Posted: October 1, 2014, 9:11 p.m.
by Mary Kathryn Woods.
Just keep pinning, just keep pinning, just keep pinning, pinning, pinning. That tune must be swimming through the minds of Pinterest co-founders Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp and Paul Sciarra.
The social bookmarking site, now valued at $5 billion, is one of the fastest growing social networks. Although it is only the third most popular social media site, Pinterest ranks second behind Facebook in social referrals. According to Piqora, a single pin, on average, generates 78 cents in sales and drives two site visits and six page views. With 50 percent of site visits occurring 3.5 months after pinning, pins have long-lasting driving power and are a hundred times more viral than tweets. Essentially, pinning is winning.
The power of pinning
According to Kevin Roose from New York Magazine, “Pinterest’s growth should scare the hell out of Facebook, Twitter, Google, and every other company that will have to compete with it for the marketing budgets of big companies.”
Pinterest expert Anna Bennett explained that Pinterest’s success sparks from its traffic driving power. She said businesses want two things out of their online presence — traffic and sales.
“At the end of the day, everybody wants more eyeballs on their website,” Bennett said. “If you don’t have eyeballs on your website, then you’re missing opportunities.”
Bennett is a principal with White Glove Social Media and the author of Pinterest Marketing for Business Master Video/Live Course for marketers, bloggers, business owners and entrepreneurs. She has more than 30 years of experience as a business leader and is a recognized expert in fashion retail merchandising, operations, training and development.
In addition to its traffic-driving power, Pinterest has many other superpowers. Pinterest helps brands and businesses collect market intelligence, develop brand advocates, rank higher on search engines, reduce marketing expenses and increase audience exposure, Bennett said. Fortunately, Pinterest’s powers are not limited to certain types of businesses.
“Bottom line,” Bennett said, “from what I have seen and experienced, Pinterest can help any business increase traffic and sales.”
Specifically, publishers such as BuzzFeed are capitalizing on the influence of Pinterest. Since September of 2013, over 5 million articles are being shared on Pinterest daily. BuzzFeed’s creative director Emily Fleischaker told the New York Times, “We think of Pinterest as our newsstand. We have to think of what works on Pinterest and mobile Pinterest every step of the production process.” Bennett noted that Pinterest’s hire of former Google employee Robert Macdonald as head of media partnerships proves that Pinterest is prepared to benefit from publishing partnerships.
Nonetheless, Pinterest’s explosive success originates from its unique visual design and the 70 million users relying on Pinterest for inspiration.
“It inspires you, it motivates you,” Bennett said. “You just don’t get that same feeling on any other social network.”
That is the PINfluence. Pinterest’s visual layout effectively caters to our visually driven generation. Pinning an image “triggers” you to take action, Bennett explained. Plus, pins are not as thoughtless as one might believe.
“It’s content that’s generated with authentic users,” Bennett said. “People are pinning stuff that they really love.”
Pinterest allows you to pin for your future, rather than scrapbook your past. CEO of RJMetrics Robert J. Moore wrote, “Pinning says, ‘I want this.’ It’s aspirational. People pin products they’d love to own, recipes they want to cook, and products they want to tackle.” Bennett said it is this wishful attitude and buying mindset that set pinners apart from Facebook and Twitter users.
Some claim that the “buying mindset” is unique to women and their interests, who make up 80 percent of pinners, and lacks clout over male-oriented brands, but Bennett is quick to discredit this belief. She said statistics detailing women’s online behavior reveal that Pinterest reaches male audiences through female shoppers.
“Women are online more than men,” Bennett said. “They’re the ones who are basically in charge of the shopping in their household. Even if you’re a company that focuses on men, women are looking at that.”
Based on her experience, Bennett stressed that companies focusing on Pinterest will see more results than those fixated on Facebook and Twitter.
“Regardless of what businesses you’re in,” Bennett said. “If you really know how to work it, it’s just tremendous.”
A pinning powerhouse
For example, Lowe’s Home Improvement is one company fully employing the PINfluence.Lowe’s Pinterest page reads, “Where passion meets the home. We’re Lowe’s and we never stop pinning!”
Lowe’s Corporate Public Relations Manager Amanda Manna explained how Lowe’s benefits from its Pinterest presence. “The best thing about Pinterest is that it’s really a way to inspire people,“ Manna said. “It’s really all about getting people excited about home improvement.”
Lowe’s Pinterest page showcases seasonal and themed boards ranging from “Curb Appeal” to “Tailgating Fun.” In the past year, Lowe’s has placed more focus on its Pinterest and Instagram accounts, Manna said. With more than 3 million followers, one could assume Lowe’s has successfully connected with consumers on Pinterest.
The PINfluence — the statistics are screaming it, the publishers are profiting from it, and consumers and businesses are confirming it. All in all, Pinterest co-founders should not be the only ones thinking, just keep pinning.