Pinterest the Definitive Guide - Part 2

March 9, 2012
Est. Reading: 5 minute

Last week, we explained what Pinterest was.  We examined the short history of the social network and looked at its significant growth.  To quickly summarize, Pinterest is an image-driven social media site that resembles a virtual pinboard.  Pinterest is big, it’s getting bigger and it’s easy to use.  Pinterest is driving a lot of traffic to websites.

Using Pinterest as a Marketing Tool

So why aren’t businesses joining Pinterest?  They are… by the boatload.  Now let’s examine how to use Pinterest as a marketing tool for your small business.

USE PROPER ETIQUETTE

First things first; Pinterest is about lifestyle and sharing cool visual images. Blatant self-promotion is discouraged and frowned upon by both Pinterest and its users.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t use Pinterest to benefit your business.  Find creative ways to share stuff rather than concentrating on selling stuff.  You need to ‘connect’ with Pinterest users in order to build a following.  We give you some ideas on how to do that below.

SIGN UP YOUR BUSINESS

If you have already signed up on Pinterest with a personal account and it’s connected with your Facebook login, there’s no need to fear.  While you still can’t connect your Pinterest account to your Facebook business page, you can still use the login from your Twitter account.  If you don’t have a Twitter business account, you should sign up for one first.  Pinterest will pull in your profile picture from your Twitter account for you.   Create a user name and you’ll have a Pinterest business account.

If you need an invitation, please contact us, and Captivation Agency will be happy to send you one.

BUILD YOUR PINBOARDS

The first thing you should do is create a few pinboards.  Remember, Pinterest is a visual social media experience, so you’ll need to pin your best images if you’ll want to succeed.  Just pinning stuff to fill out your boards will result in a pile of boring junk that will excite no one.  You should only pin interesting, visually stimulating items that will appeal to people who might be potential customers.  Let people find your boards organically and be attracted by the images you pin.

Let’s look at a few examples of how certain businesses might be able to use their boards effectively.

Pet Grooming Salon – An obvious board would be of pets after their grooming.  Another board could be photos of the equipment used and quality supplies.  But less obvious boards might include photos of interesting doghouses or funny slogans that use animals in their images.  Maybe a board of the best pet Halloween costumes that you can find on the internet.  Another idea is to ask pet owners to send in photos of them with their animals.  All of these images will add interest and value to the viewer and keep them coming back to look at new photos.

Mexican Restaurant – An obvious board would be photos of your best dishes.  Other less obvious but just as effective boards might include travel photos from Mexico or classic Mexican art.  Capture the essence of Mexico and you’ll put viewers in the mood for Mexican food.

Fitness Gym – Obvious boards would include photos of your equipment and the fit trainers employed at your fitness center.  Less obvious boards might be photos of this year’s best swimsuits – so people have goals to work out more.  Another board might be of fitness how-to’s that you find on the web, showing proper lifting and breathing techniques, etc.  And don’t forget before and after photos of customers that have achieved their goals?

Tax Preparer – Not as glamorous but still can benefit from Pinterest.  How about a board of exotic places that people can go with their refund checks?  Or how about a board filled with museum paintings of the founding fathers to make people feel more patriotic about paying their taxes?  Since most of your clients will be local, another nice touch might be creating a board for the sports teams in the area… if you’re a sports enthusiast.  If not, what other local interests can you post?

These are just an example of the possibilities on Pinterest.  Use your imagination and you’ll be able to come up with lots of ideas that viewers will love.

OTHER TIPS & TRICKS

  • Add the ‘Pin It’ button to your website so people can easily share your items to their Pinterest boards.  The link back to your website will be included so others can discover your site too.  The Pinterest social sharing button is becoming increasingly popular on websites.  There’s no reason not to put it on yours.
  • Not every image needs to link back to your website or internet store – nor should it.  But make sure that the images that can be linked are.  Click ‘Add’ in the upper right hand corner, then the ‘Pin it’ button.  An address bar will appear where the link to the image can be included.  Now the image will provide a direct link back to the website.
  • Has your business created any eBooks or PDF manuscripts?  Use the cover of the book as a pin with a link to the book.
  • Host a contest.  Contests are a great way to create excitement and drive traffic back to your website.  There are a number of creative things you can do on Pinterest, i.e. ask people to post pictures of them using your product or have your customers send their photos to you and create a special pinboard.  The best or most popular photo wins a prize.  Just make sure you read Pinterest’s guidelines so you understand what’s allowable.
  • Give detailed descriptions about each pin.  Use solid key words that people will use in the Pinterest search function and more people will be able to find your pins.
  • Post trade-related videos.  Become a helpful source for people looking for answers in your field.  This can help position yourself as an expert in your industry.
  • Engage with users.  ‘Like’, ‘Repin’ and ‘Comment’ on other pins.  ‘Follow’ other like-minded individuals.  They may return the favor and start following you as well.
  • Use responsibly.  Like other social media networks, Pinterest can be a valuable tool but it can also suck up your time before you know it.  Set goals and time limits so it doesn’t eat away at your productivity.

Please follow Captivation Agency on Pinterest!

Are you more likely to set up a Pinterest account now?  Do you feel it would help your business increase traffic to your site?  If you are using Pinterest already, please share with our users how this new social network is benefiting your business.  We want to hear from you!

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