Five reasons publishers should pick up Pinterest


In our latest guest post, Kingston MA Publishing graduate Kjell Eldor pins his hopes on the latest social media craze, sharing five ways publishers can get the most out of the site.

Pinterest is a pinboard-style social photo-sharing website which invites users to create scrapbooks, or ‘boards’, of things that interest and inspire them. If you haven’t come across it yet, you soon will. As of January the ‘virtual pinboard’ service has grown ten times in size, attracting 11 million unique visitors and doing so faster than any other site, ever.

The offspring of Flickr and Twitter’s influence, Pinterest incorporates all the social media tricks we’re used to. You can ‘re-pin’ other people’s photos, ‘follow’ boards you like and comment on the images you come across. ‘Pin It’ is the new ‘Like’.

It’s fun, and you can find some intriguing content, but the question is: what’s the point? Is it yet another distracting flurry of social media activity? Or a gold mine of hidden commercial benefits?

For publishers, who already have highly visual content to hand (book covers, sales material, page spreads, ebook screen shots, and more…), Pinterest provides a platform to draw more attention to your products and boost sales. How on earth can posting a picture of a book do this? Here’s how:

1. Web traffic

To sell online you need to drive high volumes of traffic to your website or sales channel. Since Take Time Inc’s Real Simple magazine started sharing images on Pinterest, they report it’s pushed more traffic their way than the established social networks Facebook and Twitter, both of whom have much higher user numbers.

Small-time blogger Kate Bryan went big time, hitting 10 million page views, after starting to share her work on Pinterest. Kate says: “my top 10 traffic-referring URLs are all Pinterest”.

2. Glorious links

Google doesn’t hand out the top search spot for nothing. It calculates how many weblinks track back to your product’s web page and ranks it from one to infinity accordingly. If you’re using the ‘Pin It’ button to add content to Pinterest it includes a link back to its source. This has added marketing value, allowing pinners to engage with your content in just one click.

3. Soft promotion

Ruthless self-promotion is off putting, but Pinterest allows content creators to share what they’ve been working on – in the form of interesting images – without screaming BUY NOW. It’s all about connecting with the lifestyle of your target audience, not dictating it.

4. Trend watching

Content creators need to remain on trend, developing products that tap into the vogue. A quick glance at today’s most popular pin boards (baking and crafts are in, it would appear – at least for Pinterest users) is faster and cheaper than market research.

5. Measurable impact

Finally, what’s going to matter most is how much web traffic and custom you generate. As you start pinning images over time, you’ll be able to see any impact for yourself. You’ll have evidence as to what people have and haven’t been pinterested in and whether this has converted into sales. We all know numbers go down well in the publishing world…

Watch Random House doing all of the above on their Pinterest board and check out MDG Advertising’s great infographic below for more tips.

Marketer's Guide To Pinterest: Pin It To Win It [infographic by MDG Advertising]

Infographic by MDG Advertising

Kingston University Graduate Kjell Eldor is Digital Projects Co-ordinator for Octopus Publishing Group. He blogs here, tweets here and pins here.

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