On Monday February 4th, devotees of chatting in 140 or less gathered to discuss Pinterest marketing tactics with the super-sweet, Jennifer Cario (@JenniferCario). Jennifer is a 15 year industry veteran and President of SugarSpun Marketing. She is also the author of recently released Pinterest Marketing an Hour a Day.
Here is her take on all things Pinterest.
Q1 @JenniferCario What are your top tips for attracting a qualified following on Pinterest?
Jennifer: The tips for Pinterest are nearly identical to all other SoMe channels. Offer something of VALUE! One key difference, Pinterest allows people the chance to CURATE something of value rather than CREATING it. This makes Pinterest an ideal SoMe channel for many companies because they can offer value without having to “create.” This was what first caught my eye with Pinterest. Many people are amazing curators, but not good creators. As social media has moved to video, photos, blogs, etc…it’s all about creating. But it’s not ALL there is to SoMe.
To build a following, you have to think about what your audience values, what they love. Pinterest allows followers to follow a single board rather than forcing them to follow ALL your feeds. Board segmentation means you can carefully target each subset of your audience with what matters to THEM. Board segmentation lets companies do somthing brand new in SoMe, curate for a wide range of people. Segmentation means you don’t have to worry about overplaying one topic and losing audience. So know their interests, create segmented boards, target their passions, then CURATE great content.
Q2 @JenniferCario What can marketers do to get their pins into the category streams?
Jennifer: Getting into Pinterest category streams is, on many fronts a crap shoot now. You increase your chances with less posting, so make your first post of the day a GREAT one. I’ve noticed first pins after long lags seem more likely to jump to categories. My preference is to think ahead in terms of Pinterst algorithm. Right now, they have enough interest that the algo can suck and people will still love them. To hold our love long term, Pinterest has to learn how to value pins and know when to promote them. So we have to think about how WE value Pins. What we look for is what Pinterest will learn to factor in. I expect the algo to learn to embrace several factors as it moves forward.
Future Pinterest algo…
- Has the content been pinned before
- Has it been repinned
- Does it come from a source that gets repinned
- Are there a lot of comments on the page being linked to
- Do people repin after clicking to visit the page
All of those are things I see Pinterest tracking and considering down the road, so we have to plan. We have to make sure our boards feature quality content. Even more so, I think Pinterest will eventually give more clout to Pinners who pin original content. Most Pinterest activity is made of repins, so those who pin are unique and will likely gain credibility. I think if we use Pinterest wisely, the algo will catch up to the people. The long term success of Pinterest users will come from those who worry more about quality than followers. I can’t stress enough though the value of adding NEW pins. This is what makes people value you. Anyone can repin what already shows in their stream, it takes effort to find new content. New content should = increased chance of promotion.
Q3 @JenniferCario How do you recommend tracking Pinterest traffic?
Jennifer: I track Pinterest traffic several ways. Both via analytics and some tools. I’d be lost in Pinterest without Google Analytics (GA) and my analytics guy. With GA, you can track down to a specific pin; i.e. I know that pin x by user y gave me 260 visitors. Sometimes that pin that drives tons of visitors has NO repins. This is GREAT data. A high traffic/low repin pin tells me that a user has a LOT of engaged followers and may be worth reaching out to. A low traffic pin with tons of repins…that makes me question if I put too much content INTO the pin. Somtimes a pin leaves no reason to click through, but lots of reason to repin. (you gave away the farm) Digging deep with GA is a wonderful way to better understand how Pinterest is working. Use GA to see which pins send traffic that takes action (subscribes) or visits other areas. These conversion heavy pins are the kind of content you want to create more of. I also use a free service called PinAlert that I absolutely LOVE. PinAlert lets you set up notifications each time someone pins content from a domain. PinAlert tracks pins from YOUR domain, but you can also use it to track competitors. I love using this to “spy” on the Pinterest activity around a competitors’ site or blog to see what plays. You can use PinAlert to get daily emails or instant emails and I find it’s pretty accurate.
Q4 @JenniferCario What do marketers need to keep in mind when developing Pin strategy?
Jennifer: A Pinterest stratgy starts with one question: do you want to use it to curate or create? You can do a mix, but it’s best to first focus your efforts on either curation or creation. Once you know that, then you can look at why you are there. Are you there to educate? (Think Home Depot and BH&G with DIY boards on all topics) Are you there to sell? (Think Chobani sharing recipes of how people use Chobani to bake) Are you there to inspire? (Think a lot of non-profits, the Army, etc). The reasons you are there will define your boards and your posting strategy.
Q5 @JenniferCario How do we leverage Boards for better reach?
Jennifer: A few things help boards give better reach. One, customize them. Great boards have custom image covers. Take the time to pick a great shot to represent the board. Great boards have good descriptive names that make clear what you’ll find inside. Great boards are shuffled around. Don’t be afraid to reorder your boards on your profile. Remember, people can follow individual boards, so they WILL look at your profile to see what you have. Seasonal or popular boards need to be moved up or down based on if they are current. Great boards also get dissected and changed. If a board gets too big, I break it into two. Boards also let you be free to share your diversity with others. Since people don’t have to follow all boards, you don’t have to shy away from specialty topics. I’ve started moving seasonal boards up to the first 2-3 rows a month ahead of the event.
Q6 @JenniferCario How does Pinterest drive traffic back to a brand’s main website?
Jennifer: It’s important to know Pinterest traffic trends interestingly. It’s not “BAM” then done. Pinterest traffic often spikes when you get a big hit, either from repins, or from existing audience pinning. That spike then drops a bit, then spikes again, then drops, then spikes as it cycles. Because as people see the pin, visit, or repin, it gains new realms of exposure. Pinterest traffic may be one of the best ways for us to really understand how WOM works in social. The spike, rest, spike, rest….loooooooooong rest…spike as new people find old content and refresh. So driving traffic can be about seeding your own content into Pinterest, OR Driving traffic can be about getting your loyal fans to pin it for increased exposure, OR Pinterest traffic can even be about you pitching ideal Pinterest content to influential pinners. I’ve noticed that content that is “old enough” to fall off radars but into SERPS reappears on Pinterest.