Pinfluencer: The Pinterest Influencer

Sam Wormser
By Sam Wormser

Everywhere you look there are influencers molding the way we consume social media, people who have amassed social media followings with an audience that often hangs onto their every word.

YouTubers, also known as “vloggers” if they share content daily, post glimpses of their daily lives or put together narratives, growing a massive following and gaining dollars by the click and subscribe. And just when you think you’ve gotten to know them all, the “Pinfluencer” has emerged onto the influencer scene.

Yes, the Pinfluencer, a fancy portmanteau that identifies a Pinterest influencer, is now a force to be reckoned with in the marketing world, and leveraging a relationship with the right Pinfluencer might just be beneficial to you and your brand.

But what exactly is a Pinfluencer and what do they do? In this post, we’re going to give you everything you need to know about the Pinfluencer so you’ll be up with the latest social media influencer trend and how your business might be able to leverage working with them.

What is Pinterest?

Maybe you’ve heard of Pinterest but aren’t quite familiar with what exactly it is and what purpose it serves. We’ll jump into an summary of what Pinterest is as a starting point. There are lots of different social media platforms to keep track of nowadays, after all.

Pinterest is indeed a social media platform, but it’s a bit different than the other networks that you’re likely more familiar with, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can think of Pinterest as a sort of bookmarking tool, in which users can save, or “pin,” images to different virtual boards that they can refer back to later for inspiration or as a wishlist. Pinterest then acts as a virtual vision board.

Often, the images users pin will have links attached to them that users can click on to be taken to the original website where the image was taken from. This allows marketers to reach customers through creative imagery.

People who go on Pinterest are often times in the research phase and are not at the point of making a decision or purchase, but you can guide them towards your brand or site through the use of links. There are some topics that really stand out on Pinterest; typically surrounding food and recipes, fashion and outfits, home decor, fitness and workout routines, and travel ideas. If you have a lifestyle brand that fits into one or more of those categories, this is a great area to explore further.

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Users can also interact with each other in the network by commenting on, liking, or sharing their pins with each other. You can have shared pin boards with other users or follow the accounts of users that post or pin things of interest to you. You can then like and re-pin items shared by these users onto your own Pinterest board.

From a marketing perspective, Pinterest allows you to put your products out in front of consumers without being in-your-face salesy. You simply rely on the strength of your imagery and the content on the image and let users click through if they’d like to learn more about the product in the image. This can be an effective marketing tool to add to your efforts, but might be easier if you establish a relationship with a Pinfluencer.

Let’s take a look at what exactly a Pinfluencer is and what they do.

What Does a Pinfluencer Do?

A Pinfluencer is paid to do two things: post photos of a brand’s products with links back to the company’s website, or create content using a company’s products. Often, this is a twofold effort, and sometimes also involves having this person re-pin the content from the brand itself to get more visibility.

When the relationship with an influencer involves simply posting pictures of your products, you will leverage the Pinfluencer’s following to drive traffic back to your site. Since the images will be linked to your site or product pages, the hope is that the relationship will enhance not only your web visits and clicks that you can use for retargeting purposes, but also sales.

When you work with a Pinfluencer to create content using your products, it takes the relationship a step further. Depending on what your company does, a Pinfluencer can create posts that relate directly to your products. This might be a craft, recipe, design idea, or anything else that can creatively showcase your brand.

When a Pinterest user clicks on the image, they will be redirected to a page that shows them how they can recreate what they see in the image by using your products. This is a creative way to drive sales by showing users an aspirational result, which can be an easier sell than trying to get them to buy your product without a visual of what they can use it to create.

Through these types of relationships, Pinfluencers are growing their influence in Pinterest and becoming a real value to marketers. If you can match up your brand and mission with a Pinfluencer that has an audience you would like to reach, then you can work together to create a campaign that helps you reach your goals.

How the Pinfluencer Came To Be

The history of the Pinfluencer is not an epic tale, as they have only recently emerged as true guiding forces in the marketing world. Many Pinfluencers never meant to have the “influencer” tag attached to themselves in the first place. In fact, some of the biggest Pinfluencers just happened to be some of the lucky first users of Pinterest.

Similarly to some of today’s biggest YouTubers, they got in early and were then suggested to new users as accounts that they should follow. This grew and grew and suddenly these Pinfluencers had a massive following and massive monthly impressions to their profile.

And while building the following for some might have been easy, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are getting rich off of their Pinterest without having to do any work. It is actually much more difficult to become a highly-paid influencer on Pinterest than it is on other social media networks.

This is partly because other networks, such as YouTube, have a structure that rewards users more for having a large following. Pinterest payouts come largely from relationships with brands rather than from the network itself.

Of course, forming lucrative relationships with brands is often triggered by having a large following within the appropriate industry, so you have to do both. In order to build said following, Pinfluencers have to tediously curate compelling pins every day to become a go-to source of quality content.

You have to carve out your niche then become an expert who is consistent and reliably relevant. You have to continue to drive content to grow a following and can’t hope for one post to go “viral,” as Pinterest doesn’t really offer such a model.

Unlike YouTube or Instagram where one video can take off and gain millions of views rapidly, a pin on Pinterest won’t go viral. It’s through the tedious work that you will build a following unless you were one of the few lucky enough to get in early.

Pinterest also doesn’t fluctuate very much, meaning that the 400 or so highly-paid influencers find themselves in a fairly exclusive club. Other users will have a difficult time joining their ranks. But what is it that makes these Pinfluencers so successful? What sets them apart?

What Makes a Pinfluencer Successful

Pinfluencers find success because of the fact that Pinterest was designed for commerce.

For example, users on Instagram and Facebook can still be irritated by ads within the space. YouTube users almost always have to sit through ads before they can view their video. This is often disruptive to the overall user experience and may actually lead some users to abandon their visit.

However, on Pinterest, ads are much more native and may actually be relevant and helpful to the “pinner” who is most often either looking for ideas or for things to purchase. The user won’t find the ads to be disruptive to their experience because Pinterest is specifically designed for online research and the purchasing of products.

Essentially, the ads aren’t bothersome because you’re on Pinterest with the intent of finding inspiration for a project and finding the products you need to make that project happen. On other platforms you may just be wanting to look at pictures, updates from friends, or viewing a funny video when ads invade the space. You aren’t in a buying mode and therefore don’t necessarily want to be bothered with the ads.

Since Pinterest users are in a shopping/buying mode, you can see how placing your products on the platform for view, especially through a Pinfluencer with a large following in your industry, could hold real value for your company.

How Much Are Pinfluencers Making?

There is always a range amongst influencers on different social channels based on their reach, engagement, and following size. For Pinterest, since it is a newer influencer platform that brands are starting to take notice of, there is also a range. Not many Pinfluencers are making a lot of money, but there are certainly some influencers who are.

Today’s biggest Pinfluencers average around 1.8 million follows and earn roughly $250,000 of revenue each year. The current biggest Pinfluencer, HelloSociety, brought in $12.5 million in revenue last year and employs 26 people.

Of course, HelloSociety didn’t stumble into this success overnight. The brand was built over time and through carefully selected posts. As their following grew, users knew they could turn to their pinboard for inspiration or to find the new product they needed for their project.

Do You Need to Use Pinfluencers in Your Marketing Efforts?

A driving force within the marketing industry is the constant fear of being left behind, or missing out on a fad or trend before it does out. While the Pinfluencer is here to stay, you might be relieved to hear that you should only utilize one if it makes sense for your brand.

Pinterest isn’t an entirely necessary platform as much as it is to have a Facebook presence, for example, but it can be valuable depending on the type of services your company provides. If your company offers any type of visual products, there is likely a way you can utilize Pinterest to drive traffic and sales. Likewise, if your product can be used creatively in the formation of something users are looking for at a given time (ex: Christmas decorations), then you can use an influencer to show users that they need your product to complete their masterpiece.

Summary

While the Pinfluencer may not carry as much clout as a YouTube star or a Instagram influencer, they do have some real power within the Pinterest space. If your brand could use a little more visibility through a Pinfluencer that exists within your industry, don’t be afraid to reach out to see if there is the potential for a relationship.

It would take a large time investment and lots of tedious work to build up your own Pinterest to the point you grow into a Pinfluencer yourself, but through consistent, relevant posting, you could also become a sought after profile for inspiration.

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Samantha is a PR manager and account manager at Power Digital where she executes on everything from top tier media relations, to SEO outreach and social media influencer outreach. After spearheading the influencer marketing arm of the PR department, Samantha has created strategies and partnerships with social media influencers to elevate both brand awareness, engagement, and ROI for our clients. Outside of the office, she's obsessed with all things food and exploring the outdoors.