“Do we really need another social media channel?!” That was the premise I went in to this interview with.
“Yes we do!”, is my view following this chat … on the proviso that it’s easy to manage and provides a commercial return.
As the head marketer for Liberty Jane Clothing, Jason is successfully using Pinterest to drive traffic and rank highly on Google – and in my fireside chat with him, he shares exactly how he’s done it. Jason is also successfully using YouTube and Facebook to market his business, so our conversation naturally strayed in to those two channels as well.
In order to learn how to use Pinterest to market your business, the questions I asked included:
PLUS in this episode I give a big shout out to the guys at Key Person Of Influence and quietly mention the fact that I’m soon to open up the Small Business Big Marketing Forum.
#120 How to Use Pinterest to Market Your Business
Tim: Now, let me tell you about Jason Miles because he is a smart cookie. Jason, I approached a couple of months ago to talk about Pinterest, right? New social media. Everyone, you might not have even heard of it. I’m amazed at how many people haven’t heard about it. It’s been around for a while now – a while in social media time, you know, months. But Jason is … he is a vice pres — first of all, he’s an academic and, second, he’s also a business owner. Jason is the vice president of advancement at Northwest University in Seattle in Washington. He’s got a Master’s degree in Business Administration. But he also – what I love about Jason, he co-founded Liberty Jane Clothing with his wife, and he continues … he’s the prime marketer at that business. So let me give you some numbers around Liberty Jane. It’s got 150,000 digital guidebooks downloaded from their website. It’s a six-figure online business, 48,000 Facebook likes, 7,600 subscribers on the YouTube channel with 1.2 million views and he has written the definitive guide on Pinterest, called “Pinterest Power.” It is time we learn about Pinterest because, you know, it’s one of those social media channels – and I’m not one of the marketing guys who says, “Get on to all the social media channels.” I just think it’s quite daunting for any small business owner to have to consider, you know, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and now Pinterest. You know, that’s pressure. That’s cause for social media anxiety which is a condition in America for which they have clinics you can check into. I do want to interview someone at one of those clinics one day. I must get on to that. Suffice it to say that Pinterest is here and it would appear – having interviewed Jason now, I’m actually convinced that it’s actually a really good social media channel. What I love about it is it’s not an owner’s social media channel. You don’t have to sit there and think, “What am I going to write this time? What’s my post going to look like? What am I going to record? What am I going to tweet?” None of that. It’s just pinning pictures. I love that. It’s really low maintenance, a low-maintenance social media channel that can potentially get you a lot of traffic. And Jason, in this interview, explains exactly how that happens. So without further ado, let’s go over and have a listen to what Jason Miles, author of “Pinterest Power,” shared with me recently.
Jason Miles, marketing on Pinterest, author, welcome to Small Business, Big Marketing.
Jason: Thank you, sir. Yeah, nice to be here.
Tim: Absolute pleasure to have you all the way from Seattle.
Jason: That’s right.
Tim: Love it. Now, let’s get stuck into this because this is an interesting episode. It’s going to be a mix of like, you know, bird’s eye view of social media and Pinterest right through the kind of like the big question, “Why should we care and how the hell do we use Pinterest or why should we use Pinterest in our business?” So, Jason, if we can just have that discussion first about social media, what do you love about this social media phenomenon?
Jason: Yeah, you know, I think there are pros and cons to it. One of the things that we found over time is that it’s a great way to drive traffic to our e-commerce site so I guess I’m pretty practical in that regard. And if it didn’t drive traffic and if it didn’t result in sales, I’m not sure we’d be doing it in our small business. So I love that aspect of it. I think that’s probably why we gravitated towards Pinterest.
Tim: I’m going to pull you back a step over further before we get into Pinterest. What is it about social media that is kind of … that you think that you love?
Jason: Yeah. I think each platform is different. We started on YouTube and love YouTube a lot. We’ve got over 9,000 subscribers, 1.6 million video views on YouTube. So that was our first social media platform that we really took the time to learn about and understand And it’s got its own unique attributes. And then we started on Facebook and then really Pinterest came along for us. We never got into Twitter. So we like to take each platform for what it offers and for the unique way in which you can engage with people.
Tim: Now, when you say “we,” you’re talking about you and your wife’s business, Liberty Jane Clothing, yeah?
Jason: Correct, yup, yup. It’s a business we started in 2008 as an eBay seller and it’s just grown and grown from there, yeah.
Tim: So you’ve kind of also then branched out and become this kind of Pinterest specialist, written a book and, you know, sharing the Pinterest love as well.
Jason: Yeah, that’s right. I mean, we started on eBay. We did that for 18 months, got totally burned out, and then developed a better business model. And it’s really – now, it’s almost primarily, completely a digital goods business model. My wife designs doll clothes patterns for the American Girl doll. It’s an 18-inch doll. I don’t know if you’re familiar with it or not.
Tim: Nothing like a niche, Jason.
Jason: I know. It is funny, but you know what? It’s a pretty big, tiny little niche. And so we started publishing digital patterns. We’ve had over 200,000 of them downloaded in the last few years. It’s turned into a six-figure business, a thriving six-figure business. So she designs stuff, we auction it on eBay and then we publish the patterns as digital downloads. That’s sort of the business model we’re stuck into.
Tim: Listen, I was going to get stuck into the Pinterest discussion but you’ve – quite interesting. You’ve mentioned 1.6 million views on YouTube. I can’t let that go without asking how, and you then used Facebook and you ignored Twitter. So, man, there are so many questions there. Can we just, without going into too much detail, what’s the secret to 1.6 million YouTube views?
Jason: Yeah. And maybe I’ll just mention kind of our social media strategy in general. Yeah, YouTube … we started with contests, and YouTube is a great platform for contests, so we do a design contest, and it was really a simple idea. My wife can literally make any kind of doll clothes, you know, anything that she kind of can see, she can make. And so we had this idea to do a contest on YouTube. People can submit their videos as a response to ours and she would pick a winner and make that design, that outfit. The first time we did it, we had several hundred responses, video responses. The last few times we’ve done it, I think the top number of responses was like 2,300 video responses. And we have other strategies that we use but our primary strategy is either the contest, which we do twice a year, or how-to videos which have been huge, and that’s a great way to engage. So, yeah, over 9,000 subscribers, 1.6 million video views and, you know, there are YouTube users who have much, much bigger footprints than that that are in craft spaces, you know, doing craft how-to’s, that kind of thing.
Tim: Oh, wow.
Jason: So that was YouTube.
Tim: Do not leave YouTube. You do not want to leave YouTube. So I’m just trying to understand, and maybe you can send me a link to one of those contests so we can get a sense. I’ll put it in the show notes for this episode. But what are we talking, like, you to camera or you watch a camera saying, “Hey, send us your best design based on something and we’ll pick a winner, and then go into actually … we’ll actually take it to market.” Is that what you do?
Jason: Except we don’t take it to market. We just make it for them and send it to them. So then they go crazy over that and, you know, it’s a lot of doll collectors, you know, girls a lot of times who are in the 13-year old, 14-year old age bracket who still kind of like dolls but they kind of want to be designers. And we’ve kind of given this use for their design ideas and, man, it’s gone crazy. It has just gone crazy.
Tim: Great. Thank you for sharing that. Do send me an example. I’ll put it in the show notes. And you mentioned the how-to video, well, how to is the most searched prefix on the Internet, as we all know. So you are just out there, and you know, like I know this episode which we’re going to get into some how to around Pinterest will also … it gets stretchy. You know, whenever I do a how-to kind of episode, people enjoy it because they are … we’re all learning how to do something better when we cover a topic like that. Okay, so that’s YouTube.
Jason: Can I mention Facebook?
Tim: Yeah, go for it.
Jason: Yeah, so Facebook we’ve got, I think, over 24,000 fans now for our Facebook fan page. We were into Facebook pretty early. We used to promote a post in a Facebook advertising platform so, you know, we bought our way into some of that. But we turned the advertising on and off and we try to engage. That’s really the conversational platform for us. We do the standard things like, you know, quiz on Tuesday and questions on Thursday and, you know, stuff like that where we try to engage systematically. But we also use it as really targeted quick traffic. So if we have an auction ending at 6:00 in eBay, you know, we’ll put it out on our Facebook fan page at 4:30 or 5:00 and say, “Hey, an hour left,” and it really helps with bursts of traffic.
Twitter we just honestly never got into. We’re loving Instagram, and I’m writing a book on that. But Twitter never worked for us because my wife would have had to do the tweeting and it’s just not her thing. I’m the writer. I’m the marketer. She’s the designer. And so it just didn’t work for us. And so we said, you know what, it doesn’t socially fit in with how we do our business, just personally, our interactions, and so we’re not going to use it.
Tim: And even as a broadcast medium, you don’t see any value in it by simply, you know, okay, it’s not going to be a place to engage but, hey, what about if we do have stuff to say, which obviously you do. Why wouldn’t you just, you know, have a video or someone broadcasting updates around Liberty Jane Clothing?
Jason: You know, I guess we just felt like it’s not what we’re doing and we’re fine with that. It’s just a platform we’re not going to engage on.
Tim: Yeah, yeah. Well, there are only so many hours in the day.
Jason: Exactly, yeah. And we’re going to be good at what we’re good at and we’re going to let the rest go, you know.
Tim: Interesting discussion, Jason. As I said, I got you on the show because you’ve written this book marketing on Pinterest but have that kind of brought a social media discussion and take us inside your YouTube and Facebook strategies. Actually, Instagram, what’s your Instagram strategy?
Jason: Yeah, we’re loving Instagram a lot. I’m writing a book on that right now. It’ll come out. “Pinterest Power” was the first book I did this last fall and then “Instagram Power” will come out with McGraw-Hill again this year. So our Instagram strategy – Actually, what we’re finding is that Instagram is a lot like Twitter, except for images, you know, and so we’re liking it a lot. Contests are really hot on Instagram. We’re using a strategy in Instagram that’s really working well and I’m writing about it for the book, but it’s basically like a product launch strategy, a visual product launch strategy, where we take pictures of the product as it’s being designed and then as it’s being made. And then we say, you know, the product’s going to be on our site on Friday at noon. Boom! It sells. And so it’s sort of like a visual, you know, classic product launch style strategy. So we’re just learning. You know, we’re learning Instagram but we’re liking it a lot.
Tim: I’m struggling to see how Instagram differs between Pinterest in that sense so I look forward to kind of – I’ll put that question on hold but two visual social mediums there. So let’s just go. Here we go, jump off the cliff, Jason. Why should I care … why should we care about Pinterest as a marketing channel for our business?
Jason: Yeah, two words – referral traffic. It is a referral engine and really just a referral machine. It’s doing things that are just so incredible in terms of the volume of traffic that it’s referring in and I’m just happy to just mention sort of our site stats and the website that we really first learned about Pinterest through our Google Analytics. We didn’t learn about it socially or anywhere else. We learned about it looking at our Google Analytics.
Tim: All of a sudden, all this traffic’s coming from this thing called Pinterest, huh?
Jason: Yeah, and you know, our site is pretty big. Just in the last 30 days, we had 509,000 page views, 50,000 unique visitors, 85,000 total visits. So we get a lot of referral links for a lot of places. You just don’t pay attention to the ones that are driving a little bit of traffic but, you know, a year-and-a-half ago, summer 2011, we started to see Pinterest. And we didn’t notice much traffic but, each month, it started to grow. So July, August, by September 2011, we were like, “What in the world is this?” We checked it out, we learned about it, we started to realize that this was a phenomenal opportunity for us. We weren’t on Pinterest. We had no profile. We didn’t even know what it was. But what was occurring was our customers or fans or followers were paying content from our e-commerce site – Liberty Jane Patterns.com is the site – and they were socially sharing it and driving traffic. So we’re not stupid so, by about September, October, we thought, “Man, we got to figure out how to do this.” So we decided we were going to set up a profile. I decided I was going to blog about it publicly so last December, 13 months ago, we decided to launch our profile in Pinterest and we will launch one for the business that my wife manages and then I would launch one personally. And we saw our traffic from Pinterest absolutely skyrocket. You know, last December, over a year ago now, we had total visits from Pinterest of 1,141 with 443 referral links, links inside Pinterest pointing to our website. Well, the next month, January, that’s a year ago, we had 652 referral links and 2,000 visits from Pinterest, and that was right when we set up our profile. Well, fast-forward a year, in the last 30 days, we had – looking at my stats now – 6,600 visits from Pinterest and we have over 9,100 referral links now in Pinterest pointing to our website.
Tim: Isn’t one of those referral links considered a back link from an SEO point of view?
Jason: Yeah. When it was set up originally, there was do follow and no follow, so originally it was do follow, now it’s not. So the question about how strong it’s weighted for search engines, I guess that’s up to Google and Bing and all that. But it is an extra referral link, and so that was mesmerizing to us. It’s still mesmerizing. I mean, I just looked to see how many Facebook referral links we have. It’s 104. So we’ve worked in Facebook for what, four-five years now, have 23,000-24,000 followers and have 103 referral links. And in Pinterest, we have 9,100.
Tim: Can we just understand this referral link? So this is a link within someone’s Facebook or a link within someone else’s Pinterest back to your site.
Jason: Correct. And so what’s occurring in Pinterest is – and this is really why Pinterest is so mesmerizing as a marketer – the primary social behaviour in Facebook is to like someone’s comment or to comment back, maybe to follow them, to be a liker of their fan page, right? None of those things include a referral link being created, a new link to the – but in Pinterest, the primary social behaviour is to re-pin the image that you’re looking at. And when you do that, you replicate the URL that’s associated with that.
Tim: Yeah, right. So, by default, as soon as I grab an image from somewhere and put it on one of my Pinterest boards, bang! There’s a link back to that site where that image came from.
Jason: That’s right. And every time someone re-pins that, which is the common social behaviour, it’s replicating those links.
Tim: Okay. Let’s … we’ve just straight into why we should care … just for the <inaudible> *0:19:53 which will be many people listening, just explain Pinterest. I’m looking at the site now. The way they explain it, nice and simple. Pinterest is an online pin board. Organize and shared the things you love. Okay, so, Jason, exactly how does that work?
Jason: Yeah, so it’s really designed as a curation tool. You know, the function in your browser where you have bookmarks, it’s really designed to replace that with a visual image to serve as a visual image to serve up the content for every one of those links. So as you’re looking at it, you know, a user looks at it and sees a picture. A marketer should look at it and see an image that links back to a website. And so what you do in Pinterest is you set up an account and you start following people, and your Pinterest experience is created by their images that they pin. So if you follow all realtors, you’ll have tons of realtor-related images that you see in your Pinterest experience. If you follow all food lovers, you’ll see tons of food stuff. And so as a user, that’s the experience you’re creating for yourself. So who you follow matters in terms of what you’re going to see and what you ultimately will like and re-pin and create your own collections around.
Tim: So the idea is, first of all, do they call it a timeline? What do Pinterest call the –?
Tim: A feed. Okay, so you’ve got your own personal feed and whoever you like on Pinterest, other Pinterest accounts that you like, your feed is populated with what they pin, and then the other part of it is that you then set up your own Pinterest boards. Is that the right terminology?
Jason: Pin boards, yeah.
Tim: Yeah. Okay, so and you can have as many boards as you like. So I’m going to use this show as an example. We had, literally, this week just started a Pinterest account. Am I embarrassed to say that? No, I’m not embarrassed to say that. There are so many hours in the day. But what we’ve got is we have … I don’t have a feed yet. I’m not even looking at the feed. I’m not following anyone. It’s in its very early days but we’ve got a Pinterest board for every guest that’s been on the show and that’s been, you know, you’re the 117th guest so a photo of every guest which we’ll link back to that interview. That makes a lot of sense to me. I should have done that earlier. The second board is one that we’re creating because I’ve just brought on to my virtual marketing team a girl by the name of Jess who is going to scribe not every episode but a lot of episodes that I do and effectively turn each interview into an infographic, right?
Tim: Okay, you like that?
Jason: I do.
Tim: So then there’s another board that has little infographics or scribes of the key interviews that I do, and once again, linking back to the show notes to that interview. So they are a couple of examples of boards, yeah?
Jason: I like that. So I have a few best recommendations to give to people who are setting up their Pinterest account. We can use you as an example if you want and just rattle through a few ideas.
Jason: Yeah. So the first one is it’s kind of funny but you don’t start on Pinterest. To really set up a good marketing strategy in Pinterest, you want to start on your own website, and what you’re looking to do is audit your website and ask the question on every page or post, “Is there an image that effectively represents the content?” And so if you go to Small Business, Big Marketing, and, you know, so I did this earlier today and you look at your last interview, right? So looking at that, and what you want to do is there’s a tool that you add to your browser tools called the Pinmarklet tool. And it’s a little button that is installed onto your browser and it allows you to pin images from any website on the Internet that you’re looking at. And you want to install that and use it almost like an audit tool so – and I have it right here and when I click the ‘Pin It’ button on my browser, I see four images associated with your last post.
Tim: Okay. So let me just be really clear here. That is a – what’s it called? A Pin? What’s the button called?
Jason: Marklet tool.
Tim: Okay. So that sits on your browser and the level of your browser may be above your bookmarks bar or whatever it is. When you are on a page, you can hit that button and that will bring out any images that are pinnable. And then what do you do? You click one of those images and it heads over onto your Pinterest feed?
Jason: That’s true if you’re a basic user. But if you’re the marketer and it’s your website, the first thing you want to do is ask the question, “Do any of these images tell the story of what’s on this post or this page?” And so that’s the first step is really audit your site and ask the question, “Am I going to be able to serve up my content that’s in a way that’s Pinterest-friendly to people who are interested in using Pinterest to curate or collect this interview, for example, with Mia and then, in Pinterest, what will it look like?” And so what a lot content marketers are doing are making little, I call them promo graphics. It’s almost like a little display ad where you say, you know, five important lessons for content marketing or, you know, <inaudible> *0:25:38. And it’s a graphic that you install in the post or the page. It will content and it’s a descriptive pinnable content that people would choose. They would choose that every time if they want to curate content from Small Business, Big Marketing. And I can guarantee you, if you do that, if you fix that one thing, you’ll start having all your visitors who are into Pinterest just do that for you
Tim: Okay. So let’s just be … so the most recent interview is with Mia Freedman. What I should have – and one of the big points around that interview was how to target women in your marketing, right? And that was a big point. So what I should have done is gone and curated a nice little square postage stamp sized banner which said, “Listen in as Mia Freedman talks about how to target women or five ways to target women in your marketing.” And then embedded that image within the show notes of that post, yeah?
Jason: Or your infographic that you’re going to make would also serve that purpose very, very well. Yeah, so either way.
Tim: Cool. Cool. And then you’ve then got to make sure you got that Marklet installed onto your browser.
Jason: Yeah, exactly. So the first step is start on your own website and audit it. Second step it gets really easy. Create a great profile that explains who you are, the company, you know, what you’re trying to collect or curate, any credibility indicators, you know, the basics of a good social media profile, a good head shot or image. So those are a couple of basics. And then the third thing you want to do is get back into your analytics on your website and look to see who is pinning content off your website. What will happen is you’ll have people who are really crazy about Pinterest, trying to pin stuff off your website, and you can see them in your analytics. You can see the pins and you go find them and you’ll be amazed at who is out there advocating, sharing your content. And all you want to do is like them, comment, follow them and affirm them in what they’re doing. Those are some basic steps. Fourth thing you want to do is a marketing plan. I’ve a very, very straightforward marketing plan. It’s a four-step plan. It’s on my website, and we can get into that if you want. Fifth thing, con—
Tim: Can I just stop you on the marketing plan? Is that a marketing plan for Pinterest?
Jason: Yup, yup.
Tim: Give us the four steps.
Jason: The four steps are these. Establish an authority profile. The first step would be an authority profile that really clarifies, for example, your own Pinterest profile. I was going to look for it but the question is, on face value, does it, say, you’re the host of the number one Australian podcast on marketing? The basic authority profile. The second thing you want to do that’s counter-intuitive is you want to take all of your current fans on Facebook in your newsletter and invite them to find you in Pinterest because what they’ll do is they’ll friend all their friends from Facebook and they’ll friend you and you will be one step removed from all their friends. And when they start re-pinning your content, they’re sharing it will all their friends. So inviting your existing social media fans and followers to follow you on Pinterest is the second step. Third step is to become what I call a visual Sherpa. So, you know, you have to identify what you’re trying to accomplish in Pinterest and it needs to be service to your target market. So you really want to think through what do they want to see. Do they want to see randomness? Do they want to see pictures of my backyard or my vacation or do they want to see infographics and images related to content marketing or small business marketing? And really what it is is what you’d be looking for is content that is an image that’s a place holder for articles, videos, webinars, things that you know they would like. That’s the third step. And then the fourth step is what I call <inaudible> *0:29:51. It kind of depends on the kind of business you’re in but it can be a behind the scenes look at your business. It can be contests. It can be giveaways. It can be ways to let the Pinterest users feel more closer connected to you. And so that depends on the kind of business you’re in how you would approach that step. But it’s not rocket science. But if you don’t understand the basic goals of what you’re doing in Pinterest, you’ll flounder.
Tim: I’m just thinking one of the things that I do with … I’m pretty clear on the different roles the social media channels play in the small business, big marketing brand. The way I use Facebook at the moment, Jason, is that I – to me, it’s the way I share the lighter side of marketing. So if you go to the Small Business, Big Marketing Facebook, what you’re going to see is funny customer service experiences, funny headlines, funny ads, weird brochures, strange signage, you know, just the lighter side of small business marketing. And, you know, there would be hundreds and hundreds of examples that I’ve put there over the last couple of years. Would that be better suited to Pinterest?
Jason: No, I think it’s the opposite. I think you leave that as your strategy on Facebook because that’s what people have come to appreciate. And I think in Pinterest maybe you have a new thing and maybe it’s a library of the very best of the Internet related to Small Business, Big Marketing or maybe it’s just you personally saying, “Here are my pin boards related to email marketing and mobile and, you know, SEO and whatever, whatever.” And you do collections like that and you serve as a resource for your audience, and I think Pinterest is a great tool for that. It’s really like a library site and one of the reasons it’s very different than the other social media sites.
Tim: It’s like a library site. Okay.
Jason: <inaudible> *0:31:40 a library, yeah.
Tim: Tell me, I know there are a lot of people wanting to know in terms of who’s using Pinterest now. One of the things that, you know, when you’re telling me about the almost the instant success when you went into your Google Analytics 14 months ago and you saw this activity coming from Pinterest that you weren’t even … you didn’t even have an account at that point in time. I just wonder you’re selling Liberty Jane Clothing, you’re selling clothing designs. Your target audience is young girls, teenage girls. Is that right?
Jason: It’s ideal for this use. Yeah, it’s really the girls and their moms.
Tim: Okay, so girls, moms, women, and I know I’ve got a few listener questions actually that’s one of them. Is there a leaning towards women with Pinterest or why is there a lean towards women? You were in a category that Pinterest wasn’t made for, right? There’s a whole lot of small business owners listening to this who are dentists and chiropractors and carpenters, etc. Is it as relevant to them?
Jason: You know, I think it is. That’s one of the primary questions people ask, you know, when I’m speaking and that kind of thing. I use my own blog as an example. You know, so marketing on Pinterest is a basic marketing blog, and so there’s no product associated with that. It’s just pure content. I’ve gotten for that blog 14.8% of my traffic from Pinterest.
Tim: Yeah, but that’s a blog about Pinterest.
Jason: It is but it could be a blog about Twitter or it could be a blog about SEO or it could be a blog about washing machines. So that’s my other example. And so the answer is I think it can serve people who are in the service industries and industries that aren’t products and <inaudible> *0:33:39 product photography-centric. And the way in which it would serve in those cases is similar what I was just talking to with you, which is figure out what your ideal prospect wants to see and what they want to learn about and what they need help with discovering and be that person who’s curating content for them. And if you’re an insurance salesman, man, there are a dozen or 20 topics that people would be interested in. If they know that’s what you’re thing is and they follow you on Pinterest, they’re going to appreciate you pointing out those kinds of pieces of information. Will it be as effective as it would be for a product-focused business like ours? You know, I don’t know but it’s definitely worth <inaudible> *0:34:27 through.
Tim: One other thing is, you know, like I’ve just come off this speaking engagement with financial planners, financial advisers in the audience, and there was that social media discussion. And, you know, I’m not one of those marketing guys who – and I don’t think you are either – which, you know, you must be on all the social media channels or even any of them. It’s kind of person dependent. There are owners in terms of time and resource, and you’ve got to have stuff to say. One of the things that financial planners often fed back to me was, “But I don’t think my clients are on Twitter. I don’t think they’re on Facebook, you know.” And the same argument would come up for Pinterest, you know. So if your clients aren’t on Pinterest, is it still worth considering? I think I know the answer to it but what’s your view on that?
Jason: Yeah. It’s a good question. I mean, you have to find where your audience is. Clearly, originally for us, YouTube was the place where we found a cohort of our ideal prospects. Maybe that’s not Pinterest for somebody, you know, and I already mentioned that we just have always avoided Twitter. So you have to decide how it fits in with your strategy. I’ll tell you why we like Pinterest so much, and here are just a few things to think about. It’s social media without words. You know, you don’t talk. You don’t type. It’s not the custom to do tons of commenting or answering questions on it, and I think that’s very refreshing to a lot of people because one of the biggest questions people ask is, “Can I really cram in another social media site? You know, I’m just overwhelmed already with it all.” So Pinterest is social media light in that regard.
Tim: There are many social media in Nevada.
Jason: Exactly. That’s why Instagram is so awesome. Very cool that way. The second thing that’s very cool about Pinterest is it is not about real-time sharing. You know, two years ago when it came out, that was the real big change. That’s why – no, not really understood at first. Everything was about real-time sharing two years ago. You know, I’m checking in at Burger King and I’m checking in at the movie theatre and whatever. It’s not based on real-time sharing. And the third thing that’s very, very cool about it is it’s grassroots, not pushed marketing messages, you know, like the story of our business experience was that it was a grassroots user community of fans and followers that got us into this. That’s very different than Facebook, where you have to say a message for it to be received. You don’t have anybody working really hard for you in Facebook. You know, you’ve got to push your message through it. The fourth thing that we love about it is the content has what you might call a long shelf-life or half-life. The Bitly people, bitly.com, did research and Hillary Mason is their chief scientist. She looked at the half-life of a socially shared item and so a tweet has a half-life, or half of all of the engagement it’ll ever get, occurs in 2.8 hours. After 2.8 hours, it’s basically half-done and, you know. A Facebook comment or post has got 3.1 hours as its half-life. A YouTube video has a half life of 7 hours. And they haven’t published data yet related to Pinterest but I would imagine it’s longer. I know for our personal business we frequently get the most traffic from Pinterest in any given day from pins that have been pinned 30 weeks ago, you know, or 20 weeks ago. And the coolest part is that when you look, we didn’t pin those items. We weren’t the ones that initiated into Pinterest. So it’s very, very cool that way. And, obviously, as a marketer and you’re struggling with how much time and energy you have, you know, that’s the nice part about Pinterest is if you put items into it, they have a much longer shelf life or if you set your site up so that your customers can put content into it, it’s really an investment that’s going to pay off for a long time.
Tim: I think great point, and I think the fact that it’s got that longer shelf life means it’s going to have the opportunity for more people to find it and, if you are thinking, an additional answer to that last question is that, you know, when you are on a social media channel like Pinterest or Twitter or whatever it is, it’s kind of incumbent upon you, the business owner, to let people know because, at the end of the day, it’s a needle in a haystack. If you’re on Pinterest, cool. There will be people who will organically find you but unless you make it a call to action maybe on your business card or on your website, when you’re speaking to clients, saying, “Hey, you should check out my Pinterest board because there are a lot of good resources there.” That’s when, you know, you should get that additional action, traction.
Jason: Yeah, for sure. And the last thing I’ll just mention is – this maybe has happened to you before. I don’t know. In fact, I think I remember you guys talking about it in one of your podcasts. But, you know, our Facebook fan page got shut down last August. It was the fourth of August, 2011. That’s a year-and-a-half ago. And the traffic was immediately vaporized. And we had to, you know, do a little petition thing and you confirm that you’re a real person. They were trying to clean up all their spam accounts and that kind of thing. But it took several days for it to get turned back on. The cool part about Pinterest is all those referral links, those 9,100, those are diffused across so many user profiles and so many pin board collections. There’s no way to unplug.
Tim: Yeah, that’s nice. That’s reassuring. That’s reassuring. That would have been interesting moment when you found your Facebook <inaudible> *0:40:35.
Tim: Now, this is – I’m talking to Jason Miles who has a blog, Marketing on Pinterest. He has a book, “Pinterest Power.” Jason, I went out to my Facebook community, to my LinkedIn community and said, “Hey, I’m talking to Mr. Pinterest. What questions have you got?” And, as you expect, it piqued their interest.
Jason: Yeah, yeah.
Tim: So I thought if I could just hit you with those questions. I think we’ve answered a lot of them but if we just – there’s about … how many have I got here? There’s about … oh, well, there’s quite a lot out of the ones I have taken. I think all up, we’ve got about 30 questions but I’ve cut it down to about ten because there was a bit of <inaudible> *0:41:20. So let’s go through them. So I’ve got Kalana Gawkin asked, “Is it more important just to be active on Pinterest or should you try to promote your own products?”
Tim: Yeah, I would have thought so. You got to give and take, huh?
Jason: And show the whole depth of who you are and your company, a robust approach to it, not just product image, product image, product image.
Tim: Bianca Bollard asked, “How can a service-based small business benefit from Pinterest compared to an e-commerce business?”
Jason: Yeah, I mean, I think we touched on that a little bit. To the extent that you have a customer base that you can serve in it, there’s clearly a strategy for doing that.
Tim: Agreed. Guy Midson asked – which I think we’ve answered – how best to promote products? We’ve covered that. Here’s the next one from Mac Smirdon, “I have a personal Pinterest account but have neglected it as I’m sure what it’s all about … as I am sure …” I don’t understand that. “I would love to know how it can be beneficial to service business.” Okay, sorry. We’ve covered that. Okay, “Why do you think females have been such <inaudible> *0:42:33 of Pinterest?” asked Richard Hummerford.
Jason: That’s an interesting question. Pinterest is the first large social network that didn’t start in Silicon Valley or in a tech community. I suppose Facebook started on a college campus but, quickly, the moved to Silicon Valley. Pinterest started in Des Moines, Iowa. The founder, Ben Silbermann, said that it was first received well by mid-Western moms and Mormons. That’s his quote. That was the first user community in mid-Western cities in the US, and it grew from city to city. That’s the basic user community that it started with but it’s been growing at such an enormous rate, it’s really transcending that demographic. It’s just like, you know, Facebook started on the college campus but, ultimately, as it grew, it transcended that. So over time, Pinterest will take on the user demographic info that’s probably most similar to Facebook, which I think is like 58% female. And so that will ultimately be the gender split I would guess. But it clearly started in that community. But in the UK, for example, it started in the more Silicon Valley type male demographic, and so that was the initial user community in the UK. But it’s transcending that group there as well.
Tim: Yeah, okay. It’s always hard to generalize, isn’t it in terms of pro—there are a few questions here around profile, who’s using it, where are they, how long are they using for – it’s hard to generalize but I think it’s a fairly good summary that you’ve just given. Okay, so we’ve got Stewart Up with a … this is a comment. “I’ve mentioned Pinterest to clients and their response is, ‘What’s that?’ or ‘No, not another social media network.’” So, he said, “With Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, the people I’ve talked to are overwhelmed with what’s out there. My question is what are the benefits that Pinterest offers that differentiate it from other social networks?” Stewart, I reckon we have covered that in our – I love the fact that it’s less <inaudible> *0:44:41 so I think that’s a great way of looking at it. It’s like pin images. Bang! “Is it good for SEO?” Daniel Archer asks. Daniel’s a previous guest on the show. We’ve kind of covered that. You think Google factor in the referral links but you’re just not sure what weight they give it, yeah?
Jason: Yeah. Maybe that’s a question for somebody smarter than me.
Tim: Yeah, or for Google. Jillian Borg asks, “How do you make sales from it?” And I know that you’re marketing on Pinterest blog. Your tag line is ‘Make Money, Get Noticed, Expand Your Reach.’ So how do you make money from Pinterest?
Jason: Yeah, well, the referral link is a huge part. You know, the stats are saying on Pinterest use and there’s a whole collection of stats that have kind of started to document this now that people are socially browsing and finding things to buy through Pinterest and that it’s growing at a staggering rate. So it’s being used by people to socially discover things to purchase. There’s a beautiful collection of stats and information around that but bottom line – product photography is the cornerstone of it if it’s a product based, you know, concept. And infographics are great for content marketers and for people who are selling services. So, ultimately, you’re attempting to serve people with information or with a visual display of the product and drive them to your e-commerce site.
Tim: Jason, just kind of brainstorm here as you’re talking then, saying, okay, let’s just really be specific here so we can give an action to listeners as to what to go and do next. If you’re a product marketer, would it be a great idea to take a photo of every single one of your products and do a video review. Instead of just posting a photo of your product, actually posting an image of a video review that then links to that page on your site where that video lives. Likewise, if you’re a service marketer, there’s no reason why you can’t create some kind of graphic around every service you offer and, once again, turn that into a video of you talking to the camera about your service offerings. Is that a good start?
Jason: It’s a great start, and I should mention that you can also pin videos and they’ll play straight in YouTube – sorry, they’ll play straight in Pinterest. You can pin sound, audio files, mp3 files. They’ll play straight in Pinterest. You can pin a slideshow, slide decks, and so it’s not just an image. So if you’re a service provider, your video can be viewed and you can have a collection of videos right on Pinterest. Sure.
Tim: Well, that to me sounds like a really good start just to cover your entire product of service range with videos or slideshows or audios and take it from there. A little bit more work than just kind of pinning an image but I would imagine that richer content would pay off. Jason, is there anything I haven’t covered? Is there a question I should have asked that I haven’t?
Jason: No, I think this is good. A lot of the fears and misconceptions we’ve talked through. You know, people are pretty overwhelmed by it, the idea of a new platform, but, no, I think we’ve covered it pretty well. You know, the only last thing I’ll mention is that some people who are real hardcore Twitter users try to apply Twitter tactics to Pinterest and, you know, follow a million people so you get 600,000 people following you. Those kinds of strategies, it doesn’t work. Pinterest is very, very different in terms of how you grow than any strategy that you would use in Twitter in particular. It’s more like YouTube marketing than anything else. So you just have to realize that it’s just a different animal. But there are people who have 1.6 million followers in Pinterest and they’re driving massive traffic to their sites. It’s a real opportunity so, yeah, I think we’ve covered –
Tim: Jason Miles, “Pinterest Power” author, soon to be “Instagram Power.” <inaudible> *0:49:06 back when that book comes out. Thanks a million, mate, and I’ll put a link also to the book in the show notes so people can grab that off Amazon. Thanks, Jason.
Jason: Thank you so much. It was a real honour. I really appreciate it.
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