My name is Ana.
And I have Multiple Interest Syndrome (MIS).
Turns out that I have many interests. (gasp!)
I feel very much discriminated against because of my MIS.
When I first started Traffic Generation Cafe, I was told over and over again that I needed to pick a niche and stick with it.
Keep your focus narrow, keep your head down, and keep your personal life to yourself.
Sure I'd love to start a bunch of blogs dedicated to every interest I have, but let's be realistic: even I can't bend time limitations.
Don't mix personal life and business.
Find your target audience and share ONLY what THEY might be interested in.
Fine, a personal update won't kill anyone every once in a while – after all, we do need to show that we are only human, but keep it to the minimum!
Of course, Facebook only allows one account, so my MIS had to be quenched there.
See above under “Facebook”.
Sure you can have as many Twitter accounts as you want and gain as many different followers with different interests as you want, but what a pain!
4. … and the list goes on.
So what's the girl left to do?
In Comes Pinterest
I was standing strong; I really was.
“Surely, it's just another fad” I thought…
“I am no Martha Stewart and I am not running a cooking blog.”
But then I kept seeing images like these:
And hearing that Pinterest is quickly becoming one of the largest referral traffic sources among any social media networks.
Mashable.com ranked Pinterest as the #3 social media site, with 104 million visitors.
Here’s the ranking:
- Facebook: 7 billion
- Twitter: 182 million
- Pinterest: 104 million
- LinkedIn: 86 million
- Tagged: 72 million
- Google+: 61 million
And here comes the best part:
Pinterest is NOT yet another social media network.
Pinterest is quickly becoming the largest “social shopping” network.
“Pinterest is not just raising brand awareness but is also driving purchase behavior. About 25% of consumers reported purchasing a product or service after discovering it on Pinterest – that number jumped to 37% amongst males.”
Source – Compete.com
I must admit, I was getting jealous…
Someone else is figuring out how to drive traffic and even make money on Pinterest!
Heck, if anyone is generating traffic from Pinterest, it should be ME!
So I asked Brankica Underwood for a Pinterest invite (it's still an invitation-only network, which hasn't prevented them to grow to around 20 million users, based on third-party sources), and off I went to explore.
If you are a “get to the bottom line already!“, here's the bottom line:
I was hooked…
Now I need to backtrack for a second and refresh your memory on how this quest for Pinterest traffic started.
Exactly one week ago, I decided to throw a fit over the fact that a photo of mine that, in my opinion, should've gone viral, went no where instead.
If you haven't read the original post, everything will make sense once you do:
That post also served as a springboard to my Pinterest experiment:
Can Pinterest bring targeted well-converting traffic in decent enough numbers that would make it worth the trouble?
To track my success (or failure – we'll see in a minute), I took a screenshot of my Pinterest traffic as of that day: July 16, 2012.
Here it is again:
25 visits from Pinterest from June 15 to July 15.
Then I asked you, my readers to pin that image and otherwise spread the word about the post through other social media networks.
Once again, my question was:
Can Pinterest bring targeted traffic to non-visual niche sites?
You were kind enough to share my post as much as you could and the post got:
All the numbers are pretty average for my blog, except for one: Pinterest pins.
Sure, 42 pins are a far cry from 1,000 pins that I (somewhat) jokingly set as a goal.
But 42 pins are still 6 times more than any other post would get on average.
Now let's see how those 42 pins affected my Pinterest traffic in the past week:
84 visits from Pinterest made it my third largest traffic source after Facebook and Twitter.
So what, you say?
What truly impressed me about those numbers were the quality of traffic indicators, like Pages per Visit, Average Visit Duration, and Bounce Rate.
FB and Twitter numbers were no where close!
The only damper was the fact that none of 84 Pinterest visits converted into email subscribers, which is my primary conversion goal at Traffic Generation Cafe.
Can't have it all, can I?
Before We Go Any Further….
I bet the most impending question on your mind right now is:
“Will Pinterest work for MY business?”
What is the RISK (time and effort invested) vs REWARD (resulting traffic and sales)?
Let me ask you this:
- Is your niche highly visual in nature?
After all, Pinterest is all about visually appealing images.
THEN PINTEREST IS FOR YOU.
- Is there a planning element to your brand?
Weddings, parties, remodeling, gardening, pets, education, fashion… – just to name a few.
THEN PINTEREST IS FOR YOU.
- Do you have predominantly female clientele?
82% of Pinterest users are women between ages of 25 and 54.
Of course, you need to remember that women dominate most social media networks, as well as like to shop.
And the last question:
- Are the kind of smart marketer like who have taken notice of Pinterest—not because you want to join another social network—but because you want to learn how to leverage the new visually-driven style of social media?
THEN PINTEREST IS FOR YOU.
I bet you I cornered you with that last question. 🙂
Really, what are you going to do – answer NO?
By the way, if I had asked myself those first three questions above before I started using Pinterest a week ago, my answers would've been NO to all of them.
- NO – I am not in a visual kind of niche'
- NO – there's no planning element to my business;
- NO – my audience is not predominantly female.
And now, after a week of pinning, let me tell you: I was wrong on all accounts.
My readers are as diverse as they could be.
Dan is a home fitness fanatic:
Lisa Melia blogs about pregnancy and newborn essentials:
Sarah runs a blog dedicated to busy moms.
Johann Kotze is a yoga teacher:
And the list goes on…
Your Bite-Sized Pinterest Guide
There are plenty of tutorials written on how to use Pinterest and this won't be one of them.
Instead, here's my short list of quick tips that I had to learn the hard way or saw other users get it wrong time and time again.
This is really the main bit of information you need to provide about yourself, yet so many users don't use these few lines to the fullest extend.
Branding and the users' ability to follow your brand back to your site is paramount.
1. Your URL won't become clickable, but it's good for branding. Plus, many users won't know how to find your site otherwise (see 4).
2. Hashtags work the same way on Pinterest as they do on Twitter.
Use them to be found by both users and search engines.
Additional hashtag tip: when you use hashtags in your pin descriptions, they become clickable links and will take you to a search page for that term.
3. It's a good idea to use the same image of you/your logo on both your site and throughout your social media networks.
Being recognized as a familiar face is half the battle in branding!
4. Yes, there's that space for your URL.
However, most users wouldn't know it when they see your profile.
As a matter of face, I just bothered to see what it links to when writing this post…. Duh!
You want to make it as easy as possible for your readers to pin your images.
1. Install a Pinterest button.
Adding it to your social media sharing bar might not do the trick.
You need to remind your readers to click that button, and the best way I found to do it is with Pin Button Attraction (terrible name, but a great plugin from Chris Guthrie).
This plugin will add a Pin It button to any image you select – it can be all, some, or none.
I've tested pretty much every plugin in the WP directory, and this one still worked the best.
2. Write the title of your image as if it's the pin description.
Let's see what happens when you pin the infographic above.
“Men are from Mars, women are from Pinterest” is the title of my image, and that's why the Pin It button pulled it into the pin description.
Doing this will make it easier for your readers (and you) to pin your images.
Less effort = more pins.
Following People on Pinterest
Correction: you don't follow people on Pinterest; you follow theirinterests.
That's one of my favorite things about Pinterest – no overflow of information.
Let's say I want to check out Francisco Rosales from SocialMouths.com:
(He needs to read the bio section above. 😉 )
He currently has 7 boards (each board is a collection of images on the same narrow subject).
If I am interested in everything he is, I'll press the big red “Follow All” button at the top.
If I could care less about his board about Los Angeles, because I live in San Francisco, or I could care less about following his blog posts, because I think I write a whole lot better than he does (just kidding), then I can choose to follow only some of the boards (press the “Follow” button under each board).
Who's Pinning Your Images?
It's always nice to say Thank you to your readers who choose to pin your images, isn't it?
I had no idea how to do it until I read this Pinterest report (one of the best I've read on the topic) yesterday.
All you need to do to look up the people who are pinning images from your site is to go to:
Just replace trafficgenerationcafe.com with your site, of course.
How to Drive Traffic from Pinterest
I learned about this traffic strategy by simply browsing Pinterest to see what others were doing.
It didn't take me long to notice this Pinterest user: Your Social Media Company.
It was literally everywhere I went.
Needless to say, I checked out their profile, images, follow some of their boards, and yes, went to their website.
To my surprise, this seeming Pinterest behemoth turned out to be a small (but very creative!) social media company in Charleston, SC.
I bet they are driving tons of traffic from Pinterest!
I believe their main success on Pinterest lies with participation in community boards.
What Are Community Boards?
Community boards are your basic groups.
Someone creates a board that might be of interest to others and invites people they already follow to join the board.
There's a difference between following a community board (anyone can follow) and being able to pin to that board (you have to be added by the creator of the board for that).
Back to our new Pinterest friend – Your Social Media Company:
Out of 59 boards under their belt, about 31 of them were community boards!
Moreover, only a couple of those were even created by them.
Your Social Media Company is an amazing example of leveraging other users' networks to gain exposure, brand recognition, and traffic.
And for that, they earned my deep respect.
By the way, if you watch them carefully, you'll pick up quite a few tricks on how to make the best of Pinterest.
I know I did.
OUR Community Board
If you want to create your own community boards, the biggest hurdle you'll have to overcome is promotion.
Creativity and relative novelty of the concept should definitely help.
It also doesn't hurt to know a few people.
I happened to know some VERY SPECIAL people.
They are the ones who put up with my peculiar emails on a weekly basis and they are the ones who get the first dibs on all my great ideas.
So I emailed them to let them know I had this brilliant idea to promote each other on Pinterest and created a new community board for bloggers of all niches: Z-Listic.
In about a day, we got 425 followers and 70 pins.
Not too shabby for a day's work…
By the way, feel free to join us – you'll find out how in the board description (make sure what you need to add there in case you'd like to start your own community board).
Pinterest Marketing Takeaway
I have a feeling I'll see a lot of “Glad you like it, but it's not for me” comments on this post, and that's absolutely fine.
One size never fits all, when it comes down to marketing.
I think Pinterest has a lot of potential because:
- It's interest-specific and you don't have to limit yourself to just one niche.
- It's buyer-oriented.
- It's still relatively unchartered – a lot of room to become a heavy lifter.
- It's addictive (and our sites are NOT).
- Its potential for traffic is tremendous.
- Your individual boards or pins also have potential to rank on Google and bring independent search traffic (one of my boards, Hot Men Netpreneurs, ranked on Google within a day. Of course, it's not a competitive term of any kind, but goes to show that it's possible.)
- I could think of a few more, but I need to wrap up the post.
The other side of the coin:
- It takes time.
- The results for your specific business are uncertain until you actually try it (of course, that goes for any new traffic generation strategy).
- Who needs another social network?
The last question was best answered by my friend Mitz in her recent Social Media Checklist for Website Builders post (paraphrased):
And there you have it.
OR AT LEAST SHARE THIS POST WITH SOMEONE WHO'LL PIN IT.