Who Should NOT Use Pinterest?

Who Should Not Use Pinterest

Marketing on Pinterest can drive direct buying or lead-generating traffic to a commercial website.  A Pinterest business account can function as a branding and image-building site to improve customers’ ideas about a particular company and what it does.

Don't Pin

People who should not use Pinterest

I can help almost any business owner or marketing manager figure out how to use Pinterest for their business.  Sometimes, though, I’ll hear someone in business say something that makes me back away from suggesting Pinterest as a marketing channel. I stay busy enough preaching to (that is, educating and assisting) the converted that  I don’t need to drag anyone into the Pinterest fold who isn’t already curious about what Pinterest can do for their business.

People who say any of the following are not good candidates for Pinterest Marketing:

Social media is a waste of time

On one hand, you are completely right.  Most social media draws you in to a time sucking black hole that spits you out the other side, full of gossip and irritation or resentment at what your so-called friends have been doing.

On the other hand, everybody shops, scans, and looks for new ideas, content, and concepts, even the most productive and schedule-driven executive.  (Bet me?  Are you still using the first golf clubs you ever owned?)  In part because Pinterest limits direct contact between users (except for comments), the site provides more “exposure to new” than “gossip.”

If you get all the “exposure to new” you need in some other way, then you’re right, you don’t need Pinterest.

Facebook (or Twitter) works better

It is interesting that sometimes the same people who say, “Social media is a waste of time” will then say, “Twitter works better than Pinterest.”  See the “Logic” paragraph below.

If you are marketing successfully on FB or Twitter, keep doing it.

  • If you haven’t been successful on FB, Twitter, or LI, you might want to give Pinterest a shot before you bail on all social media marketing.
  • If your marketing includes before and after photos, you may want to look at Pinterest, because images don’t “disappear” as a timeline scrolls away.
  • It’s quite possible that the bulk of the challenges you’ve experienced with Facebook marketing are as much a fault of the platform as they are of your ability to use that platform.

Women don’t buy my products, or, Pinterest only works for clothes and recipes and wedding stuff

In other words—Pinterest’s users are women, and women don’t care about anything other than retail shopping.

If that doesn’t send off warning bells, then you are right, Pinterest will not work for you.  Go directly to Jail; do not pass Go.

An exercise:  list five elements of your products of service, as far away from babies and clothes and weddings as you can think of.  Search for them in Pinterest (box in upper left).  See what you find.  Reconsider your position.

Google’s analytics are better

Yes, they are.  Pinterest’s analytics aren’t as good as Google’s.

Q:  Did you buy a thumb drive before they could hold as much data as a removable hard drive?

A1: “No, I always want all my data with me.”  Skip Pinterest.

A2:  “Yes, sometimes I want to give away just a few files.” In other words, a thumb drive offers you features (portability, low cost) you can’t get in a removable hard drive.  Similarly, Pinterest offers features Google doesn’t have.

A2.1 If Google analytics are critical to your business, so much so that you can’t afford to spend time on any system not measured by equally robust analytics, Pinterest is not for your business and you should wait.  (Of course, you might want to make sure your competition places the same weight on analytics.)

A2.2 If you place such a high value on analytics, why is your business buying brand advertising?

You can’t search in Pinterest

You can.  You simply can’t duplicate a search from day to day, you can’t figure out what gets the highest ranking, and you never quite know what you’re going to get on the P-SERP.

  1. This will change.  Search has been solved.  Just like the 4-minute mile, once any one person proved it was possible, lots of people could run a mile in less than 4 minutes.
  2. Who cares?  Because Google ranks answers in a linear fashion, they can only provide one best answer.  What if the question your business answers doesn’t have “one best answer?”

Google “mother’s day gift ideas.”  Then check Pinterest for the same term.

Mother's Day Gift Idea Boards

Mother’s Day Gift Idea Boards, from Pinterest SERP

Information marketers who have built an entire business funnel around answering targeted questions will have trouble marketing in Pinterest.  Businesses selling tangible goods and delivered services will find it easier.

Pinterest isn’t logical

No, it’s not.  Isn’t that lovely?

Isn’t it funny that marketers spend so much money and time learning about story, and passion, and lizard brain, and interconnected networks both neural and interpersonal, and multi-dimensional systems, and behavioral economics, and neurosocience, and then we take everything we’ve learned and stuff it back to a text-based SERP, organized in linear fashion?

Thirty minutes in Pinterest can tell you more about what your real-people clients and customers think and follow and how they organize information than a five-day class in your favorite keyword tool’s functionality.

That said, if alogical thinking and organizing drives you crazy, Pinterest is not a good place for you to be.

Need to talk?

If you find yourself questioning your certainty that Pinterest won’t work for your business, give me a call.  I teach live Pinterest marketing classes in the Raleigh area.  I consult with businesses and organizations nationally.