Pros and Cons of Using Pinterest for Online Marketing

So, I stumbled across an article last week in The Washington Post titled Addicted to a Web site called Pinterest: Digital crack for women.

The title alone was enough to grab my attention. My colleagues then suggested that I write an article on Pinterest and Photoshop an image of myself with a crack pipe and Pinterest logo. Aware that this image of me would be permanently tattooed on the back of the Internet, I politely discarded the suggestion.

For those of you who are unaware, Pinterest is a platform for creating limitless virtual tack boards of images that can be shared with the rest of the online community. I recently gave into the hype and created an account last week. Since then, I am ashamed to admit that I have been sucked into this black hole of beautifully presented collages of anything and everything.

Don’t be fooled, however, as Pinterest isn’t just for women. Businesses are the latest segment of society to capitalize on the “pinteresting” social media site. Let’s explore some of the factors you should consider prior to using Pinterest for your online marketing objectives.

Rapidly Expanding Market

If you aren’t quite convinced that Pinterest is a wise investment for your business, check this out:

Compared to November of last year, the amount of users has almost tripled. The number of unique visitors just last month came to grand total of 11,140,641. That’s a lot of people who could potentially be viewing your company, products and services. Pinterest users also spend an average of 1 hour and 17 minutes browsing the site, well ahead of Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ users.

Referral Traffic

Pinterest really is a great way to drive traffic to your website. According to Shareaholic’s January 2012 Referral Traffic Report, Pinterest now drives more referral traffic than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined. This is due to Pinterest terms of service request to…

Credit Your Sources

Pins are the most useful when they have links back to the original source. If you notice that a pin is not sourced correctly, leave a comment so the original pinner can update the source. Finding the original source is always preferable to a secondary source such as Google Image Search or a blog entry.

…And it works too! After creating my account last week, I began a Wish List board and finally found the perfect earring rack to pin to it. When I clicked on the image, it referred me to Here, I reviewed the product details and made an instant purchase.

Very Visual

Pinterest users flock to the website to escape their mundane realities and enter a world of beautiful imagery and board presentations. It’s a very simple, clean platform with far less clutter than other social media sites. Big, high resolution images are the focus of this online community. So if your business has plenty of tangible goods to share, the social network is definitely worth a visit.

Nordstrom are just one of the many retailers to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon. Please keep in mind, however, that Pinterest isn’t effective for all businesses. You need to decide if it’s an appropriate vehicle to transport your brand. If your business doesn’t have too many tangible products, you might want to rethink your online marketing strategy and redirect your efforts elsewhere.

“Goodies” and Features

Better yet, the Pinterest Goodies tab offers a “Pin it button for websites”. This nifty feature allows visitors to your website to pin products onto their virtual interactive boards with ease. You even get to design your own button! In addition, you can also get a “Follow Button for websites” which allows users to follow your Pinterest account with just one click.

Pinterest also has a Gift Tab feature which offers a drop down menu of six different price ranges. You then have the option to find a gift within your budget. If you’re an ecommerce store owner, this is your baby! You need to make sure, however, that you have a price listed in the description of your post. Otherwise, Pinterest won’t recognize it.

No Self-Promotion 

If you’re interesting in using Pinterest to market your brand, you need to be careful to follow the “Pin Etiquette” listed in their About Us section. They explicitly state to…

Avoid Self Promotion

Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion.

…Bottom line, if you want to create a virtual board to pin your content and products, do it discreetly. Indirect marketing is the way to go if you want to attract a loyal following. Don’t pin every product you sell. Tease them a little and redirect them to your website. Push marketing simply won’t fly in this online community.

Slow Take Off

Looking for immediate conversions? Pinterest is not for your brand. You will need to invest time and energy into creating virtual boards with infographics and aesthetically appealing product photography. Big, high resolution images and thoughtful descriptions are crucial when creating your business profile. Whole Foods Market is a great example of effective Pinterest marketing.

You’ll also need to optimize your profile and share material on a daily basis. To learn how to optimize your profile, visit and scroll down to SEO 101 for Pinterest. Pinterest online marketing is a long-term commitment and only for the creative at heart.

Won’t Stand Alone

If you don’t already have an integrated marketing strategy, forget it. Pinterest alone won’t do wonders for your online marketing efforts. If you do, however, have a large following on other social media sites, encourage them to follow you by streaming content from Pinterest onto these sites.

You can also connect via your Facebook or Twitter account which transports all your existing connections onto your Pinterest account. Small businesses should also be careful to prioritize their social media according to their budgets. One way to track and compare your Pinterest traffic with other social networks is with Google Analytics.

Target Market

As mentioned earlier, the Washington Post declared Pinterest as the “digital crack for women”. KISSmetrics maps the demographic of Pinterest users as 25-44 year old females with an interest in lifestyle. For the owners of Better Homes and Gardens such statistics are music to their ears. Other industries, however, aren’t likely to find the people they are looking for on Pinterest. Until the demographic of this online community expands, you need to decide whether or not Pinterest is worth your efforts.

In the meantime, check out some of the search results for SEO on Pinterest:

Happy pinning!

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March 6, 2012

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  1. Jani Seneviratne
    Posted March 7, 2012 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Great Jimmy! We’re glad you’re keeping up with us :)

    Twitter: janiopt7

    Best regards,

  2. Posted April 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    I agree, pinterest are now excellent site for source of traffic. Same with Stumbleupon and Digg, but there are some businesses who are having hard time to post a good image to attract visitors.

  3. Posted August 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Pinterest is indeed in the forefront of marketing at the moment. People are more interested to take a look at images and uber long blog posts. Creating visually enticing graphics is all it takes to drive more traffic and eventually sales. Thanks for posting this, and excellent graphic by the way!

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