Should you be using Pinterest for content marketing?

Of all the social media platforms that have emerged in the last few years the one that has arguably most excited editorial creators and brands has been Pinterest.

However, while some brands and media companies have been wildly successful at using the platform, for a lot of companies it is a social network too far. They know how to use Facebook and Twitter, but taking the time to learn how to run Pinterest effectively eats into time that they could be using to, for example, create content.

This is a real shame as for some content marketers Pinterest provides a very real opportunity to create brand awareness, engage with creative people and most of all drive lots of traffic to websites and blogs.

In fact there are statistics which shows that Pinterest - which now boasts 48 million users - actually drives more traffic to websites than YouTube, Linkedin and Google+ combined.

So there are clearly opportunities, but should then your media company or brand be on the site? Here are three questions to ask yourself before you take the plunge. We are assuming a basic knowledge of how Pinterest works. If you want to find out more about the platform start here.

1 Is my brand/website going to hit the Pinterest sweet spot? -  It is important to think about the demographics of Pinterest.  It is overwhelmingly used by women, and the age range is apparently between mid-30s to late 40s. The subjects that generate the most interest on the network are health, fashion, travel, craft and interiors. Though it should be acknowledged too that some tech websites have an important presence on Pinterest too.

If your website or brand is not aimed at women and is outside of those parameters then you would probably be best investing your time in other platforms.

2 Do I have time to run the boards properly? - The evidence is overwhelming that the brands and companies that are most successfully using the format are the ones that are posting image and videos the most. Around 80% of the activity on Pinterest is repinning of images. That means there is a real lack of original content. If you are prepared to create content and get pinning in a regular way then you can ensure that your content gets seen by a lot of people and that it gets shared a lot too. Of course all that content includes links which are also categorised by search engines. So you should find yourself receiving a good deal of traffic from the platform as people click on images, but also from the platform via search engines too.

Obviously though you can't add lots of content if you don't already have the content. This represents a key issue for many publishers and brands. In this image obsessed age controlling the images that positively reflect the brand is paramount. So brands will need to have a large stock of appropriate images that are right for posting on Pinterest before they even think of starting a board. So ensure that the images you post are high quality and good resolution. It is also worthwhile brand stamping them so that if the image is shared by users the logo and the maybe a URL goes with it.

Finally properly labeling the images and video you post also takes time. But if you don't add descriptions and price tags then you might lose out when it comes to searches.    

3 Can I think of imaginative ways to use the platform? One key lesson that content marketers can learn from the big editorial driven websites that make the most of Pinterest is that they use the platform in very imaginative ways. Take Mashable, the technology and social media site. It has a huge following on Pinterest which has been built up in two ways. Firstly it introduces many of the stories from the site on Pinterest. So for example images of new high tech toys are placed in the gadgets section and so on. But at the same time it also curates its own bespoke boards for Pinterest. There's a great one that has lots of Extraordinany iPhone cases, which is largely additional content and not linked to the site at all. It has a thriving community on the site which it subtly nudges towards its own website in a very effective way.

Another high profile editorially driven Pinterest page belongs to the site Everyday Health. It has amassed a huge following on Pinterest by including boards that include positive messages and beauty tips. Another clever tactic is that it houses video and images from its star columnists on Pinterest whose recipes and ideas have been shared many times over.

Other companies have used the platform to develop clever competitions, many of which are also deeply linked to other social networks like Facebook and Twitter. This one from Norwegian Cruise Line is a good example.

So it is clear that there are some excellent opportunities for brands and media companies on the site to drive traffic, create awareness and engage with new audiences. Is it working for you?

View the CMA Pinterest board here which includes infographics, shining examples of content marketing and industry quotes.

Posted in CMA blog
25thJun 2013

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