What is 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
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?
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
There is a lot of hubbub about Pinterest and how users are violating copyright. If you want to read more in depth about my opinion on that, read this article entitled "Why Pinterest is Not Violating Copyright Law Any More Than Facebook Is."
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.
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