A year ago, no one would have expected that there would be a social network that could rival the dominance that Twitter and Facebook have. Along comes Pinterest, built by a small team of 14 men and five women. How powerful is Pinterest exactly? It has more traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined. (That says a lot considering LinkedIn recently surpassed 150 million members.)
If your small business’ goal is to target females, you are in luck as 83 percent of the users on the site are female, not to mention affluent. Plus, the average time spent per user is 72 minutes, which beats Facebook’s average time of 45 minutes.
Pinterest is a virtual scrapbook or corkboard used to “pin” images found around the web into categorized groups or boards based on interests. For businesses, this presents a powerful opportunity to show your business’ values and personality in an appealing, visual format. Like any other social network, you can follow other users, share content, make comments and tag users.
A big benefit for small business marketing is that as Pinterest expands your visibility, it can also bring traffic to your website and generate leads. If a user likes the content on you pin, they can view the source link, go back to the website and purchase your items. People are using Pinterest to guide their buying decisions through “finding inspiration” for hosting parties, getting married, remodeling their houses and more.
While all businesses can likely find an audience on Pinterest, it is an especially good marketing platform for ecommerce businesses that sell directly on the web. No matter what industry you serve, read on for Pinterest marketing tips.
How to utilize Pinterest to your advantage:
1. Install the “Pin It” button on your website near your products.
This makes it easy for someone browsing your website to easily add something to their Pinterest page. For example, if you’re a jewelry maker and visitors like what they see on your site, they can easily pin an image that goes back to their Pinterest profiles and gets filed under a certain category, such as “gifts” or “style.” From there, everyone they know can see this and the chances of it getting shared increase. People can also click on the image and be directed back to your site.
2. Start pinning products!
Use high-resolution photos and make sure they link back to your website so that people can click-through and purchase the items you pin. If you want your items to be listed in the “gifts” search, include a price in the description field.
3. Add hashtags to maximize visibility.
To be visible in Pinterest searches include hashtags (as you would on Twitter) such as #Tampa, #boutique, #vintage, #accessories, or #style to help your products gain more visibility. The hashtags referenced offer an example of what businesses might use to be visible among Pinterest users searching for a particular vintage boutique in the Tampa, FL area – but use your imagination or poke around on the site to see what hashtags are best for your business.
4. Create boards relating to different subjects – including products – without appearing overly promotional.
Have pinboards centered around the different areas of the lifestyle and business personality you are trying to convey. The Today Show does this by creating boards for subjects including “health” and “style” and including some products they promote on their show under relevant headings, but then it also has an “Anchor Antics” board which shows the culture of the company and employees having fun.
Express also does a good job of pinning products within their boards. In their “Valentine Style Just Wanna Have Fun” board, the company pins products it sells on its website, such as multi-colored clutches and orange wedge sandals, but it also pins other images that represent the lifestyle of “just having fun” they want shoppers to associate with the company. Some of these include photos of happy people or feel-good, inspirational quotes.
5. Engage with your pins through “repinning” other pins to your own boards.
A “repin” is a great tool to add popular, relevant content “pinned” from other users to your own business’ boards while keeping the conversation alive with the original pinner. A recent study found that 80 percent of pins on Pinterest were repins compared to only 1.4 percent of Tweets on Twitter were Retweets. (This also speaks to the good chances that businesses with a Pinterest presence will have their content repinned.)
Just as companies do on Twitter and Facebook, use “@mentions” to tag other users in your pins. You can also “like” other users’ content relating to your SMB to further drive engagement in addition to pinning content. This is an especially good way to engage other users without repining images that aren’t relevant to your boards or business offerings.
6. For extra engagement, request input from your users.
Creating open boards and designate select users as “contributors” for appropriate topics. For example, if you make or sell food, creating a board where others can contribute recipes using your products is a great way to engage with other consumers and spark new ideas for your business.
7. Hold a social promotion on Pinterest.
Lands’ End has gotten creative with this, holding a contest called “Pin It to Win It.” Participants needed to browse the Lands’ End site and create pins of items they liked. The most creative and stylish boards won the contest.
Contests like this put users and fans to work at driving traffic to your website, while simultaneously getting them to browse your products and advocate them! The possibilities are endless from photo hunts to style contests, wedding wish-lists to on-site scavenger searches. Of course, it’s It’s important to review any sites Terms of Service before running a contest.
8. Find your most pinnable content and plan content marketing campaigns accordingly.
Anytime someone pins content from your site, there’s also a source link tied to the image that links back to your site. There is a chance for that pin to be repinned multiple times (even hundreds of times, in some cases), building up a backlinks.
You can track your brand’s pins on Pinterest by replacing “yoursitedomain.com” in this link with your URL: http://pinterest.com/source/yoursitedomain.com/
With the growing user traffic on Pinterest it’s no surprise that your competitors are likely joining the bandwagon. You should get involved let you miss out on engagement (and SEO) opportunities. Pin away!
Pinterest is the latest trend in social media, and the platform offers valuable small business marketing opportunities. Here are some tips to get your Pinterest marketing campaign started.