Beyond the Basics of Pinterest Marketing – Interview with Daniel Maloney

While many US businesses continue to focus their social marketing efforts in legacy platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest has very strategically grown from a cool little outlier for reaching women who like to cook, decorate, and craft to a highly valuable marketing tool for all kinds of brands.

We recently had a long conversation around the advances in Pinterest marketing with Daniel Maloney, CEO and co-founder of Tailwind. Daniel is an entrepreneur who loves to leverage technology. His love of start-ups and business development enables him to keep an eye on the bigger picture while developing marketing efforts.

Daniel Maloney, CEO Tailwind

AuthorityLabs: What is the Pinterest Marketing Developer Partners program?

Daniel Maloney: The Marketing Developer Partners (MDP) program helps businesses optimize and scale their Pinterest marketing while maintaining the high quality experience that Pinners have come to expect. Pinterest has hand-selected a small group of trusted partners, such as Tailwind, who are able to access Pinterest’s APIs and data to build value-added apps for marketers.

AL: How do 3rd Party marketing partners, like Tailwind, help brands grow their business?

DM: MDP partners help brands in multiple ways. At Tailwind we focus on a few key elements that lead to better results for marketers:

  1. Provide insights that enable marketers to test and optimize their campaign strategies, ranging from the atomic-level (e.g. content performance) to high-level (e.g. ROI analysis).
  2. Build tools that promote efficient workflow, so marketers can achieve more with less. Tailwind members seem to especially love our Publishing workflow tools that enable pin scheduling and efficient content discovery.
  3. Create innovative capabilities that empower people to do things they otherwise could not do, such as running custom campaigns that can amplify their organic results by activating brand advocates.

AL: How are brands putting the first Pinterest ads to good use?

DM: Promoted Pins are proving quite fruitful for many brands. How each brand uses these ad units varies based on their strategy. For instance, we see many brand marketers such as CPG companies promoting evergreen content where their products are used in context, such as recipes containing a certain candy bar or liqueur. Conversely, we see retail and e-commerce companies more often driving Pinners straight to products. Pairing Tailwind’s Insights and ROI tracking capabilities with Promoted Pins helps promote the products that generate the best downstream return.

AL: How should brands leverage the “Buy It” button on Pinterest?

DM: The Buy It button simply makes product pins more valuable. To me, it’s a no brainer. If you sell products direct to consumers, you should implement the Buy It button as soon as possible. This will enable you to generate more revenue from every pin and repin of your products, without any incremental work on your part. With 80+% of Pinterest’s traffic coming from mobile, this is especially important. Mobile e-commerce conversion rate has been a struggle for most brands; shortening the funnel with Buyable Pins should help drive mobile purchases.

AL: How do brands that don’t have tangible or consumer focused products make good use of the activity on Pinterest?

DM: Contrary to popular belief, most of the brands we see on Pinterest are NOT selling tangible products direct to consumer. If your business does any content marketing (and it should!!), Pinterest can be a powerful part of your digital toolkit. The super power of Pinterest is that Pins are evergreen. Unlike Tweets or Facebook shares, most of the engagement with a Pin happens days or months after it is initially Pinned. Similar to how you build up organic search traffic by publishing more content and earning links back, building up Pins and Repins creates new pathways potential customers can use to find you over time.

AL: Are Pinners more inclined to make purchase decisions than users of other “social” platforms? Why or why not?

DM: Yes, our data shows that Pinners are more inclined to make purchases. Pinterest is an aspirational platform, focused on the future life Pinners want to lead. This naturally lends itself to discovering products and services they will need to achieve their goals, whether it’s the ingredients for a new recipe, where to stay on a dream vacation or a new pair of yoga pants to help achieve your New Year’s resolutions. Unlike other networks where commercial content can feel like an intrusion, Pinterest does not work without commercial content.

AL: How does Pinterest impact mobile visibility of a brand?

DM: Most brands struggle with mobile visibility for two reasons: 1. They don’t know how to acquire it and 2. Once they get it, they don’t know what to do with it. Even today, most mobile websites are terribly designed, leading to lots of wasted traffic. Pinterest is helping solve both of these problems by first activating a very large mobile-dominant user base, and then providing features such as Rich Pins and Buyable Pins that increase the value of mobile engagement, regardless of how good a brand’s mobile site is.

AL: What should brands looking for influencers and brand ambassadors do to reach people on Pinterest?

DM: The simple answer: reach out! And I don’t mean en masse or with form emails, but with authentic 1:1 outreach. I’ve always found that people are very responsive if you treat them like people and not commodities. Take an interest in what they do. Find something authentic to complement them on. Build a connection over time, and figure out how to partner for mutual benefit for later. If you treat influencers and advocates like the brilliant, creative people they are, they will welcome you with open arms in return.

Time for you to weigh in on the debate. How do you feel about the questions we put to Daniel? How are you using Pinterest to reach potential customers,  influencers, and possible brand ambassadors?

About Michelle Stinson Ross

Michelle Stinson Ross is a recognized authority on the outreach power of social media. She has worked as a community manager & consultant for several brands to increase brand awareness, raise the visibility of special promotions, and train their teams to use social effectively. Michelle co-hosts #SocialChat, a Twitter based live chat that covers a variety of topics geared toward social media marketing (Mondays at 9 p.m. ET). She is a regular conference speaker at events like ClickZ Live, Socialize Toronto, & SMX.

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