The Problem With Pinterest

What is the Problem with Pinterest?

The Problem With Pinterest

Don't get me wrong. I like Pinterest. I enjoy it. In fact, I'm quite addicted and sometimes spend hours pinning the night away. I even wrote a separate article entitled, "What's So Great About Pinterest?" that highlights all the reasons it's a great social media platform. It does have its drawbacks though, especially when it comes to using it for business and promotion. Of course, depending on the specific type of business, these drawbacks could turn out to be good things, or you, as a business owner or promoter, can find ways to make them work to your advantage.

Photo Credit: midiman, CC:BY, via flickr

Poll: Do You Use Pinterest?

I'm on Pinterest! My username is kburns421. Feel free to check out my pinboards. When I'm not promoting, I mostly pin circus and gymnastics inspiration, clothing, high heels, recipes, drinks, and funny memes. Follow me if you're interested.

What about you?

Problem #1: Demographics

  • The majority of Pinterest users are women.

I myself am a woman, so believe me when I say I have nothing against the female gender. This becomes a problem though if your company sells products or services with men as the target audience. It can also be a problem if you've already captured the female demographic and are looking to now capture the male demographic.

How can you use this to your advantage? There are some men on Pinterest, so you just have to find them. Another possibility is to put a spin on the way you're promoting to either a) get women interested in using it for themselves, or b) make women see that it is something the men in their life need. By doing the latter, you can still advertise products that women cannot use themselves.

  • Surveys have shown that 50% of Pinterest users have children.

This isn't exactly a drawback. A 50/50 cut is good whether what you're promoting has anything to do with children or not. Just make sure the right people see your pins by following those who are in your target audience, creating pinboards that those in your target audience would want to follow, and using good keywords in the description of your pins.

  • The majority of Pinterest users have an annual income between $25,000 and $75,000.

This is only a drawback if what you're promoting is targeting families with incomes higher or lower than that range. Then again, most advertising mediums are going to reach people with that demographic anyway. Just as one would have to advertise, say, in specific niche magazines targeted at the high income class to sell an expensive product, you have to find that niche in Pinterest if that is your audience. Again, it's all about finding the right users and getting them to see what you pin.


Revealing the demographics behind Pinterest's users

13 "Pinteresting" Facts About Pinterest Users Infographic

Problem #2: Photography

Pinterest is all about pictures. It's all about the presentations. Mediocre photos aren't going to go very far. That's great if you're a photographer or are promoting something that makes for a great photograph. Computer generated graphics can also go far if they're funny or really well made. What if what you're promoting doesn't lend itself to amazing photography or interesting graphics? That's a real problem. You have to find a way to show what you're promoting with a good picture. It has to be visually appealing but also relate to your product, service, blog, etc. If you have a really beautiful photo of a cupcake, but your company sells water bottles, the picture might get pinned a lot, but it won't bring in business. The people who pin pictures of cupcakes are people who want to bake said cupcakes. They will click through to your site expecting a recipe and leave disappointed when they don't find that. Similarly, if you pin a beautiful picture of water flowing out of a bottle into someone's mouth, it might not get pinned a million times, but the people who do pin it are likely to click through and actually be interested in what you have to offer.

Video: How to Use Pinterest for Business

This is a brief video that explains Pinterest and gives a couple different examples of how to use it for business with other companies as examples.

Problem #3: Clicking Through

The third problem is that just because a picture is pinned many times, it doesn't mean anyone is actually clicking the link to see the site it came from. I, for one, am guilty of this as are most other pinners.

One way around this is to make them want to see more with the text you include. You give a description whenever you add a pin or re-pin. Make it short, sweet, and to the point, but make it attention-grabbing.

When others re-pin your picture though, they might change the description. You have no control over that. That means the BEST way to get people to click is to make the picture compelling. You can also put text directly on the picture before you pin it using a photo editing program, but do so sparingly.

Problem #4: Copyright

There is a lot of hubbub about Pinterest and how users are violating copyright.

The real problem posed for a person promoting themselves or a business is that a link might get broken, or someone might find an image from your site through Google images or a website that is not yours. That isn't something that's going to change though whether you're on Pinterest or not. Users can still pin pictures from your website.

To remedy that, or at least combat it, why not be proactive and start pinning pictures from your website yourself? Once you pin them onto Pinterest, they will get repinned and passed around, but they will have the correct link. Since you pinned them yourself, you can rest assured that they are linking to the correct source.

If you're not a Pinterest user and do not fully understand how the site works and what I'm talking about with links, the copyright article above will explain that better.

Books to Help You Learn Pinterest

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Comments or Questions?

Don't by shy! Let everyone know what you think of these ideas or what you think of Pinterest.


102 leaves
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bill on said:
I use Pinterest only for Zujava. Otherwise I probably would not use it. I agree about the demographics, it's dominated by women. I rarely see guys stuff on there, but I post it anyway.

Welcome to Zujava! Great first leaf.
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I've used it, but didn't have a lot of success.
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kburns421 on said:
It's kind of hit or miss sometimes when it comes to promoting a business or yourself. Certain photos especially do better than others.
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Daniela12 on said:
I don't have a pinterest but this really helped me on getting an idea of the audience. I'm very surprised Pinterest has more female members than men.
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kburns421 on said:
I was hesitant to join at first. I didn't see the appeal, but now I love it.
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Joining Pinterest is on my to-do list. Thanks for the info.
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Bonita on said:
Good insights! I am a Pinterest junkie, but most of what I like and promote falls within their demographic so that's why it's been a big success for me.

My biggest issue with Pinterest is copyright. I always click through to make sure that what I'm pinning is okay to pin and also so that I'm not just pinning pictures without the accompanying information to back them up. If it's a tutorial I actually want the tutorial and not just a picture of it, know what I mean? My other pet peeve is people who give an entire recipe or tutorial in the comments so no click through is necessary. Kind of stinks from a marketing perspective and is also a plagiarism issue.

Nevetheless I LOVE me some Pinterest!

Thanks for taking time to point out the problems with Pinterest. You did a nice job!
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kburns421 on said:
Thanks! Your comments about copyright motivated me to write an article about that issue that I'll link to in this article since it seems to be a hot topic, the whole Pinterest and copyright violation thing. I agree though that, from a marketing perspective, it is annoying when people do that. We need that click through!
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Rose on said:
I haven't joined Pinterest mainly because I like reading text and watching videos and images are just there to illustrate points, they arn't the main thing. Also, part of me is holding back in case Pinterest is a fad.
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GonnaFly on said:
I haven't got into pinterest because of the copyright thing and ignorance (on my part). I do love looking at their pages though. If I find a pic that interests me I always go to the source. Unfortunately some people have google image search as the source.
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Butterfly on said:
I do have some concerns about pinterest, but I have received quite a bit of traffic from things I have pinned. Some subjects seem to do much better than other topics. I think I just have to learn more about when and what to pin.
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Like you I was hesitant in becoming a user of Pinterest but I joined and I am now so glad that I did. Pinterest is booming and gaining in popularity daily. It truly is a fun social community (and a great site for gaining visitors).

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