By AJ Agrawal.

Pinterest should be every marketer’s dream platform. Pinterest users log on to discover product information, find lifestyle information, and learn new tips and tricks to help them organize and beautify their lives.

The platform is much more product based than it is social connection based. Yet, marketers across verticals are still hesitant to dive into the pinning pool with their marketing budgets. Because Pinterest is still relatively unsaturated (compared to Facebook) there is a significant opportunity to connect with and drive new customer acquisitions on the platform.

In October of 2016, Pinterest surpassed the 150 million monthly user mark and its customer demographics are continuously expanding. Pinterest may have been known as a predominantly female network when it first launched, but the platform has seen the number of men using its platform increase dramatically. Pinterest’s user growth is steadfast, which means marketers would be remiss not to connect with this ever-expanding audience. And Pinterest users aren’t just creating inspirational mood boards; in fact, 87% of Pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest. Try out these four strategies to connect with Pinterest audiences and convert new customers.

1. Leverage Buyable Pins

Just three months after the launch of Buyable Pins in 2015, the platform saw a flood of new customer growth; in September 2015, 90% of buyers in the platform were brand new customers for merchants. Buyable Pins enables users to purchase products directly from Pinterest without having to go off platform. Buyable Pins are an especially lucrative tactic for brands looking to expand their audience base, because they cut out the middle leg of the process. Before the introduction of Buyable Pins, a network user may have discovered a new product on the platform, and even pinned it to one of their boards. But for the brand behind the product, just convincing users to pin their products wasn’t enough. To generate viable value they had to convince users to visit their sites off platform after pinning, which didn’t always happen. Buyable pins are available to retailers using several commerce platforms, including Shopify and Magento.

2. User-Generated Content To Build A Community

Because Pinterest is a visual discovery tool, there are ample opportunities to engage with audiences through user-generated content. Audiences like seeing brands interact with their creations; it not only expands their potential audience reach but it also makes them feel included in the brand’s community. Because UGC is created by people outside the brand, it’s not seen as purely promotional and resonated with other customers on a deeper level. 85% of consumers even say UGC is more influential than brand photos. UGC is customer-centric, and to stay afloat in today’s digital landscape, brands have to consistently put their customer’s first.

3. Pay Attention To Platform Nuances

Pinterest is a visual platform, and low-quality images stick out like sore thumbs. If you really want to expand your audience pool using Pinterest, you have to invest in high-quality images of your products. Additionally, Pinterest uses a column system and vertical pins perform better than high-quality ones; in fact the optimal dimension size on the platform is 600 x 900.

Pinterest is a platform that runs on keywords, not hashtags. You can employ the same keyword analysis and tracking from your Google Adwords campaign to connect with audiences searching for specific products or ideas on the platform.

4. Think Beyond Your Product

Yes, Pinterest can be a wonderful sales tool, but it’s also a brand building tool. If you want to resonate with new customers on Pinterest, you have to pin content that extends beyond the confines of your product mix. Take Birchbox, for example. The beauty retailer could just create boards around it’s current product lines, but instead, they use Pinterest as a way of expanding on the Birchbox lifestyle. Their board mix includes tutorials, DIY ideas, recipes, and inspirational quotes to support their holistic brand lifestyle identity. Including variety in the types of pins also gives the brand more chances to engage with potential customers.

Pinterest isn’t just a strong tool for marketers with large budgets to spare; independent entrepreneurs are seeing tremendous growth from employing targeted pinning strategies. One independent entrepreneur saw her pageviews climb from 5,000 to 230,000, seemingly overnight after she started using the platform. The massive success sparked by the network even led the entrepreneur into a new line of business: managing a Pinterest presence. Her story is proof of the acquisitional potential of the platform. But she wouldn’t have found success if she wasn’t willing to test out growth hacking strategies on a new platform. Brands are sometimes hesitant to expand their platform portfolios, but entrepreneurs building their followings on Pinterest is proof that doubling down on the platform can be lucrative.

By AJ Agrawal

I cover the art of using smart, simple shortcuts that lead to growth.

Sourced from Forbes