Social Media: Using Pinterest for Business
Since its launch in 2010, Pinterest has dramatically grown in its popularity with currently more than 48 million users worldwide. Its membership has also been steadily increasing in Australia with an estimated 450,000 members as of March 2012 (Nielsen, March 2012).
Pinterest is an online pinup board, where users can organise their inspirations, interests and ideas on virtual pinboards, typically around niches like fashion, food, sports, travel, events and many more. See the screenshot below for examples of pinboards that can be created on Pinterest. Each image or "pin" is linked back to a particular website, making Pinterest a visual version of social bookmarking sites such as Stumbleupon or Digg.
With its growing membership base and unique appeal to users, many businesses and well-known brands are using Pinterest as part of their social media marketing. Book publisher Scholastic, for example, is actively using Pinterest to interact with their followers with creative pinboards such as ,"Bling for Bookworms", "Libraries We Love", "Decorating with Books" and an entire pinboard dedicated to Harry Potter. (See Scholastic on Pinterest)
International fashion retailer Zara is also on Pinterest with pinboards that feature not only their products but also some fashion and lifestyle content. (See Zara on Pinterest) Another major brand making excellent use of Pinterest is Better Homes and Gardens. Followers of BHG can expect a mix of pinboards relating to recipes, entertaining, decorating and crafts. (See Better Homes and Gardens Australia on Pinterest) These are examples of brands that are effectively using Pinterest in sharing their content and engaging with their target market.
In Australia, we have seen several brands on Pinterest, including:
- Visit Melbourne - They have pinboards dedicated to family, events and key drawcards to Melbourne. Visit Melbourne also use Pinterest to market their major campaigns.
- City Chic Online - A fashion retailer that caters to plus sized women. They categorise pinboards according to trends and use photos of their own merchandise.
- Headspace Australia - A mental health organisation catering to the youth. Through their pinboards dedicated to drug, alcohol and mental health, they are able to share helpful articles and advice.
- Kleenex Australia - They use Pinterest to market their events and offer promos.
Pinterest provides a fun, easy and unique way for businesses to share content and interact with their customers, but should you use it for your business? What sets Pinterest apart from other social bookmarking and social media sites is that it is visual. If your business sells products that can be photographed beautifully or if you offer services with aesthetic outcomes such as architecture, landscaping or graphic design, then yes Pinterest can work well as part of your social media marketing. Or, if you have diverse and interesting content you would like to share, it can also be worth joining Pinterest. Simply add images to your content and you can share it as a "pin" on your Pinterest pinboards.
If your business has already joined Pinterest, we share some tips with you below on how you can effectively share your products, services and content while interacting with your followers and reaching out to potential customers.
Create pinboards that highlight your products and services
Creating pinboards on Pinterest is a great way to categorise your products and services. For example, if your business sells furniture, you can create different pinboards for bedroom furniture, patio furniture, office furniture and so on. You can also categorise according to materials used or as specific furniture pieces. Remember to get creative too! Instead of simply naming your pinboard "furniture" perhaps name it "awesome home furniture". Be descriptive and creative in naming your pinboards and share beautiful images to encourage other users to follow your pinboards and repin your images.
Make sure you are sharing high quality and interesting content
Users have the option to report a "pin" that that leads back to a spammy website. Make sure your content is diverse and interesting so that you can attract more followers. And since Pinterest is a visual pinboard, also make sure that you are selecting the best images to represent your products and services. The better your images, the more shares or "repins" you will get from your followers.
Make your brand personal
Pinterest is not a place to sound too corporate. One of the keys to getting more people to follow you is to make your brand more personal so that others would like to connect with you. You can pin photos of your office or staff, have a pinboard on everyday inspirational quotes or anything that will make potential clients closer to your business. Also make sure to follow other users back and to repin other images not just your own. Widen your appeal and reach more potential clients by interacting with your followers.
Integrate Pinterest in your website
Include a "follow us on Pinterest" button in your website to let your visitors know that they can interact with you on Pinterest. Also make your products, services or content easy to pin by having a "Pin It" button alongside them. This is will allow your customers to pin your products or content conveniently from your website.
Some final words
Keep in mind that Pinterest is a virtual inspiration board, so users that pin images of particular products may not necessarily purchase them. And since Pinterest has only been around for 3 years, some bugs may be experienced in their user interface although their team roll out updates on a regular basis to address any issues. However, it can't be denied that Pinterest is a great way for businesses to share their content, engage with their customers and reach out to any potential clients. Sign-up is free so take advantage of this social media-bookmarking site and see what it can do for your business.
This article was written by Martha Punsalan and Nick Jerrat of Publish My Web.