This post is part of our ongoing, occasional series on content marketing for financial services.
Last year as Pinterest became a household name, a number of articles, blog posts, and white papers were published encouraging financial services organizations, such as banks, credit unions, and credit card companies, to start using it in their marketing. Then in January, one scathing commentary declared using Pinterest for financial services marketing to be a “failure.”
To that I say: Remember when Facebook was just for college students? Things change pretty quickly in social media, with technologies evolving and taking off practically overnight. So, let’s keep an open mind.
Why Pinterest is Good for Marketing
Since its March 2010 launch, Pinterest has become one of the fastest-growing social media sites, with about 70 million users today. When the Pinterest application for iPads was released, it shot to number one in the App Store in only one day. Monthly page views total about 2.5 billion, and the average user spends about 98 minutes per month on the site.
With such a large and engaged audience, businesses wanted in on the action, so in November 2012 Pinterest introduced business accounts. Less than a year later there are already about 500,000.
Pinterest users are five times more likely to be female than male. The typical Pinterest user is also under 50 years old, graduated or attended college, and is most likely to live in the suburbs. Her household income is likely to be $50,000 to $75,000 or higher.
Pinterest users are dreamers. They are visual and aspirational. They’re also shoppers, spending more than twice as much money online each year than Facebook users and spending more frequently than users of any other social media site.
Why Pinterest is Good for Financial Services
Like any other media or marketing channel, the answer to whether or not Pinterest is a good opportunity for financial services organizations depends on one thing: the organization’s strategy. If the demographics of Pinterest users are a good fit for your marketing strategy, exploring using Pinterest is worth your effort.
Consider these three goals you can achieve by using Pinterest as a tool in your financial services marketing strategy.
According to a 2012 Shareaholic study, Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined. One way to generate more interest in your blog posts, white papers, videos (yes, videos can be pinned, too) and other content is to link to Pinterest using an interesting image that both relates to the content and appeals to the audience.
When selecting images, keep in mind that the ones that work well on Pinterest might be different than those that work well in advertising. Research by Curalate found that Pinterest users tend to prefer photos that are colorful, that don’t contain faces and that don’t show a lot of background.
One way creative way that financial institutions are using Pinterest is as a test audience for various images. For example, Firefighters Community Credit Union has several Pinterest boards, including “Dreamin’ of Retirement” and “Home Equity.” Images that get the most pins and likes are selected to be included in content for the credit union’s other communications channels.
Financial services organizations aren’t really selling checking accounts and interest rates, they’re selling dreams!
Use Pinterest to illustrate to its users the connection between your organization and their goals and dreams. The good news is that consumers already basically understand the connection. For example, there are over 100 user-generated boards on Pinterest with “AmEx” in the name and photos of luxury items that they would like to purchase.
You might feature customers on your Pinterest boards who are building their businesses, remodeling their homes or taking their dream vacation. Allowing Pinterest users to submit photos to you of how you helped them to achieve their goals is another approach for establishing engagement and strengthening connections.
Is Pinterest Good for Your Business?
Even the largest financial services organizations on Pinterest currently only have a modest number of followers. Capital One, for instance has just over 7,000. However, the growth of the site and the characteristics of its audience are difficult to ignore. Financial services organizations that are targeting women business owners, retirees, professionals, heads of household, etc. should definitely explore Pinterest and make an informed decision about whether to use it.
Organizations that choose not to actively use Pinterest now should plan to reconsider that decision in the next 6 to 12 months. As Pinterest grows and other financial services organizations develop best practices, it could become a powerful tool for reaching a valuable audience.
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Reputation Capital Media Services is a Baton Rouge marketing agency that helps B2B companies and their marketing agencies produce high-quality digital content, including blog posts, e-mail newsletters, white papers and multimedia. Our editors and writers are experts in their fields, which include HR technology, employee benefits, and financial services and accounting. Contact us for a free 30-minute consultation to find out how great content can help you attract and retain your customers.