Every so often a new social media site powers to the top of the headlines, collecting big brands and column inches as it does so. The latest of these communities to begin making a name for itself and making waves in the search marketing industry is Pinterest. The site describes itself as an online pin board for organizing and sharing the things you love. Think of it as a mash-up of various tried and tested social media formulas – image sharing, bookmarking, liking and status updating.
While it hasn’t been around that long and certainly hasn’t yet scaled the heights of Facebook, Twitter or even Google+, Pinterest has racked up some decent brand members and is steadily building a cult following. While it may not quite classify as being a ‘must use’ social media site for your brand, it is precisely because Pinterest is still flying under the radar that you ought to jump on board.
Sporting everything from dinosaurs, cupcakes and cookies to weight loss tips, wedding dresses, holiday destinations and home offices, Pinterest really is a giant pin board. This cornucopia of topics can make it hard to stand out and even more difficult to figure out just how to get started. Follow these easy steps to get up to speed…
1. Request an Invite
Pinterest is an ‘invite only’ social network but, you can request an invite directly from the site. Simply click on the link and input your email address to request an invitation. It can take anything from a few minutes to a day or more to get up and running so patience is key.
2. Complete the Basics
As with any social networking presence, completing filling out your profile information after getting the invitation email through is a sensible first step. The profile fields are somewhat limited but, you can integrate with your other social apps such as Facebook and Twitter so even if you feel that the Pinterest profile is too narrow to be creative, you can direct interested parties elsewhere.
One of the most basic areas to get right is the business profile – make sure you use the space to the max. Succinct, original and engaging profile writing does take practice but simply copying and pasting from your About Us page almost always fails to do your brand justice.
3. Widen your circle of interests
Now the initial steps are complete, you can really start to delve into what makes Pinterest tick and determine how it can work for your brand.
Pinterest has a strict rule about self promotion which means that your Pinterest page can’t be solely about your products and services or you risk having your account terminated and your hard work come to nothing. At this point, it may seem like more trouble than it’s worth but, the fact that your competitors likely aren’t on Pinterest yet should be reason enough to persevere and maintain your competitive edge.
Broadening your circle of interests works really well on Pinterest and, while not directly promoting your own business, will help you better connect with your target audience which in turn can help with conversions. As an example, imagine you run a hotel or bed and breakfast. You’ll want to add some pictures of your rooms and amenities in order to get Pinterest working for you but, you’ll also need to broaden what you pin in order to keep on the right side of the rule book.
If you’re creative there are lots of ways in which you can add value to your Pinterest board and still be driving sales. You could add images of local attractions, or team up with local bars and restaurants to add some images of their delicious local food and drink specialities which your guests may enjoy. A reciprocal agreement with those businesses means you’ll get some extra promotion as a result.
4. Follow the right people
Just as you’ll follow similar accounts to your own on Twitter and like the Facebook pages of suppliers, you can repin materials of interest on your own board. Following, commenting on the things they pin and re-pinning can build bridges between your two brands and, can mean that some of that board’s fans end up following you.
You don’t need to spend hours and hours following people initially in order for this aspect of your strategy to work well. In fact, taking more time to hunt out accounts to follow can actually be a much more profitable strategy as you can focus on those boards that are best aligned with your own demographic.
5. Promote, promote, promote
Don’t forget, you need to develop a strong following to enjoy Pinterest at its best. Be sure to add a Pin It button to your website so you direct traffic, just as you display a Facebook or Twitter icon to generate followers and likes. You can also link from other social media – such as posting a photo on Facebook and commenting that others can also be seen on your Pinterest page.