Unless you’ve boycotted the internet for the last few months (horror!), it would be very difficult not to hear about Pinterest. Almost every tech, marketing and social media blog site is talking about it. Your friends on Facebook are sharing their pins with you. Or who knows, you might already have even signed up for it, your laundry is a thing of the past as you spend hours in the inevitable labyrinth of discovery.
The interesting news (other than some fabulous home improvement ideas) is that Pinterest has a lot of potential to help you market your business, products and services better. Traffic-wise, it had more than 11.7 million visitors in January 2012 making it one of the fastest growing websites of all time.
Pinterest has been credited to refer more traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. At one point, Time Inc. reported that their Real Simple Magazine’s website got more referral traffic from Pinterest than from Facebook.
So how should you use Pinterest to jump-start your business? Here are six tips to get you started:
1. Scooping out the audience
Before going to Pinterest to boost your business marketing, the first question you need to ask is whether your target market is on it. A recent Mashable infographic actually showed some very helpful statistics to give you an insight on that:
- A user spends an average of 15.8 minutes on the site. That’s quite a lot since Facebook gets only 12 minutes while Twitter gets 3.3 minutes of its users’ time on average.
- Around 28% of users have an annual household income of more than $100,000.
- Around half of Pinterest users have kids.
- Close to 7 out of every 10 users on Pinterest are women.
- A bulk of users on Pinterest is under the 25 to 44 years old age range.
- Pinterest refers more traffic than YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+ combined.
So if you are targeting crafty moms, for example, there is a very high chance they are indeed on the site.
2. But, is it for me?
Not all businesses would prosper on Pinterest. On top of having a target market that matches the profile of a Pinterest user, you should make sure that your business fits what Pinterest is all about.
Do you have products that are highly visual in nature? Sure, cakes, crafts and fashion items are a great fit on Pinterest. However, you might have a hard time coming up with content for your writing services or lending company. But part of this exercise is thinking how you can visually represent your brand, product and services in a visually compelling way.
3. Pinterest best practices
Once you have decided that Pinterest is something that could help your business, then sign up for an account. Fill out all the fields in your profile. Plus check out this bucket list of best practices on Pinterest:
Pin. This is the video or image that you own and would like to share with everyone. Make use of high quality photos and videos. Pinterest is a highly visual site and your pins would be competing with dozens of others in the same page, so make sure it stands out.
Repins. This is the Pinterest equivalent to a retweet. Your goal should include pinning content that others would repin so that you get more exposure for your content. Also return the favor by also repinning content from anyone that matches your brand.
Boards. Remember that Pinterest is based on people’s interests: weddings, home improvement, food, and others. Taken together, a series of pictures you have should revolve around the same themes and make up a board.
Add a funky description to every pin. This is a great way to engage your customers while also saying something more about your image. You could also use descriptions to add your keywords, hash tags and even a link back to your site.
Make it easier for people to pin your content. If you have a website or a blog where you put up pictures of your products, you might want to put up a Pin It button on your sites to make it easier for people to share it on their Pinterest accounts.
Learn from the experts. Pinterest is a relatively new site, so most of its users are still exploring it. But do check out what other brands and users are doing and what is succeeding on Pinterest.
4. Maximize pins by minimal selling
Social media is all about engagement, not selling. On Pinterest, resist the urge to sell your products and service. Be creative and original with your pins and your followers will love you for not having just another online catalog.
Nordstrom, which has more than 11,000 followers, takes time to create themes around their products. Most of their boards are theme-based. They recently came out with prom inspirations and spring trends that featured some of their products.
Remember that, sometimes, you could also indirectly market your products on Pinterest. A travel agency will want to feature its best destinations, recommended hotels and things to do at a certain place. A clothing store could feature fashion pieces that help you achieve a certain look.
Here’s the deal: If you come up with themes for your own products, you may want to use a competitor’s image if they fit your theme. This will give your followers a little bit of variety and will tone down the selling aspect of your boards.
5. Keep the brand alive
Create a consistent look for your boards and pins. Look for ways to translate your brand values into pictures. This is a great way to strengthen your branding.
For instance, use photos of your customers having fun with your products if you want to project a “fun” image. Gap pulls this off with their Everybody in Gap board, which featured different fashion bloggers being fashionable in Gap clothing.
Either that or keep your target market in mind. Create boards that your target market could relate to. For example, DIY Crafts for Busy Moms, or New York Vacation on a Budget.
6. Create a following
Getting your followers on Pinterest to contribute can help you become more popular with them, other users, and can gain you a lot of followers. By putting up boards and asking people to contribute to that board, you are engaging your community more fully. Be sure, however, to monitor the contributions so that the board stays relevant and appropriate.