Just in case you have been living under a rock for the past few years, Pinterest is a social media networking site that allows users to create online image collages, then quickly and easily share those collages — called “pinboards” — with other Pinterest users. It’s fun, easy, and catching on like wildfire right now. Part of Pinterest’s appeal is that it is beautiful. Enter the beautiful visual world of Pinterest, and all the troubles of your day-to-day life just seem to slip away in a stream of perfect motivation images, baby kittens, and delicious recipes. Because it is image-based, the central tenement of Pinterest is extremely positive. I view Pinterest as being sort of like Facebook without all the whining and complaining. Yes, Pinterest is beautiful. And yes, its users absolutely love it. But don’t let all the warm and fuzzies fool you. Behind those great images, Pinterest is already a heavy hitting marketing tool for brands and businesses …just like yours. In this article, we will take a quick look at why Pinterest marketing is becoming an essential tactic for your marketing strategy, and then I will provide you with 56 Pinterest tactics you can use to your own marketing advantage. So let’s begin: In the beginning there was darkness and then a voice cried out “Let there be Pinterest”.
What is Pinterest and why should I care?
The first thing you are going to have to do to launch your Pinterest marketing program is to open a Pinterest account. Once you’ve got a Pinterest account, you can create online collages which Pinterest calls “Boards” for different topics you’re interested in. Look at these boards as being like rooms in an art gallery where each room has a specific theme. You may have a “Recipe Board” which showcases delicious foods and recipes or you may have a “Motivational Board” showing all the latest motivational memes. What you will want to do after you have created the boards is to then add images and videos to your boards by “pinning” them. For example, say you want a board showcasing Grumpy Cat memes. You create the board and then you can search Pinterest for “Grumpy Cat” and the results will be a nearly endless selection of Grumpy Cat images for you to pin to you boards. Now that you understand the basic functionality of Pinterest, let’s look at why Pinterest marketing should be a part of your overall social media marketing strategy. Pinterest has nearly five million users, and that number is rapidly growing. Nearly 1.5 million unique users visit Pinterest every day and they are spending an average of 15 minutes a day on the site.If you think those inspiring vision boards don’t result in referral traffic to websites and blogs? Think again. In January 2014, Pinterest drove greater traffic to websites than LinkedIn, Google Plus, Reddit, and Youtube — combined. MarketingModo has been doing a lot of research about how beginner, intermediate, and professional black-belt Pinterest users are using Pinterest marketing to grow their businesses and connect with their customers using these appealing online image collages. What we have found are 56 great ways to incorporate Pinterest marketing into your content marketing and social media marketing mix.
Pinterest marketing for beginner pinners:
1. Make sure you feature your business name on your profile for maximum exposure of your brand. Use your business name as your username, or change your profile name to your business name after your profile is set up. 2. Add a paragraph about who you are and what you are interested in to the “About” section on your Pinterest profile. It will show up right under your photo, and will be one way that users can find out more about you. It does a great job at “humanizing” your brand on Pinterest by showing that you have interests. 3. It is very important to connect your Pinterest account with your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Not only will it help you gain followers and integrate your various social media profiles, but making this connection also adds social media icons under your profile picture that link to your Facebook and Twitter profiles. 4. You want to be able to drive people to your website so don’t forget to add your website URL in your profile! 5. Pin lots of images and videos. Pin content steadily, instead of in huge bursts, to maximize your exposure and engagement. 6. Come up with creative and interesting board names. They get shared whenever you pin something, so make them enticing rather than boring. But be creative — you need to keep your board names short. There isn’t a lot of room for long descriptive titles. 7. Tag other Pinterest users in your pins by using “@username” in your descriptions. Network with other professionals and vendors in your field by using this feature. Not many people are doing this yet, so it’s a great way to build your following and stand out. 8. Comment on other people’s pins. Just like with tagging, this feature hasn’t really caught on yet, so use it regularly to really engage with other users. Obviously, use the same good manners and common sense you would when commenting on a blog or other social media site. 9. “Like” other people’s pins to give a thumbs-up when you want to recognize great content. In most cases, they will return the favor. 10. Pin from lots of different sources, instead of just from one or two sites. Variety is very important on Pinterest. 11. Mix pinning your own unique finds with doing lots of “re-pinning,” which is repeating someone else’s pin to your followers. The person whose image you re-pin gets notified via email, and they also get a credit on your pin, which increases their following. Your boards shouldn’t be made up of stuff that other people found so make the effort to create your own images to be pinned by others as well as yourself. 12. Feel free to pin your own blog posts, but don’t over-promote. Over-promotion is the surest way to get ignored. Follow the usual etiquette rules of any other social media site, and don’t be the boorish one at the party who only talks about himself. 13. Pin videos! Pinterest has a special section just for pinned videos, and there are far fewer videos than images on Pinterest at this point, so use them to distinguish yourself and set yourself apart from the rest. Any YouTube video is extremely easy to pin. 14. When you pin an image, add a description under it. Be smart about these descriptions — a good description will stay with an image as it gets re-pinned all over the Pinterest world. If the image is something from your own site, definitely use your business name in the description so the more it is shared, the wider your brand will be spread. 15. After you pin a new image using the very handy Pinterest browser bookmarklet use its built-in social media prompts to re-share your pin on Twitter and Facebook as well. 16. Use Pinterest’s embed option to publish pins as content in your blog posts and website pages. 17. If you have an iPhone get the Pinterest iPhone app, so you can re-pin on the go, pin from your camera and add a location to your pins so others can find your images. 18. Part One: Optimize your website content for Pinterest sharing : Use images in every single post you write, so your post can be shared on Pinterest. When you find yourself getting lazy about this, remember –- not using an image in your post means no one will pin it. And remember — the prettier the picture is, the more it will get pinned. The images that appeal to Pinterest members are powerful and emotional, so keep that in mind when choosing your pictures. That combination tends to work well for your blog readers, too. 19. Part Two: Optimize your website content for Pinterest sharing: Consider watermarking your images, or adding text to them. If you’re using your own images on Pinterest, one of the best ways to help your image stand out is by adding a clear description to the image itself, or adding a watermark with your business name. Make sure it’s clear, but that it doesn’t block out the main subject of the photo. Be subtle but make sure you show the world who these images came from. 20. Create seasonal or holiday boards that relate to your brand. Example: New Year’s Resolutions, Fourth of July, etc. Users love these and this is a very popular and not to mention powerful tactic used by many top brands. 21. Add a prominent Follow Me on Pinterest button to your website to advertise that you’re a pinner! Social icons on your site is a surefire way to build up your social community fast!
Pinterest marketing for intermediate pinners:
22. Search for new images to pin or for popular trends by using Pinterest’s search function. The search bar is in the top left of every Pinterest page. 23. Use keywords in descriptions of pins, so pinners can find your images and boards when they do their own searches. Try to include keywords that you think Pinterest users will search for to find your image. Time to put on your SEO cap! 24. Make sure you’ve got a Pin It! button added to the footer of each of your blog posts so your readers can quickly and easily share your content on Pinterest. 25. Your Pinterest page has its own RSS feed! Find your Pinterest feed by clicking on the RSS symbol under your profile photo, then use it anywhere you can use a feed (Facebook, LinkedIn, for syndication on other sites, etc.) Advertise your Pinterest feed to your readers and ask them to add you to their RSS feedreaders. 26. Got a WordPress site? Feature your recent pins in a widget in your WordPress sidebar by using a Pinterest widget. 27. You can add contributors to any of your boards. Use this feature to engage your staff and let them contribute to your Pinterest presence by using adding to your company boards. Your staff will love this, and your boards will be richer for it not to mention is also distributes the work so you aren’t doing all the work yourself! 28. Want to find out who’s been pinning your stuff? Go to: http://pinterest.com/source/yoursitehere. Look at your site’s page often to discover which posts and images are resonating with Pinterest users. Use that information to shape your content strategy. Remember that with Pinterest marketing just as with any form of marketing, data and analytics is key so make sure to use them! 29. If you are a retailer or sell anything online than add prices to your pins to create your own Pinterest shop. To add a price to a pin, type the $ symbol followed by item’s price in the pin’s description. When you add prices to your pins, they may be featured in Pinterest’s “Gifts” section. This is often a much overlooked area in Pinterest marketing so competition on Pinterest will be low. 30. Create a board that tells the story of your company and communicates your core values. Make this board available to people as part of your sales process. Remember to humanize your brand! 31. Consider creating “thank you” boards for current or past clients that send special appreciative messages. 32. Pin tutorials on your boards. Need to walk a client through how to use your products or services? Or do you want to create free how-to videos to use as promotional materials? Pin your videos and presentations on special “How-To” or “Tutorial” boards. Anything you teach your clients can be made into a tutorial. Tutorials are incredible popular and a great way to get eyes on your content. 33. As with all other forms of marketing, watch for trends. Click on the “Popular” link on your Pinterest home page to research what’s catching on with pinners, then integrate those trends into your content strategy. 34. Be yourself. Pinterest is all about personal expression, so don’t be afraid to pin stuff that represents who you really are. It puts the person behind the brand which consumers really love! 35. Create a special board to highlight your company’s team members. Use the description under each photo to write a bio of each person. Not only will this make your brand personable but it will also give credit to your team memebrs who will surely appreciate the recognition. 36. Show behind-the-scenes photos of your company. People love knowing how you make things! I call this the “Mr. Rogers Effect”. 37. Become an information curator for your niche. Gather the newest and best resources on your boards. Become a trusted source of information on Pinterest. By establishing yourself as the authority and information source for your field, your following will grow by leaps and bounds. 38. Integrate your Pinterest account with Facebook’s timeline feature, so you post content in both places at once. Definitely a time saver! 39. Highlight old content on your blog so that people can re-pin your archived posts. The LinkWithin tool will add a footer to your blog posts that features images and links pulled from old content, giving people the opportunity to pin previous articles. 40. Thinking about freshening up old photos, or going back through your blog archives and adding photos to those text-only posts? Now is the perfect time to do just that! Remember — the nicer the picture, the more pins you will get.
Pinterest marketing for professional pinners:
41. As I said earlier, data is key so find out when you’re getting the most repins, likes, comments and referral traffic by regularly analyzing both your Pinterest profile and your site traffic stats. Test out pinning on different days of the week and times of day to maximize traffic and audience engagement. 42. Connect your clients who use Pinterest by introducing them to each other. Recognize your best pinners by sending out a weekly “Best of Pinterest” email that includes spotlighted boards and pins from your clients’ profiles. In my own experience in email marketing, social media emails do exceptionally well and have far superior performance metrics as compared to promotional type emails. 43. Create moderated boards for your fans to express their support for you. They can add videos, blog posts and photos from your events. Not only is this a great way to engage your community but it can also serve as a sort of review system for your prospects. 44. Do you have a number of different ideal client personas? Create a separate board to represent each client persona, then use those boards during your sales cycle and embed them into your website pages so people are clear about the kinds of clients you’re trying to attract. 45. For teachers and educators, think Pinterest marketing isn’t for you? Think again. You can create boards for the classes and webinars you teach, and use them as supplemental material for your students. You can use the boards during your class or presentation, or send your students home with Pinterest boards to explore after class. If you’re teaching a live class or workshop, include pictures from the actual event. 46. Create boards for referral sources, affiliates and strategic partners, and let them add to the boards. Engage with the partners so they know they are included and appreciated. 47. Allow your best customers or star students to join in on certain boards and pin ideas and suggestions about how to use your product, or themes that go along with your products and services. 48. What could be better for showcasing how awesome your business is than creating a dedicated testimonials board? Once again not only will this give you “street cred” but it is also a great way to engage your social community. 49. Use Pinterest boards to tell client stories. Turn boring written case studies into powerful and emotive visual stories. 50. Check out your VIP clients’ boards to get ideas for special thank you or holiday gifts. 51. Create quick-start guides or owner’s manual boards for your products. Or if you’re primarily a service provider, create a “How to Get the Most Out of Working with Me” board with ideas and suggestions on maximizing your service relationship. Nice little touches like this are greatly appreciated by consumers. 52. Create boards for conferences that you attend. Carry cards with instructions on getting invited to post on that board — conference attendees will love this and in many cases, they are doing it themselves will also give it networking potential. 53. Create beautiful, visually interesting coupons, and add them to your boards. 54. Your clients will be blown away if you create special boards just for them that include resources and ideas tailored to their individual situations. This will really make your company shine if done regularly and well. 55. Offer exclusive Pinterest promotions. Create pins that give special promotions for following you on Pinterest. 56. Run a Pinterest contest. Invite your readers to pin links and images from your site that inspire, motivate, move or entertain them. Then judge the winners by creativity or ingenuity and offer a juicy prize. Offer to promote the winners’ Pinterest boards on your site as part of the contest. Pinterest marketing is a beautiful and effective content marketing tool. Pinterest marketing is not only picking up steam in social media circles but it has also become a proven source of traffic for blogs and websites, quickly surpassing current favorites like LinkedIn and YouTube. While many people are talking nonstop about the impressive statistics of Pinterest, some companies are quietly using this fabulous new tool to pin their way to better customer engagement and a visually interesting, personally appealing brand. Want my professional advice? Take a long, hard look at including Pinterest marketing as part of your 2014-2015 content marketing and social media marketing plan. And start making your social media strategy more beautiful, one little pin at a time. How have you been using Pinterest as a marketing tool? Let us know in the comments …