Maybe you’ve heard some of the buzz about Pinterest already, and suffice to say it’s much more than hype. With more than 70 million registered users, Pinterest may not be the world’s largest social media website, but it’s certainly one of the most influential. While it’s unlikely that every marketer will be able to utilize Pinterest, those who can would be foolish to neglect the opportunity. But what makes Pinterest so great?

Pinterest Demographics
While 70 million unique accounts does not mean 70 million active users, Pinterest has a remarkably high rate of retention against user attrition. In June alone there were 20 million users who carried out at least one sharing action. Of those 20 million actively sharing users, nearly one third have annual incomes above 100k. This may be related to the fact that the single largest age demographic on Pinterest is the 25-34 group.

Even though this number is comparably smaller than Twitter’s count of 500 million, it’s important to remember that not all social networks are equal. The value of tweets can be measured in literal minutes whereas the typical Pinterest post can remain a valuable source of clicks for months after it’s been created. Twitter users on the other hand tend to be preoccupied with present content and are unlikely to unearth old tweets.

It’s also fairly common knowledge by now that Pinterest mostly consists of upper-middle class women (a prime marketing group for many companies), some of the latest estimates suggesting that this number be as high as 70%. What’s less commonly known is that Pinterest is the most popular social network on the iPad, collecting almost half of all social sharing that’s done on that device. Paired with the fact that social networking is rapidly becoming dominated by mobile devices, Pinterest and the iPad are as close as Facebook and the iPhone.

Pinterest’s Growth and Future
Pinterest is poised to control a large portion of ecommerce. This may be because Pinterest is oriented around the discovery of products and new material objects. In fact, according to Forbes, “more so than Facebook, Twitter or tumblr, Pinterest, when you boil it down, is about commerce.” But regardless of the reason, it’s very impressive for a relatively new social network to topple Facebook in any metric.

Of course Pinterest users don’t just visit more ecommerce pages; they also spend on those pages. Long before Pinterest had surpassed Facebook in ecommerce, Pinterest had still surpassed its rival in total spending. Social shoppers spend between $60 and $80 when coming from Facebook pages but spend more than two times that when directed from Pinterest pages. Perhaps this is because people head to Pinterest with shopping in mind and its relationship with ecommerce plays a central role in what makes Pinterest unique.

Pinterest’s growth isn’t just unusual—it’s one for the record books. In 2012 Pinterest broke the previous record for social network growth by reaching 10 million unique hits per month after only nine months. That’s a rate of growth that dwarfs Facebook, Twitter, and every other major social network to date. Moreover, this rapid growth is still happening to the present moment.

Pinterest and Marketers
Many large brands jumped on board early, including West Elm and Whole Foods. In a matter of months, both brands collected over 100,000 followers. Sephora’s Pinterest has nearly twice that, and the cosmetic brand claims that their followers spend as much as fifteen times more than their Facebook fans. From a marketing perspective this is easy to understand; Pinterest users are more engaged and actively pursuing brand information rather than being passively presented with it.

Getting started with your Pinterest marketing strategy is easy. Inc. recommends keeping the layout of your company’s Pinterest page simple, directing people towards your Pinterest page via other social media platforms, and (much like you would on Twitter) following popular users (or, in this case, “pinners”). Being that it’s a virtual pinboard, Pinterest works best for companies that can be captured in images. Businesses that sell clothing or craft projects may fare better on this site in terms of repins and sales—but content (combined with an image) can still be posted and shared, making it an easy-to-use social media platform for any business.

One MOZ.com writer, Colby Almond, notes that one mistake business owners often make when using Pinterest is to assume that all of their marketing can only appeal to what they assume women want. Says Almond, “the real secret to understanding the Pinterest community is this: it’s just like every other social media network … users of Pinterest are looking to share and repin creative ideas and advice.” Thus, the best way to get people to your site via Pinterest or to have your pins shared is to create engaging and informative content.

While Pinterest is not ideal for customer communication and has very little value for SEO purposes due to use of the nofollow tag, its strengths outnumber its weaknesses. As a sharing-oriented network, Pinterest is ideal for brand exposure. People who follow your page will share your pins with their own following, allowing you to develop large quantities of traffic in spite of the low SEO value of that content. Best of all, this is all as simple as adding “Pin It” buttons to your page to encourage people to share your content with friends and followers.

 
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