2012 is the year of the image, particularly photographs. At the heart of this trend is Pinterest, an image-based social media network that's experienced explosive growth in the last six months. For marketers, Pinterest's power is clear. It combines the power of visual and social media to create a search-friendly referral engine every business needs.
Pinterest by the Numbers
Pinterest reached over 18 million unique visitors in March, according to Compete and reported by TechCrunch. Its members' activity displays three distinct attributes based on research by RJMetrics.
New Pinterest members are less active. First 30-day activity for new members peaked in October 2011 and appears to be significantly lower. This is attributable to the increased fanfare the site has received. As a result, there are more newbies joining to see what it's about and they're less involved.
Repinning dominates Pinterest activity. Over 80 percent of pins are repins, according to RJMetrics. By repinning other people's pins, they're effectively curating content that they're scanning rather than seeking new images to share. This behavior isn't surprising since it allows members who otherwise might be lurkers to participate in a relatively passive way.
Pin sources show a long-tail distribution. Since every pin ties to an external link, RJMetrics was able to measure the dispersion of the top-level domain of pin sources. It found over 100,000 distinct source domains in a sample of roughly one million pins. After the top five sources, no domain has over 1 percent of the pins.
5 Tips to Be Pinworthy
What do these Pinterest trends mean for marketers? You must make your images, especially photographs, pinworthy. Here are five tips to help make your content more pinnable.
Create great images. As with any other form of social media, you need amazing, valuable content. This means no promotions! Understand your audience is on Pinterest through the use of your social media persona. Rather, translate your business' information into visual presentations to build engagement. Take time to brainstorm how and what to present on Pinterest.
Integrate your brand into your images. Think of your brand in terms of a 360-degree view. This means use your firm's colors and typeface. Show your company's visual style. Go a step further to think about color and presentation. Since this represents your brand, consider the use of professional photographs and graphics. This is an element you may need to budget for going forward. Also, incorporate your URL or other recognizable watermark in case the image is disconnected from its source link.
Check your rights to use the image. Here's where it pays to be friends with legal if you're in a large organization. Your firm may not have legal rights to use older photographs and content. Therefore, start to think about how to extend your content going forward with extended copyright.
Optimize your image to achieve your goals. Associate great content with the image when people click. As Kelby Carr, author of "Pinterest for Dummies," recommended at BlogWorld Expo New York, have additional related content so that people find related information when they click through. Offer information such as a tutorial or recipe.
Make your content easy to pin. Remember, if your audience has to think about pinning your images, chances are it won't happen. Include a Pin It button to remind readers.
If you haven't been pinned, don't wait for your boss to ask you about that new trend. Test out what Pinterest has to offer and then assess your internal content to see how you can create pinnable content for your business.
What other tips do you have for making your images pinworthy?
Heidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies, an interactive marketing consultancy. She has over 20 years' experience helping clients increase profitability by developing innovative marketing programs to acquire and retain customers based on solid analytics. Clients include New York Times Digital, AccuWeather.com, CheapTickets, and the UJA. Additionally, Riverside Marketing Strategies has worked with numerous other online content/media companies and e-tailers.
Prior to starting Riverside Marketing Strategies, Heidi held a number of senior-level marketing positions at The Economist, the Bookspan/Doubleday Direct division of Bertelsmann, and Citibank.