Pinterest for Tour Operators:

Online Marketing April 14, 2014

Why you should start now?

Pinterest, the latest buzz in the world of Social Media, has quickly crept up to become the 3rd most popular social media platform. It’s second only to Facebook in terms of website referrals. So if you thought that Pinterest was merely a place for wedding planning and dessert recipes, it’s time for you to wake up and smell the coffee!

Selling tours & activities is all about visuals (photos and videos). Being a visual-heavy social media platform, Pinterest is an ideal marketing channel for your products. It will help you boost your website traffic, supplement your SEO efforts and offer invaluable consumer insights. In short, Pinterest is your latest marketing genie! And a pretty powerful one too!

This post will assume that you are well versed with Pinterest basics – you are familiar with the Pinterest lingo of “Pins”, “Boards”, “Repins” and so on. If you are not, you can get started here. We would also recommend using Pinterest for a few days in a personal capacity before signing up for a business account.

For an introduction to “Pinterest for Business” and a step-by-step visual guide for setting up your account, please refer our previous post here.

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where the utility and best practices are fairly well established, Pinterest marketing is still in its infancy. So let’s take a look at the top 3 reasons why a tour operator should start using Pinterest:

1. A tool to boost your website traffic

Let’s not confuse this with SEO (which we will address in our next point). Pinterest can be a great platform to drive traffic directly to your website. As per Social Media Traffic Trends by Sharehaolic, Pinterest is second only to Facebook in terms of overall referrals, accounting for 4.8% of total visits. This is higher than the combined share of Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Google+ and YouTube!

And to top it all, Pinterest delivers a highly targeted traffic to your website. As per a study by Shopify, Pinterest users purchase more often and in greater quantities than any other social network. Although this study and the corresponding data is for the ecommerce retail industry, the relative performance of Pinterest vis-à-vis other Social Media platforms can be extrapolated to the tours and activities business.

2. A shot-in-the-arm for your SEO

Since Pinterest boards are now indexed by Google, they give you an alternative (and a powerful) way to appear in organic search results. You can also do specific keyword targeting by adding keywords to your boards.

And then, social signal is always a factor. The strength of your social signal now plays an important role in almost all the search engine algorithms. Pinterest, being the third most popular social media platform, is simply too big to ignore.

A study by searchmetrics to determine the correlation of SEO factors & search rankings found that social signals and backlinks are the two most important rank determinants. Interestingly, Pinterest is right there on top with Google+ and Facebook.

It is widely believed that post the Hummingbird update, Google has massively revamped its infrastructure for processing social signals.

One important thing to note here is that Pinterest will not be your magic wand for an overnight SEO success. It should simply supplement your SEO strategy and definitely not replace it.

A common misconception with Pinterest is that pinning and repinning of your content will help you generate huge number of back links thus giving you an exponential SEO boost. This is not the case. Pinterest links are “nofollow”, which implies that they do not have any link juice (SEO jargon for links that do not contribute to your page rank).

3. A tool to gain customer insights

Travel is one of the most popular topics on Pinterest. Pinterest recently revealed that it has 660 million pins in its travel category – way more than the number of reviews on TripAdvisor. People are using Pinterest to plan their holidays, explore destinations and activities. A common theme is to share images of places where they want to go and things that they want to do. For a tour operator, this is an invaluable piece of information – not just for product innovation but also as a source of potential leads.

Consider an example – a tour operator in Cape Town wants to add some new innovative day trips in his catalog. After some research, he finds out that there are many Pinterest boards dedicated to photography in Cape Town and these boards have a decent number of followers. Voila! He has his new product idea – a photography tour in Cape Town.

Apart from the reasons that we just discussed, there are many other utilities of Pinterest as well. But the key point here is (1) Pinterest is the third most popular social media platform and second in terms of referrals, (2) it’s a visual-heavy social media platform – ideal for selling tours and activities and (3) travel is one of the most popular topics on Pinterest. You simply cannot afford to ignore it!

In our next post, we will talk about the best practices for using Pinterest for Business.

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