The holy grail of marketers is to always be on the cutting edge. That means always being ready for something new. Notice I said “be ready” and not “be using.” You should be using what your customers are likely to be using. And then along comes Pinterest, which sooner or later your customers are likely to be using.
What is it? Pinterest is a social network that allows “Pinners” (users) to collect and share things they find interesting. Think of Pinterest as a collection of digital photo and video albums. Users “Pin” (collect) things they find interesting into their personal “Pinboards” (albums) and that content is then sharable with other “Pinners” (Pinterest users), on Facebook, and other social networks.
The first question that pops up is “How do I market my business on Pinterest?” There’s not a short answer to that question, so I offer 20 Pinterest Marketing Actions below. However, if you want to maximize Pinterest to market your business, get the first fundamentals right.
There are two ingredients to the Pinterest recipe:
1. Having something interesting that people want to Pin.
2. An interesting image or video.
Keep in mind: Pinners are not on Pinterest to be marketed to. They are there to collect interesting things and share them with their friends. Be interesting and create sharable content. The power of Pinterest is that you can use it to attract more referral traffic to your website.
A big advantage Pinterest has over Facebook is that your pins are evergreen. Your pinboard does not disappear at the bottom of a timeline, never to be seen again. In the long run, Pinterest can become more valuable to your business than your Facebook page.
So, let’s get on with marketing your business on Pinterest.
The Incomplete Steps of Marketing on Pinterest.
1. To get your site pinned: Focus on sharing visual content. Even if your content is primarily text, include a strong visual on the page or in the post. But don’t just stop with a strong visual, make sure the content is something that people would want to save for future use. Strong visuals include interesting pictures, infographics, data charts, graphs, book covers, pictures of famous people. If you don’t have one yet, get an account at iStock Photo or another stock photo service.
2. Create a Pinterest Account for Your Business. If you have a Twitter account, use the same email address as your Twitter account. Pinterest does not yet offer a connection for Facebook business pages. You will have to get an invite from a friend who currently uses Pinterest, or request one from the Pinterest home page.
3. Add the Pin It button to your browser. This will make it easy for you to add content to your own boards.
4. Add Pinterest social sharing tools to your website, such as Digg Digg for WordPress. Making it easy for website visitors to pin your stuff. Every time someone pins one of your pages or articles, you get a link back to your website. These links are the path to more traffic from that Pinner’s followers. Caution: These are all “no-follow” links, meaning you cannot use Pinterest as an SEO trick. However, your Pinterest profile is indexed by search engines so take care in filling it out and match the information to your other online business profiles.
5. Before you build your Pinterest network, create your own pinboards of interesting stuff. But don’t just fill your pinboards with your own content. You will quickly be identified as a self-promoter. Find and pin other people’s content and mix it with your own.
6. Start following other pinners who you would want to follow you back. Preferably influential Pinners with a large following and a history of pinning and sharing.
7. Like, re-pin, and comment on other pinner’s pins.
8. Promote more than just products. Meaning, don’t constantly just post pictures of things you want to sell. Pin tips, advice, products from other companies.
9. If you do pin stuff you want to sell, be sure to add a price to your item. When you do, your pin is automatically added to Pinterest’s Gifts section.
10. Be active. Like any social network, activity breeds activity. Don’t just pin it and forget it. Pinners are active searchers, always searching for new things to do, buy, read and share. Give them something new, and do it frequently. At least once per week, preferable more.
11. Turn your Pinterest profile into a website of its own. Fill it up with interesting pinboards that will entice other pinners to want to linger on your boards. Name those pinboards based on keywords that match your business.
12. Create keystone or “big-idea” pinboards. These include things like business book reviews, a collection of your favorite resources, quotes, top-ten lists.
13. But don’t forget to sell. Mix in self-promotion pinboards like Most Popular Products, Featured Clients, Customer Testimonials, Top 10 Blog Posts.
14. Beware of copyright issues! Don’t post pictures that you don’t own. Right now it seems ok to pin interesting stuff from other sites, but DO NOT upload a picture you do not own.
15. Revive old content. Find that great blog post you wrote three years ago that no one reads any more. Pin it to one of your boards for new life.
16. Track your website referral traffic. Is your time on Pinterest worth it? Many businesses waste time on social media that may be better spent with other marketing functions. Look at your website analytics and see if Pinterest is sending you enough traffic to justify the time.
17. Get personal. Have at least one board highlighting a personal interest to let people know you are a human being. Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer loves bourbon and shares his love on his Bourbon Pinboard.
18. Think about search engines when you title your boards. I typed “Pinterest Business Quotes” into Google and found Natalie May’s Quotes pinboard.
19. If you create your own images, and you should, add a watermark to image such as putting your website address at the bottom.
So why is this incomplete? First, because you have to take action. And I mean a lot of action. Don’t let this be just another thing you try when you have time. If you want to find out if Pinterest works for your business, dig in and dig in hard.
Second, everyone’s still learning. Once you start pinning you will learn and innovate. Maybe you already have.
What can you add to this guide?