Social Media: Is Pinterest Worth It?

7 Questions to Ask Before You Invest in Pinterest

You’ve probably heard something in the last couple of months about Pinterest.  For those who may have missed the news, Pinterest is a new social media platform.  It allows users to create visual boards (think old fashioned cork boards) and to virtually pin photos of the things they like, they find of interest, they wish they had, ideas, etc.

The last thing anyone who markets their own business – online and off –  needs is yet another social media platform that requires time and resources.  But, before you dismiss the newest social media network as a Johnny Come Lately or just for women who like to conduct virtual shopping sprees, you may want to ask yourself some serious marketing questions.

Allow me to explain my reason for this post.  Over the last few months, I’ve posted a couple of pieces about Pinterest.  One was a User Profile of Pinterest and the other was an infographic of how people are using Pinterest.   I decided I needed to learn more about this new social media platform’.  As someone who helps small business owners with marketing, it is my job to check out new platforms and see how or if it works.

One of my marketing objectives is to generate traffic to my site and to create an email database of targeted business owners and a lot of business owners are women.  On the surface, one wouldn’t think that a social media platform attracting gobs of women interested in shopping would be a good fit for me or my site.  Well, that thinking would be wrong.

I discovered how powerful Pinterest can be as a traffic generator.  I posted one simple infographic and the average daily traffic doubled.  Hello?  One infographic and double the traffic. The infographic was not anything spectacular…it was rather common.  But through others re-pinning that infographic, my site received double the daily exposure and it seems to be continuing to generate traffic.

But what about you and your business?  Well, here are 7 critical marketing questions to ask yourself before you either dismiss or invest time and resources into Pinterest.

Q1 – Is my audience hanging out on Pinterest? 

If you are involved in retail the answer is a resounding “Yes”.  Estimates vary, but the US audience for Pinterest is somewhere north of 85% female, yet 60/40 split female/male globally.   The age range is fairly evenly distributed between 25 and 54 years of age.  The natural catalyst around Pinterest is to find things women love be that clothing, jewelry, cooking, gardening, DIY projects, shopping, etc.

But what if you’re a business that sells to other businesses?  Don’t dismiss Pinterest simply because it is skewed toward women.  As a female, I can assure you women  are multifaceted creatures who do a lot more than shop.   They work in professions where they make serious buying decisions.  They represent 51% of the U.S. Adult population in 2010 and they are the primary decision makers in a wide range of purchasing decisions for their families.  Over a quarter of the Pinterest audience earns over $100,000 a year and about half of these are women.  In short, women are a critical audience for almost any business.  Your challenge may be to determine how you can reach women on Pinterest.

Q2 – Is Pinterest a good fit for my business?

Pinterest is a giant piece of eye-candy everywhere one turns because it is based on visuals and not words.  The old adage of a picture is worth a thousand words is the clear mantra on this social media site.

If your company can visually depict what you have to offer, the lifestyle and story of your brand, your customers using and benefiting from your products and do so in an interesting and visual way, chances are high you’ll benefit through Pinterest activity.  The uses of Pinterest are truly unlimited.  Think creatively about your product before you say “no” to Pinterest.

Q3 – Will Pinterest help me meet my objectives or fit my online marketing strategy?

Only you can answer that question, but if you want to do any of the following, Pinterest can probably help.

  • Build awareness for company, products, services
  • Generate traffic to website, blog or other social media platforms
  • Expand reach into new audiences

It has raised many eyebrows in the Internet industry because Pinterest is generating more referral traffic for websites than LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and Twitter combined, suggesting it has developed some muscle in this area.

Let’s say at this stage you are interested and feel Pinterest could help you achieve your marketing goals and objectives.  How do you know if Pinterest is just another shinny online site or if it has staying power?

After my recent eye-opening experience, I started doing some online research and here is some of the criteria I used to determine if I wanted to move forward with the platform.

Q4 – Does Pinterest have street cred? 

Pinterest is becoming more credible every day.

  • Pinterest reached the number three spot as the most popular social network with 103 million visits per Hitwise, a competitive intelligence research company.
  • Any media outlet worth it’s salt are starting their own Pinterest boards, which makes sense given their heavy reliance on visuals to tell the story. This includes People, the individual shows on CBS, HGTV, etc.
  • Romney and Obama are using Pinterest to tell their stories and chances are high it will become a new outlet for all sorts of political campaigns.
  • Some of the top brands are currently active on Pinterest.  Lowes, Whole Foods, UnicefPillsbury are just a few of the many brands actively engaged in pinning.
  • As one travels around the Internet, it is difficult not to see how many of the elite sites in selected industries have already added the Pinterest button so people can pin their blog posts or their web page.  Pinterest is sharing prime share real estate with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.
  • And there are new tracking services being created like Pinerly to track one’s fellow pinners and to per-schedule pins making Pinterest easier to use and manage.

Q5 – Are people actually spending time on Pinterest?

The following infographic by Statista and comScore tells us people are engaged on Pinterest.  The average number of minutes engaged on Pinterest in the U.S. is 98 minutes and 89 minutes globally.  While it hasn’t reached the engagement level of Facebook, it far exceeds that of Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

Pinterest Volume & Engagement

Pinterest Volume & Engagement

Q6. Is it easy to use? 

When compared to some of the shenanigans involved with Facebook, Pinterest is a piece of cake.  Initially, its simplicity can be a little disconcerting, yet it is extremely intuitive.  If one can copy and paste, they can create a Pinterest board and pin.  This ease of use has to be a contributing factor to the high level of engagement.

Q7.  How does Pinterest add value to its users? 

As mentioned earlier, the uses of Pinterest are truly unlimited and each innovative use contributes some value to select audiences.  Unlike Google+ that acts and feels like a different model of Facebook, Pinterest is truly unique.  Pinterest…

  • serves as inspiration for viewers and for users
  • allows users to curate products, services, ideas and easily separate the good from the bad
  • facilitates the act of sharing, which turns into a mutual benefit for viewers and users
  • helps users find new things and new ways of creating be that a fancy dish, a DIY birdhouse, a romantic trip or a cool tool for the Hubby.
  • functions as a collaborative platform for various professional audiences including teachers
  • can serve as research on select audiences of their wants and needs
  • helps users promote products, services, events, places, companies
  • opens another window into companies so interested parties can preview portfolios of products offerings
  • contributes to SEO and generates internet traffic for users

There are some copyright issues and some tips and tricks involved with Pinterest that we’ll discuss in our next post.

Let me know if you think Pinterest is for your business or if you are currently using Pinterest by sharing your results or questions in the comments section below.



Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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  1. Thank you for this very useful information. I recently heard about Pinterest, and I’ve created some fun pictures I want to share to attract traffic.

    Your post confirms this is a worthwhile use of my time. I look forward to learning more.

    • Glad you found this information to be useful in your decision to check it out. If you don’t already have an account, you have a few options. You can sign up directly with Pinterest and wait a few weeks for them to respond. Or you can have someone who is already active on Pinterest send you an invitation. If you need one, let me know and I’ll forward you one.

      Thanks for your comments. Sheila

  2. Pinterest is likely a good fit for my travel business because (1) compelling images inspire travel and they pin well, (2) women are my best client because they make most of the family vacation plans & we love to pin and (3) we are all curious about new places to visit.

    • Lynn: Absolutely! All of those lovely scenic shots will be great food for Pinterest. Post to your blog with a Pin It button and you’ll see great traffic boost being delivered. If you decide to sign-up, let me know. Pinterest is by invitation only and it takes a while for them to respond…2 weeks. If you want to speed up the process, let me know and I can send you an invitation so you can gain access immediately.

  3. I’ve been studying online marketing opportunities on Pinterest, and this article is a great summary of how it works – thank you!

    • Ksenia: Glad you think so and thanks for the positive feedback.

      Are you currently using Pinterest? If so, what do you think of the site?

  4. Pingback: Pinterest: Shifting Audience - InfoGraphic | the marketing bit

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