I think about my daily forays on the internet as a kind of safari. I can save images and reminders of the sites I have traveled through with the new and exciting places I get drawn to or pulled to visit. I can now, more easily than ever, share a memory from these places and give them a home with images and videos. I can ‘pin’ images from these sites to any one of my boards on Pinterest.
I have a board for joys or yearnings. A board for places I’ve traveled and places I long to visit. I have a board for really cool things I see and a board for my love of animals and fetish of frogs. I have board for books I’ve read and one for charts and graphs about the web. I have a board representing some companies I serve and am planning on more.
A recent Forbes article shared “According to the scoreboard from Experian Hitwise data from March 2012, Pinterest is the third most popular social media platform in the United States. It is running close behind Twitter in the number of total visits. Facebook is the big beast at seven billion total visits, Twitter, while very far behind, is logging 182 million visits. Pinterest is next with 104 million and gaining quickly.” They go on to report that the average user is on their account 89 minutes a month. That’s a whole lot of attention.
I haven’t started to use this as a marketing tool yet. I’m still testing and playing and learning. I want to see how it might relate and work for some of my clients.
Where does Pinterest lead, and why should you care?
Forget the fact that it’s one of the fastest growing sites, or whether it has a business value or not—Pinterest is too easy not to do and takes no time. It gives me pleasure, and that is good enough for starters, but let’s face it—even with Pinterest we seek an ROI for our online efforts. Let’s take a look at how to work with Pinterest to get some results.
As with any marketing effort, you want to think through a strategy and use the same disciplines you’ve applied to other areas of marketing, like understanding your brand and your target audience. Keeping your keywords in hand, find the relationship between your brand: your products and services and the bigger picture. This is where you should push the envelope. Although sharing your products is a great idea, if you are a products based company, then think about sharing them in context with life events, work situations, and what other kinds of images are interesting in context.
Search your keywords on Pinterest, find what shows up, and begin pinning images that speak to ideas, concepts, plans, and more. If you are a service company, then pin images of the service in play or ideas to help think about your service—in context, once again. Think lifestyle, rather than your particular product or service. Idea boards help people to think creatively about your products or services.
First, and always, remember your keywords and add comments to the images you pin with your relevant keywords along with comments that are short but helpful or interesting. Remember to always cite where the image is from so there is no misunderstandings about ownership—unless, of course, they are yours. An easy way to do this is to copy the URL for the site where it was found, or copy the name of the photographer or artist, and add these names into your content.
Pinterest’s search feature allows you to search boards, people, and pins so do some investigating to see if there is someone or some board to follow. This is a great way to make connections with people around common interests. I also suggest searching to help you get ideas and see what other folks are doing and if they are having success. You can see how many repins and followers they have, so pay attention to what is working for others. Also pay attention to words if you want to get found as others search – naming your boards and what you say in your comments will be what the search reveals, so make it count.
Organize your boards around topics. Imagine an entire room filled with idea bulletin boards and the goal is to have as many relevant (and some just for fun) boards as you can imagine.
Link your Pinterest account to Facebook and Twitter and as you pin you can decide if you want to share on either or both sites. The nice thing about Facebook is that it is almost like having another album location that organizes your pins, so don’t forget to install the Pinterest app. Your pins can show up on your timeline, giving you another source for content.
Collaborate. You can share pinning rights with a few people on a board-by-board basis, so if you want to collaborate ideas with a small group this is a great place to do that. You can each pin to the board and that board shows up on each person’s profile. Maybe you are an event planner or you sell corporate gifts; this is a great way for you and your clients to pull together ideas and themes.
Think about your website or blog. Are you including images that others might want to pin? If you want to find out if any of your images have been pinned, you can search by following URL (replace “yoursitename.com” with your homepage’s address): http://pinterest.com/source/yoursitename.com/. You might just be surprised who has pinned you already.
Then make sure you check your website analytics and keep an eye out for traffic coming from Pinterest. Once you build up enough interest, begin to plan out a conversion strategy and a lead capturing system so that you can find ways to grow your business pin by pin by interesting pin.
Mardy Sitzer is a certified inbound marketing professional and president of Bumblebee Design & Marketing. Since 1993, Mardy has been delivering creative and innovative marketing solutions. An avid reader of all things internet and marketing, she also writes blogs, articles, and web content for industry magazines as well as for Bumblebee’s clients. She is an adjunct professor at Fordham University and instructor at Rutgers University teaching social media for business. Follow her on Twitter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.