For most small businesses, it's intuitive to look to the largest social media platforms to generate traffic. No matter how narrow your niche may be, it's likely that you'll find your target audience active on these channels:
These are all massive platforms, and each of them presents a unique experience to the user. As a marketer, it's absolutely paramount to choose the channel(s) that is most conducive to the behaviors of your audience.
But there are other social media sites outside of the majors that can sometimes get overlooked - for example, Pinterest. Granted, some businesses will get no real benefit trying make use of this visual-based platform, but for companies offering products or experiences with a compelling visual hook, Pinterest can be an excellent source of traffic and engagement.
The Power of Pinterest
Pinterest has emerged as one of the most prominent social media sites on the web, especially among the female demographic. It provides users with a visceral platform that is predicated strictly on images.
But can Pinterest be leveraged to generate revenue?
Of course it can. Just like any other social media network, it all comes down conveying your company's brand and value proposition within the unique environment of the platform.
Every single post on Pinterest includes an image and a brief description. Pinterest specifically refers to itself as a "bookmarking" website - this essentially means that users can pin their messages onto "boards", which encourages users to organically share content.
Pinterest incorporates a "search bar" for users that are looking to research new content. This tool accounts for the vast majority of their sales conversions.
The Visibility of Your Pins
The longevity of social media posts presents a major obstacle for most marketers. It can be discouraging when your posts are only visible for a short duration of time. This is especially the case when you're creating useful, thoughtful content for your audience.
If you're social media regimen is predicated on organic content, then it takes a while to build a responsive audience. This is where the Pinterest algorithm varies from other popular platforms.
When you share a pin, it can garner organic views for a sustained period of time. If you adhere to a consistent Pinterest regimen, this can create substantial long-term results for your business' bottom line.
The Psychology Behind Pinterest
The core psychological tenants of social media are relatively universal. Social networks are a place to educate your fans about your core value proposition. Your main objective should be to provide value that instills trust in your audience. Pinterest users are looking for ideas and inspiration, not a direct pitch.
If you attempt to leverage social media as a pitching platform, you'll most likely deal with friction from potential prospects.
Pinterest is not as dynamic as some of the other popular social media websites. The entire platform is predicated on shareable images, which can serve as a double-edged sword for some marketers. On the one hand, it can limit the substance of your message, but on the other, it can draw users to your content through the use of visually-appealing and engaging images and graphics.
Once you understand how to leverage the platform effectively, however, Pinterest can serve as a reliable source of traffic for businesses with products and services that fit the visually-based parameters.
3 Traffic-Generating Strategies for Pinterest
Perhaps in part due to its strong visual appeal, Pinterest has an mostly female user base - 92% of pins were posted by females in 2014. In reality, companies with a strong male following may want to consider another social media platform like Instagram for visual content, but Pinterest may present an even stronger marketing tool for attracting a female audience.
The following three traffic strategies are a good starting point for integrating Pinterest into you social media mix:
1 - Create A Pinterest Board That Directly Appeals to Your Audience
This may sound obvious to most marketers. Pinterest is a visceral platform that's different from any other social media site. This has forced marketers to step up their game when it comes to creating images. Don't make the mistake of posting arbitrary content that doesn't correlate to the core goals of your audience.
Before you start implementing traffic generation techniques, create a profile of your target market. One of the fastest and most efficient ways to garner this information is by analyzing other authority brands in your niche. What specific topics are they posting about? What are the common trends that seem to resonate with their followers?
Do your due diligence and pay attention to image titles, descriptions, and comments. Listen to what people actually want, and then tailor your images around those topics.
When you narrow down the core desires and frustrations of your audience, your content will resonate at a much deeper level. Now, it's your job to create thoughtful content that moves them towards the benefits they are looking to glean.
2 - Use Long Format Images from Your Blog
Google has made it abundantly clear that they value the experience of their users. This has lead marketers to diversify their content through video and images. One of the most common trends to emerge from this process is the use of "infographics."
Pinterest's dimensions for posts allow for bigger and longer images. Since they provide you with more real estate, it's probably a wise move to take advantage of these parameters.
The more space that you take up in the feed, the more opportunity people will have to engage with you.
Some additional tips that you can use to maximize the shares and likes of your pins:
- For every image that you post on a blog or website, include a "Pin It" button so that can users starting sharing your content
- Use succinct, benefit-driven body copy in your infographics
- Tall, portrait-sized images get re-pinned the most
- Wide, landscape images get scaled and resized according to the width limits
- Don't post pictures of other people without their permission
Pinterest's algorithm makes it easy to drive traffic back to your website. The key is to ensure your images correlate to your content. In general, the best way to generate leads from social media is to direct users to your blog.
Always make sure to put the URL of your blog as a shortened link in your image description.
3 - Use Hashtags
There are conflicting opinions on Pinterest hashtag use, but when used properly, they can help people discover you on the platform. Similar to Twitter, the key is to use them in moderation. If using mass quantities of hashtags that don't relate to your content, you may potentially hurt your search ranking.
Keep your hashtags relevant, and don't use them as a substitute for engagement.
They say that "pictures are worth a thousand words", and this is a testament to the Pinterest platform. Contrary to popular belief, people are making plenty of purchase decisions on Pinterest. If you're providing valuable content, your followers are going to want to learn more about you.
What are some other traffic strategies that you use on Pinterest?