Why marketers shouldn't overlook the value of Pinterest

With 70 million users and 80 percent of that audience represented by women, Pinterest is an emerging platform and the premier social destination for planners and organizers alike. Moreover, its users spend up to three times more money than those on other social sites, meaning plenty of potential customers are just waiting for the right pin to cross their path.

With a rapidly growing base of people who are constantly sharing, creating web links, and social proof about your business -- from retailers to roofing contractors to beauty salons – almost any business can benefit from an active presence on Pinterest.

Pinterest's unique advantages

Pinterest presents some distinct opportunities for businesses that other social networks can't provide:

  • The site is easy to use. The site's user interface is very clean and simple to navigate because it is based on images. Companies can promote products to their audience more quickly and directly. Pictures attract attention more easily and are more readily understood by a variety of people.
  • The focus of the experience is on finding things over people. Pages like this board show that the site is primarily about objects that people desire instead of social conversations. If a user follows a particular design, it would then be pasted to his or her personal page and shared with their followers. Businesses can use this as a good starting point because people are already actively looking for things they like -- even before any marketing takes place.
  • The user demographics are composed of people who are passionate about their hobbies and have the means to pursue them. On average, users are above 18 and generally have a relatively high income and educational level. At quick glance, it's clear pages are filled with plenty of DIY fixes or ideas about multiple topics -- from cooking to home decorating. This means that almost any industry can thrive on Pinterest.

To capture consumer attention via Pinterest and use the site for further lead generation and website traffic, follow a few tips to help grow your base of followers.

Set up your business account

Start developing a following. Help people find your business on Pinterest by creating an account and verifying your website. You should also add the "Pin It" button to your website next to other social buttons -- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn -- so that it is easy to create pins via your website or blog.

Engage your target market

Social media is not a space where you can simply advertise using hard-sell tactics and expect people to respond. Lowe's Build it! Pinterest board has great examples of how to connect well with the community. The page doesn't endorse the company's own goods and just features items that people can make using tools that they can purchase at a Lowe's hardware store.

Maintain followers' trust

In order to gain the trust of online users, you have to make them see how your products can benefit their lives beyond physical characteristics. Good content drives sales. Make sure that everything you post is relevant and helpful to your specific niche. How-to guides and specific examples work best.

Show your results

Pinterest is a great place to display testimonials and demonstrate your good work through visuals. Builders or contractors can utilize the site to show new homes, or local restaurants might share a new creative dish. By linking the pins to their websites, businesses will drive more site traffic and provide more detail about the projects to potential customers.

Your social media strategy has to be diverse enough to reach as many people as possible. While sites like Facebook and Twitter continue to dominate the social networking space, it's important to keep your attention on growing networks like Pinterest so that your brand can be exposed to the greatest number of consumers.

Chris Marentis is CEO at Surefire Social.

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