Should I Be On Pinterest?

by Ruud Hein July 31st, 2012 

pinterest-cake

That's a big fat yes. The question is the proof of the answer.

Too Zen-y for you? OK.

See, the only reason you're asking this question is because Pinterest is on your radar; and the only reason Pinterest is on your radar is because Pinterest has left the Circle of "Huh?"; the place where all such products start and none of us have to worry about them because none of us know about them.

Pinterest has now entered the Circle Of "Uhhh…" where normal folks like you and I know it exists but we're unsure why and almost clueless as to how we would use it or what we would use it for.

But the fact that we are neither Pinterest users nor part of its niche subculture, that fact means this thing is on common people's radar. It's time to move in and stake your claim.

The Real Question: Should I Be Active On Pinterest?

Being on Pinterest is a no-brainer. Of course you should have your branded accounts opened there.

The question is: should you be active? Should it be one of your primary channels or remain a secondary one (remember, "not having an account" is not an option)?

What's The Successful Outcome?

Using a medium for business serves one of 3 purposes:

  1. Communication: letters, faxes, emails, documents, interview, mission statements, telephone calls — just plain old communication to get things done, to order new computers, hire someone, confirm an order, etc.
  2. Lead generation: we want people who want to buy stuff from us. Now.
  3. Branding: long-term lead generation.

What immediate purpose do you hope being active on Pinterest serves?

Test & Measure

When you know what Pinterest is supposed to do for your company, testing if it does that becomes a simple question of measuring.

"What do I measure then?"

You measure the metric corresponding with your outcome: number of sales and size of those sales for immediate ROI; new visitors for lead generation; online mentions for branding.

Decide

Based on your measured test results, decide.

The numbers you get back may not be in line with your gut feeling about the service's usefulness, either positive or negative. That's OK. That's why you're a business professional; because you're good at this. But if you feel the number should be different, could be different, then set up another test to make that clear.

Remember, it doesn't have to be about the channel, it doesn't have to be about Pinterest. Your campaigns, brand, product, style of communicating — anything could not be clicking. But that's besides the point. If after repeated testing Pinterest doesn't add to your bottom line as per the outcome you've set for it, whether that is through your "fault" or Pinterest is irrelevant to the conclusion to not make it your primary channel.

Conclusion

  • You should be on Pinterest because by the time regular folks like you and me start thinking about these things it's already clearly beyond niche
  • Yu need to define the outcome of being active on Pinterest
  • Then you need to test if you can make that outcome happen using Pinterest
  • Decide whether you will be active on Pinterest or merely present based on the numbers you get back
  • The numbers won't lie: if it works, it works; if it doesn't, it doesn't. Why is a moot question

If you liked this, you might also enjoy Just Who Do You Think You're Talking To? Owning Up To Women

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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6 Responses to “Should I Be On Pinterest?”

  1. I might have to disagree, Ruud. Like any "marketing channel," business owners should approach Pinterest with attention to their bottom line. With social networks, true success rests on continuous engagement and presence. If your business isn't a true fit with the Pinterest users and users aren't converting or visiting your site from Pinterest, you may be wasting precious time. Like anything, there is an opportunity cost in spending time on such things.

  2. Of the three outcomes listed, I gotta think Pinterest fails on the first point. The site isn't very good for any communication that isn't visual. On the other hand, if you have a product you want people to buy, Pinterest has specialized pins that display the price and prompt viewers to click on. It's really just a judgement call if it fits with your business or not.

    • Ruud Hein says:

      I think a company using Pinterest will want to use it for outcome 2 and 3; using it for plain old communication is not the best idea. Then again, visual communication can be very effective too.

  3. I'm using Pinterest for a while…Have hand ful of followers but still missing out the traffic…I believe it all depends upon what niche you are on and what kind of follower base you have..is int it?