Pinterest

Pinterest had an estimated 3.3 million unique visitors in the month of October. While there’s no mechanism for potential customers to buy your products directly from the site, consider the marketing potential: Popular images (with links back to the original source) can get repinned on hundreds of other users’ boards.

 

1. Spend the time
Like any social network, and maybe even more with this demographic, Pinterest.com requires an investment in time. Jason White, who owns Quality Woven Labels, says one key is to build relationships with those who are known for quality “pins” at the site. He says, once these movers and shakers get to know you and your business, they will be more likely to post about your product. White says to focus on the users who get the most likes and repins.

“All of these repins and likes share a common interest, making it easier to take the conversation to Twitter or Facebook to nurture the relationship,” he says. “Like everything else, be real and show your true self. Authenticity is hugely important.”

2. Keep it simple
The main appeal of Pinterest is that the site is exceptionally easy to use. Everyone has a “board” where they pin images that are all the same size. Hana Abaza, the co-founder and CEO of Wedding Republic, says it’s best to mimic Pinterest’s uncluttered aesthetic, so she creates boards that are clean and elegant looking. Each pinned photo includes one link back to her site (you click once to see the pin page, and again to see the source site). Abaza says Pinterest dramatically boosted page views. Through her social media efforts she saw a 75 percent increase in traffic, with Pinterest generating most of that.

3. Connect your physical presence with your online presence
It’s important to connect the dots between a physical location and your Pinterest page. Becca Bijoch does public relations for the Minneapolis store Creative Kidstuff. Often the physical store will feature online ads and Pinterest promotions. Soon the company website will feature Pinterest buttons. So far, the campaign has yielded about 150 extra page views directly from Pinterest and two direct sales. Not astounding, but that’s only after using the site for about 30 days.

4. Make sure your business is a match
This tip might seem obvious, but Pinterest caters to those looking for recipes, room décor, and do-it-yourself crafts. If your company sells power sanders, you might not be a good fit. Quality Woven Labels, which makes tags for custom clothing, has been able to use Pinterest to connect with the perfect demographic: independent fashion designers.

5. Use other social nets to feed Pinterest
The new kid on the block may be getting all of the hype, but existing social networks have one advantage: a vast number of users. Justin Palmer, the online awareness director at Sevenly, a custom T-Shirt shop, says to get the most number of eyeballs his company uses Tumblr and Facebook to point people to Pinterest.

6. Launch a daily pin theme
Sevenly has created a daily pin to promote its brand. The idea is to come up with a catchy slogan that is tied to the organization’s charity work and memorable enough so that the images get re-pinned. The daily themed pins usually lead to repeat visitors. Sevenly also posts a weekly custom-designed t-shirt, which is often re-pinned by other Pinterest users. Bonus: They come back often looking for the new one.

7. Promote more than products
The temptation for any business is to post pins only for products you sell. Giselle Gonzalez is a promoter for Cakestyle, a company that makes wardrobe suggestions for women, and says one key is to post interesting news tidbits, tips, and products from other companies. She says Pinterest users are savvy in spotting a board that is too self-serving and only posts product photos.

8. Follow the big hitters
One of the best ways to raise awareness about your company is to start following the big names on Pinterest. This is the proven method on Twitter: When you follow popular figures, and they follow you back, other Twitter users get the message and follow the leader. Sevenly’s Palmer says it’s important to find out who is “pinning” your products and to follow them to see if they follow you back. Most do, he says.

9. Selective curating
Pinterest caters to those who love to “curate” or weed out the good from the bad. Presenza, a custom clothing designer, finds unique products beyond their own offering and pins them. The company also uses key phrases on their board like “made in the USA” and “defining confidence” to help define the brand.

1. Use it as a Virtual Store

 

By pinning its products on boards organized by upcoming holidays and popular categories,Michaels has created a simple, visual way for customers to browse and shop on Pinterest. Better yet, every single page on michaels.com has a “pin it” button, so customers can easily pin items or ideas they see on Michaels’ website to their own boards.

If you don’t have a physical product, try pinning the services you offer or the articles you’ve published, with a link back to your website. And always make sure the page you pin has a photo on it!

2. Give an Insider View of Your Company

Take a look at The Frisky’s Everyday Style Pinterest page—how cool is it that we get a sneak peek into what their employees wear to work each day? Here’s what’s even cooler: Those outfits get put out there in the Pinterverse, and pinned all over with a link back to The Frisky. Get customers and pinners excited about your company by sticking up photos of your employees, the fun company events or parties you throw, or your amazing office space—and aim to show off your brand and what you stand for while you’re at it.

3. Hold a Contest

 

Homes.com recently launched a contest by asking their followers to create a “Pin it if You Love It” board with at least 10 of their favorite homes pinned from homes.com. Once a user created her board, she was entered to win one of five home improvement gift certificates for $250. Contests are a great way to get users engaged and participating, which can quickly have a ripple effect across the Pinterest network as people share their contest submissions with all their followers.

Tip: If you hold your own contest, create a special hashtag for people to add to their pins so that you can easily track who’s entered.

 

4. Showcase Your Portfolio

If you’re a photographer, artist, graphic designer, or in any other highly visual field, this one’s a no-brainer: Use Pinterest to show off your work samples or your portfolio. You’ll attract potential customers or clients, plus inspire others in your field.

 

5. Get Customer Feedback

 

Daily Grommet has created a board where anyone can pin a product he or she likes, with the possibility that the product will be featured on the Daily Grommet website in the future. Doing this, Daily Grommet gives itself a head start on predicting upcoming trends, seeing what sort of products its customers are looking for, and tailoring its future offerings accordingly. After all, when it comes to asking someone what they want, a picture often says 1,000 words.

 

Ready to start pinning? Remember one thing: it’s called social media for a reason. Take the time to pin a couple of times a day, so you continuously show up on your followers’ feeds. Also make a real effort to interact with your community, balancing your own pins with repinning, liking, and commenting on other users’ posts as well. Take Etsy, for example. While it has a few boards promoting various products sold on Etsy.com, it also has boards that are simply for its followers’ enjoyment—no sales act required.

 

With the right strategy, your products or services will be front and center in the screens, and the minds, of your audience. Happy pinning!

 

Need to score an invite? Let us know in the comments—it’s a much faster process if you receive an invite versus self-applying And tell us—what successes have you had using Pinterest to help promote your business?

 

 

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