Pinterest is just a place where women collect pics for their weddings, right? And it’s a place for mommy bloggers to find stuff to do with their kids, right? This is still a common misconception about what Pinterest is and what it’s used for. If you think this is the case, you’re likely missing out on a huge opportunity to use Pinterest as a marketing tool for your business.
Pinterest may have started out as a place for women to share product images, but its epic rise as a social network makes it a great place for businesses, too. Think of it as a place to share ideas in a visual way and be creative about how you can profit from that.
Users on Pinterest love to share and repin images from a whole range of categories. As with any social network you just need to find a balance between self-promotion, social networking, and making money.
How You Can Use Pinterest to Promote Your Business
Have you ever noticed how Pinterest images show up in organic search? The next time you perform a Google search, notice the images that appear at the top of the search. They are likely to be pins from Pinterest, and here’s why: Pinterest is less of a truly “social” platform, and more of a robust search engine. If for no other reason than this, it is my recommendation for most businesses to use Pinterest as part of their social efforts.
But “what to pin” is often the question. Here are just a few ways you can use Pinterest both for profit and promotion.
Promote Your Blog with Pinnable Images
If you have an image on your blog, it’s pinnable. For that reason alone, you should always add an image to each of your blog posts. If you’re feeling ambitious. you can even add a “Pin it” button under the image you want readers to pin. Aside from that, readers are drawn to images and an interesting one encourages them to go on and read your article.
When you or a reader pins your image to Pinterest from your blog, it creates a direct link back to your blog. This not only adds to your link-building efforts, it can bring a whole new type of traffic to your site. Create themed boards on Pinterest that are based on the categories on your website, and make sure that you always pin your own blog post images to those boards.
Tip: When uploading images to your blog, be sure to add a descriptive alt text description to the image. This is the description that Pinterest will automatically pull in with your pin. Consider how would you like your pin described. I’ll bet you’d like the title of the post, maybe a specific tip, or perhaps a keyword rich description of the post. A full pre-written description is a great way to let your readers promote it for you!
Engage Your Customers
Having Pinterest boards is yet another way to engage your customers online. Not only can they pin their favorite images to your boards, but they can comment on them and share them with their friends and followers. When people enjoy interacting with your website, they’ll come back more often. This not only builds your relationship with website visitors, but it gives you far greater opportunities to showcase your products and services.
Tip: Pay attention to who’s pinning from your website. Here’s how: When you want to check who’s pinning from your domain, enter this into your search bar: http://pinterest.com/source/yourdomainnameincludingtheextension
So, if I wanted to check all pins coming from my domain here at marketingsparkler.com, I would enter http://pinterest.com/source/marketingsparkler.com into my search bar. This pulls up all of the pins from my domain here at marketingsparkler.com. Then I can click on each pin and see who’s pinning it. Pretty neat, huh?
Bonus: Simply add this URL to your bookmarks so you don’t have to type it in every time. Because you regularly check your analytics and social media mentions, right? Of course you do:-)
Inspire Your Customers with Examples
Oftentimes, people can only see your products in one way and for one purpose. This is why imagery is so important. Images can essentially make or break your product sales. This is where Pinterest can help you to leverage the usability of your products to increase sales and expand your audience.
Pinterest boards give you the chance to demonstrate different ways to use your products, all through visual references. For example, if you sell wedding favors, you can show pictures of them in use, perhaps at the table settings of your customers’ weddings. Imagine having pins that shows how a specific wedding favor can be used for a rustic chic decor AND traditional wedding decor. That would be far more inspiring than a simple product image in your store. And it’s likely to attract different sets of customers who may have thought your wedding favor was not their style. Show them otherwise!
Show That You’re a Real Person
It’s always difficult to make a personal connection with people online vs. face-to-face. By including both business boards and personal boards in your Pinterest account, prospects and customers get to see some of your own interests. They start to see the real person behind the business persona. Even if you are representing a large company, remember that customers are eager to know the real people behind the corporate face. If you’re a small business or entrepreneur, this is even more critical.
Now, I know there are schools of thought that say your Pinterest boards should focus on your business. This is ok if you’re a big, recognizable brand. But humor me for a sec, ok? Which business looks more interesting:
Pinterest User A: Business coaching brand that has boards that reference each pillar of the coaching business, with tips on each board. The avatar is a company logo.
Pinterest User B: A Business Coach who has boards that reference each pillar of her coaching business, with tips on each board. And the coach also has boards that showcase her favorite tools, books she likes to read, her favorite blogs, and events she likes to attend.
Which Pinterest profile probably looks more interesting, and showcases the brand in a more authentic, human way? Which Business Coach would you find more interesting? After all, when you’re hiring a business coach, you’re hiring a person, not a brand. This is why I mention that school of thought around keeping your pins so business-specific. That sounds logical, but depending on your business model, it may not be as profitable as you’d like.
Add Affiliate Links to Your Pins
You may not realize it, but you can also insert your own affiliate links on your pins. Yeah,baby! It’s a whole new way of doing affiliate marketing using Pinterest. You can create boards (or pins) that are product-oriented and earn cash when people click those links and buy something. Just go into the “edit” button for a specific pin and replace the direct link to the product with your affiliate link.
Pinterest isn’t going anywhere any time soon and it is incredibly active. And it’s such a fun! Make the most of it as a place to engage your customers and prospects. At the same time, it presents a new opportunity to earn income and fans from a completely different source.