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Pinterest for Business: Understanding the Social Search Engine

Abby Yeomans - July 21, 2017

Not all social media platforms are the same, so your social media strategy shouldn’t be either. Marketers often make the mistake of treating Pinterest like their other social networks and often don’t see the value because of it. Avoid a one-size-fits-all approach by better understanding what Pinterest is and, maybe more importantly, what it isn’t.

Pinterest is less ‘social’ and more like a search engine and curating tool. Users on Pinterest aren’t as interested in cultivating relationships or following brands like they are on Facebook; instead they’re on Pinterest to collect and save ideas. Think of Pinterest like a search engine meets bookmark bar. Content longevity matters as pins are saved to users’ boards for future use, rather than the fleeting interactions that occur while people are scrolling through Facebook.

To be successful on Pinterest, you must cater your strategy, as well as, your messaging and creative to work with the unique qualities of the platform. Let’s dive in and take a look at what makes Pinterest different than other social networks.

It’s All About the ‘Search’ and ‘Save’:

Users come to the platform to search for and save ideas. For instance, if you were looking for the perfect summer cocktail recipe, you would search within Pinterest using the keywords ‘summer cocktail recipe’. If you’re a spirits company, making sure your brand has valuable content that features related keywords is the way your content will be discovered and saved and your site visited – all the big goals of using the platform. If the user happens to love your board that focuses on ‘Summer Cocktail Recipes’ they may choose to follow your board and see your future recipe pins in their feed, but that is not the primary goal.

To reach people beyond your followers and to get a longer lifespan from your content, use messaging that connects to common search terms.

Pinterest recently announced an advertising type that will take this a step further and allow people to purchase placements within users’ searches. We see this as a big opportunity for brands that want a competitive edge.

Long Live the Pins:

Most social platforms are very focused on the present tense – what you’re doing in the moment. However, Pinterest is all about making plans for the future. Pinterest is unique in that it encourages users to save ideas and helpful articles for a later date instead of taking action right away.

Pinterest content has a longer shelf life than other social platforms, so a ‘repin’ or ‘save’ on Pinterest has more long-term value than an engagement on Facebook. Users might not take action on the content immediately, but will often save it on their profile and refer back to it when they need it.

A solid keyword strategy that relates to your pin and imagery that is catered to the platform will ensure your content continues to show up in relevant search results long after you post it.

‘Thumb-Stopping’ Design Matters:

It’s important to create visually compelling content designed for the platform that people want to save on their own Pinterest accounts and that will stand out in relevant searches. With Pinterest’s visual search environment, good design can make the difference between your pins getting lost in the overall clutter of a search feed or your content being saved and interacted with.

Contrary to the more square-focused feeds on Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest lends itself to more narrow, vertical images. A lot of text on graphics is not ideal for those other platforms, but on Pinterest, brands see success with images that have more text and often have an infographic look and feel.

Many pieces of content on Pinterest are tutorial-based and the graphics that have a numbered collage design often stand out and work well for repinning as people can easily associate the value that the pin and accompanying landing page will provide for them as they look through their boards for useful information.

Instructional Content is Key:

People are using the platform to save useful pieces of information. They’re looking for pins that teach, inform and inspire them, which is why instructional content has seen such success from Pinterest users. The most successful and shareable content on Pinterest is informative, aesthetically pleasing and connected back to a landing page that provides more information related to the pin’s content. You want to tease the information in the pin and tell the entire story on your blog or landing page.

Growth isn’t the Primary Goal:

Follower counts and page like growth are often important metrics that brands use in their social strategy. With Pinterest, it’s a different story. Follower growth is so far from Pinterest’s priorities that it doesn’t even show up as an option in its own native analytics. You can see how many followers you currently have, but they don’t offer any way to track follower growth. Rather than focusing on follower growth, the platform values clicks and pin saves. For Pinterest, it’s more important that individual pieces of content resonate with users rather than the content creators themselves. Gaining followers for the sake of growth isn’t a valuable strategy. Gaining saves and site visits from your pins, should be how your brand measures its success on this platform.

Optimizing your content strategy and aligning your goals and expectations with the platform’s unique features will allow you to make the most out of this ‘not so average’ network and ensure your business is successful on Pinterest.

You might also be interested in our Social Media Best Practices Downloadable.

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