It’s no secret that a good social media plan is an important part of the online-marketing mix for a self-storage operation. The usual suspects are, of course, Facebook and Twitter; but what role, if any, should Pinterest play in helping you promote your facility? With 176 million registered users and 100 million active pinners (users who post content), we’re talking about a sizeable audience to whom you could target content. Following are some reasons why Pinterest is good for your business.
It might come as a surprise, but two-thirds of Pinterest content comes from businesses. Studies show that people prefer following their favorite brand to following their favorite celebrity. What’s more, Pinterest has proven to be a strong influencer when it comes time to buy. According to marketing firm Millward Brown Digital, 87 percent of Pinterest users have bought a product through the influence of the social media site.
Millward Brown also discovered that active pinners are almost 50 percent more likely to experience an important life event within the next six months, whether that’s moving, buying a home, remodeling or getting married. They use Pinterest to look for ideas and help with major life decisions.
Longer Shelf Life
The half-life of a pin is 3.5 months, meaning it takes that long to get 50 percent of the pin’s total engagement. Compare this with Facebook, whose posts have a half-life of 90 minutes, and Twitter, whose tweets’ half-life is only 24 minutes. This comes from the fact that pins are more thoroughly and easily shared. They get re-pinned over and over, months down the road, giving them new life.
In the land of search engine optimization and site analytics, referral traffic is an important metric. It tells you where people are finding out about your business. As it turns out, among social media platforms, Pinterest trails only Facebook in the percentage of Web-referral traffic it generates. It’s responsible for 5 percent of all referral traffic, whereas Facebook garners 25 percent. Posting pins and boards that are capable of being re-pinned gives you the potential for a ton of referrals.
Pinterest vs. Instagram
While these two platforms are geared toward visually curated content, Instagram posts don’t offer backlinks to your website. The only place on Instagram where there’s a backlink possibility is the bio page. Conversely, each pin on Pinterest is a link to the image source—typically an external site. Companies with an active, broad Pinterest presence have created a plethora of backlinks to their sites.
One other consideration is Pinterest users are a little older than Instagram fans, which means they have a greater chance of being in life-changing situations such as buying a home or moving. Having pins and boards that help them with these big decisions can get your company front and center in their minds.
Sales vs. Branding
As you’re reading this, you may be thinking that Pinterest is just another social media platform that won’t drive immediate sales for you. If that’s the case, you’re thinking about it the wrong way.
While e-commerce businesses can expect more of an immediate return through pinning, service businesses can benefit, too. Instead of looking for sales, use Pinterest to create awareness of your brand and drive traffic to your site. After all, the sales funnel has to start somewhere. It might as well be on a platform where the links back to your site have real longevity.
What Should I Pin?
Yes, the inside of a storage unit isn’t flashy and may never be a pin people will share. But think about all the tangential aspects of self-storage. When people use it, they might be moving, so a board and pins on moving tips makes sense. They could also be trying to create more room in their homes, so a board on decluttering could be a good idea. Throw in some boards about storage, organization, cleaning, facility locations and other helpful tips, and you should have a well-rounded Pinterest presence. Pins that act as tutorials and guides have a 42 percent higher click-through rate than others.
As far as pinning is concerned, the goal should be to mix in tips from your own website with those from other websites. Re-pinning other pins is an easy way to quickly build out your boards. When doing so, change the description to make it stand out. You can also change the URL if the re-pin is something that’s just visual rather than a link to an exterior article. If you’re pinning original content, include a call to action to get users to come to your site and learn about monthly specials or discounts.
Some experts suggest pinning as many as 15 to 30 pins per day to get the most potential return on your investment. However, do what’s right for your business. You’ll want to look at the built-in analytics Pinterest offers to see which pins and boards are getting the most traffic; then tailor your account to provide more of this type of content.
TD Bank offers a great example of a business that creates boards that relate to all the aspects of its customers’ lives. It then mixes in tips about banking and saving as well. Pinterest also has a list of success stories to give you ideas on how you might want to fashion your page. While many of these are product-related, there are some service providers as well.
While the landscape of social media is ever-changing, it’s important to keep in mind which platforms will offer the longest longevity to the life of your content. Pinterest does this better than almost any other.
Derek Hines is an Internet-marketing assistant for West Coast Self-Storage, a self-storage acquisitions, development and management company with facilities in California, Oregon and Washington. He writes extensively on all subjects related to self-storage. For more information, visit www.westcoastselfstorage.com.