Most people have tested Pinterest by now, but mostly as a personal hobby, since it is, after all, a digital pinboard that plays to our desire to cut out and collect images that call to us for one reason or another. It’s quick, clean, and easy to use. Perhaps that explains why Pinterest is driving more traffic to websites than all the other social media combined. According to Shareholic, Pinterest back in January of this year exceeded YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+ in referrals. A month later it overtook Twitter.
But as social media specialist and technology trainer Beth Hayden writes in her terrific book Pinfluence, a practical guide to using Pinterest to build your business, Pinterest’s business value “might be harder to initially spot. Marketers might look at Pinterest’s lovely images of fashion, wedding venues, and recipes and think, ‘This can’t possibly be useful for me.’ But you’d be surprised what you can do with images and pinboards. There’s a whole world of visual marketing that businesses can dive into with Pinterest.”
Hayden maintains that once you’ve gotten the swing of setting up and publishing attractive pins and boards, it’s time to get your black belt in Pinterest, and use to drive sales and customer engagement.
Here are seven ways to market your business with Pinterest:
Run contests. Pick a contest topic, write a short blog post about the rules, and invite your followers to enter. There are a number of ways to pick a winner, the easiest and most social being popular vote.
Spotlight testimonials. Hayden suggests pinning pictures of your clients and pasting their testimonial in the pin’s description. “People love seeing faces with testimonials,” she says. “It makes them much more credible and friendly. This is therefore another effective technique for gathering and sharing social proof about how awesome your company is.”
Pin your videos. Many people aren’t aware that you can pin video content. It’s especially easy on any YouTube page by simply using the Pin It! bookmarklet. Once you pin a video, you can pin it to any of your boards. If your business has a YouTube channel, this is a great way to leverage it.
Tell client stories. You can turn traditional case studies into visually engaging stories, since images evoke emotion. A Pinterest board of stories is easy enough to build. Take pictures of customers engaging with your product or service, then develop an entire pin board dedicated to customers. If they have a Pinterest account, you can link them to the pin description.
Create a Pinfluence contact list. Most business owners have lists of current professional contacts, as well as potential connections they’d like to make. You can keep this list on Pinterest. You can pin their website or their Pinterest account if they have one.
Create conference boards. Let’s say you’re attending a conference or tradeshow. Blog about the event before you go–the who, what, when, and why you’re going. Then take pictures at the event, and create a Pinterest board for them. Invite others you meet to post to the board. When you’re back home, close the loop by blogging about what you did, who you met, and what you learned…then pinning the blog.
Host a pin chat. You can blend Twitter with Pinterest to host an online chat event in which the attendees tweet links and pins featuring pictures, blogs, sites, videos, you name it. It’s a great way to augment Twitter chats and build community around a theme or topic related to your business or industry.
“Beyond all the hype,” writes Hayden, “Pinterest truly is huge business opportunity for you. The site has prove itself to be incredibly powerful and addictive–and very valuable to business owners looking to market themselves online.”
Matthew E. May is the author of “IN PURSUIT OF ELEGANCE: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing.” He is constantly searching for creative ideas and innovative solutions that are ‘elegant’ – a unique and elusive combination of unusual simplicity and surprising power.