Are you a pinner? Do you secretly delight when your inbox holds a message from Pinterest that your pin has been re-pinned or you have a new follower? Do you get why it is so addictive, but don’t know how to make your time on Pinterest useful for your business or blog?
If you are one of the lucky ones who has received the coveted invitation to join this beta community of virtual pin-board builders, then you probably could answer yes to all of the above. Now is the time to harness this new craze to connect with current customers/subscribers/fans and find new ones as well.
Pinterest Is A Simple Idea That Sticks
If you are visual like me, you love the aesthetic presentation. If you are impatient like me, you like the easy to use platform and appreciate the integration with Facebook and Twitter to instantly share your pins. It turns out,
there are millions (3.3M unique visitors in October) of people like me on Pinterest, and for that reason alone, your brand needs to be there as well. Don’t just take my word for it. Here’s a recent TechCrunch article on Pinterest’ explosive growth and whether or not they can continue to out-pace Facebook’s early growth.
Help Build Your Brand
Building your own brand, ironically, is an unintended use of Pinterest, but it happens organically as you start building your boards. As a photo content sharing site, you are aligning yourself and personal tastes with what you pin. In this sense, a pin is a certain endorsement for a product/blog/recipe that you may or may not have personally experienced. Think about the power of that. Just by pinning something, sharing your pin on Facebook, and writing a quick comment describing your pin, you are creating your brand, while promoting someone else’s. Do you see the potential for your business here?
Pinterest has done for the small crafter what Etsy started. But Pinterest is more than a collection of earrings, art, and other tangibles. Pinterest is a platform to carefully craft your brand from a visual standpoint, while also allowing new people to find you and your business or blog via the link forever associated with that photo.
If you have a tangible product to sell, using Pinterest to build your brand is a no-brainer. A great example I have seen is a local jeweler using a “Pin to Win” contest to drive traffic to their site, reporting on twitter a one day increase of 400% – not a bad start! What do you do, though, if you are a blogger, event planner, service provider, or the Today Show (with 5500+ followers since joining in November)? How can you create your brand through photos other people will like or re-pin? Think creatively and think beyond the photo.
Get an invite – You can either request an invite via Pinterest or ask a friend on FaceBook or Twitter who has been sharing their pins to send you a direct invite. Be patient – as your invitation could take a few weeks or more to be delivered to your inbox.
Check out the Pros – Early adopters, Cool Mom Tech and Babble, offer an extension of their websites in nicely organized boards, while also broadening their expertise. Cool Mom Tech’s “Techcessories” board is a small collection of interesting tech related accessories, including Twitter Rings (140 character limit engraved message). Babble does a great job of cataloging what interests their followers (mostly moms) with their 20 boards. My favorite title is “Best Part of Waking Up”, featuring delicious looking breakfast recipes and snack ideas (Pop-tart pops anyone?).
Polish Your Profile – Update your profile to include your website link, twitter account, facebook page, and RSS feed. This is the place to show your logo, share information about your business, and let new followers get a sense for exactly who you are and what you do. Don’t skip this step! Your profile pciture and name will be linked to all your pins, re-pins, and comments.
Create Your Own Boards – When you register with Pinterest, you have basic boards available to start pinning to like “For the Home” and “Recipes”. Add to your basic board with nicely titled boards that speak to your expertise. If you are a wedding planner, think of boards like “Best Outdoor Venues” or “Project Bride”, featuring content that is both informational, visually appealing, and a resource for your followers. I have added “Babysitting Tips” as a general board for what I think moms and babysitters would find valuable. If certain boards don’t apply to you, just delete the board.
Follow the 30/70 rule – There’s a fine line here and Pinterest recognizes this in their request to members to not use their site for self-promotion alone. Sharing something you are “proud of” is great, but don’t go overboard. 30% of your pins can link directly back to your website and business. The other 70% focus on being a resource for your area of expertise by pinning other websites and blogs. The reason? Too much promotion could especially be harmful with your followers, who can choose to “Unfollow” you with a click. Pin content that is informational, not sales-y. Become a resource.
Have fun – This is the place to flex your creative muscles. Think of the great brands who have turned something mundane and ordinary, into something people want to share and talk about it. (Allstate Insurance’s Mayhem comes to mind… maybe one day Mayhem will be pinning while driving? Do not attempt.)
Find Inspiration – Subscribe to newsletters and blog feeds applicable to your industry and subject matter. Inspiration will be delivered to your inbox daily.
Go Beyond the Pin
Promote Your Pins – Share the best pins (not all) with your social networks, Facebook and Twitter. A little goes a long way here. Pique your friends’ curiosity with a few pins a week and they’ll be more likely to check out your boards and follow you on Pinterest.
Follow Influencers and re-pin their pins – There is a great opportunity to network via Pinterest and stand out among thousands of followers or friends on their other social networks. Comment on pins and get the conversation going. Every single comment includes your profile picture (or logo) and name. It is a great way to get noticed!
Add Buttons – From Pinterest you can add buttons for your blog to pin a post or follow you on Pinterest. Let your current readers learn more about you from your boards, further cementing your role as a resource for followers.
Key Take Away
Think of Pinterest as more than just an addiction fueled by beautiful kitchens, clever DIY projects, and mouth-watering recipes. Think of Pinterest as a weapon in your arsenal of social media strategy. Penetrate the marketplace on pin at a time!
~Image Source for Pin Board: http://www.flickr.com/photos/corneliar