How to Use Pinterest for Your Business

snarky pinterest e cardThe word on everyone’s lips lately is “Pinterest.” Women love it, men are hesitant to use it, and most marketers are confused by it. The concept is easy enough. At its core it’s a social bookmarking site: a digital bulletin board where users can pin their favorite internet findings. But unlike Twitter, Facebook, or Digg, Pinterest is driven by visual imagery. Just visit Pinterest and your eyes will feast upon scores of aesthetically pleasing images: designer shoes, luxurious beach destinations, creative craft ideas, and a puppy or two.  And while the aforementioned seems to indicate that Pinterest is a largely female driven site, word is spreading and gents are beginning to take interest.  If your business is a male-focused brand, check out The Bro’s Guide to Pinterest by Ryan Sammy. It has some great ideas on how male brands can still build a brand presence on Pinterest.

Even if you’re not a wedding planner or home decorator, you can (and should) still utilize Pinterest’s growing user base. According to Hubspot.com, Pinterest has more than 10 million unique visitors, making it a great tool in your marketing arsenal. Many marketers are finding that Pinterest is driving more traffic to their site than most social sites, and consequentially converting more users into buyers.

It drives traffic, it converts, and (ask any Pinterest user and they will tell you) it’s addictive. It’s a fresh new way to organize and share your favorite things. I’m a user as of January 2012, and already I find it a great way to organize my favorite recipes and cool infographics.

Promote Your Brand through Pinterest

Alright, so we know it’s the hip new kid on the block, but, as marketers, how should we approach it? Here are just a few ways you can use Pinterest to build your followers and attract more customers.

1. Create Multiple Pin Boards

Your first step is to create pin boards where you can share your content. Give your pin boards unique and interesting titles that will grab users’ attention. Bergdorf Goodman created a board titled “I have a weakness for…” where they pin pictures of shoes, places, sweets and even celebrities, making it a diverse and appealing hub for sharing ideas. Use this approach to build your presence and extend your audience reach. Don’t simply crowd your boards with your own products. This will not only look like spam, it will deter Pinterest users from following you. Instead, use these pin boards as an opportunity to show users your brand’s personality. What kind of books do you like? Where have you travelled, or would like to travel? Middle Sister Wines does an excellent job of diversifying their boards to bring in more users.  Not only do they have pin boards for both their white and red wine selections, but they have boards where they can share their favorite quotes, art, and recipes.

2. Post Fresh, Attractive Content

It’s important to note the word “attractive.” As opposed to Twitter or Digg, Pinterest is visually driven. When pinning a piece of content to a board, the image associated with that content is the lead. For example, if you decide to pin an article about the “Health Benefits of Peanut Butter” on your board, the article’s image will become the link to that article. Whereas Digg uses the article’s title to draw in users, Pinterest uses the image to reel them in. So if you hope to draw Pinterest users to your peanut butter article, you better have a delicious mouth watering photo of peanut butter to attract them.  The key takeaway here is this: it isn’t enough to have interesting content. You must have an intriguing description coupled with a captivating image.  If you don’t have a professional photographer or graphic designer, now is the time to invest in one.

3. Engage with Customers

Just like any social site, Pinterest can be a great way to engage with your customers and potential customers. Repinning is the key here. If you repin a user’s image, that user is more likely to visit your boards and see what you have to offer that they themselves can repin. Go beyond that by commenting on various pins that your brand is related to. Just like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest has the potential to become a great venue for customer interaction. Have a new product that could use customer feedback? Pin it and prompt your followers to leave their opinions.

Don’t forget to track it!

As online marketers, it’s not enough to set up Pinterest boards and expect them to work. Track how much traffic Pinterest is directing to your site by setting up an advanced segment in your Google Analytics. You might be surprised to learn just how much Pinterest influences your conversions!

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