Just in time for Pinterest’s 4th anniversary, brands are awaking to the power of becoming pinfluential. In the short time Pinterest has been around, it has amassed over 70 million users and is mainly used for product and content research, making it an ideal platform for brands to engage with their audience. Some brands are using Pinterest like a pro, while others are focused on those other social media sites (you know the ones).

social media

Take Target, for example. The retail mega-brand was one of the first major companies to launch a Pinterest strategy and actually succeed. After a few tweaks to their images with “Pin It” buttons, boards created specifically for their ideal Pinterest user led Target to double their Pinterest followers and earn nearly a million shares of branded content.

target pinterest

Don’t take Target’s (or my) word for it, though.

What the Numbers Have to Say

Now that Pinterest is four years old, busy statisticians around the globe have had a full 48 months to gather data. Thanks to them, we begin to see the real value of Pinterest marketing as it relates to brands.

  • A pin is worth about 78 cents – more than a tweet.
  • Pinterest traffic results in a 1.56% conversion rate, followed closely by Facebook’s 1.13%.
  • Add your referral traffic from YouTube, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon and Reddit. A big number, right? Pinterest is responsible for more than all of these combined.
  • More than 1 in 5 Pinterest users have made a purchase after finding a pinned product.
  • Customers referred from Pinterest generally spend up to 10% more than customers referred from other sites.
  • Emails promoting branded Pinterest accounts have higher response rates than those promoting Facebook or Twitter.

Those statistics are impressive, but I know what you’re thinking, “Yes, but only retail, fashion and lifestyle industries use Pinterest.” It’s true that those industries are prominent, but with a little creativity, brands in any industry can take advantage of Pinterest’s popularity.

tools on pinterest

The Business Case for Pinterest

Pinterest is more than sharing photos of wedding cakes and the latest fashion, it’s about communicating with the audience visually. From sharing infographics and pictures to blogs and video, Pinterest is the land of opportunity for brands, and these five benefits are proof.

  • Quality backlinks – As Sarah Beth pointed out, Matt Cutts announced backlinks are here to stay as they’re necessary for ranking. That means any opportunity your business has to generate quality backlinks is a welcome one. Adding a link to the description of a pin creates more backlinks for your brand.
  • Targeting options – Pinterest makes it easy for users to discover related boards, taking the guesswork out of segmentation for brands. Since Pinterest’s addition of Place Pins, users can pin interesting locations, which gives marketers further insight into customer preferences.
  • Pinterest generates more sales – According to one study, Pinterest drives up to 14x more referrals to brands than any other social media site and results in more sales than Facebook and Twitter combined.
  • Content has a longer shelf life – Because of Pinterest’s design, content lives on Pinterest waiting to be discovered by fresh eyes. When compared with the short shelf life of traditional social media posts, pins are superior with an average life of 2-3 weeks.
  • Expedites social sharing – With the addition of “Pin It” buttons to onsite images, your brand can expedite social sharing via Pinterest without compromising the user’s experience. It certainly worked for Target. Nearly a million shares with that simple addition? You can’t beat it.

The benefits are undeniable, but what exactly are brands doing to attract such a loyal following?

pin it to win it

Pinning Your Way to the Top: 7 Best Practices

So far, Pinterest’s most influential brands have struggled through trial and error to get desired results. Since its 2010 launch, Pinterest’s users have grown immensely. The platform has released new features and marketing strategies continue to change. Currently, the following 7 tips make up the most effective best practices implemented by top brands.

  • Create relevant boards – One of the best things about Pinterest is the ability to speak to a customer’s needs and wants. However, to stay relevant and brand-focused, businesses need to create a variety of boards.
  • The 80/20 rule – Pinfluencers agree that brands sticking to the 80/20 rule achieve better results. Typically, 80% of pinned content should come from brands while 20% of content should be re-pinned from other accounts. Keeping this rule lets customers know your brand is active on Pinterest and pays attention to customers.
  • Use the search function – To both research the competition and find relevant keywords, the search function is a life saver. By doing a small bit of research, businesses are able to better understand their audience, evaluate the competition’s strengths and weaknesses, and optimize branded Pinterest pages to receive desired results.
  • Post at the right times – According to statistics about Pinterest users in general, the best times to post are Saturday mornings and during the week between 2pm-4pm and 8pm-11pm. While this is a good place to start, Pinterest analytics should be monitored to pinpoint activity levels as they relate to your audience.
  • Reward Pinfluencers – In the case of Neiman Marcus, Pinterest acted as the first platform on which the fashion brand launched its Spring 2014 collection. Before the company’s own website, Neiman Marcus made the new line available to their Pinterest fans, a wise way to reward Pinfluencers. Similarly, Target teamed up with a top Pinfluencer to collaborate on party accessory design. Both gestures were powerful in the Pinterest world, as they showed each brand is paying attention to and rewarding their followers.
  • Make it easy to pin – By adding “Pin it” buttons directly to your onsite images, users are more likely to share visual content. Sharing branded content should never be a chore for customers. Audit each page of your website to ensure images are optimized for Pinterest and include sharing buttons on each page with written content.

just pin it

Just Pin It!

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited about pinning. Personally, I think once more B2B companies realize the value of Pinterest they’ll begin to truly understand the craze behind boards, pins and the ever-mysterious “secret board.” In the meantime, putting Pinterest best practices in place (say that fast 3 times) can result in more traffic, better leads and higher sales than ever before.

Did I leave any best practices off the list? Share your Pinteresting tips with us!

Read more: True Value of Pinterest for Your Ecommerce Store