Many businesses are not taking advantage of Pinterest. Or, at least not as fully as they could. The goal of this article is to help ease you into Pinterest content marketing. I’ll help you get past the initial trial and error, and help you drive interest in your Pinterest business account!
What is Pinterest, and How Will it Fit into My Content Strategy?
Let’s start with the basics by looking at the short and sweet points of Pinterest:
- Pinterest is a social media platform that works around a virtual bulletin board
- Pinterest users "pin" items that (p)interest them to their virtual board
- Most pins people post are stimulating pictures. You can also find recipes, articles, quotations and other short and easy-to-digest pieces of content.
The tens of thousands of businesses already on Pinterest are now using the platform to solicit new ideas for content on other platforms, give their new content a trial run, build brand loyalty, and find new followers that will convert into customers. Pinterest is continually improving monetization options and helping businesses succeed. Their user base has grown to over 40 million, and there are many opportunities for you to thrive on Pinterest. Even a 112-year-old company like Nordstrom is on Pinterest and thriving!
How to Establish Your Pinterest Business Account
Once you have signed up for a Pinterest business account — or if you have converted your existing one to a business account — you have to look at what Pinterest is not: a sales catalog. This means that static shots of your products, like the ones you produce for product catalogs, will not be effective. You need to produce value-added content. For example:
- A grocery store can pin recipes. For bonus points, have those recipes coincide with the week’s specials.
- A sports store can always have content ready by pinning up pictures from last night’s action and sharing a few words to say about what happened.
- A movie/music store could pin pictures of movies and offer their own comments on them as mini-reviews. If these movies are the latest releases, you’re getting the hang of Pinterest content marketing.
Remember, your goal with Pinterest marketing should always be presenting your fans with value-added marketing. Even when paying for Pinterest’s Promoted pins, you’ll never meet your goal of driving relevant traffic from your Pinterest business account to your website checkout if you try to use the same old marketing tactics that worked in magazines — the most comparable, visual advertising medium.
What Does a Great Pin Consist Of?
A great pin can be many things, but what it can’t be is useless to your potential Pinterest fans. An excellent example comes from the most repinned board on Pinterest, Better Homes and Gardens.
Their most popular boards are ones where users share recipes. This appeals to their user’s desire to have new and exciting food to cook. They’re not posting up the latest cover of their magazine and acting like that’s enough. They’re truly working to make each pin relevant to their audience.
What you need to focus on with each pin is what you want it to do. Is your goal to get more repins? Have people visit your website? Raise brand awareness? Each of these can be done, in order, by:
1. Having a clear call to action on the image, or in the description, to repin it
2. Including a link to your website in the description with a call to action to visit
3. Having your logo embedded within the image itself
Want to do all three at once? It’s possible, but be sure to not overload your pinners with excess information. Check out this pin from General Electric with their logo on it to see how point three can be done:
It is subtle, but effective, as all 110 people who repinned that image exposed their followers to the GE brand.
Beyond the images presented, Pinterest is an excellent opportunity to work on your link building. With 500 characters available to you with each pin, not to mention board names and individual image names, you have an opportunity to insert keywords from your website SEO plan.
Use keywords for each board, and each individual pin that creates funnels toward your landing pages on your website. For instance, if you’re a sports clothing retailer with a landing page for basketball shoes with the keyword “Men’s basketball shoes,” here’s the funnel you’ll want to create:
1. Create a Pinterest board titled “The Best Men’s Basketball Shoes Coming out in 2014”
2. Create a pin titled “Men’s Basketball Shoes by Nike” with images of all their big releases
3. In the description, create a hyperlink with a call to action like this, “We sell many of these men’s basketball shoes over on our website — come on by for a slamdunk deal!” The underlined text will link to the landing page for men’s basketball shoes.
This sort of linking creates a funnel from the top; users start out with a general interest in men’s basketball shoes, move toward a specific brand they’re interested in and finally, move along to your webpage. This is great for keyword link building, and to help Pinterest visitors go along a directed sales funnel.
Calls to Action: Motivate Your Pinterest Fans
Strong calls to action are an important part of any social media marketing campaign, and this is true with Pinterest. When used in conjunction with data tracking, you’ll be able to truly take charge of your Pinterest account.
- A call to action can be as simple as asking for comments and re-pins. Don’t underestimate the power of “Repin if you agree,” or “Comment if you think differently.”
- Once your fans start responding, you can track the trends with the new Pinterest analytics dashboard provided on the site for free.
- For even more sharing across platforms, Pinterest widgets can have your fans sharing content to their Pinterest board at an even faster rate. Widgets are buttons that make pinning content from your website to a Pinterest board as simple as pushing a button.
These are the first basics that will get your Pinterest business account off the ground. When companies miss out on these, they often start to think Pinterest is a waste of time. That’s not true — they’re wasting the time of those who are on Pinterest!
Be Social: Interact With Your Pinterest Fans
Pinterest is a social media platform. What’s the first word in the phrase “social media platform?” Social, of course! To reach the next level of Pinterest marketing you’re going to want to start:
- Pinning up photos of your fans using your products. That recipe you shared in the grocery store example above is a perfect opportunity to get a few fans to send you pictures of the tasty meals they prepare.
- Show off the real results from fans who have used your products or services. The sports store in the example above could have a few photos of customers out on the baseball diamond/basketball court/gridiron playing and having fun with the products you sold them.
- Run competitions that encourage photos of your products in unusual locales. You may not have money for a product shoot in Milan, but your customers are vacationing all over the world. A contest, or just asking, for vacation photos with your products can do wonders for your exposure — who doesn’t love looking at pictures from faraway lands? The social aspect is that your Pinterest board becomes a virtual slideshow. And who doesn’t enjoy talking about their latest vacation?
Having these sorts of social activities will truly bring your Pinterest account alive. The fun keeps people coming back, and the brief fame you give them by pinning them to your board increases sharing and brand loyalty. Best of all, this is all free content for your Pinterest marketing efforts! When your fans are doing the marketing for you that's when social media really comes to life.
Pinterest may look unconventional in comparison to Twitter and Facebook, but its success is based on some of the same principles of social media that you’ve heard before:
1. Have clear calls to action
2. Accurately track your data points
3. Include your followers in your marketing efforts as often as you can
You’ll be well on your way to creating interest in your Pinterest business account if you do!