Earlier this year, I wrote an article on why and how dealers should establish a presence on Pinterest. Since that time, Pinterest (launched in March 2010) has established itself as the 3rd most popular U.S. social networking site, behind Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest has around 20 million users as of June 2012, up from only 1 million users in July 2011. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, it was reported that Pinterest is now valued at $1.5 billion, thanks to the way the site attracts users, holds them for very long visits, and converts users to revenue. A couple of recent independent studies confirm Pinterest’s ability to convert users to revenue, and the incredibly long visits each user represents. If you’re still sitting on the sidelines, it is time to take action.
One of the biggest risks for dealers who haven’t yet joined Pinterest comes from spammers squatting on key brand names (like your dealership name!). These spammers will then sell you your brand once you decide to join this hot new Social Media site. It only takes about 15 minutes to secure your brand on Pinterest, so register your dealer’s brand name right away. If you need an invitation to join Pinterest (Pinterest is still invite-only), please email me and I’ll get you set up right away.
If you haven’t seen Pinterest’s amazing ability to secure Page 1 SERP, it is a proven fact. These search results show up not only for a dealership brand name, but also on key search terms. The most wonderful thing about Pinterest is…it’s easy and fun to do. You simply establish your brand presence and then develop your style and voice for the page. What does that mean? Read on.
I recently gave a presentation on Pinterest at Jim Ziegler’s Internet Battle Plan X in Las Vegas. Having conducted research and dealer interviews prior to the presentation, it was interesting to note the audience’s reaction to Pinterest. There were a handful of dealers that had established their presence and could talk about their “Pinterest Style”, but most were still on the sidelines. After hearing my presentation, about 1/3 of the dealers immediately emailed me for an invitation so they could secure their brand and get started. Establishing your dealership on Pinterest can help you dial into and share your dealership’s personality, appealing to both current and prospective customers. Fiat dealers for example, feel their customers like things that are fun, quirky, and creative, so the Pinterest pages from their dealers echo that. Jeep dealers, by contrast, promote a personality of rugged and adventurous customers, and have Pinterest boards with Jeeps used accordingly. You get the idea; target your customers while promoting your dealership’s history, community involvement, and personality.
As you get started on Pinterest, make sure you avoid “pin dumping”. Each time you pin and image, it pops up on the feed to all of your followers. Pinning a few images or videos once in a while is a nice digestible amount for your followers to observe. However, if you “pin dump” and post 100 images within an hour, you will dominate your followers’ feeds and tend to annoy them. This can lead to followers choosing to un-follow you, and spoil your efforts to build a strong following. Instead, spread your pins over time, pinning several images, and then waiting a few hours to pin more.
As dealers get savvier with their Pinterest boards, they should begin to experiment with Group Boards. In fact, Jim Ziegler showed me the incredible capability of this feature. To get increased collaboration, engagement, and network effect, you can create Group Boards where others can post related images along a common theme. Keep in mind that the board owner must first enable contributors by inviting them to Pin along, and you must first follow one or more boards of those contributors. What is most amazing to me about these Group Boards is the network effect they create. For instance, if you invite 100 users, and each of them have 100 followers; you can now potentially expose your Group Boards to 10,000 Pinterest users! Every time one of your Group Board collaborators posts to your board, it exposes that board to all of their followers.
How can you measure whether or not you’re successful on Pinterest? That’s easy too. Simply visit a site called PinPuff (www.pinpuff.com) and you can get a free rating on your site. PinPuff is a measure of your popularity on Pinterest and the value of each of your pins. PinPuff lists the boards and pins with the most traction, and provides tips to build your network. Through PinPuff, it’s possible to improve content and get more results on Pinterest. An average PinPuff score is 32, and any score 50 or higher is considered very good. There is also a free tool called PinReach (www.PinReach.com) that can help you understand activity, measure impact, and gauge your success.
An interesting free tool that is built right into Pinterest, allows you to track the pins that have come from your dealer pages. The URL structure is: http://pinterest.com/source/[domain]. Replace the “domain” with your website address. For instance, to find out the pins that have come from Ford Motor Company’s website you would go to this web address: http://pinterest.com/source/ford.com. This creates the perfect opportunity to find people pinning and re-pinning content, so you can engage these visitors with messages from your dealership (remember this is a Social site!). The key is to be conversational and helpful.
Many dealers ask how to measure ROI (return on investment) from having a presence on Pinterest. There is a great tool called Pinerly (www.Pinerly.com) that can help you measure effectiveness on specific campaigns. You can also use website statistics to track your referring clicks (ask your website provider). Your CRM can also help you measure the source of your leads and showroom traffic to help you measure conversion. If you purchase your website and CRM from the same provider, they should be able to give you a complete look at the traffic, leads and sales that come from Pinterest activity.
The SEO ability of Pinterest is probably the most impressive aspect of the site. Since Pinterest is a site built upon links, and Google indexes the text from your boards and from your homepage, it is potentially packed full of SEO juice. Be strategic with your homepage and board descriptions to make sure you’re getting indexed for the same keywords that prospective customers are using in automotive searches.
The Internet remains a world where change is constant. The key for dealers is stay in tune with where consumers are spending their time, and adjust online strategies accordingly. Of all of the Social Media outlets dealers need to pay attention to, Pinterest is a very easy one to start. Don’t delay, grab your brand today and start laying out your strategy.