Pinterest: The Not-So-Social Network That Generates Big Benefits

1klaudiaPinterest Founder and CEO Ben Silbermann often protests that Pinterest is not a social media platform. Instead, it’s a “catalog of ideas.”

“When we talk to people about Pinterest we often describe it as not a social network,” Silbermann told The Guardian. “Social networks are about communicating with other people. Pinterest is really about planning and getting ideas for your own personal life. With social networks, it’s them time. With Pinterest, it’s me time.”

While I can understand why people would see Pinterest as a social network — since it allows users to like, comment and share others’ posts — I have to agree with Silbermann. Personally, I use Pinterest as a virtual inspiration board that stores ideas along with easily accessible shopping lists, rather than to “socialize” with friends and followers.  


It seems as though I am not alone. A 2015 Bizrate Insights survey showed that 70% of consumers said they use Pinterest to “get inspiration on what to buy.”

But just because Pinterest is a different type of social network than Facebook or Instagram, that doesn’t mean retailers shouldn’t be utilizing the platform in their marketing efforts. I would even argue that Pinterest could provide users with a better shopping experience and help retailers achieve a higher ROI.

In 2015, Pinterest rolled out Buyable Pins, enabling users to buy an item they see on the platform without having to leave the page. Retailers such as FlyAway BlueJay are using Buyable Pins to boost sales and reach new customers. According to the retailer, 100% of Buyable Pins sales came from brand new customers. Additionally, during the 2015 holiday season, FlyAway BlueJay found that Pinterest drove 20% of its overall sales and 28% of overall web site traffic.

But Buyable Pins are just one example of the benefits of Pinterest. For more inspiration, here are some unique Pinterest marketing tactics used by other retailers:

Showcase Your Brand’s History: Ann Taylor


In August 2016, Ann Taylor created a Pinterest board to show followers images of the brand’s retro looks. In addition, Ann Taylor scattered images of new products within the retro images, so users can shop the collection based on the classics. The retailer promoted the “#Inspired By — Our Archives” Pinterest Board to its loyal customers via email, which led them to the brand’s Pinterest board.

Bring Your Pinterest Experience To Brick-And-Mortar Stores: Nordstrom


As an early adopter of Pinterest, Nordstrom brought its most popular pins to a few brick-and-mortar stores to inspire sales associates and customers. The retailer developed an internal iPad app so salespeople could view the pins and match the items in the photos with the inventory. This allowed the sales associates to showcase trending items to customers. The strategy was so successful that Nordstrom rolled it out to 117 stores and distributed “Top Pinned” signs on merchandise such as women’s shoes and handbags.

Advertise On Pinterest With Promoted Pins: Adore Me


Pinterest also allows businesses to choose specific pins as a means of advertising. These Promoted Pins are then distributed throughout the most relevant areas of a user’s feed. Adore Me, a monthly subscription service for lingerie, realized a lot of organic growth on Pinterest, which led them to use Promoted Pins. With help from advertising platform 4C, Adore Me was able to increase their Pinterest revenue by a whopping 4000%. Additionally, the brand realized a 50% higher click-to-purchase rate with Promoted Pins compared to other channels.

Ready to take on Pinterest like a pro? Here are some helpful tips to get you started:

Best Audience: Pinterest is known to attract females. According to Social Pilot, 71% of users are female, while 29% of users are male. Just over one-third of Pinterest users are between the ages of 18 and 29, while the majority of daily active pinners are under 40.

Best Times To Post: According to research from Hubspot, the most active time on Pinterest is the evening.

The best times to post on Pinterest are:

• 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. and evening hours every day; 
• 5 p.m. on Fridays; and 
• 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays.

Best Content: According to Pinterest, pins that are captioned with advice, instructions or how-to’s are up to 30% more engaging than others. The platform also states that high-resolution, well-lit photographs and images work best, but be careful with branding — pinners will get turned off by your image if it looks too much like an ad.

There are endless ways to promote your brand on Pinterest. The platform encourages creativity in the best way, so by not utilizing it to engage with users, retailers could be missing out on new customers and more sales.



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