Over the past few months, you may have heard the chatter surrounding social media’s latest and greatest startup – Pinterest.
So what is it?
Hubspot describes Pinterest as a social network that allows users to visually share, curate and discover new interests by posting images or videos to their own or others’ pinboards (i.e. a collection of ‘pins’ with a common theme). Pinterest visually emphasises each user’s lifestyle, allowing you to share your tastes and interests with others. The social network’s goal is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting”. Users can either upload images from their computer or pin things they find when browsing online via the Pinterest bookmarklet.
Before you dive in…
Before you even begin contemplating using Pinterest as a business, you need to consider Pinterest etiquette. The site heavily discourages self promotion so as a company you shouldn’t upload images of your products or services, instead try uploading images that display the lifestyle that your products or services create.
One company leading the charge with Pinterest is Etsy – the online shopping website with 51,000+ followers.
The thing I love about Etsy’s Pinterest account is how they take their interesting and heartwarming products and show you how they can be used in everyday life. This appeals to the large female user base on Pinterest (approximately 70% of users are female) and encapsulates everything Etsy stands for through imagery. This gives Etsy’s customers new ideas for how to use their products and more incentive to buy.
Mashable is another brand that is killing it on Pinterest. Mashable is the largest independent news source for digital culture, social media and technology, so it is no surprise that they are seriously pinning.
Mashable is preparing to be ahead of the curve for when the male population finally gets on board with Pinterest. As a tech-head myself, I love the way that Mashable is delivering data through imagery around boards dedicated to web humour, infographics, social media and even super bowl ads. Mashable truly shows that even as a data driven company, there are still ways that you can visually appeal to your market and create interest.
As you can tell from the above examples, the trick to Pinterest isn’t about showing off your products or services directly. It’s about appealing to your target market’s lifestyle through showing the lifestyle benefits of your products or services via creative imagery.
How do I get started?
To get your business up and ‘pinning’, here are a couple of ways to use Pinterest as part of your social media marketing strategy.
- Visually appeal to your market. Pinterest is a visual social network, so if your business is largely design based or pumps out infographics, create a board that highlights this content. For example, an architecture firm could pin images of great architecture onto a board called ‘architecture inspiration’. Ensure that you are strategic about pinning content and you mix in a range of images to amplify the visual appeal of your pinboard.
- Create engagement. A great way to get your target market engaging with your pins is to create a user-generated pinboard. This gives your fans the opportunity to become involved in your Pinterest page and display images that reflect what your product or service allows them to achieve. You can ask your customers to pin images that showcase the lifestyle that your product or service allows them to enjoy. Think of this strategy as a way to showcase customer testimonials through images.
- Make it easy for users to pin your content. Make it super dooper easy so your 80 year old grandma can pin your visual content by adding a pin-it button to your website. This is no different to other social media sharing buttons such as ‘tweet’ or ‘like’.
- Re-pin. Ensure that you re-pin what your followers are pinning. This will create a non-promotional yet engaging way to show your followers that you are genuinely interested in their visual lifestyles.
- Gather data. You can very quickly begin to understand the visual and emotional appeal that your brand, products and services have on your customers. This is invaluable data as this can fuel future marketing and advertising creative ideas.
- Show your business’ personality. Don’t be boring! Pinterest has a heavy lifestyle focus, so what better opportunity is there to give people a peek into the personality of your brand. You could create a pinboard to display your organisation’s corporate culture around the office by uploading images of parties and award ceremonies etc. This will humanise your brand and allow your Pinterest followers to relate to you.
- Social Media Optimisation. Sure, Pinterest sounds fun and could be a great opportunity for many businesses, but you need to make sure it’s generating results. Whenever possible, include links back to your website and landing pages and track the amount of referral traffic and leads generated through Google Analytics. Obviously social media marketing should be focused towards building an engaged community first, and then shifting the focus to getting this community to purchase. Subsequently, sales from social media marketing can often come months or years after social media marketing, however it is imperative that you are measuring social networks and their performance on your business’ bottom line.
Are you using Pinterest? Let us know your creative ways of showcasing lifestyle in the below comments.
P.s. Feel free to follow Rhys on Pinterest here. He has a pinboard of highly entertaining moustaches.