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How Businesses are Stacking the Deck with Pinterest – and Why

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As if trying to keep track of multiple social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn wasn’t enough, now marketers are trying to figure out how to use Pinterest for business.

Organizations of all sizes are already gaining traction with the new social platform, and it’s raising some questions about the different ways that Pinterest can drive targeted traffic to a website.

Getting a Handle on Pinterest

The new social media service, driven by communities of people who flock to the site and share their findings, has reportedly reached over 10 million users faster than any site before it in history – including Facebook.  But what is this site all about?

Simply put, Pinterest is a virtual pinboard similar to something you’d have in your home for tacking or “pinning” up images and messages.  When a user creates their own pinboards they can organize and share “all the beautiful things (they) find around the web”.  From a business perspective, that doesn’t really spell out how you can benefit from it.

Why Marketers Should Care About Pinterest

This visual bookmarking extravaganza is like a browser bookmarklet, making it easy to share things from around the web.  For a business, particularly those involved in retail and the direct sale of products, it’s a formidable source of targeted traffic.  The slick user interface makes it easy for a retail business to get their products – optimized by product category and product type – right in the face of users.

While there’s no direct mechanism for your potential customers to purchase products from you directly, consider the marketing potential:  If you post popular images relevant to your industry (or products) which link back to the original source (your site), those images can get repinned by hundreds or thousands of other users on their boards.

What’s the main draw to Pinterest?

The site is easy to use.  Everyone has a board where they pin images, all of the same size.  Hana Abaza, the co-founder and CEO of Wedding Republic, says “it’s best to mimic Pinterest’s uncluttered aesthetic.” To do that she takes the time to develop Pinterest boards that maintain a clean, almost elegant appearance.

When she pins photos, they link back to her site.  One click takes you to the pin page; another click links the user back to her site. According to Abaza, her use of Pinterest created a dramatic boost in page views and a 75% increase in traffic – with most of that coming from Pinterest.

Stepping Away From Promotion with Pinterest

It might be tempting to only post images of things you sell, and to get on the promotional bandwagon, but if you want to be successful you need to treat Pinterest like any other form of social media and content marketing; focus on providing value.  Giselle Gonzalez, a promoter for Cakestyle (a company that makes wardrobe suggestions for women), says that the key to connecting with your audience is to provide value.  Tips, tidbits of information, and even products from other companies.

When you’re sharing content, regardless of the platform, you need to remember that your customers and others on the web are savvier than many businesses give them credit for.  They can quickly spot self-serving content.

Go Where the Big Hitters Go

It’s not just marketers working through Pinterest to see how it can benefit them.  Even big names are getting into the image sharing and pinboard “fun”.  Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook has a number of boards ranging from movies and products to “most notable companies of the month” – is it any surprise that Facebook is on that board?

Hubspot is even getting in on the Pinterest ride.  “It’s half the goal to showcase our own work, but really just collect others as well,” said HubSpot’s Rebecca Corliss. “Our board could be the best resource for marketing infographics. It’s all about having the best board, not just promoting your own stuff.”

Beyond Marketing with Pinterest

Many individuals, from marketers to business owners to executives, frequently turn to social media not for directly boosting sales but instead for branding.  Pinterest offers another platform – this time visual – that allows marketers to expand their networking opportunities, improve brand visibility, and customer engagement by providing relevant content their audience will love.

Like other social networks, followers on Pinterest can see what their contacts share or “pin”, so like all forms of content marketing, it pays to provide value if you want your personal or professional brand to spread.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Pinterest

Avoid the costly mistakes and increase your chance of success with The Do’s and Don’ts of Making Your Mark With Pinterest.

Question:

What is your favorite pinboard, and why? Leave a reply with a URL so we can all check them out. And follow me on Pinterest to see my ultimate car collection.

 

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