With any social network, there are fundamental elements that don’t change and have become part of the Internet marketing world.
In this blog post I’ll be going more indepth into the first of the five pillars of the Pintalysis Marketing Blueprint, which is determining your marketing and business goals. Now let’s dive into the world of Pinterest and Pintalysis.
Pillar One of Pintalysis: What’s Your Business Goals with Pinterest?
It’s very easy to get caught up in a hot social media network like Pinterest without actually doing any planning. The Pintalysis Marketing Blueprint focuses on creating a solid business goal and strategy as the very first step. If you’ve worked as an entrepreneur then you’ve realized that the “no planning” method isn’t the best method to use. With Pinterest, I’ve discovered that businesses use Pinterest for three primary goals, these goals may not be independent of each other, and often work hand in hand.
1) Pinterest can be Used to Increase E-commerce and Brick and Mortar Sales
Two examples of E-commerce sites that have adopted this particular business goal have used Pinterest to increase sales are Sephora and Etsy. Sephora focuses on cosmectics and Etsy.com is a website that focuses on selling arts and crafts. Sephora has reported that Pinterest users spend 15X more than their Facebook users.
Etsy added a Pin It button to all their different items, and has reported sales massively increasing. As an example, Rachel Ball of Elepantine who uses Pinterest and Etsy reported that sales increased by 20% after analyzing patterns of pins, repins and likes to focus more creating pins that consumers were more likely to buy and have interest in.
2)Pinterest can be Used For Lead Generation
If you’re wondering if Pinterest is the right type of business for lead generation, I can tell you that Hubspot, a leading inbound marketing software company has been using the social median network to help generate more leads and visitors to their blog.
They get more referral traffic from Pinterest than they do from Google Plus for their blog. During a two week period back in February 2012, they noticed that close to 700 links were generated by Pinterest (unfortunately these links are no follow) but from a small sample of visitors taken they were able to find that about 6.4% of visitors converted to leads.
Here’s another interesting case study with Petplan Insurance. One of their major goals was to “Attract new audiences through compelling and relevant content.” Not only did they use Pinterest to attract new crowds they reported that requests for insurance quotes rose up by 12.5%, and they hit a home run with new visitor to their website rose by 87%.
3)Pinterest can be Used for Customer Engagement and Brand Awareness
If your business goals aren’t about getting more prospects and direct sales, then you’re more likely interested in taking more of a “public relations” stand point with your Pinterest marketing.
You are using Pinterest because it offers a great space to advertise what you do and to increase brand awareness. As a marketing company, I use it to drive traffic to my blog and to use it further to establish myself as a knowledgeable person about Pinterest.
Yahoo Sports which has over 1.3 million followers (mostly for their Sports News and Update board) which isn’t in the business of generating revenue but driving traffic. It’s not uncommon to see many of their pins repinned 40+ times, some of them reaching up to 100 +. So if you thought that Pinterest was just for women, you need to think again.
General Electric is a good example of this as well. It takes the time to create entertaining content. One of my favourites is they “Hey Girl…” spoofs that star Thomas Edison. Chances are I’m not going to buy one of their heavy machineries, but there’s no doubt that it has increased my awareness and purchase intent when I decide to go buy a washer and dryer now.
Who Are You Trying To Attract Using Pinterest?
The next consideration with the Pintalysis model is to know who you want to attract as followers and brand ambassadors. It’s easy to inflate followers by creating boards that are of no interest to your target audience. Big woop if you have ten thousand followers following your recipe board. If you’re a banking institution, you probably don’t want to go there.
But as a bank, I’m probably going to display pins on how to save money, or inform customers on how to plan for their retirement. Canada’s largest credit, Vancity Credit Union, isn’t on Pinterest, which is a total shame. They do a lot to contribute to local community projects, and create highly visual content on their website that can grab a person’s attention.
They hold a variety of events that are of interest to the target audience they serve, and should create pins that attract customers that focus on sustainability and wanting to invest wisely. They know who their target audience is, and there are many pinners who also believe in their social and community values.
It’s important to think like your target audience. How would a pin that’s being posted relate to business goals? Why would a pin be of particular interest to click on for your target audience?
If you’re able to incorporate popular topics like fashion, food, and do it yourself projects into your pins that makes sense to your target audience, that’s great. TOM’s Shoes is an excellent example of this. Weddings are popular subject on Pinterest, and so their business has a dedicated Pinterest board for pictures that show their shoes being worn on wedding days.
But don’t do it just for the sake of gaining more followers. When you create great niche Pinterest boards, and you continuously post and engage with others that are similar in thought on Pinterest, you will attract more of your targeted audience.
Also try to find out what the travel path of what your target audience is like, and when they are most likely to use Pinterest. For many fashionistas, Saturdays are a good day to pin as this is often their down time, and can increase their purchase intent. Find out whether your audience is more inclined to use tablets, smartphones or desktops when searching on Pinterest.
More About Pintalysis To Come
I will be discussing more what boards to choose and what pins to share, why Pinterest is amazing for competitive analysis, and how to measure your business goals for Pinterest. Come back to our blog to read about the second part of the first pillar of Pintalysis.
Executing the First Pillar of Pintalysis
Welcome back, I hope you enjoyed the first blog post about the first pillar of Pintalysis, where I discussed about business goals, knowing your target audience’s persona and being aware of how they interact with Pinterest on a daily basis.
With the first part establishing being about you’re trying to accomplish, the second part discusses how to execute the first pillar of the Pintalysis marketing blueprint.
I’ve mentioned several times in previous blog posts about the single biggest Pinterest mistake businesses make, which is creating too many random boards for what’s hot, but not good for business. Strategically what you want to do is create a Pinterest account that’s aligned with what your business goals and your target audience.
Here’s what a little planning and business strategy can do for your site.
@vincentng You rock — love the tip + tricks on your blog! Thx for helping us rock #pinterest
— Orglamix (@Orglamix) June 6, 2013
Now let’s talk about executing the first pillar.
Deciding What Boards to Use for Your Pinterest Business Strategy
Now that you’ve clarified your business and marketing goals. Here comes the fun part with the Pinterest marketing strategy for the creative types on your team.
Read more, Learn Instagram marketing strategy here.
Before you finalize any types of boards, write down all the types of boards you believe your audience would be interested in. Go nuts and think of anything, just let your creative mind flow. (This is how good print advertising is often done.)
Seriously go nuts, write down as many as you want. Now that you’ve executed this fun part, look over your list. How many of those boards are truly relevant to your target audience. Scratch off the ones that don’t work.
Which Pinterest Boards Will Help You Achieve Your Primary Business Goals?
The next step is then to ask yourself what types of boards will meet the business goals set out for your organization. Circle those and keep them in mind.
If you’re not in a complete rush, I would highly suggest that you actually leave that list alone for now and come back the next day to see if they still make sense for your Pinterest goals and strategy.
Narrow down the boards. Now if you had to choose three boards as the ones to prioritize and help you drive your business goals, which ones would they be? Really ask yourself WHY are these boards the most important?
What’s interesting about Pinterest accounts is that often you’ll find well known boards such as Bike EXIF or Yahoo! Sports who have one dominant board that accounts for an overwhelming majority of followers.
Get good with a few boards first as this will help you focus and not go nuts trying to populate 40 different boards at once, which will become a big headache and time waster.
Choose Secondary Boards that Will Help Assist in Your Business Goals or Brand Building
Now choose your secondary boards that will help with secondary business goals such as increasing brand awareness and web traffic.
I would encourage any business not to set up more than 15 boards to start. These boards, may include behind the scenes of how your product is made, testimonials from customers, or highlighting some of your favourite customer photos.
Visualize the Boards with Post-it Notes
Once you’ve finalized all the boards. Grab a set of Post-it ntoes and look for some space to post them on. Imagine what your boards would look like on a desktop , tablet and mobile so that you fully understand how your boards will look to your target audience.
This will help you understand how a user experiences the social media networks are different channels.
Once you’ve done that and have organized you boards, now you can begin to go to the next level of fun and choose some of the best pictures from your website to pin to certain boards as you will have a much more solid idea of what type of pins to pin.
Choose Pins that are Relevant to Your Target Audience
Remember that the pins you post should relate to your target audience in some way, whether it’s to entertain them, add valuable information to their life, like a DIY project, but your least goal should be to get your target audience to start developing an emotional relationship with your brand.
This is especially important for brands and e-commerce sites that are looking to build up their brand and make it go big. There’s been no other social media network that has been allowed to do in the history of the Internet.
Sephora is probably one of the BEST self contained (they don’t join nor create community boards) companies on Pinterest, hands down. They may not have millions of followers, but when you click on their pins and see that many of their pins have been repinned over 100 + times on a regular basis, you know they’re doing something right.
Sephora changes the format of their boards from time to time as well. They know that travel season is about to burst, so they highlight a board that’s about cosmetics for travel. When it was around Mother’s Day, they highlighted their Mother’s Day board to the top of the page.
It can be very hard to know what works. This is why it’s important to keep track of what pins are successfully helping you accomplish your goals. I’ll be talking about metrics later in this post.
Keep an Eye Out for Your Competitor’s Pinterest Pages
You’re probably having a wonderful time deciding what types of pins to place onto your boards, but there’s still more to it then going at it free for all. You need to study your competition and see what they’re up to.
This is one of the most crucial elements for your Pintalysis business strategy. You want to see what type of content is doing well for them and what doesn’t seem to go well (which boards aren’t getting repins).
If you find that they’re getting tremendous amounts of repins for certain types of pins, try to find out why they are so successful, and take elements from it without exactly copying them. You’ll also be able to find out ideas that they use to generate more sales that would fit perfectly into your business model.
Keep an eye out for them on a monthly basis so that you’re not copying the same Pinterest marketing strategy that they are.
Measuring the Success of Your Campaigns
Avinash Kaushik is my analytics hero in so many ways, and his passion for finding analytics that lead to outcomes is what inspires me. Your business needs to focus on outcomes.
I’m not an analytics ninja or guru, but there is no doubt that no Pinterest marketing and business strategy would be complete without knowing what you need to measure for success.
Every business will have different metrics and KPI’s, so it’s important to consult with your analytics team to find out what metrics are best suited for your business. The following is just a guideline.
If you’ve done your proper planning with Pintalysis then you should have a good idea of your business goals and your KPIs. From there it’s time to find out what should be measured.
In the world of analytics, you can be swamped again with too much data, without using that data to apply actions and determining the outcomes. Remember to measure outcomes and only select a few that will allow you to make improvements to your overall strategy.
The rest of the blog focuses a lot on analytics and is meant for people who have an intermediate understanding of analytic tools like Google Analytics.
Metrics and Outcomes for an E-commerce Site
For an e-commerce site you’ll be looking at the number of sales that were referred to you by Pinterest.
After all, the ultimate outcome for an e-commerce site is to drive sales, not necessarily just traffic.
1) Find out how often Pinterest plays a role in the purchasing path as a medium. If a lot of people are clicking on your pins, and you notice that conversions of goals are higher for Pinterest compared to other sources and mediums, then you can safely assume that it’s vital in the purchase path.
2) Find out how much the average customer spending is compared to other mediums. Some e-commerce sites, like Bottica.com have found that users on Pinterest spend more than their Facebook counterparts. Knowing if Pinterest is doing the same for you business can mean a HUGE difference to your bottom line, and a strong refocus to ramp up efforts on Pinterest marketing.
3) Find out which pins specifically are driving sales traffic. If you use Google Analytics you can use the Full Referrer feature and narrow it down to Pinterest.com and know exactly which pins are helping convert the goals.
What may surprise you is that it’s not a pin from your own board that’s driving sales, you may find out it’s a pin from an influencer that did. If that user is helping you out get sales, you may want to reach out to them and send them a nice gift as a thank you. (This is the power of social media combined with the use of analytics).
4) If you haven’t verified your website yet with Pinterest, I highly suggest you do.
This is because you want to be able to use their analytics tool (which is free) to measure what actually is being pinned directly from your site. And on top of that, find out which pins are being repinned the most and providing a level of engagement. What’s also amazing about this is that you can see if the pins that get repinned the most have any correlation to the ones that are driving sales.
Remember, just because a pin is getting repinned a lot doesn’t mean it’s the right type of engagement.
Metrics and Outcomes for Lead Generation
1) If your business goal is to generate leads then your most important metric is the number of people who have signed up for you e-mail list through Pinterest.
2) The second important metric is to find out how many people clicked on your pin that led to your e-mail sign up. Knowing this metric is extremely helpful because it will tell you if the pins you are creating are getting enough interest for people to click on them in the first place. If you notice that nobody is clicking on them at all, then there may be some problems with the visual optimization of the pins, or the lack of virality with your community.
However, if people are clicking on them, but aren’t signing up, then there’s issues that need to be fixed with the landing page for the e-mail sign up.
3) Find out which pins are leading to more sign ups. Nobody said you can’t do A/B split testing with pins. A misconception is that you need to use a picture that’s on the website as the the actual pin. You actually don’t.
As long as you’ve uploaded your photos onto Pinterest you can choose the URL that the pin needs to redirect to. If you get more clicks for one pin compared to the other…booyah you’ve found a winning pin.
Here’s a trick that Sephora used to get more clicks. On the left hand side is the pin, and on the right hand side is the actual image once the pin has been clicked on.
Metrics and Outcomes for Brand Awareness and Engagement
1) Find out which pins are driving high levels of engagement by looking at the number of repins for those pins and find out why this may be the case. But don’t mistaken repins as a solid measurement because it still needs to be in context with your business goals.
For example, one of the most pinned images I have on one of my boards is a beautiful vacation spot. It has been repinned directly from my board 101 times and liked 20 times. That might sound good, but when I started that board I suffered from the “Go with what’s popular syndrome.” And I’ll be deleting that board within a week after doing some auditing on my own strategy. Vacations have very little to do with my digital marketing company or MCNG’s brand.
What you want to be able to do is use analytics tools like Pinleague to examine what content on specific boards are being repinned and notice if there are any common patterns or themes that reappear within those pins.
Pinleague can also tell you engagement levels, such as the number of repins per pin per follower. So if you get a high engagement level, then the content on your particular board is engaging and viral. Low levels of engagement indicate that the board is not worth sharing with others.
Other analytic programs like Curlate and Piquora can provide helpful assistance for this area.
Pinleague has a 14 day free trial, and I highly encourage you to sign up for an account to see what their different analytics are like. Piquora and Curalate are focused on enterprise level management.
2) How many people are visiting your site because of Pinterest? You want to be able to know if people are willing to click on your pins to visit the site. This will determine whether someone was truly interested in your visual content.
From that point on you can also discover the bounce rate, pages they visit, and time spent to truly understand if the pins are meeting the intent of the clicker.
The number of new visitors will probably be a good metric for brands that are looking to increase awareness of their site. This can be especially helpful for bloggers.
3) Measure the number of followers for your branded boards. The number of followers can be very tricky to measure and often misleading in terms of total followers and here’s why.
The number of followers that a person has on Pinterest doesn’t mean that that person has that many people following all their boards, that’s the number of people who have followed at least one board. They could have followed one, two, or five. So this isn’t a perfect metric to use.
If we used the above method and metric, community boards, indirectly, add followers to your account as well. But Pinterest can’t tell you if there’s an overlap of followers.
Here’s what I mean. At this moment it’s reported that I have 560 followers for MCNG’s Pinterest account. In reality, I also have an additional 3945 followers for the community board “Words of Wisdom” because that’s how many people follow that board, I have an additional 691 followers for the Digital Marketing blogs, and I have another 1727 followers for the Creative Ads board. So I have approximately close to 7000 followers.
Here’s the rub with community boards, if someone follows a community board through your Pinterest account, it doesn’t register as your follower, it registers the follower for the creator of that account. This leads to some inaccuracy regarding the number of followers that you have.
With some margin of error (because some of the followers may actually overlap with your boards) your total follower count should actually include the community boards, because the moment you post something on those community boards, you’re exposed your pin to that many more followers.
This is not a perfect calculation and should be taken with a grain of salt. You should include your followers, and the followers of different community boards.
In my opinion, the better way to go is to count the number of followers that you have for each niche board that matters to your brand engagement, because I know that a vacation board doesn’t help drive the targetted followers that I’m looking for. But my board on Pinterest Tips, Social Media Marketing, and MCNG Marketing blog posts, those follower counts do interest me, because these are brand building boards.
I know that’s a lot to take in, but I want your businesses to use Pinterest the right way from the very start. Pillar 2 of 5 of Pintalysis will be discussing visually optimizing your boards and your pins for engagement.
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