Pinning and Winning in Business Marketing

Pinning and Winning in Business Marketing

Are you on Pinterest? It probably depends on what you want to get out of social media, especially if you’re in business. Getting social media interaction right is tough enough on general sites like Facebook and Twitter, but it starts getting even tougher when the sites become niche. And Pinterest is a niche site. It’s an image-based social network, so all your communication is effectively limited to the pictures that you share on your board.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest’s mission, according to the site, is to help people all over the world connect through their mutual love of ‘things’. Those things can be recipes, cute animals, sexy men, landscapes, books and shoes. They can be anything that makes a good picture. And, let’s face it, in the right light everything makes a good picture.

It has the basics in common with pretty much all other social networks in that you follow certain people and like and re-pin (share) their posts. Pins can contain links to relevant sites or web pages but that’s where it gets tricky for businesses because, like all social platforms, you’ll lose followers if you come across as overly self-promotional or spammy.

Why your business needs to be on Pinterest

Pinterest is growing very, very quickly. Towards the end of last year, very few people knew about it, now it’s the third biggest social media platform in the US. According to an article which appeared on Forbes in June 2012, it’s even bigger than LinkedIn.

According to Inc.com, Pinterest had 3.3 million unique visitors in October 2011; the Forbes article states that it had 104 million visits in March 2012. That is phenomenal growth in anyone’s book; from a brand awareness perspective that is growth which businesses can’t afford to ignore.

How should businesses use Pinterest?

It’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? Unfortunately, there isn’t a million dollar answer.

You have to approach it much as you would other social media marketing strategies. In other words, you need a strategy.

  • Research who is on Pinterest and find out which demographic suits you. Find the power users and learn from the way in which they use the site. While you’re there, start following people relevant to your business, as well as the power users who inspire you.
  • Now you can start building relationships with fellow users. Don’t just like and re-pin images, download the Pin It button and start pinning images that are interesting and relevant to people in your field. You need to add value to users, so make sure you only post quality images.
  • Realize that building and maintaining these relationships will take time, so don’t enter into Pinterest lightly.
  • Pin widely. When you start pinning, don’t just pin images of your products or sales brochures or narrowly-related business images. Take an interest in your wider field. If you own a catering company, take a break from pinning images of your own creations and the stainless steel cookware that you sell and find other interesting images of food, like those dresses made from chocolate or lettuce leaf bikinis or the biggest cake in the Guinness World Records. Have a how-to series in images, with links back to a blog series on your site. Be creative, be interesting, be informative.
  • Let go of your marketing goals. According to statistics, Pinterest doesn’t necessary lead to sales conversions (but when it does convert, those conversions are usually high-value), but it is brilliant for brand awareness and reputation building.
  • Finally, remember that Pinterest is not a panacea. Like all other social media options, it needs to be integrated into your overall media and marketing strategy.

This guest post was written by Sandy Cosser on behalf of Now Learning, an online technical and further education portal that offers nationally accredited online courses in Australia, so you can take your business management and marketing skills to new heights.


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