Pinterest is the newest “cool kid” on the Social Media block, you’ve probably heard of it, you might have joined it. Every year another one comes along and all those in Social Media Marketing have to sit and decide whether they should start investing their time in this new platform. Joining a social media site shouldn’t be a flippant decision for anyone who is entering it for the sake of their business. Any online account you open for your business should be planned, strategic and something you know you’re going to have the time to update, check and interact with.
So what is Pinterest?
Pinterest is probably the most visual of Social Networks out there at the moment (with perhaps the exception of Flickr). It is essentially an online page where you can create visual “pin-boards” where you (or your company) can pin interesting images for others to share. The social side comes with the “re-pinning” – so if you spot something interesting on someone else’s board, you can “re-pin” it onto your own.
How do I know if my business will benefit from Pinterest?
If you’re in the creative industry (designers, photographers, artists, etc) then Pinterest is a great idea because you’ll never be short of things to pin. You can pin images of your own work – and others who inspire you. For companies and brands who have products or access to visual imagery (such as magazine publishers, retailers, agencies, etc) you’ll also have lots of things to post and so would probably benefit from this social network. Other industries shouldn’t rule it out though – you can be as inventive with Pinterest as you’d like. Maybe you’re a Headteacher of a school and want to pin photographs of the best school work throughout the week? Parents can check in to see if their child has been “pinned” that week – and it can become a great way of rewarding the childrens hard work and effort.
Keep in mind though the specific niches that Pinterest caters to. Below I’ve included a list of the “categories” they cater to and the categories which are the most popular amongst users. I think it’s important here to point out that for some companies and services – time and effort would be better spent on different social networks.
So how can I be strategic about my use of Pinterest?
Keep things simple: don’t over think this social network. The site and the concept is relatively simple to get your head around and use - so try and embrace the simplicity. Pin your best photographs and things you know will attract attention from other users in your niche. Check out other people posting in your industry and have a look which of their posts have been the most successful, chances are you could even build relationships with these competitors and by re-pinning their posts, hopefully they’ll return the favour.
Remember the basics: Pinterest is a great way to get traffic to your website (and the more people who are viewing your company and business – the customers you’re likely to get) – and from a business perspective this is great news. This is inevitably why you’ve joined Pinterest, so keep it in mind. Don’t post anything that could reflect badly upon your brand, and be sure that if you’re outsourcing the “pinning” to someone that they fully understand your brand identity and voice. If you’re a lingerie brand who provides lingerie to DD+ women, you probably won’t need to post women with smaller cup sizes as it will discourage and confuse your customer base.
Don’t be selfish: On Pinterest you have the option to build several pin-boards, on which you can pin a variety of different material and link to a variety of different websites. If you are a company that creates products, then of course, it’s a good idea to have a board named “our products” but try and limit to promotional material to on board (maybe too). Pinterest is about sharing and you need to share other peoples posts too. Users will be able to spot a corporate “look at us, and only us” a mile off – and they’ll steer clear.
The below example is of someone who completely understands “sharing the love”. Notice how many categories aren’t related to her work. Then notice her high volume of followers…. Pretty good for a small-town photographer.
Link your networks together: Pinterest (being the newest network) still doesn’t have the sheer numbers as Facebook, Twitter and Linked In. Because of this – link your networks together so you’re benefiting from all of them all at once. If you link your Pinterest to your twitter account whenever you post something new it’ll go out via twitter too: which means you’ll be encourage twitter followers to follow you on Pinterest too. It’s also a wise idea to use the same photograph for your Pinterest site as you do for you Facebook and twitter – just to keep yourself constant and easy to find.
Seek out the big names: Does anyone famous or high profile use your product? If so be sure to follow them (in the hope that’ll follow you back). Interact with big brands too – if you can get re-pins from bigger names and bigger brands than your own, then your increasing our outreach and increasing your chances of traffic back to your website or product.
Be Savvy: In order to be time-savvy, be sure to install the “pin it” bookmarker on your tool bar. It’ll save you so much time in the long run and time is money (especially when you’re pinning on behalf of your business). It’s little things like this that mean you can keep active in the community and online – but can still do your actual day-to-day tasks.
I’m hoping this has helped you understand Pinterest a little more. Social networking isn’t something to shy away from as it can be a really powerful (and free) marketing tool when you use it right, so just get stuck in. The more you use Pinterest, the more you’ll become comfortable with your “style” and pinning methods.