IN-DEPTH: If your business has photos or digital marketing materials it would be a worthwhile investment of time to be an early adopter of Pinterest. Pinterest is viral and apt for brand awareness. However, in case of hotels, if their sole goal is to increase revenue, Pinterest might not be their marketing channel of choice.
By Ritesh Gupta
As Pinterest continues to hog the limelight, travel companies are exploring options to get themselves firmly ‘pinned’ to the Pinterest ‘board’.
The buzz around Pinterest continues to get stronger.
According to Milestone Internet Marketing, Pinterest not only gets 11.7 million unique visitors per month, but it also gets devoted visitors. In January, 2012, an average of 89 minutes was spent on the site per user. Unlike content driven channels such as Twitter (21 minutes) and Google+ (3 minutes), Pinterest falls into the visually rewarding category like Facebook (405 minutes) and Tumblr (89) minutes making users very engaged in these channels.
The medium offers a way for consumers to share images of anything. Users can create their own online pin boards to suit any theme and share it with likeminded people.
Understanding Pins and Re-Pins
According to a study by RJMetrics, a specialist in hosted business intelligence and data analysis software, Pinterest is retaining and engaging users as much as 2-3x as efficiently as Twitter was at a similar time in its history. It also found that:
· Pins link to a tremendously large universe of sites. Etsy is the most popular source of pin content, but it only represents about three percent of pins.
· Over 80 percent of pins are re-pins, demonstrating the tremendous virality at work in the Pinterest community. To contrast, a study done at a similar time in Twitter’s history showed that only about 1.4 percent of tweets were retweets.
· The quality of the average new user (as defined by their level of engagement and likelihood to remain active) is high but declining. Users who have joined in recent months are 2-3x less active during their first month than the users that came before them.
Independent digital marketing agency Greenlight recently mentioned that this ‘visually styled’ social network platform is already driving the social shopping experience.
“Users are often ‘buy hungry’ when they visit Pinterest. As such, it presents a very ‘ready’ opportunity for brands to sell products to users actively seeking them out,” said Charlie Elliott, Content and Creative strategist at Greenlight. “By joining Pinterest and sharing, brands can learn a huge amount from their followers as they are offering up a whole load of information into their personal interests. It is typically the sort of insight and intelligence a brand needs and would have to go to great lengths to get, in order to create and/or tailor its product offering to its target audiences taste.”
At the same time, Greenlight also pointed out that this social platform is not a broadcast mechanism in the same way as other social networks. Pinterest does not encourage product pushing. Therefore, brands will need a different approach to the likes of Twitter and Facebook and will have to be creative in their output, said Elliott.
Jennifer Stafford, Social Media Manager, HomeAway.com, mentioned that in terms of the social networks, and in addition to the mainstays of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, Pinterest has emerged as a favourite among mom’s who lead the charge in most travel planning activities.
“If your business has photos or digital marketing materials it would be a worthwhile investment of time to be an early adopter of Pinterest,” said Stafford.
Considering that 80 percent of the users are women, it is not surprising when it is suggested that one needs to post photos geared towards women’s interests.
After doing an analysis, Milestone Internet Marketing recommends that for hotels looking to expand their social media presence and increase brand awareness, Pinterest is the place to be.
What to expect?
According to Milestone, which measured engagement: re-pins, likes, comments, followers, and traffic to website for four hotels over a period of five weeks:
1. Hotels usually have great imagery making Pinterest a great channel for the hospitality industry.
2. At the same time, Milestone also suggests that if your sole goal is to increase your hotel’s revenue, Pinterest might not be your marketing channel of choice. While online retailers have seen a lot of revenue coming from Pinterest, that is not the case for hotels.
3. While Pinterest’s site domain authority is great, and many people are repining images that were originally linked your website, the link juice passing through is zero. Like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest is a no-follow link platform. Pinterest is also not a strong traffic driver for hotels as most people repin images but they don’t go to the original site.
4. Pinterest might be the most fun and visual rewarding marketing channel to work with, but it’s very time consuming.
If engagement and brand awareness is your marketing goal, then make sure pictures that attract women users are definitely being posted, photos should be uploaded consistently throughout the week and the day, promote your Pinterest account on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Blogs, and make people look forward to your pins because they are interesting.
Pinterest demonstrates strong user engagement, retention, and virality metrics, according RJMetrics. The company has found tremendous success among its core demographic. According to RJMetrics, with Pinterest continuing to explode in size, it will be exciting to see how broader adoption shapes the voice of its community. Pins about the home, arts and crafts and inspiration continue to dominate the content landscape, but the growing popularity of more broadly-accessible topics like Food and Product Recommendations could indicate that Pinterest is heading toward a more mainstream and commercialised future.
At this juncture, it seems that like other social media channels, it is best used for engagement and brand awareness.
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