It is likely that most marketers will be familiar with Pinterest, the fastest stand-alone site ever to reach 10 million monthly unique visitors. The virtual pinboard certainly has been attracting plenty of interest recently, particularly due to its popularity with the female demographic. However hype-aside, for those attempting to shape their social media marketing strategies; how does Pinterest work and what is the best way to harness the site for business?
How does it work?
Whilst Facebook is more about forming social connections and LinkedIn is about networking, Pinterest is all about sharing compelling images. What sets this social network apart from others, however, is that it is overwhelmingly positive. Pinterest has a strict code of conduct on inappropriate material and the community repins those images that they find most appealing. The result is that Pinterest has become almost a therapy for some, an online haven to while away the time. Many retailers would agree that this is an ideal environment to encourage purchase; or at the very least, purchase consideration.
While there’s no mechanism for potential customers to buy a company’s products directly from Pinterest, the marketing potential is huge. Popular images, with links back to the original source, can be repinned hundreds of times.
So how should a business approach marketing their product or service on Pinterest?
Pinterest.com like any social network requires an investment in time. However, below are some pointers to help guide you through the main features of this highly-popular website and start to structure your social media marketing campaign.
1. Is Pinterest right for your business? – Firstly, you need to decide if your business suits Pinterest’s model. In all honesty, it’s going to be hard to get people excited about pictures of spark plugs online… but then again, you never know?! The most obvious sectors which work well on Pinterest are fashion, interior design, cookery, crafts and travel. However in theory any product or service that can be represented by high quality images could draw a following on Pinterest.
2. Clear the clutter and be specific – Try to mirror Pinterest’s un-cluttered aesthetic and produce boards with a clean feel. You can create pinboards with pictures based on your collections or product/service categories. You can even include prices on these pins; this will help drive those prospects who are really interested in purchasing to your website. Make sure you stick to a specific topic on each pinboard this allows people to follow the ones that interest them.
3. Get to Know The Key Influencers in Your Sector – Follow these individuals and where relevant repin their content.
4. Give Users Value – Don’t simply post boards full of your own products. In order to maintain a steady following of loyal users give users value in the form of tips and interesting products from other companies. Equally, you can pin your own blog posts but be careful to keep a balance rather than over-promote.
5. Use Other Social Networks to Feed Pinterest – Make sure that you connect your Pinterest account with your Facebook and Twitter accounts. This will obviously help you to gain followers; however making this connection also adds social media icons under your profile picture. Images have shown time and time again to engage Facebook users and this quickly drives users to your Pinterest boards.
6. Ask Fans to Contribute– Pinterest gives you the option to allow other contributors to your pinboards which can help to get online users involved in and excited about your brand. Many brands have also run competitions this way; e.g. asking fans to take a picture and share it to win.
7. Share Videos – You can also ‘Pin’ videos in a special section on Pinterest. Currently, there are far fewer videos than images on Pinterest so using videos can really help your business to stand out. Any YouTube video is simple to pin.
8. Labelling and Tagging – It is a good idea to come up with some interesting board names as these get shared whenever you pin something. As on Twitter, you can use hastags on Pinterest and tag other users in your pins by using “@username” in your descriptions. This is an easy way to network with other professionals in your field and grow your following.
9. Promotional Pinboards –Online users love promotions, so it may be a good idea to create bespoke boards for offers or products of the week. These could even be exclusive to Pinterest users. Alternatively, if there is a particular product or service category you would like promote, create a dedicated board for a limited period.
10. Add a ‘Follow Me’ Button – Add a prominent ‘Follow Me on Pinterest’ button to your website to let users know that your brand uses the social network.
So there you have it! These 10 tips should help you start to get your Pinterest marketing campaign on track. Next week, I will look at some of my favourite creative examples on Pinterest –from the quirky and original to the truly bizarre!