When it comes to social media, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ dominate the conversation. After all, they have large numbers of users and are still growing, thanks in part to innovations on each platform.
However, for brands – especially those in sectors such as retail – it's also important to evaluate other social media platforms for possible inclusion in search and social media strategies.
Your choice(s) of social media platforms depends on your business model, the profile of target audience, and industry.
One social media platform brands should explore is Pinterest. Here are the latest statistics, best practices, and some tactical strategies for one of the hottest and fastest-growing platforms.
Pinterest is Growing Rapidly
Pinterest is growing fast. It is being adopted by brands, as well as users following these brands.
- Users: In February 2010, when Pinterest launched by invitation only, it had a couple of hundred followers. Fast forward to February 2012, and Pinterest had 10 million followers in the U.S. In the 5 months following that, the number of followers grew to 27 million in the U.S., according to Nielsen. These numbers are quite conclusive in demonstrating Pinterest's traction, even before Pinterest announced Pinterest for Business in November 2012.
- Page views: Pinterest's total U.S. page views placed it among the top 30 sites in March 2012, according to Experian Hitwise.
- Demographics: A closer look at the demographic profile of Pinterest users reveals few surprises. As the Nielsen research suggests, a whopping 70 percent of Pinterest users were female in 2012. Slicing the data by age, Pinterest users are uniformly spread across ages 18-29, 20-49 and 50-64. Contrast that with other popular networks like Instagram and Twitter, where most of their followers are in the 18-29 age spectrum.
How Brands are Using Pinterest
How have large global brands taken to Pinterest? Among the top 100 brands, three out of 5 have Pinterest presence – the announcement of Pinterest for Business being a huge catalyst to this adoption rate.
Followers for these brands doubled in Q1 of 2013.
Not surprisingly, retail dominates the top 10 brands by number of followers given the visual nature of Pinterest activity.
What does all this mean for brands? Given the growing popularity of Pinterest among users, brands will do well to consider including Pinterest in their SEO and social strategy.
Also, brands should consider that, with the increased adoption of Vine, many social media platforms are moving toward a more visual form of social engagement.
Best Practice Tips for Pinterest
Users love Pinterest and brands have taken notice. Many brands are beginning to focus on talking to their target audience on Pinterest.
What's the best way to go about doing this?
- Know your audience: Be sure to document who your target audience is, what matters to them, and how they consume information (in this case, visuals).
- Start relevant boards: For each audience, short list a handful of themes and kick start boards aligned with some or all of these themes. Pin images that are visually attractive and are aligned with the theme for the board. Don't aim to sell. Aim to inspire your users. Ideas include the values behind your brand or business, DIY projects and moods, among others. Allow your users to pin on to these boards.
- Moderate the board: Study which boards are more popular and reinforce what is working.
- Have fun: Pinterest is fun. Keep things informal and have a great time!
The Starbucks Example
The Starbucks Pinterest profile does a great job of tapping into users' passion for coffee without selling. The boards focus on the moods, emotions, and visuals related to coffee preparation and consumption.
Looking at Pinterest, in the context of SEO, one out of three brands with Pinterest pages have their profiles show up in search results for brand terms. As you think about ranking for brand terms, and even non-brand terms, it is important to keep an eye on your Pinterest profile too. It offers another front to dominate the search results page.
There is a clear fragmentation in the world of social media.
As a result, brands are also engaging users on niche platforms that work for niche sectors. Pinterest is ideal for visuals.
Having a strategy that include multiple social media platforms, not just Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, helps many brands and marketers reach a wider audience.