Pinterest has been a popular social media platform for many years now and it has been successfully adopted by hundreds of thousands of businesses and entrepreneurs during this time. But not all marketers have gotten on board or fully utilized this versatile medium.
In fact, Pinterest seems to be one of the platforms that many companies choose to skip in favor of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and even our mediocre friend Google Plus! I'm not saying you should ditch any of these tried and true platforms (except perhaps the lowly Google+ ... even though I personally use it almost daily to cover my bases), but you should give Pinterest a fair shot and maximize its potential.
When most people think of Pinterest they usually think of DIY projects, design ideas, weddings, fashion, and fitness... but that's kind of like thinking YouTube is just for cat videos, or that Instagram is just for Selfies (wait it's not?). Don't let this close-minded perspective restrict your social media marketing efforts.
So what are your initial thoughts about how to incorporate Pinterest into your marketing? Maybe just pin a few pictures from your website onto a board and wait? That simply won't cut it. Here are some Pinterest strategies to keep in mind to help you start or improve your social media marketing strategy.
1. Make Sure You Cover The Basics
If you haven't already, register your account as a Business Account so you'll have access to Pinterest Analytics. Fill out a complete and detailed profile using all available characters and including relevant keywords. Try not to include too many annoying profile buzzwords! Include a professional picture of yourself or your business and link to your primary website (if you want to get fancy, use a trackable link like Bit.ly). Link your Facebook and Twitter accounts as well. Choose your Custom URL and try and keep it consistent with your Twitter handle (same character restriction) or other social media usernames. Start off with at least one board but I'd recommend at least a full row of 6. Include clear keyword-friendly board titles, descriptions, and categories. Follow at least a dozen peers or industry influencers and tell friends, prospects, and customers that you are now on Pinterest to help start your initial following. Keep in mind these are all just general instructions I'd recommend but they could certainly vary based on your business, marketing strategy, and existing online network.
2. Cater To Female Users or Under-Served Male Users
Pinterest is made up of nearly 90% female users and is the only popular social network with such a gender gap. All other networks like Facebook are around 50/50, maybe up to 60/40 at the very most. If your businesses appeals strongly to the 90% female user base on Pinterest then you are probably in for a bounty of potential referral traffic. That by itself is reason enough for most businesses to have at least a moderate Pinterest presence. Or on the flip side, you can appeal to the much smaller but under-served male users and make your Pinterest boards a destination for male consumers. There are a lot less men using Pinterest but there are also a lot less accounts, boards, and pins to compete with for the male audience. If you aren't catering to these demographics then your competitors will be more than happy to take your traffic.
3. Link To Your E-Commerce or Affiliate Sales Pages
While you don't want to overdo it and lose followers, from a marketer's standpoint Pinterest was made for social selling. Pin pictures that link to your Online Store, App Listing, Clothing Line, eBooks, Author Pages, Stock Images For Sale, or your pages with Affiliate Links. Drive sales almost directly from Pinterest. Or pin pictures that link to your own posts or another reputable site reviewing the product for sale, driving sales indirectly. Rake in the sales, or convert visitors to prospects by pinning pictures linking to a sign-up form or Call To Action free download. Or pin pictures that drive users to a Donation page for your non-profit or charity. And while we're on the subject of monetizing traffic from Pinterest, you should certainly be linking to all of your pages that you monetize with CPM and CPC ads like AdSense, WordAds, or premium ad-serving networks like Federated Media.
4. Link To Your Other Social Media, Videos, & Presentations
Leverage your Pinterest account to drive followers to your main social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, and more. You can pin images linking directly to these profiles, individual tweets, videos, LinkedIn company page, groups, and Google+ accounts. Even pin your Slideshare presentations. If something is not "pinnable" then convert it to a blog post, video, Slideshare presentation, infographic, or other compatible format. If you'd just prefer to refer, Pinterest can at least help get you more interested followers and prospects on your more active social channels. You can also pin images and videos that link directly to your YouTube Channel and videos:
5. Promote Your YouTube Partner Channel & Videos
You can pin more than just images from your business websites. You can also pin videos from your YouTube Channel. If you're a YouTube Partner that monetizes your videos then this is a no-brained. Earn money directly from your Pins with ad revenue and increased channel views and subscribers. Being a successful YouTube Partner can be very lucrative and Pinterest is just another tool to grow your subscriber base.
6. Create A Pinner Network & Don't Forget To Interact!
Use group boards to curate top pins and invite industry leaders and influencers to pin on it. These boards can develop large followings and they can be win-win situations for everyone involved. And as always on any social network, make sure to engage with other users! It's called "social" media for a reason. Ask users questions or compliment their pins. Thank users that re-pin your content and quickly, politely, and professionally respond to any of their questions. Start conversations with other users to help build engagement.
7. Appear More in Pinterest Search & Google Image Search
Pinterest accounts and pins are also picked up pretty easily by Google Images and appear in a significant amount of image search results. This is especially true if you really optimize the image description with a lot of keywords. This could actually be a double-edged sword and take away from some traffic to your site directly from Google, but more often than not it will results in an overall net gain in web traffic. But that is certainly something you want to determine prior to pinning some images.
8. Utilize Pinterest Paid Advertising
Just like every other major social network, you can obviously pay to promote your pins. Not a bad idea once in awhile for a very important pin such as a critical business infographic, video, product listing, or image that you're hoping could go viral. But that depends on your business and budget. When it comes to paid advertising, I'd prefer to use it on Facebook Ads or Google AdWords. I haven't seen the best ROI on Pinterest advertising in my experience with several different types of businesses... but that's just what I've seen. I prefer to use Pinterest as a complimentary "free" branding and marketing tool that makes me money instead of costing me money.
I'd recommend spending at least 15-30 minutes each week (not too much to ask!) on Pinterest to promote growth, add pins, and refine your overall account based on user response. Feel free to share some pins on your other social media but I usually prefer to do the opposite. Remember that when prospects are looking at your boards and links, that usually means they aren't looking at your competitors. Take ownership of your brand on a visual social media platform used by millions and get every benefit you can out of it, large or small.
I know over the years I've personally gotten over 10,000 Pinterest Followers, Pinned nearly 5,000 pins, created over 100 boards, and gotten tens of thousands of website hits from this platform. Some individual pins have resulted in thousands of website views for me! And I certainly know other marketers, peers, and companies that have enjoyed these benefits on a much larger scale.
While Pinterest doesn't have the valuation of Facebook or Twitter, it should still most likely be a part of your overall social media marketing strategy. Remember you've got to Pin It To Win It!
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