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(Expert Feature) Why Pinterest Might NOT Be Right For Your Business

pinterest analogy

You might want to think before you start “pinning.”


Gee, I can’t spend any time on social media anymore without running in to something about Pinterest. It is definitely the “flavor of the month”.

I don’t think there’s a social media trainer out there who’s not strategizing a Pinterest webinar or blog post to capture the attention of all those people in business who are hungry for information (and that includes me).

Pinterest is certainly #1 with a bullet.

The Hype

They went from 0 to 10 million users faster than any other standalone site in history. That’s according to comScore. Users are flocking to Pinterest and they’re pinning and repinning at a fervent pace.

I recall hearing on one webinar I attended that Pinterest users repin at a much higher percentage than Twitter users Retweet. They’re a sharing bunch all right.

Pinterest drives traffic, too. Lots of it. According to an infographic posted on Mashable with data from Shareaholic, Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google +, LinkedIn and YouTube combined.

That’s a statistic that really caught me by surprise.

Pinterest logo

From wikipedia

I would have guessed that Pinterest might beat any of these social networks mano a mano, but all three combined? This upstart social network is already a force to be reckoned with by the social media establishment.

So, if Pinterest has plenty of US users, who are spending major minutes on the network (by one account even more than Facebook though I’m skeptical), and following links to pins’ originating websites, this should be an ideal place for a business to throw up a board, right? Especially if you want to use social media as a traffic driver to your website.

The Demographics

Not so fast. Before you start thinking about adding Pinterest to your social media mix, I want you to be familiar with the typical user. With this information you can make a more informed decision.

Every webinar I’ve listened to; infographic I’ve viewed; and stats page I’ve read says the average Pinterest user is a woman between 25 and 54. I’ve also gathered she lives in the burbs and is well-heeled.

A simple way to corroborate this demographic information is to see what accounts are being most followed on Pinterest. A selection of the top accounts are NordstromReal SimpleEtsyKate Spade, and HGTV. Now my gut tells me that the aforementioned demographic profile would match the type of person who would like these accounts.

Interestingly, Mashable also has a top account, too, which is likely because there’s an overlap between people on Pinterest and those interested in all things digital.

The Decision

Now that you have some idea of the merits of Pinterest and who’s on the network, it’s time to consider the value of establishing a business presence.

Is your business visual? Or can it be? Do you primarily target women between the ages of 25 – 54? Are you in the fashion, arts and crafts, or home furnishings industry?

If you answered yes to these simple questions, then Pinterest just might be a slam dunk for you in terms of giving it a try if you have the bandwidth. Did you answer no to most of the questions?

In that case I think you can keep your focus where it is. What I want you to avoid is getting swept up in hype and noise. Don’t be a lemming. Be educated. Be thoughtful. Do your homework. Time is precious and you need to protect it like the gold it is.

This is true with all social networks by the way. Just because they’re popular it doesn’t mean your business should be there.

Your Input?

Let me know in the comments if you’re using Pinterest or just considering it.
What kind of business are you in? Are you seeing some positive results?

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About michael neuendorff (17 Articles)
Michael Neuendorff has been working with small business owners and independent professionals since 2008 to grow professionally. His areas of specialty are speaking, social, strategy and sales. Michael owns a Growth Coach franchise in the Bay Area as well as Speak Well and Sell. He is also adjunct faculty in the Business Division of Skyline College in San Bruno, CA. Michael has 20+ years of sales and marketing experience; extensive team building and leadership experience; teaching, training and mentoring experience and a proven ability to think creatively and listen deeply. Check the blog for business growth ideas. Attend an upcoming seminar or workshop. Read the latest issue of my acclaimed newsletter. * Michael is a 2BH contributor, so stay tuned for future articles from him.

2 Comments on (Expert Feature) Why Pinterest Might NOT Be Right For Your Business

  1. This is a good article because it made me think a bit more about this issue than usual.

    So I guess you are saying that I should wait until my competitors show me where to put my attention? If people followed this advice then Pinterest would never expand beyond the current demographic.

    I’m not saying your wrong but I always try to look at the assumptions. Social media is a new form of advertising. The new Internet marketing paradigm is to connect with fans and then give them a reason to buy. (It usually also involves giving something valuable away for free.)

    So one way to look at Pinterest is that their current demographic is not the one I’m looking for so don’t use it. Another way it to try some tests to see if the demographic I am looking for is underserved on Pinterest, then measure the results of those tests. (Always measure.)

    Another thing to consider is what does Pinterest offer that is unique among all other social media platforms? Can you use Pinterest in a way that will make your product/service stand out from all the other places where you already have a presents?

    I’m no expert, but these just seem like common sense ideas to think about.

    • Robert,
      Appreciate your thinking on this matter! It’s stimulated me to think about it more, too. Most marketers like to market to their ideal client no matter where the marketing is happening: online or offline. In Guerrilla Marketing we’re taught to spend most of our time marketing to customers past and present, then prospects, then the universe (absolute strangers). The last category would get about 10% of our energy and budget.

      What I’m saying here is if you want to dabble with Pinterest even if the current average user profile is not your ideal prospect, then by all means go for it. You might establish a presence over time that stands out since you’ll be different than the big players that are targeting the suburban female pinner.

      I just wouldn’t want to see you shift your main focus away from your past and present customers, and identified prospects or you may end up pinning your hopes on the wrong marketing vehicle.

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