Hunting the gatherers: Pinterest for business

 
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Part moodboard, part shopping list, part ‘my perfect life’; it’s no wonder Pinterest has become the 3rd largest social network worldwide behind Facebook and Twitter, particularly beloved by women 25-45 in search of a quick inspiration fix.

According to RichRelevance, Pinterest drives 25% of retail referrals, so for businesses in search of a relatively quick and easy way to generate long term visibility and drive interested customers to their websites, Pinterest is well worth exploring.

Unlike Facebook and Twitter which are time driven (where you must see the post at the right time or you’ve missed it), Pinterest is centred more around ideas and themes - imagine a coffee table book rather than a newspaper.

Therefore when using Pinterest for your business the key is attention grabbing images and micro-storytelling. Beautiful, sharable content that tells a story and is of value to your audience will encourage them to either share it (by repinning) or click through to find out more.

 

Get inspired by tofu

Whole Foods travel.jpg

Part of building a successful brand is forming emotional connections with your customers. Whole Foods is a worldwide organic food supermarket chain that started out as a single store based in Austin, Texas. The company celebrates its roots with a board called #WhyAustin, along with lush images that helps apartment-dwellers to compost, travellers find cities to fall in love with and find good books to read. This is peripheral to what Whole Foods sells, but by providing valuable content to customers who are interested in similar topics they are developing a relatable brand personality.

Whole Foods also isn’t afraid to share images or content from others, by opening up several boards allowing followers to contribute content. This is great if you’re time poor (someone else is helping to generate your content!) and can really supercharge engagement with your customers and create brand advocates. Others may welcome a way of bringing staff out of the back office to make their company culture more approachable.

 

Get comfy with social media

Ugg boots brand story.jpg

Ugg Australia is a local example of a retail business who is incorporating Pinterest into their wider marketing strategy. Like many companies their boards act as a lookbook for their current range, but they also have a board to enhance their brand celebrating 35 years of style. But it’s their use of hashtag-based campaigns like #letsgetlost and  #thenextstep that that ties Pinterest into their activity on other social media platforms, and encourages followers to get involved by creating personally relevant content.

 

Give them what they want

If you really want to try something to get attention, consider how one of the very first Pinterest campaigns from Kotex (that targeted just 50 women based on the interests shown on their Pinterest account) managed to reach over 700,000 views without a single paid ad:

 

Steps to get started on Pinterest:

  • Decide on your goal: what you pin will vary depending on what end result you are after: brand building, generating product/event awareness, connecting with fans or more? A business interested in increasing direct sales should make use of Rich Pins (which automatically update prices, provide reviews and more), while how-to guides can help explain your point of difference or a new way to use your product.
  • Know what and when: develop an editorial calendar, which will allow you to coordinate your Pinterest activity with the rest of your digital and offline marketing to ensure new product launches, sale periods and seasonal events are catered for.
  • Beautiful and useful: use great, pinable images on your website and blog (along with a ‘Pin it’ button if you’re into ecommerce). Research from Curalate suggests images that are bright and highly coloured, have less rather than more background, and include people but not their faces have a better chance of being repined - and you’ll increase visits to your site at the same time.
  • Capture their interest: Pinterest ‘Interests’ is a just-launched way of browsing for pins that match those users have already collected - think of it as a long-tail keyword search but for Pinterest. In order to show up high on Interest pages, make sure any pins you make have clear, specific descriptions: ‘heathy low-carb nutella recipe’ rather than ‘breakfast’.
  • Don’t be afraid of a little Photoshop: image manipulation, using products like Photoshop or free tools like PicMonkey and SumoPaint are how bloggers get those great looking text+picture micro-story graphics which you can use on blogs, Facebook and more.
  • Analyse this: Pinterest offers analytics that shows how many people are pinning from your website, what your most popular pins are and more. This can help you make educated decisions about pins to promote, or how to improve your website. Pinterest is currently experimenting with promoted pins similar to those in Facebook, and once this is fully rolled out you’ll be able to identify when to switch on paid media as well.