Pinterest is the latest social diva on the scene. But is it a necessity for your brand? Maybe, but only if it’s done right. I’ve put together some do’s and don’ts for building your small business brand on Pinterest.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the fastest growing social network with the funny name, Pinterest is in essence, an online bulletin board. With a staggering 10.4 Million registered users, and growing, interest in Pinterest is spreading fast. Entrepreneur recognized Pinterest as the Next Big Thing in Social Media. Yet the question remains:
How Do You Know if Pinterest is for You?
- If you have filing cabinets crammed with colorful folders of magazine clippings, notes to self, scraps of fabric, CD covers, greeting cards and inspiring artwork stashed away for that next project…. Pinterest is for you.
- If your bookmarks bar is filled with links to web pages with DIY instructions, a new fashion trend, a how-to lesson, or a one-time resource that you just don’t want to forget about…. Pinterest is for you.
- If you are inspired by beautiful photography, graphics, color, images and designs…. Pinterest is for you.
How do You Know if Pinterest is Right for Your Brand?
That’s the tricky question. Just like any form of marketing or social networking, some brands and businesses belong on Pinterest and can benefit from the traffic it will drive. And others are cluttering the marketplace. That said, I think most brands can find a way to benefit from Pinterest, if you know what to do, and what not to do.
Here are my top 5 tips for using Pinterest as a small business brand
1. Provide Inspiration. If there’s one commonality among all Pinterest users it’s that they’re looking for inspiration. It’s not about selling your product, it’s about sharing your interests and building appeal.
DO: Look for beautiful images and graphics to share.
DON’T: Grab your camera and start uploading poor quality, cluttered, unattractive images. There’s already enough ugly out there in cyberspace, for heaven sakes don’t spread it.
2. Become an Expert: Think about your niche market and create boards that reflect what your customers want. If you sell real estate, create boards that showcase the communities in which you sell, how-to guides for DIY projects, landscaping ideas, and home models available in the area.
DO: Figure out your area of expertise and showcase it on your boards
DON’T: Be only self-serving. Content should come from multiple sources, not just your corporate website. In fact, the more variety the better.
3. Balance New and Repinned Content: One of the goals of Pinterest is to have your content “repinned” by other users. Seek out new content to share with your followers and you’ll see more pins. Your boards should include a balance of items repinned from others, and new content you have discovered and pinned to share. Repinning and “liking” the content of others can help build followers, but it’s the new content that will help drive pinners to follow you.
DO: Add the Pinterest bookmarklet to your browser window so you can pin from any website.
DON’T Forget that social networking is about sharing, so repinning is encouraged.
4. Embed Pinboards on Your Website: Pinterest allows you to connects with Facebook & Twitter automatically, which I recommend if you want to build followers and share your content. But you can also embed your Pinterest boards on your website or blog. Cross promotion is important in all forms of branding, so why not make every effort to share your pins with web visitors, Facebook fans and Twitter followers.
DO: Add the Pin it button to pages on your website with imagery worth sharing.
5. Think Like a “Pinner”: As I mentioned above, Pinterest draws users who are looking for inspiration, how-to guides and the DIY minded. So when you’re creating content for you blog or website, or to share on your boards, feature the type of content these individual crave. If you’re a restaurant you can’t go wrong with recipes and mouth-watering photos of delicious dishes. Travel agencies can capture the dreams of their clients with destinations that scream Spring Break. And construction companies could have feature boards that teach customers the basics of how-to maintenance.
DO: Think about your customer if you’re building a board for your brand
DON’T: Confuse pinning for yourself and pinning for your customers. Create boards with your customers in mind and share what they would be interested in. Otherwise, stick to a personal account.
With the growing popularity of this new social platform there are hundreds of great articles written on Pinterest. If you’d like some additional reading I’d recommend:
Pinterest: 13 Tips and Tricks for Cutting-Edge Users | Mashable.com
56 Ways to Market Your Business on Pinterest | Copyblogger.com
Note: Pinterest is currently an invitation-only website. You can request an invitation from the homepage, but it’s much faster to get in if you are invited. If your inbox isn’t filled with invitations from Facebook friends I’d be happy to send one your way so you can check it out. Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.