Pinterest Expert Interview: Dr. Dave Chaffey of SmartInsights

Pinterest Expert Interview: Dave Chaffey of SmartInsights

What would you want to know from a leading Pinterest marketing expert?

In a bit of  a change from our usual articles, we are running a series of interviews with marketing experts who are using Pinterest as one of their platforms. For our first such interview, we speak with Dr. Dave Chaffey of SmartInsights.

Dr. Dave Chaffey is the CEO and co-founder of the online marketing advice publisher, He enjoys learning and sharing information on best practice in the world of Internet Marketing. (SmartInsights, 2012) 

1. When and how did you first get into Pinterest marketing?

As a follower of the latest SEO practices I first became aware of Pinterest when links were dofollowed from Pin descriptions and then Pinterest changed them to nofollows because spammers were exploiting them. Then there was the affiliate link skimming used by Pinterest to raise funds which got a lot of press.

I think what really caught my attention was the report from the Shareholic sharing service at the start of 2012 proclaiming that Pinterest Drives More Referral Traffic Than Google Plus, YouTube and LinkedIn Combined. These amazing reports have continued with Techcrunch saying July 2012 that Pinterest Traffic Passes Google Referrals, Bing, Twitter & StumbleUpon. Impressive stuff, but I have to say I think misleading compared to what we see in the Europe from the analytics of clients I’m involved with. Still, it was a wakeup call and like many companies we claimed our stake to protect our brand.

2. What’s your involvement with Pinterest marketing day-to-day at the moment?

We’re big advocates for using Pinterest marketing daily in sectors like Fashion and Travel where it will make a significant difference. For us, I don’t think it’s that significant for us at right now, since we see that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ drive more visitors than Pinterest.

That said, before we even had our Pinterest boards live we could see our visuals being shared on Pinterest – we have a lot of digital marketing models and infographics on our site because we believe they’re a great way of planning and managing marketing better than your rivals.

Our marketing infographics board is still the most popular and we aim to have one original infographic each month, but we find we have many more repins direct from the site rather than on Pinterest.

We have discovered that sharing the very best infographics from other sites on our blog is effective in getting more shares and visits back to our site. We try hard not just to post what everyone else is pinning, but be earlier or find more “left-field” pins.

3. Are you seeing a lot of interest from clients for Pinterest marketing?

We certainly see lots of interest from marketers whenever we cover newer approaches to online marketing like QR codes, Google+ or Pinterest. These tactics are “hot” this year and are most widely shared and commented. We help marketers by covering “best practices” in digital marketing through reviewing examples and case studies. We published our Smarter Pinterest marketing guide to help with this.

This said, I think many of our clients are still more concerned about getting more from the key techniques like search marketing or the bigger social networks, so getting Facebook or Twitter to get work harder for them.

4. How should business owners decide whether or not to spend time on Pinterest when there are so many other things they could be doing?

You’re right about many other things to do, so I think marketers struggle to make the time for Pinterest because it needs richer, quality content for sharing than some other social networks.

To help decide see how much sharing Pinterest is driving in your sector use Pinterest to see the level of sharing. I mentioned above that we were seeing quite a lot of sharing of content on our site even before we launched our Pinterest boards. I recommend that, to assess the potential, owners use the “source” syntax in the URL to see what is being shared on their site and competitor sites. For us, the syntax is We saw good sharing of our infographics which showed we should focus more attention on Pinterest.

5. For businesses that are already using Pinterest to some extent, what’s one top thing most of them could improve to make their efforts more effective?

As with any content marketing I think it’s about being a better publisher – that means having a regular process of quality shareable content that works for the Pinterest audience. I see lots of examples where companies make a start and fade away, like we saw with early efforts at blogging. You have to have a sustained stream of quality content which is shareable, but also presents your brand well. I know that’s obvious, but it’s what I see. To keep it sustained, try a regular feature every day or once a week. For example ASOS have the 3’s (Simple, Sexy, Seductive) in different categories like celebs.

6. What are some Pinterest marketing campaigns you’re particularly impressed by?

A strong, “fun” offer and integration are what I look for to give the campaign the biggest impact, that means integration with the website, email marketing and other social channels.

Harrods ran a Street party competition linking Pinterest and Twitter. They asked customers to create their own mood boards for a street party, told them a board title to use and a hashtag to include and also asked entrants to tweet them their entries. This is a clever to way to engage with customers as well as boosting your presence across social media.

This board description gives the entry details which shows the mechanic:

Have you ever fancied designing your own window at Harrods? We are inviting you to create a mood board on Pinterest, which will be the inspiration for a ‘Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Street Party’ window. Your board must be titled ‘Harrods Street Party Window’ and once complete, you must tweet us a link to your board (@HarrodsofLondon) including the hashtag #HarrodsWindows. Here is one we have created to give you some ideas“.

7. What’s your favorite Pinterest marketing tip for more advanced Pinterest marketers?

That’s simple “Reach out”! With Pinterest, it’s all to easy to focus on your own board, but it’s the same as with blogging, you need to get involved with a community of interest and partners to get more visibility.

So, comment on the pins of boards you follow to show interest in what they are pinning, and if you think it is relevant either repin or ‘like’ it. To communicate directly with a Pinterest user, you first need to be following at least one board belonging to him/her. Then, type the @ symbol immediately followed by his/her username. Potential matches to this username will begin to load; when you see the person you want to mention, click his/her name. You can mention a user in a pin/repin description or in a comment. The user you mention will receive a notification.

8. How do you see the world of Pinterest evolving over the next 12 months?

Yes, it’s going to be interesting to see the owners try to monetise it. I hope the owners do a better (and quicker) job than Twitter.

I’d like to see the home page for brands to evolve to be more similar to Facebook company pages with options for offers or email sign-up. While it’s not likely we will see something like Facebook apps within 12 months, I’d love to see a way of running promotions with more prominence to help get sign-up or sale. But this will have to be sensitive to the aesthetics and vibe of Pinterest; it would be a shame to lose that.

9. How can people best find you online?

I’m fortunate to have an unusual name, so just Google “Dave Chaffey” to find me on a network! I like to connect on LinkedIn to answer questions.

I’m all about helping marketers work out the best way to plan and manage their online marketing. So if you’re involved with managing digital marketing, take a look at our free quick guides – we have them laid out visually here in our RACE guide to online marketing strategy.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Pinterest with us, Dave!

Dave clearly knows his stuff when it comes to Pinterest, I’m sure you’ll agree. We’ll be interviewing more Pinterest experts here on the TotalPinterest blog in the weeks to come.

In the meantime, who do you look up to for Pinterest advice? If you know someone we should be interviewing later in this series (perhaps even yourself), do let us know.

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