By now, you’ve probably heard about the visual pinboard social networking site Pinterest and how it’s changing the way brands interact with and market to their online communities. If you’re employing Google Analytics you may even have noticed that Pinterest is starting to garner your business decent referral traffic. But how can your brand take advantage of this latest social network?
(If you haven’t yet created a Pinterest account for your business, here’s a handy step-by-step guide for you.)
If you’re going to get serious about incorporating Pinterest into your overall social media marketing strategy we recommend linking your Twitter account and website to your Pinterest account. (For now Pinterest does not allow you to link your Facebook Business Page but this will probably change in the near future.) You may also want to add the Pinterest “Follow Me Button”to your website and the “Pin It Button” to images on your blog or website to invite your readers to share your work on Pinterest.
So, you have a business Pinterest account, but now what?
Do Some Quick Pinterest Research
If you have noticed an uptick in referral traffic to your website from Pinterest, here’s a handy tip on how to dig a little deeper: Go to http://pinterest.com/source/yourURL, and you will be able to see any and all pins that originated from your website. The benefit here is you can see what your fans consider your valuable content, products, and/or services even before you being pinning! You may want to take this at step further and follow the people or who pinned images from your website (or their individual boards which could be relevant to your brand or industry) as they could become brand advocates – an integral role in starting your Pinterest community.
Here are two examples of pins originating from our website. We discovered them by going to: http://pinterest.com/source/bevisibleassoc.com:
Next, find people who are pinning content related to your industry or area of expertise. To do so, search for relevant keywords (or even #hashtags like Twitter) in Pinterest search. Filter these results by the “People” option to find specific Pinterest users who are pinning content related to your industry. Each of these profiles is a potential lead – you may or may not want to follow them based on your business’ needs – but you can find valuable content to re-pin.
To really add some oomph to the above strategy you may want to employ a Pinterest tool calledPinReach that helps to identify the influential pinners who follow your business (as well as which of your pins and boards are performing well or under-performing.)
Engagement is Key with Pinterest
What to Pin: Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board that is satisfyingly visual – make sure any images you use are large, easy to see, high-resolution, and appealing. Stock photos are simply not up to muster on Pinterest. There are a lot of great tools scattered across the Web to add a little pizzazz to your images, one of our favorites is PicMonkey – basically a free online Photoshop with an easy to understand and intuitive interface.
Besides pinning your brand’s visual content and re-pinning content from other Pinterest users, Pinterest allows you to pin content from anywhere across the Web. (To do so, install the “Pin It bookmarklet”). Some great places to get started pinning are visually-driven websites like Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Google+, or other industry-related blogs you already subscribe to.
Use Pinterest Features to Maximize Engagement
Engagement on Pinterest can be everything from re-pinning, to writing comments, to liking pins, to gaining followers, to thanking people for pinning your content.
Stay aware of which Pinterest users are pinning and re-pinning your content. If the user regularly contributes pins to your industry and niche, go ahead and follow them. Pinterest is a very reciprocal network and lots of users tend to follow back based on shared tastes in content and similar interests.
Sometimes, Pinterest users will re-pin one of your pins, but won’t take the extra step of following your business or your individual boards. To keep users like this engaged; try commenting on the pin in question. For example try asking why they liked the image, or how you could help them with this type of product or service. The user will be notified via email and this is a great way to start a conversation and begin building a relationship with that user – chances are they’ll start following you.
Take note of the “Like” button on Pinterest. By liking pins on Pinterest, brands and businesses alike can reach out to users without (re)pinning images.
Like Twitter, Pinterest users often employ @Mentions and #Hashtags. A mention is the Pinterest equivalent of a reply on Twitter or leaving a comment on a Facebook post. Adding mentions to a comment helps to foster brand communication and interaction. Hashtags, while aiding engagement, are useful in two other major areas. First, hashtags play a vital role in making your pins appear in Pinterest search. Secondly, on Pinterest you have the ability to directly tweet any pin. If you choose to send a pin to Twitter, hashtags are Twitter lingo and you can engage with multiple online communities from a single platform.