With Pinterest’s fourth anniversary last month, it’s a good time to reflect on whether brands are making the most of this social media platform. After all, Pinterest is in many ways the ultimate wish list – with users sharing and pinning photos and short videos, it’s a great way for people to collect and organise things they love. From fashion-lovers “pinning” their favourite clothes designs to new property-owners picking out the best in home décor, the image-sharing social network offers brands an incredible snapshot into consumers’ intent to purchase.
Considering that a massive 70 million people use Pinterest every day, brands without a presence on this social platform are missing out on great opportunities to engage with their customers. Some brands really “get it” and colour specialists Pantone, for example, have realised Pinterest’s potential for line-of-sight marketing in the digital age.
With 43 boards, 2,074 pins and 34,949 followers, Pantone is an expert in creating a beautiful, on-brand Pinterest experience. Celebrating its colour of the year, Radiant Orchid, the company pinned images of various food, flowers, hairstyles and even models and celebrities wearing that colour. For a brand that prides itself on its use of imagery to engage, this sharing of attractive content across channels and devices, has enabled Pantone to show off great visual marketing abilities.
Despite the successes of brands like Pantone, millions of companies are not yet utilising Pinterest in their marketing strategy with only 9 percent of all Fortune 500 brands active on the platform. So, how can world-class brands and marketing teams engage customers on Pinterest, deliver value from these interactions, and get their content to rise above the noise of today’s crowded digital landscape?
1. Get to know your customers
Looking at the brands and products that consumers interact with on Pinterest is an effective way for brands to better understand their audience’s likes and wants in order to improve their targeting. The launch of Pinterest’s automatic programming interface (API) late last year, while still in beta, will eventually offer brands the option to sort by top-pinned products so people can view and purchase popular items – social shopping is moving into new, exciting territory.
2. Re-pin content produced by consumers
Re-sharing content pinned by other users strengthens customer relationships with your brand, products and services. Not only does this show customers that you value their opinions and ideas, it’s also a good way to show others how to use your brand’s products and service. Re-sharing content is a great asset for companies as it appears less polished and more genuine – it’s a great way to gain consumer loyalty when they are looking for a brand they can trust.
3. Tell your brand story
The visualisation of the web is continuing to grow thanks to the likes of Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and other image-sharing social networks, and savvy brands now use their collected images as a way to tell their story, whether that be on web pages, through social media conversations or even direct messages to mobile or email inboxes. When retail companies have taken particular advantage of Pinterest for advertising and style trending, it’s time for all brands to ask themselves “how can we tell our story via this virtual storefront?”
4. Create consumer advocates
The consumer advocate is a powerful one, especially when personal endorsements carry a lot more weight with other consumers based on their authentic feel. Brands that have realised the importance of incentivising their customers not just to share data, but also to endorse their brand, position themselves well to increase the bottom line. Engage these consumers through competitions and offers and reap the rewards with their genuine endorsements and loyalty; it’s win, win.
5. Up-sell based on personal customer preferences
With Pinterest’s API, there is a massive opportunity for brands to look at pin preferences in order to deliver more personalised customer experiences than ever before. Say a person pinned a ski jacket, for instance. Eventually marketers will be able to send an email that says, “Thanks for pinning that ski jacket. Here are other skiing accessories that might be of interest... why not try out these sallopettes, goggles and hat that go really well with the jacket?” When brands are looking for the opportunity to cross-sell and up-sell relevant recommendations, knowledge of personal customer preferences is key.
As the web becomes increasingly visual, Pinterest is a powerful tool for marketing in the digital age. Successful marketers will take advantage of Pinterest as a rich data form, using it to inform their carefully orchestrated marketing strategy at large and engage with consumers in a more authentic way – it’s the only way to appeal to the “see it, want it, buy it” mentality of modern day consumers.