By now you've probably heard of Pinterest, (www.pinterest.com) the new social network that has literally taken the social media world by storm. In this article, I'm going to help you understand how you can use Pinterest to promote your website while walking you through some of the basics of Pinterest usage and Pinterest marketing. Let's get started...
What Is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a virtual pin board, or bulletin board. It acts as a bookmark while allowing you to share all the wonderful things you find on the web. Since it's a very visual medium, people use Pinterest to gather ideas on how to decorate their child's room, research crafts they are interested in doing, plan their wedding and other events, organize recipes, gather inspiration on new styles and trends, and much more.
While you might be thinking Pinterest is focused more on the consumer and NOT the business owner. But that's not entirely true. I'll be showing you some cool ideas for using Pinterest to gain exposure in a new medium and, most importantly, how you can use content to convert visitors into new clients and leads.
Pinterest Background Info
First, some quick stats...
- 1.36 million users per day
- Most users are female mothers
- 25%+ users have a household income of $100K+
(Source: Full Service Agency, Modea (https://www.modea.com/)
Pinterest For Beginners
There are only 4 things you can do on Pinterest as a user...
- Pin your own content
- Repin others content
- Like others pins
- Comment on pins
It's pretty simple. But don't let the simplicity deter you. This is exactly why Pinterest is so popular and, at least so far, a very successful online social network.
In general there are two types of "Pinteresters" (aka, users).
1. (OP) Original Pinners
These are the folks who scour the web looking for cool stuff. They are influencers and they are thought leaders. They find content interesting, want to remember it, and want to share it with their network on Pinterest and likely other social networks like Facebook and Twitter. These are the people you want to see your content so that other people repin it.
2. (RP) Repinners
Repinners scour Pinterest and repin content they find interesting to their own network. While they are (most of the time) recycling information that's already on Pinterest, they're still important because if they're following the right people and the right people follow them they can have a large impact on spreading content throughout the Pinterest ecosphere.
4 Quick Ideas For Using Pinterest To Promote Your Business
As a business owner and marketer, you want to be more of an Original Pinner (OP) than a Repinner (RP) as it will help grow your following and establish you as an expert in your industry. Here are some quick notes & ideas for getting started on Pinterest and using the tool successfully for business promotion...
1. Establish yourself as an expert (aka, you're "in-the-know").
Establishing yourself as an expert is important on all social networks and each different network gives you a new opportunity to do so.
On LinkedIn a great way to establish yourself as an expert is to answer questions and communicate in industry specific groups. Quora works the same way. By answering questions you show the people out there that you know what you are talking about and that they should be listening.
On Pinterest the same holds true. Only the way you do it is different. Instead of answering questions, you should be pinning things that are related to your industry and commenting on people's pins when necessary. For example: if you own a business that sells a special type of honey and you see someone pin a recipe for Baklava, you could tactfully comment on their post and let them know that you love Baklava and when you make it with such-and-such honey (which you happen to sell at your store) it always turns out much better. Since many people may read your comments, you might have just captured new leads.
2. Show people your style.
Pinterest is also great to showcase your style. This is great for people who have a very visual and creative business. Whether you are a graphic designer, a stylist, a decorator, an architect, or jewelry designer, Pinterest is perfect for you. It allows you to showcase different looks which people can then come to you for advice or for your services.
3. Collaborate with your clients.
Pinterest can also be treated as a way to collaborate with clients on a project. As you can open up certain boards to multiple pinners this is a great way to get collective input and work towards a final decision. It will establish a good relationship with your client as well as a way of working together. I am actually doing this currently with my wedding planner. As she is creating my ideal wedding, she and I have a joint pin board where I share what I like and she offers input and vice versa.
4. Get exposure for new ideas & new inspiration.
As with any business, you should always be learning more about your marketplace. Since you can search various topics on interest and there is always new content being added, you are sure to get your fill.
How To Avoid Common "Newbie" Mistakes
Whenever a new network comes out people rush to me and say: "Steph, I just read about this social network, should I be on it?"
Many times the answer is yes. But not always. There are many social networks out there, and they can all be a time suck. You don't want to waste your time on something that doesn't make sense for you just because "everyone else is doing it." Although social media is important to growing your business, like any other marketing strategy it's only worth it if it helps you attract new leads, new customers, and new sales.
If your audience isn't on Pinterest, then there's no need to spend a lot of time there. In general, spend the most time where your audience hangs out online.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if Pinterest is right for me?
Who is your audience? - If you answered female 24-35 then go and run! Pinterest is definitely for you. Even it not, there might be a chance Pinterest could still work. Remember: women do influence a lot of purchasing decisions even if they're not holding the credit card, so-to-speak.
How do I know if I'm in a "visual industry"?
When you close your eyes and picture your industry, do vivid and beautiful images come to mind? If so, then definitely yes -- Pinterest is for you.
I have a physical product to sell (aka, I'm in the retail business). Is Pinterest for me?
Yes! Pinterest was practically made for you.
What about my blog? I use lots of images. Could I promote those on Pinterest too?
Yes, you could use Pinterest.
What are some "good fit" types of businesses for Pinterest?
*Wedding Planner/Event Planner
But of course, don't be limited to these. If you can work in a way to use Pinterest for your business do let me know! I'd love to hear about it.
Pinning Your Business Content in Pinterest
Now that we have established whether or not you should be on Pinterest, let's talk about the type of content you should be pinning.
Of course it depends on your industry but as a general rule of thumb you always want to pin interesting visuals. It's all about the images! Perhaps you are a accountant or a less visual business like that, you might want to look into pinning infographics. Another rule of thumb is don't "over pin" your own content. You will never gain a following by only pinning your own stuff.
How To Get Started With Pinterest Now!
Now it's time to go to Pinterest and start pinning to promote your business!
First, you must have a Twitter, a Facebook, be invited by a pinner, or sign up to be on the wait list.
Create A Profile
Once you are in you need to create a nice profile and name. If you are the personality behind your business then by all means use your name, but if your business name is how people identify you then use that. As for your graphic I think people tend to like a real person's face best. But again if your business name is solid use that.
Find Your Pinning Areas
Identify the boards you want to create -- they must make sense to your business. For example if you are a Fitness Coach appropriate boards would be things like Healthy recipes, Easy Workouts, Workout Clothes, etc. If you are a travel agent that specializes in Indian Travel, perhaps your pins could be along the lines of Delhi Hotels, Top 10 To Dos While Traveling in India, Side trips from Bombay, etc.
Remember that when your content is repinned - people can see what board it came from and what board it is going to. Your board names are important -- the more specific, the better.
As I mentioned before you want about 80% of your pins to come from content you pull from the web and 20% from repining others. Repinning is good because it gets your name out there and when you repin someone's content that person gets a notification and maybe they will start to follow you.
Now I am a big believer in making things easy as possible as that is why I recommend getting the Mobile App to repin on the go. The Bookmarklet is good as it makes pinning different pages super simple with one click of a button - you can get it here. You can also get the mobile bookmarklet there as well.
Add The Pinterest Graphic To Your Own Website
This is especially good if your blog contains lots of quality "text content" as you are allowing your new Pinterest visitors to see a new side of you.
Add Relevant People
Do a search for keywords that relate to your industry and start following people who have interesting content. Now this might take awhile but it is worth it in the long run. One thing to note is that when you click follow all you will be following all their boards which might clog up your home news feed. Instead, I suggest just following the boards that relate to your industry which will make your repining a lot easier and smoother.
How To Be A Power Pinner
With the basics under your belt, it's time to start kicking serious butt. If you find Pinterest a good fit for your business, then it makes sense to move up to the next level and get a bit more advanced...
Start Repining To Build A Reputation
By repining other's content they will get a notice and most likely they will click on your own stuff. This is how you "network" and make connections via Pinterest.
Pin Your Content Consistently
Pin your new content as much as you can, but be sure it's relevant and not too excessive. Nobody likes a social network abuser. This is one of the great secrets of "social network marketing." You want to find that balance between giving and taking.
Find Your Fans
Do a search for people who have already pinned your content and comment on it so they know you are the creator. Thank them, offer more information and start a relationship. This is one of the smartest things you can do on Pinterest.
To find if someone has pinned your content, simply type the following into your browser bar:
http://pinterest.com/source/(add your site here without the www part)
For example, my food blog is http://pinterest.com/source/thechefanies.com/
Make your Website Pinterest Friendly
Add the social button to your blog and site so that people can easily pin your content. Nothing is a bigger turnoff than a site that doesn't make social sharing easy. You are missing a huge opportunity by not having this.
Share/Connect With Twitter or Facebook
Anytime you pin something, you have the option to share on Facebook and Twitter. If you want this will maximize your exposure to people on Facebook and Twitter. But this is up to you. Also Facebook's frictionless sharing if opted in will share automatically to Facebook.
Comment On What You Like
Social networks (Pinterest included) are about sharing! Simple as that.
Some Unspoken Pinterest Rules
Like any social network or community, newbies need to spend time adjusting to the unspoken but well respected rules of the group. Pinterest has a few of these, but they're pretty consistent with what you'll find across most online networking sites...
1. It's ok to pin your own stuff, but not too much.
This is the same with all social networks. Self promotion is ok, but it is a 2-way dialogue. Use the 80/20 rule. 80% of others content, 20% of your own. That should suffice.
2. It's not ok to spam.
Don't be a spammer - Don't pin bad content! You will be ostracized.
3. It's not ok to overpin (or pin bad stuff).
Don't over pin. I know it's addicting, but you are more likely to be unfollowed if you take up someone's entire news feed with your streams of content. Not a good idea.
A Quick Pinterest Case study
The Chefanies is my personal food blog. It's a hobby site but I still find it interesting how much traffic I've gotten in the past few months from Pinterest. The Chefanies works because it's visual. Who doesn't like to look at pics of food? And it also relates to the Pinterest audience.
As you can see, Pinterest is the 2nd most popular referring traffic source. Amazing!
Good luck pinning! Please leave a comment with your pinterest ID so I can follow your progress.
Author: Stephanie Frasco
Stephanie Frasco, VP Social Media Marketing, started helping businesses get results with social networks before Twitter even existed! Stephanie has worked directly with high profile clients like Oprah, Atlantic Records, Dashlane, The International Culinary Center, & many more. She specializes in helping business owners and marketers find massive ROI by developing targeted social campaigns focused on *engagement strategies* that work!