By Brooke Tomasetti

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I get this question a lot, so I’m excited to shed some light on the subject. Pinterest presents an interesting opportunity for B2B companies to drive traffic to their websites and convert those visitors into leads.

Users on this platform tend to be well-educated with above-average income, and 93 percent of them utilize Pinterest to plan purchases, while another 87 percent of users indicated that Pinterest helps them decide what to buy. Sounds great, but what if you aren’t selling visually appealing jewelry or cute dog toys?

Hopefully you weren’t expecting a direct yes or no answer, because like most things in marketing and business, the answer is “it depends.” I put together a list of questions to think through that will help you determine whether or not Pinterest is worthwhile for your B2B organization.

What goals do we want to achieve by using Pinterest?

Pinterest is an ideal platform for driving traffic to your website and strengthening your brand identity by positioning yourself as a thought leader in your industry. These are the two focus goals that align best with Pinterest. The platform is also ideal for inspiring and delighting existing customers with content they love. I would argue that this is more of a secondary goal, with the primary goal being to generate top-of-funnel traffic back to the site.

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Is our website fully optimized for conversions?

Let’s say that you follow all of the Pinterest best practices for scaling an account that drives thousands of visits a month to your website. If you can’t convert this increase in traffic into leads, the effort you put into the Pinterest account is all for nothing. Sure, you might be building brand awareness, but if your website isn’t set up for success, you are better off allocating resources to increasing the conversion rate of your site than putting resources toward Pinterest.

After your site is optimized and you’ve started working on increasing the visit-to-contact conversion rate, keep in mind that traffic from Pinterest typically converts at a much lower rate than organic or referral traffic. Even when it comes to e-commerce stores, which tend to perform best in terms of generating purchase conversions on Pinterest, the conversion rates from social media are higher on Facebook (1.85 percent), Vimeo (1.16 percent), YouTube (1.16 percent), Instagram (1.08 percent), and Twitter (0.77 percent), than on Pinterest which has an average conversion rate of 0.54 percent for e-commerce shops.  

How does our industry tie into popular Pinterest categories?

The top 10 categories based on a 2017 survey of Pinterest users’ favorite categories include:

  • Art, Art Supplies, and Hobbies
  • Flowers, Food, Drinks, and Gifts
  • Home, Garden, Pool/Spa
  • Health and Beauty
  • Clothing and Apparel
  • Entertainment
  • Jewelry, Handbags, and Accessories
  • Sporting Goods
  • Footwear
  • Baby Gear

Just because your products and services don’t fall into one of those categories doesn’t mean that you should rule Pinterest out. Get creative when thinking through how your industry might tie into some of the more popular categories. For example, HubSpot has created several holiday gift guide boards on Pinterest. They also have a board focused on career advice for Millennials.

Who are my primary buyer personas?

There are a few key user stats to keep in mind when determining if Pinterest is a viable social platform for your business. A research study found that about 41 percent of women use Pinterest, while only 16 percent of men say they use the site. Pinterest indicates that:

  • Half of new signups are men, and men make up 30 percent of their user base.
  • 50 percent of Millennials use the platform every month.
  • 40 percent of users have a household income over $100k.
  • 60 percent of user households have children under the age of five.

Many companies assume that because their target market is men they shouldn’t bother with Pinterest, but in reality, men are using Pinterest at an increasing rate. You also have a better chance of standing out in the eyes of male users if your boards and content focus on men.

Can I get creative in terms of visually displaying the brand?

B2B companies often shy away from Pinterest because they understand that their products aren’t visually appealing, or maybe they provide a service and haven’t thought through all of the different ways to create relevant visual content. This might be the only question on the list where the answer is always yes. If you’re providing a product or a service, you are impacting the lives of other people in some way. Think about what your product or service does for other people, what other interests and values your buyer personas have, and how these might translate visually.

Below are a few ideas for creating unique visual content for your Pinterest account—even if you’re in the most boring B2B niche:

  • Turn a white paper or e-book into an infographic.
  • Create quote images that resonate with your buyer personas.
  • Put statistics related to your industry and buyer personas into visuals.
  • Highlight industry influencers and/or news.
  • Focus your boards around your buyer personas’ interests and lifestyles. For example, if I own a productivity and time tracking app for agencies, I might create a board called “10-minute meal prep.” If my potential customers are interested in productivity in their work life, they’re likely also interested in productivity hacks at home.

Do we have the resources to execute a consistent strategy?

Even if you believe Pinterest to be a good fit for your brand and target market, if you don’t have the time and resources to allocate to this platform, it likely won’t make sense to start right now. There are tools that can help you whip up creative pins, schedule pins, and more, but if you’re going to give the platform a true test for at least six months, you’ll want to have enough time allocated to it.

Making the Decision

What conclusion did you come to after reviewing these questions? Did you decide to commit to building and launching an optimized Pinterest account, or did you find that your time may better be spent on other platforms such as Instagram (a.k.a. the new Facebook)?

Either way, I hope these prompts helped you think through what’s best for your business. Next time someone asks you if Pinterest is worthwhile for B2B companies, you’ll have some great talking points!

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Brooke Tomasetti

About the author

Brooke Tomasetti is a Marketing Consultant at SmartBug Media. She previously worked in digital marketing at a creative marketing and branding agency. Her goal can be pared down to using digital marketing to drive lead generation and revenue for clients. Brooke specializes in social media, generating ROI from paid social, marketing strategy, and maximizing her client's use of the HubSpot platform. Read more articles by Brooke Tomasetti.