Pinterest Power: How to Use the Third Largest Social Media Site to Promote Yourself and your Business
A recent report by Experian revealed that Pinterest is now the third largest social media site based on the number of site visits in March 2012. Facebook maintains its mammoth lead with 7 billion visits, Twitter received 182 million, Pinterest received 104 million, and LinkedIn received 86 million. Considering Pinterest launched in 2010 with a small beta test, its growth has been remarkable.
A social media site built around the concept of sharing photos, Pinterest users can “pin” photos to their boards for sharing with other users. With a predominantly female audience, Pinterest is a popular place to share photos for wedding planning, home redecorating, recipes, vacation destinations, and books. However, despite popular belief, your business doesn’t need to be product-based in order take advantage of the benefits that Pinterest offers.
1. Apply for an account. Pinterest still operates under invitation only, though this is a minor technicality and after you submit your request for an account, you can expect confirmation within a day or two. Note that though you can login to Pinterest with your Twitter or Facebook account, it is beneficial to set up your account with an email address and password since Pinterest doesn’t yet integrate with Facebook business pages.
2. Create your pin boards. When defining your boards, consider what would be of interest to your target audience. You can and should have multiple boards with various themes such as books you love, photos from events, featured products, inspiring places you want to visit, products you love, client success stories, etc. For ideas, surf around the Pinterest site to see what others are doing with their boards. You can search by keywords to find boards related to your topics of interest.
3. Name your boards. You don’t have to use the default board titles that Pinterest suggests. Instead, rename your boards with descriptive, keyword-rich titles that will help Pinterest users find your content.
4. Download the Pin It button. Pinterest makes it easy to share content by allowing you to download a handy button to add to the toolbar on your web browser. This makes it easy to get in the habit of pinning interesting content to your boards.
5. Start pinning content. One of the great benefits of pinning photos to Pinterest is that a link is automatically included back to the source of the pinned photo. So if you pin a book from Amazon, a link will be added back to the book’s page on Amazon. The same is true when you pin photos from your own website or blog—and you should do so regularly. By pinning each new blog post, you add links back to your blog, which can lead to increased traffic. Note that you can also add descriptions to each photo that you pin to your board so be sure to include a descriptive title. You can even include an additional website link if you want to, which can also contribute to improved search engine optimization for your website since Pinterest currently allowsGoogle to follow those links.
6. Build your audience. You can cross-promote your Pinterest presence with other social networks by periodically sharing links to your boards. You can also integrate Pinterest with your Twitter and personal Facebook accounts to automatically share your new pins there—just be careful not to share too often or you could risk annoying your followers. Also, be sure to add a link to your Pinterest profile from your website alongside your other social media site links.
7. Engage on Pinterest. Spend some time visiting Pinterest boards by other users where you can choose to follow a user, leave a comment on a photo, like their pinned photo, or repin their photo to one of your boards. As with all of the other social networks, the more you participate, the better results you will see as other Pinterest users begin to return the favor.
8. Add a Pin it button to your site. To encourage website visitors to share your content on Pinterest, install a Pin it button across all pages and blog posts on your website. WordPress users can easily install the Pinterest Pin It button plug-in.
9. Get creative with your pins. Start paying attention to the content you come across online and pin interesting articles, news, info graphics, or products to a board on your site (you can always create a new board if needed). As long as the content appeals to your target audience, anything goes. You might be surprised to discover how many others will begin to engage with you, visit your website, and repin your content as a result.
10. Mix up your strategy. Avoid making Pinterest all about selling your products or services. Make sure to include interesting content that provides value for your target audience.
Some Final Pinterest Tips
Pinterest isn’t just limited to photos. You can pin videos too!
If you want to monitor who has pinned content from your website onto Pinterest, use this link format: pinterest.com/source/<your website.com>. Here’s an example for pins of Forbes content:http://pinterest.com/source/forbes.com/.
Engage your customers by asking them to share photos of themselves using your products or services.
Send out a link to your Pinterest account in your next e-newsletter and ask readers to leave comments.
Use boards to emphasize what your brand represents. For example, you might have a board featuring favorite charitable causes or one featuring articles on recycling.
Make sure you aren’t infringing on copyrights. Pinterest is facing some legal trouble due to concerns about copyright infringement and photos being shared illegally. Never add a photo to your website without having permission to do so.Just because a photo is available on Google, it does not mean you have the right to use it for commercial purposes. To be safe, invest in a royalty-free image service such as Clipart.com.