Pinterest: how digital pictures can tell a thousand words, and then drive traffic to your website

Featured

By Johanna Waide

Pinterest – the latest digital media application everyone seems to be using in their personal lives as well as in the business world. It’s hard to believe that the humble pin board that adorns the kitchen walls has morphed into a virtual visual feast that allows us to reach beyond the written word to tell a story.

Put simply, Pinterest is a fast and cheap way to share content including photographs, videos and links to other websites. It’s also a great way to categorise images and content, by moving ‘Pins’ into separate pin boards like advertising, fitness and kids or pregnancy.

Signing up to Pinterest is currently by invitation only. Once the request to join is approved (which may take up to a week), users can then begin to follow, re-pin and comment on the pin boards of others that they find interesting or inspiring.

invitepin

signup

Since launching in March 2010 Pinterest has made waves because of its ability to draw big numbers in terms of online traffic.

Web information company Alexa.com reported that the site is currently ranked the 42nd most popular website in the world, coming in at number 26 in Australia. Additionally, according to Australian social media statistics, the number of Pinterest users grew from around 190,000 in February 2012 to 350,000 in March – an increase of 160,000 in just one month.

Industry experts say that this popularity will continue to climb as millions of new pins are added everyday from all over the globe. The site also has impressive ‘length of stay’ engagement numbers, third only to time spent on Facebook and Tumblr.

Because of this hype, Pinterest is already being used by businesses to further their online presence.

However, just as with any communication tool, it’s important to consider whether this new social medium aligns with your organisation’s core purpose and values, as well as how it can best be used in ways that benefit all stakeholders.

Here are our top five picks of the ways businesses might use Pinterest:

1. Promote products and services

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, making Pinterest’s visual focus a powerful opportunity for businesses to engage and educate audiences about its products and services. Ways this can be achieved include adding pins of new product images, ‘how-to’ video demonstrations featuring a brand’s products or user-generated photographs showcasing a products’ unique or special features.

2. Showcase core values – all of them

At present the site hasn’t created a distinction between personal and brand profiles. While the temptation may be to post pins related only to your products, user etiquette is very important within the Pinterest community, so boards that are too self-promoting won’t be well received.

US grocery chain Whole Foods Market have set a benchmark in achieving an optimal balance between product-endorsement, enticing user interest and showcasing the different facets of an organisation.

Quoted on Mashable, Whole Foods Market’s Global Online Community Manager, Michael Bepko, explains how they have leveraged the platform as a marketing tool: “It allows us to curate images from across the web that really speak to who we are as a company, images that reflect our core values and essentially communicate the essence of who we are.”

Whole Foods Market’s Pinterest profile currently consists of 40 pin boards. Pin board topics range from recipes using the store’s produce (which have quirky titles such as Cheese is the Bee’s Knees and Eat your Veggies) to boards that promote external causes including Earth Day. Although global in its outreach now, the organisation also pays homage to its humble establishment in Texas in 1980 and has a board that encourages people to pin useful, interesting & influential Texan things & Texans to follow on Pinterest.

To check out why Whole Foods Market has almost 30,000 Pinterest followers, visit their profile by clicking here.

3. Engage in conversation

For businesses Pinterest provides a channel to access and respond to user comments regarding their products or brand/s in general.

Additionally, like Twitter, Pinterest uses hashtags (keywords) to enable its search functionality and generate trending topics. By adding one or multiple hashtags to your pin descriptions (up to 500 characters), you can increase the likelihood users will come across your pins.

4. Add a “Pint It” and/or Pinterest “Follow” button to your website or blog

Adding a Pinterest button to your online platforms not only lets your audience know that you’re present on the site, it allows users to re-pin your posts to their own Pinterest profiles.

Follow this link to learn how to add Pinterest buttons: https://pinterest.com/about/goodies/

5. Drive website traffic

Last but certainly not least, Pintrest may help drive website traffic and boost search engine optimisation (SEO).

When users add a pin, they can include a URL in the description, thus creating links between posts and specific websites or blogs. Additionally, as PR and communications blog Bianchi Biz Blog aptly explain, when a user adds an image to a pin board from an online source, the original link is automatically stored within the image, allowing visitors to click back to the original source.

***

While these tips highlight just some of Pinterest’s exciting and innovative features, before deciding to use the social media platform, the golden rule of communication still stands: ensure it is (or has the potential to be) relevant and meaningful to your target community.

What primarily separates Pinterest from other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter is its adherence to a single media form, the picture. In other words, what you need to consider is whether pictures can tell your audience what you want them to hear. Can Pinterest tell your story?

Post to Twitter Post to Yahoo Buzz Post to Delicious Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

The truth about YouTube

Featured

Yesterday the Cube team attended a fascinating digital breakfast hosted by Galaxy Research with guest speakers Kate Mason and Henning Dorstewitz from Google.

With the explosion of viral videos, we explored and busted the top five myths about video content and YouTube.

But before we delve into that, can you guess what the most popular viral video was in Australia last year? To give you a clue, think of the wedding we were all talking about and combine it with some flamboyant dance moves. Yes, the T Mobile Royal Wedding viral was the most popular video in 2011 and has received over 25 million views to date. According to Henning Dorstewitz there are three reasons for this:

1) It’s timely and was developed when the Royal Wedding was on everyone’s minds

2) It’s well executed. It’s shot from the side isles of the cathedral and you feel like you’re there at the wedding amongst the guests

3) It’s funny. Flashmob trends are incredibly popular and this was the perfect opportunity for T Mobile to reinvent their brand

Now here’s to the top five myths about viral videos:

Myth #1: I need to have a viral hit to be successful on YouTube

This isn’t the case. You can be very successful and have a strong presence on YouTube without a viral hit. The most important thing is to think about is what will appeal to your audience!

Myth #2: Only funny videos are popular on YouTube

It’s actually ‘how to’ videos that instruct the end user about something informative that are the most popular videos on YouTube. If a company or business can make use of this strategy for their brand, then they should. An example is this shoe designer tutorial.

Myth #3: YouTube is only for young people

Statistics reveal 55% of women aged 18-57 access YouTube once a month or more.

Myth #4: A successful YouTube video needs to be unique and something nobody has done before

The most popular videos we’re seeing coming through often follow a trend. You only need to take a look at the T Mobile flash mob as the perfect example.

Myth #5: Videos have to be professionally produced to gain traction

Many fantastically produced virals cost less than $300. It’s what you’re telling the viewer that really matters. An example is this very funny and popular video about razors!

Post to Twitter Post to Yahoo Buzz Post to Delicious Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

What does Australian consumption of the internet say about us as a nation?

Featured

Internet usage in Australia has been hitting the headlines. Last August, Facebook publically announced that Australia has 9.5 million subscribers and that we’re spending more time on the social networking site than any other country. The Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed earlier this year that the number of internet subscribers in Australia has increased by a sizable 10% to 10.4 million in the past ten months. So what does this say about us as a nation?

Australia image

You could argue that it’s something to do with Australia being an island – we’re a long way from everyone else and we use channels like Facebook and Google+ to communicate with long lost friends and relatives overseas. But then wouldn’t the same ring true for the UK, New Zealand and Japan? Perhaps it’s down to us being the stereotypical “friendly, laid back, social” Aussies who like to communicate with our mates. No! What it’s really got to do with is that we are informed, online users and data suggests that we like to do our research on the web before spending our hard earned dollars.

As a nation, we’re spending on average 22 hours a week online and a fifth of that’s using social media channels. You see, we like to browse, make informed decisions and see what other people are saying about a product or brand before making a decision. And this explains why there has been a huge surge in the number of Aussies contributing and using online reviews, discussions, comments and ‘Likes’ before making a purchase.

And the same rings true for the medical profession. In August this year, Cegedim Strategic data released new stats about doctor’s digital habits. The research suggested that 30% of doctors own an iPad and 56% plan to buy one in the future. Out of those who own an iPad, 17% said they use it for both work and personal reasons.

We’re also seeing steps being taken by the government to electronically coordinate patient care across the healthcare sector. It’ll be interesting to monitor the success of the initiative to roll out the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system for Australians. From 2012-13, if we register, we’ll be able to see important health information in one consolidated view and share it with healthcare practitioners during our medical appointments. 

Nielsen published some very interesting data earlier in the year showing that we’re also leading the way in social media consumption. 73% of us read reviews, discussions and comments on brands, products and services at some stage and 26% do so on a regular basis. 46% have clicked the Facebook ‘Like’ button for a brand/organisation and 17% do so frequently.

Luckily we don’t have to stay glued to a computer to do our browsing. Nowadays, doctors can readily access mobile medical applications while in the hospital. Migraine patients can track their condition on the move, diabetes patients can log their glucose levels with a glucose buddy and smoking cessation apps motivate quitters while they are socialising by keeping a note of cost savings.

One thing’s for sure – Australian use of the internet is predicted to rise. In terms of what this says about us as a nation – it’s simple. We’re digitally savvy. We like to chat to our friends and family online, conduct web based research and shop around before we buy. Who knows what next year’s stats will suggest about our national digital habits. There’s only one way to find out – keep browsing.

Post to Twitter Post to Yahoo Buzz Post to Delicious Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon