Pinterest has been a slowly waking giant for several years, but it has finally wiped the sleep from it's eyes and is in the process of ferociously conquering the social marketing space. Just because you have relegated Pinterest to "that other social site" in your mind and your marketing strategy doesn't mean that it has payed any attention to your dismissiveness. As of earlier this year, Pinterest passed Twitter for the number of U.S. adult users, making them the second most used social site for probable buyers.
The takeaway is very simple yet very important: if you sell a product, you should be using Pinterest for all it's worth. The secret is, of course, how to create pins that will make an impact, gain you a following, and convert into sales. Thankfully we live in the age of data, so there is plenty of analysis and advice to go around.Users alone don't tell the whole story, however. That second place standing quickly jumps to first place when conversion rates are accounted for. Pinterest conversions spend almost $10 more per order than the second place social site, Facebook. Over 70% of Pinterest users are adult women, the largest block of purchasers, and over 20% of all adults in the U.S. use the site. It is quite literally becoming the new shopping mall, where social interaction meets with buying stuff.
Trust the Numbers
Numbers and statistics are not the only things that matter in the marketing realm, as it is very much a psychologically-based field, but that doesn't mean that they should be ignored - not for a second. The statistics form the solid foundation on which the nuances of personal and targeted marketing stand. You have to start with the statistics and then experiment with what hits your own audience best. The statistics for successful pins are so plentiful that it can almost be called an exact science.
A study from the University of Minnesota showed that unlike the nuances that are involved with gaining followers on sites like Twitter, Pinterest is just about as straightforward as you can imagine (and what every Twitter user wishes were true). The top three factors that attracted an audience in their study of more than 45,000 users were:
1. The number of users you follow
2. The number of pins you have, and
3. The number of boards you have
Quite simply, the more people you follow and the more you pin, the more likely you are to gain a following. Of course the subject matter does make a difference as well. The top three topics people are interested in are DIY and crafts, Hair and Beauty, and design and home decor. However, diversity in topics scored just below these three and higher than most other single-topic boards, which leaves a lot of wiggle room.
One of the best analyses of what constitutes a likeable and sharable pin comes from the company Curalate and was featured last year on Wired. After studying over a half million pins and analyzing them for 30 different visual characteristics, they found six common features among the most popular images.
No Faces - Pins by brands are 23 percent more likely to be repinned if they don't show a human face in the image.
Less background - images with over 40% of the shot being background (like white space) are repinned only a quarter to half as much as those who fill more space more interestingly.
Multiple dominant colors - having more than one dominant color standing out in an image increases it's sharability more than threefold.
Reds over blues - Red and orange shades are shared twice as much as predominantly blue shades.
Moderation in saturation and light - 50% color saturation and moderate lighting far outperforms heavy or light color saturation and very light or darker images.
Portrait sizing - Vertical pictures with an aspect ratio between 2:3 and 4:5 work best. The image tool Canva (that I have mentioned before) has a Pinterest template which takes this into account.
You should also consider how you can incorporate animated GIFs into your equation, as Pinterest has supported them for some time now and they are very popular, as proven by Twitter's recent adoption of them.
This is a ready-made sounding board to bounce your images off of, make sure you use it.
The Size and Font Paradox
This is an idea that you'll need to play with to see what works best for your audience. Studies show that infographics and similar images get a lot of attention and are highly shareable. The paradox comes with click-through rates, according to the guys at CopyBlogger. When an infographic or image with compelling text are readable on the Pinterest website, the click-through rates fall. When users want to know what information is being put out but can't quite read the font or get all the info they want from the image, they click through more. In classic marketing this was essentially "the tease".
If you can make the image and title compelling but then force them to click the image to get all of the information, your conversion rate will increase.
Pinterest <3's DIY
The words used in pins have also been parsed to death. A study from Georgia Tech University gives us a list of the most common and identifiable words used on Pinterest. The top two words are "DIY" and <3 (the unicode symbol for a heart), and the top verbs are use, look, want, and need - a perfect reflection of the primary uses of the site.
Just as with any social network, there are things that businesses need to do to make the most of the platform that regular users don't. First, you should validate your company through Pinterest. This opens up new tools and opportunities for your company that you don't have as a regular user.
One of these is rich pins, which are pins that include extra information such as price and availability for products, where to buy them, phone numbers and maps, and other information based on the type of rich pin it is: article, product, recipe, movie, or place. Only validated business accounts can use rich pins.
Another more recent development that companies should look into is promoted pins for small and medium-sized businesses. These will be sold on a cost-per-click basis, which should make it much easier for companies with small social marketing budgets to get their word out.
Validating your business also gives you access to Pinterest's analytics tool to help you track your success and reach on the site. While every piece of analytics you can add to your toolbox is important, having reports and analytics that cross network boundaries is even more vital to your overall marketing strategy. Sendible's social media analysis tools covers all of your bases, measuring and reporting on your activity from every major social network, your blog, and more. Sendible is integrated with Pinterest and even supports posting animated GIFs. Try Sendible out for 30 days for free and use it to take your Pinterest account to new levels in followers and sales conversions.