Many people aren’t even aware of what Pinterest is yet it is now the third largest online social network. If you’re a business owner, familiarizing yourself with this social sharing network can help you to build your brand.
Pinterest consists of online bulletin boards, images grouped by themes that people follow according to their interests and tastes. Eric Melin of Spiral 16 writes that Pinterest is addictive because you can see a whole page of interesting things, about 100, at the same time, and share them all if you want. Users may decide that they like the kinds of things a specific person follows or shares and then follow them on Pinterest.
Pinterest has recently made the network more amenable to business owners by offering the opportunity to open up an account with your business name. Karen Leland of Entrepreneur.com offers advice on how to promote yourself with Pinterest. She recommends pinning images about education, about feedback, about events, about makeovers or about your company culture.
Pinning educational opportunities can include posting an image of a how-to, of an ebook or whitepaper, or of some helpful video that you link back to your site. Feedback ideas include asking for opinions on products or aspects of your services. If you have an event coming up, you can pin an image that relates to the speaker or sponsor, about the place that it will occur or about specific highlights of the event. Leland defines makeover postings as before and after images, improvements of some kind that your product or service has generated. These can be statistics or testimonials. In terms of company culture, you can post snapshots of activities going on behind the scenes in your business, of socially responsible events or even your employees in action.
Whatever you post, Melin urges that you remember this isn’t your personal store catalogue, that Pinterest is driven by interest. In order for Pinterest to work for you, you must contribute content that isn’t just self-aggrandizing but interesting to others for other reasons. You must also share pins that you find from other users in order to generate the currency of reciprocity.
Use compelling issues and get creative about what might appeal to others. Don’t always post direct content about your product or service: think about pinning things that relate to your industry and help people to think of you in a more well-rounded way. One thing you might do, recommends Melin, is to check out what trends are occurring on Pinterest and figure out how you might join in the sharing.
Pinterest has posted useful information regarding its use, reports Melin. As of March of 2012, 90 percent of Pinterest users were female and most check out the boards between 2pm and 4pm and 8pm to 1am. Posting educational information can garner you 42 percent more looks; call-to-action images increase engagement by 80 percent; and posting something that is currently trending can improve your presence by 94 percent.
Bryan Nagy of Business 2 Community.com has another suggestion: invite others to become official contributors to your Pinterest board. When you make someone an official contributor, they can directly pin items to your board and is the pinnacle of customer engagement. If you end up with an influential pinner, you’ll automatically gain all of their followers.
A Nielsen study has found that 70 percent of consumers use social media to make buying decisions reports Nagy. Almost two-thirds of these purchases are based on other people’s recommendations.
Making someone a board contributor allows them to act as your company’s advocate and gives you insight into what your consumers find interesting. You can see the feelings surrounding products or aspects of them, the types of images people like and the which images get the most traffic.
When consumers feel like they’re part of your workforce or company in this way, you seem more approachable to everyone. Your accessibility is a large part of consumer engagement.
To choose the right board contributor, find those with many followers. Nagy recommends using Curalate’s Review and Respond tools to figure out which consumers are most influential and then figure out how to let them know that they will benefit from a relationship with you. You could host a contest, suggests Nagy, in which fans compete to become your board contributor, or you could open your board to all consumers. You’d have to set limits in some way, time limits or number of entries per user, but this could create much more engagement and traffic.
In any event, it’s important to take advantage of Pinterest to improve your branding and presence online.