners can ‘Follow All’ of your boards but it's easy for highly active users to overwhelm a feed, so most will follow only boards that interest them specifically. Increase the likelihood that your content will connect by creating a broad range of interesting touch points.
  • Remember admin essentials: Make sure you have a complete bio, with website and social links, location, and any other information that describes your business. Try to work in keywords and terms that you target on Google consistently, so that you make it easy for other users to find you (and for search engines to further associate them with your business).

Test variations on these tips to see what your audience enjoys and engages with most.

As with any marketing initiative, monitor it and measure it so you can keep what works and discard what does not.

  • Pinterest is especially valuable if you have a brand or product that can be communicated well visually and have a significant female client base.
  • Make visuals the core of everything you do on Pinterest, from creating diverse, brand-related boards to eye-catching individual pins.
  • Pinterest can drive plenty of traffic to the sites that source your images, so extend the visually-minded approach to your main site wherever possible. This is where you can build in more direct marketing and convert customers.
  • Change up your pinning strategy and come up with permanent categories for them. From that base, you can build some inspiring collections for those who come across your brand, enticing them to follow and stay connected to what you do.

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