Pinterest’s Part in Selling

Pinterest’s Part in Selling
By Mark Cameron

Many brands have been focusing on and developing their online content strategies this year. Focusing on the performance of different pieces of content has allowed brands to dig deep into the content preferences of their customers. Consumer brands in particular have recognized that pictures and graphics regularly lead to increased engagement, compared with other types of content.

High levels of consumer engagement with image-based content are part of the reason that social media platforms like Instagram (now owned by Facebook) and Pinterest have had such dynamic growth numbers recently. A study published in the online publication Fast Company recently said that 44% of Internet users “…are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other media.” Even from a commercial perspective, a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Clever consumer brands have been quick to pick up on this trend and take advantage of its audience engagement opportunities. The beauty retailer Sephora is a great example.

Sephora has been quick to adopt digital marketing techniques across the board. Social media has featured strongly in their marketing mix for years now. Fortunately for Sephora, its brand naturally aligns with the trend towards image-based content. Given that Pinterest now generates more conversion focused referral traffic than Google+ and LinkedIn combined, it made sense for the Sephora marketing team to focus on the rapidly growing social platform.

Their focus on images and Pinterest is paying off. In a recent interview Sephora’s head of digital, Julie Bornstein, said “The reality is that when you’re in the Pinterest mindset, you’re actually interested in acquiring items, which is not what people go to Facebook for.” The interviewee also said that, “Pinterest followers spend more money than its Facebook followers, and not just a little bit more. In fact, Pinterest users spend 15 times more on Sephora products than Facebook followers.”

This doesn’t mean you should choose one platform over another. You cannot have an effective social media strategy that’s only focused on Pinterest. It needs to be part of your digital mix. But ensuring you can follow your customer’s behaviors and attribute interactions to sales figures means you will know how to optimize your content strategy.

For example, Sephora has 4.7 million Facebook fans, which they see as a “critical early-warning system.” Meaning they know very quickly if their customer base doesn’t like something, allowing the marketing team to pivot quickly. But as far as actual sales are concerned, Pinterest is the driving force.

So if you have a customer base that is likely to interact with beautiful, insightful or funny images (and who wouldn’t?) you may want to ensure your content strategy is taking that into account. If you want to actually see a return on what you invest on your social media activity, then image based content and the platforms that allow people to interact with it, is something you just can’t ignore.

Mark Cameron is CEO and lead strategist of social media conversion and commercialization agency Working Three. While his agency is based in Melbourne, Australia, he works for some of the world’s most innovative and forward-thinking brands. As a regular speaker and writer on social media and digital strategy, Mark stays focused on customers and outcomes, not the technology, leading to simple strategic conclusions.