Governments have a sizable presence on Pinterest, the pinboard-style photo-sharing website. Pins and boards on Pinterest cover the following and many other public sector topics:
Public works (in general)
Public works architecture and design
Public parks and recreation
Green government
Public sector tasks such as grounds maintenance
Government procurement

The Pinterest site has a page devoted to businesses that have successfully spread the word about their products and services through Pinterest. Lowe’s, Sony Electronics, Kraft Foods and The Container Store are some of the firms that have won business through Pinterest.

Lowe’s, for instance, has created a few Pinterest boards dedicated to smaller design and decor projects. Their most repinned pin—a create-your-own colorful doormat project—has gotten more than 200,000 repins so far. Lowes is also a major player in the government market, with sites for federal and state and local government buyers.

No question about it, Pinterest can help sell products, says Danny Maloney, CEO and co-founder of Tailwind. Tailwind is an Oklahoma City-based Pinterest-analytics firm that offers social media marketing tools. The company’s clients include brands from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies (i.e., Disney, Nike, and Target).

Maloney says there ARE advantages to using Pinterest as a marketing tool to sell goods and services. “Pinterest users are often in an aspirational or discovery mode — looking for new ideas, products or adventures. This means Pinterest is an ideal place for marketers to be, as presenting their products in the context of users' needs helps those users achieve their goals. It's a positive experience, not an interruption, as it might be if users were simply looking to talk to friends and family.”

GPN asked Maloney if Pinterest can help boost sales for companies, including sales to federal, state and local governments. “Yes,” says Maloney, “There is substantial evidence to suggest Pinterest helps drive sales across a wide array of industries. We've seen companies generate over $10 in revenue for every $1 invested in the Pinterest platform. As with any platform, though, you need to have the right strategy and the right data to help you optimize that strategy.”

Finding your audience on Pinterest is key, says Maloney. “It all comes down to audience targeting – finding the users who want or need your product. That means having the right content strategy, engaging the right users and activating your community to spread the word on your behalf.” Maloney’s firm, Tailwind, has information for marketers. Go to this infographic that discusses Pinterest Rich Article Pins.

Pinterest can be used as a marketing tool says Steve Smith, a partner at Firehouse. The company is a Dallas-based independent, full-service advertising agency.

According to Smith, one of Pinterest's greatest strengths is that it serves as a place for discovery where goods and services are curated and endorsed by the people and brands one follows. “Some 59 percent of Pinterest users have made a purchase based on seeing an item on the site. And, according to Mashable, Pinterest accounts for 40 percent of social-media-driven purchases, and buyers referred from Pinterest are 10 percent more likely to buy something than visitors referred by other social networks.”

Use Pinterest along with other social media, (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) in your marketing campaigns, says Smith. “Pinterest is now third in site visits among social networks in the U.S. According to a comScore report, its rapid growth made it the fastest standalone site to hit the 10 million user mark,” says Smith. “Still, its audience is significantly smaller than that of Twitter and dwarfed by that of Facebook. So, promoting Pinterest content via other channels is critical to drawing in a larger audience. And pins can make for interesting content on other channels too.”

Using Pinterest can benefit marketers in ways beyond sales, says James Poen, who is a principal at Richardson, Texas-based Richardson Saw & Lawnmower. “I don’t have any data to suggest that Pinterest has generated any direct sales (and targeting government sales specifically is especially difficult to link/target); however, social media does not operate in a vacuum. There are search engine optimization benefits when Pins become popular. The benefits include increased crawling of your site by search engines, as well as greater site awareness where you generate repeat visitors. Your site may also get more referring links from other sites that first found you via Pinterest.”

In the video, Danny Maloney of Tailwind discusses  the Pinterest audience and how to build your brand on Pinterest.

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