Pinterest may still be considered one of the new kids on the social media block, but its impact on sales and marketing has been established and continues to grow. Brands have long used the network for branding, referrals, and even contests.
Finally, Pinterest is starting to recognize the amount of brands on the network and launching features that are specifically appealing and helpful to companies with profiles. However, even the best tools won’t make up for a poor Pinterest strategy. Here are five pieces of advice for pinning brands:
1. Make sure your account is set up as a business account
Back in March, Pinterest finally introduced business accounts, differentiating regular users and companies using the network for branding and marketing. You want to make sure you’re using a business account because of the added features that come with it, including website and account verification, analytics, ‘Pin It!’ buttons and widgets, and a resources page where you can read case studies and learn more best practices.
2. Make your presence known
What good is a great Pinterest profile if no one knows about it? It’s important that your existing audience knows to find you on Pinterest. That means making it easy for your website visitors, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, etc. to follow you on Pinterest.
Use the buttons and widget builder provided by Pinterest, or create your own button linking to your Pinterest profile for your website. Occasionally talk about your profile or a specific board on other social networks, or share actual pins from time to time. This way, your profile will be a mix of new followers that found you on Pinterest and loyal fans that you’re connected with elsewhere, as well.
3. Pin images with staying power
The most successful pins on Pinterest have staying power – it won’t matter how old the pin gets, it will continue to be liked, commented on, and repinned. Lots of users use the network as a social bookmarking site. They pin things to save the link or image so that they can easily find the resource later.
So what kinds of images have staying power on Pinterest? One kind is images that are so interesting that they stand alone, independent of the context of the website it’s found on. A second type is images that link to what’s called “evergreen content.” Evergreen content is information on a website or blog post that will still be relevant months or years from now.
4. Pump up your pin descriptions
Most users don’t take full advantage of pin descriptions. Lots of users don’t even write one. But brands can use the pin description to add more context, which could make the difference between a casual observer and a new follower or customer.
You want to keep your descriptions to below 200 characters, even though you’re technically allowed more. People go to Pinterest to look at pictures, not words. Briefly describe the pin and/or the website it links to, use 2-4 hashtags (yes, you can use hashtags on Pinterest, too!), and if applicable, include a price.
5. Don’t make it all about you
At least, don’t make it all about your business. The key to social media marketing is making people want to become your customer without asking, making them want to buy something without telling them to. There’s nothing engaging about a retailer pinning the catalog images of their products. If users wanted to see those, they would actually look at the catalog or website.
Instead, be interesting. Retailers will be more successful pinning pictures of their products “out in the wild,” or even better, creating a group board and allowing their followers to pin their own personal pictures using the product. All kinds of brands will find more success highlighting their partners, clients, customers, employees, and most importantly, their audience, in their Pinterest boards than making it all about them.