Pinterest can be confusing for insurance companies looking for customers and looking to understand this change in social media. Fortunately, Anna Cadiz Bennett of White Glove Social Media is here to help clarify how to build a presence on Pinterest. She sat down with us to offer advice and perspective on the growing social network.
What inspired you to start working in social media?
After I sold my day spa business, I took some time off to travel and play sports. At the time I was basically retired, but I couldn’t control my thirst for running a business. So eventually I started to look around for what was next.
I’ve always loved marketing, and so I decided to take a course to become a certified social media strategist in the fall of 2012. I knew that social media was here to stay. Regardless of whether you hate it or love it, people are exchanging conversations on the internet. People love to connect with others. Social media is that vehicle. Furthermore, the research shows that consumers value a stranger’s opinion more than the brand or business. To me, that is very powerful. And I was drawn in closer to the social media marketing world.
I was fascinated by how a business could cultivate brand advocates and create relationships through influencers on these social platforms, the result of which was to drive more traffic and sales to a business.
We know the big changes, but what are some of the subtle changes social media has created in marketing?
The most subtle changes I noticed are how companies are creating content by leveraging their fans and brand advocates to sell their products. For example, on Pinterest you can invite your fans/followers to upload images of themselves wearing your clothes, playing with your clubs or rackets, decorating with your paint, cooking with your ingredients, using your services. What’s powerful about this is that you’re getting others to talk and sell for you. The images are linked to the product pages on the business’s web site so that, in turn, drives more traffic to the business.
What first drew your attention to Pinterest?
At first I really didn’t understand Pinterest. When I came across case studies about how it was the fasting growing website in history and was driving more purchases than Facebook, then it caught my attention. Pinterest is the 2nd largest driver of traffic from social media sites (next only to Facebook). Pinterest now drives more traffic to publishers than Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit and Google+ combined.
Facebook had been around for 10 years, while Pinterest was only four years old. They are still in their infancy, and yet they have become the top sales driver for ecommerce. 70% of shoppers use Pinterest to get inspired about purchases.
Plus, I realized how addicting it was. You could imagine millions of users spending hour after hour on there looking for things to buy. From a marketing perspective, that’s great. The images lure you in, they inspire you, and if you’re looking to improve any part of your life you will find ideas on Pinterest.
What’s the value Pinterest has for businesses large and small?
- Increased exposure. It helps you get found!
- Drives more traffic to your website or blog.
- Develops loyal fans and community.
- Provides market intelligence and insight.
- Generates leads.
- Improves your SEO.
- Grows business partnerships.
- Reduces marketing expenses.
- Grows sales.
- On Pinterest, your content continues to work for you long after you’ve pinned. This does not happen on Facebook and Twitter.
What are some common challenges Pinterest presents for marketing?
For many marketing departments, a big challenge with Pinterest will be that it is an indirect marketing vehicle vs. a direct marketing vehicle.
What that means is on Pinterest, you gather a large flock of followers first, many of which will not fit the profile of your targeted audience, and you build a relationship with this large flock of followers over time.
Eventually they trust you because you provide them with answers to questions about problems they have in life. You build a relationship. It’s called social media, so be social before you try and sell.
Then on 20% of your boards, you feature your products and services. Some smaller percentage of your large flock of followers, who actually are your target customer audience, will see what you have to sell, will already like and trust you, and it is they who will begin to go to your website to see more or reach out to you with questions to begin a dialogue.
So whereas with print ads, TV ads and radio ads, which are very direct, here is a product for you, check it out, buy it… On Pinterest, you actually feature boards and images that are trending as hot topics, regardless of their association or lack thereof with your products or services to gather more followers and build more engagement. Bottom line is that you want to be more helpful and friendlier with an ever-growing group of followers.
Where do you see social media marketing heading in the future?
Images will continue to play a huge role in how marketers produce and share content. Our brain process images 60,000 times faster than text, which is why Pinterest will continue to rule social media. Pinterest will get bigger and stronger in the future.
It’s about producing content to make people’s lives easier, better and faster. It’s about indirect selling vs. direct selling. Social media will shift marketing to become more customer outcome focused and less brand focused.
To see Anna’s expertise in action, check her out on Pinterest.