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Why Should My Company Use Pinterest?

19th December 2013
Looking at it from a perfectly rational standpoint, it’s entirely reasonable to come to the conclusion that Pinterest shouldn't work. A website that allows you to post photo albums with captions – isn't that just something that Facebook already does, and with a much wider scope to do more with them?

That assessment has its merits, but perhaps misses the crucial point – 70 million people use it because it is so simple and effective. In fact, if you've not already created an account, you’ll be annoyed that you didn't latch onto it sooner.

In March 2014, the site will celebrate its fourth birthday, and has recently reported monthly page views of 2.5 billion to an 80% female audience.

The simplicity of the site lends itself neatly to mobile usage as well as more regular PC, laptop or tablet browsing. This accounts for the 35% of traffic that stems from mobile devices; the albums proving ‘flick friendly’ to touch-screen phones.

But why should you be involved? Crucially, the female influence has led to the site becoming a virtual photo album or scrapbook of your favourite things, so you see less of the drunken night out stupor photos that blight Facebook or Twitter, and far more of the products, places and motivational images that inspire users. This consumer-driven angle makes the site very welcoming to companies looking to showcase their products.

Much like the retweet that we’ve all become so accustomed to, Pinterest offers the repin, in which the photos that you publish – and they like – can appear in their albums too, promoting the photo to their circle of friends. Given that you’re at liberty to plug your product or idea with a direct link to where potential customers can find out more, a carefully created graphic or well framed photo can become a very valuable sales tool. That value is being recognised in the traffic figures, as 20% of all referrals to e-commerce sites from social networking sites as of September this year came from Pinterest.

The added value of marketing your offering via a social networking site is the amount of time that individuals spend browsing each time they log on. The attention grabbing array of imagery keeps visitors glued for an average of 14.2 minutes per session, so you have a remarkably strong chance of a lengthy spell of attention.
PinterestA typical Pinterest page showing Christmas images
The site allows for the regular flow of likes and comments that have become so commonplace across Google+, news websites and the obvious Facebook, so you also have a good sounding board for feedback and recommendations relating to each photo that you post. Pleasingly, the site seems to avoid so much of the negativity that blights other social networking sites, and while there will always be a few that buck the trend, Pinterest tends to attract more positive comments than the average. Maybe it’s that female influence!

But is it only for girls, like the internet's repost to a Yorkie? Far from it. Being a smart and slick method of laying out images, it lends itself to any manner of topics, and ‘man friendly’ sections devoted to DIY tips, men’s fashion and even gift ideas for women make it a useful resource for both genders.

Some commentators have likened it to the décor in an all-male student flat, where images of pretty models or favourite sportsmen are ripped from magazines and pinned to the wall – Pinterest’s ability to arrange themes by category and suggest accounts you’ll like based on existing preferences means that men will recognise something in the layout that is far from alien to them.

So how to make the most of Pinterest? For starters, make sure your imagery lives up to the standards. A small grainy picture taken on a mobile phone is not going to cut it amidst the sharp and crisp artistry that immediately strikes you as you log in. This is the place to showcase those professional shots you’ve had taken – a platform where they’re likely to be appreciated. If your photo is smart and within a recommended range of 600 to 800 pixels wide, by up to 1,000 pixels deep, it should work in this environment.

As the number three social network (behind the other two sites we’ve already referenced several times), descriptions and captions are well indexed by the major search engines, so make sure you make good use of the available space to explain the photo, ideally linking through to another location (yours) where the user can find out more about the product or service it has been designed to promote. Don’t over-write though, as this clutters the page and is described by some Pinterest experts as ‘bad etiquette’.

Keep your images free from watermarks to make them more attractive to potential re-pinners, and maybe even think about offering rewards, prizes or bonuses to those who repin in a bid to make your work go viral. Seeing the sort of people who repin you is a great way of getting to know your target market, and getting to know what makes them tick is a great way of helping to develop your next range.

Also consider implementing Pinterest sharing buttons on your website, which allow users to quickly link images from your website to their Pinterest board. This is particularly useful if you have a wide range of products where visual appeal is crucial!

Make ‘enjoying success on Pinterest’ one of your new year’s resolutions, and you’re unlikely to be disappointed with the results. If nothing else, you’ll have a lovely ready-made portfolio of what you offer, neatly packaged to appeal to a wide range of audiences.

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