“In order to be understood, first you must understand,” said one of my college Rhetoric professors. (Sidenote: rhetoric is the fancy liberal arts college way of saying “speech”) It was then thatIsawtheimportanceoflistening and was reminded of one of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, listening. He says that sometimes people are so focused on what they want to say, they fail to listen and end up saying something uninteresting. Besides general conversation, this emphasis on taking in words rather than spitting them out is a valuable marketing tool. And this tool definitely applies to a new social platform, Pinterest.
We’ll start with a few obvious things to lay on the table for a basic understanding of what’s going on in this new world. First of all, doing a Quantcast search on Pinterest tells me that about three in every four Pinners is a woman. That fact alone may determine whether or not you read the rest of this article. For those masculine marketers out there, I suggest you carry on for the simple fact that it’s good information to know and perhaps will enlighten you on a new way of thinking. For everyone else, bear with me for alittleremedial information, or skip to the next section.Even if you don’t have Pinterest,it’spretty easy to understand how it works. Let’s say you market sunglasses (like myself), and you search for sunglasses using the search bar. Bam, a myriad of sunglasses, people wearing sunglasses, and even pictures without people in sunglasses or even sunglasses. Next, I’ll click on products and search sunglasses for a glimpse of the user’s preferences on if they like products are designer versus generic. Then, I’ll hop over to the “popular” board and see what’s generally trending if I want to create a post with broad appeal. And last, I’ll click on a sunglasses pin and look at the board in which it was pinned to, called “fashion” to see what other styles and items this person is interested in.The great thing about Pinterest is you can create boards while you’re researching to keep everything you find in order and caption them with notes to yourself. When you repin something, Pinterest forces you to catergorize it to a board, so you HAVE to stay organized. Just be sure to thank Pinterest in the end.
Now if you’re a beginner, I highly recommend pinning a bit before moving on to the next section since we humans learn by doing. Otherwise advance at your own risk.
A Few Ways to Do a Little More Advanced Pinterest Market Research
Now, for you experienced pinners who’ve skipped ahead, along with those who are now caught up, let’s get cracking. Here are five ways to gather a little more in-depth perception of your audience.
1. Use Google Ad Planner Tool. Like the Quantcast search above, Google Ad Planner Tool will tell you who the Pinterest users are. It sums up their interests and which sites they visit along with sex and age group information so you know exactly who you’re appealing to. It’s a great summarizer when Pinterest’s walls so giant with too many caverns of information that an Ad Planner Pinterest.com search brings order to the chaos.
2. Research the Competition. Some of your competitors’ brands have probably created their own Pinterest accounts with their own boards and marketing efforts towards this audience. By diving into their boards, you can see their most and least successful pins along with any big marketing strategies they’ve tried.
3. What’s Been Pinned from Your Site. A simple Pinterest domain search can show you everything that’s been pinned from your website. To do this, type this into your browser: http://pinterest.com/source/”yourdomain.com”. Note that this is especially great when you haven’t created a Pinterest account because it shows what your audience enjoys without any of your own influence.
4. Host a Contest. Right now, our SW blog is hosting a Pinterest contest on Spring Break. By asking people to pin things about your subject, you can see exactly how they view your product/service or any other topics you steer your questions toward. Plus, it’d be great practice to learn Pinterest for you beginners besides seeing how we’re trying to use it. Oh, and the prize of free shades and a $50 Target gift card.
5. Dive into Google Analytics. We’ve used Google Analytics to see how much revenue comes from Pinterest in order to measure how much time is worth spending on Pinterest content. We have found that some sites’ content produces more revenue than others and thus toned down a few of our sites’ efforts. Unfortunately, it won’t show you which pins people clicked to get to your site and make a purchase, so looking at repins and trying to correlate the products purchased with pin subjects is important.
Needless to say, there’s a lot of upside in Pinterest if you don’t get sucked into pinning for an hour. Yes, some users only pin already pinned subjects and don’t add any fresh content to the Pinterest pool that creates a stale environment for data collection. But if you look at Ad Planner’s visits history, you’ll see that it’s growing at an insanely fast pace. Such an increase tells me the effort to create a Pinterest account and build a fanbase now is worth it. But if anything else, its research potential will only get better with time. All you have to do is choose to listen.