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Use Pinterest for business marketing

PInterest LogoDaniel here with a tutorial about Pinterest.

I have recently seen some ebooks, giving just basic info on how to use Pinterest, for business on sale at $27.95!

Here at danieldlaine.com, that same information and much more, will always be free! So here is a brief tutorial on how to set up a Pinterest account and use it effectively for business or marketing purposes.

This is not a tutorial on how to use Pinterest. It is a tutorial on how to use the site for business or marketing purposes to the best effect.

(All the links on this page open in a new window)

I’m a member of Pinterest and love the idea. The only trouble is; it can be even more time-consuming than Facebook used to be!

Here’s my current Pinterest account!

Is it possible to use Pinterest for business?

Absolutely – and there’s a great opportunity to grab some genuinely ‘new’ visitors.

Pinterest visitors have increased by over 150% (from December 2011 to January 2012) making it one of the fastest growing sites on the internet.

In December 2011, it made the Hitwise lists, coming in at number five in the top ten list of social networking sites beating sites such as LinkedIn and the new Google Plus.

You can see the other current Hitwise top ten lists here.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest was co-founded by Ben Silberman, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp. They now have financial backing from a bunch of Silicon Valley companies and are headquartered in Palo Alto, California. Their latest round of venture financing came to nearly $30 million and was led by Andreessen Horowitz.

Even though Pinterest is in Beta mode, it already generates income and that’s not through advertising or subscriptions. It is however, the source of much current discussion due to the ‘not normal practice’ method used.

Most Social media sites wait at least a year or so before monetising their sites but Pinterest monetised from the beginning by taking a commission from sales from ‘pinned’ traffic.

They partnered with a company called SkimLinks which allows them to use a system which automatically scans every link posted on the site and if it goes to a sales site using an affiliate program, it adds an affiliate code of its own to ensure that Pinterest will make some commission from the sales that originate through that link.

What makes this system a matter of current discussion is that Pinterest did not initially declare this system.

Pinterest is a really simple idea that allows you to save, or ‘pin’ most images you see on the internet into your account at Pinterest on a ‘board’.

You can’t pin some images from dynamically generated sites or certain types of pages such as the image holders pages on Facebook.

When you see a picture on the internet, there are a couple of ways in which you can do this, but the simplest way is to set up a toolbar icon which will allow you to pin images in a few clicks.

These images go into your chosen ‘board’ and form part of your pinboards for all to see.

Pinterest also allows you to take other peoples pins and ‘repin’ them to your boards. You can also comment, like and interact with other Pinners.

You are encouraged to interact by sharing on Facebook Twitter etc. but this forms a natural part of the whole process. When you see something that grabs your attention, you should ‘want’ to share it on FB etc. You can even embed individual pins on a website or blog.

Initial research suggests that Pinterest is more effective at generating more targeted traffic than Facebook.

How do you join?

Currently, you have to wait for an ‘invite’ although this will probably change in the near future. Someone with a Pinterest account can invite you, which is a quicker way to get started.

When you sign up, make sure you use the same email address you use for your Twitter account as you can then take advantage of the Pinterest to Twitter connection enabling you to post directly to your Twitter account about new pins.

When you have joined, don’t forget to optimise your account under the setting tab.

If you are a business, use your business name as your user name.

What can Pinterest do for me?

For a start, if you get it right, it will generate a load of new visitors, it will create all the connections possible which are available through any social media site and it’s enjoyable!

If you use the ‘pin-it’ button on your pages, every one of your pins will include a link back to its source. These are ‘no-follow’ links so they will not make any direct impact on your SEO, however, they are very useful as they allow visitors to access content on your site with just one click and ultimately, more visitors is SEO friendly!

Pinterest connects to Facebook and you can sign in to Pinterest using Facebook, but at the minute it is not possible to connect your Pinterest account to your Facebook business page.

What are the rules?

Pinterest make no specific statement that you can’t market on its site but it does list four basic rules.

The following come directly from the site:

Be Nice

Pinterest is a community of people. We know that tastes are personal, but be respectful in your comments and conversations.

Credit Your Sources

Pins are the most useful when they have links back to the original source. If you notice that a pin is not sourced correctly, leave a comment so the original pinner can update the source. Finding the original source is always preferable to a secondary source such as Google Image Search or a blog entry.

Avoid Self Promotion

Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion.

Report Objectionable Content

We do not allow nudity or hateful content. If you find content that is objectionable or violates our Terms of Service can submit the content for review by pushing the “Report Content” link.

Pins are the most useful when they have links back to the original source. If you notice that a pin is not sourced correctly, leave a comment so the original pinner can update the source. Finding the original source is always preferable to a secondary source such as Google Image Search or a blog entry.

Avoid Self Promotion

Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion.

How do I use Pinterest for business?

If you are going to use Pinterest for business purposes, there are a host of things you can do, however, they need to be done carefully. If you sell a product, having loads of pinboards about that product, all going to the product site and affiliate sites will quickly get your pins removed.

Begin by integrating a board about your business and add some basic images. Make them something that will arouse interest.

Needless to say, the images should be sat on your own site!!

Before you start adding all your own business images, create some ‘interesting’ boards to generate an interest in your pinboards page. The marketing process begins right here.

Obviously, it goes without saying that you need to ‘know your customers’. That is, any boards you set up should be set up with your existing and potential customers in mind.

Pin images that will attract their attention. This is exactly the same process you would use if starting a new blog. You would populate it with interesting content before promoting it.

Try and make the BEST boards on any particular topic. It’s no good throwing up just any old pictures on a board. Any image you pin should attract that instant ‘Yeah!’ factor from anyone interested in that particular subject, who would either want to Like it, repin it, follow it or comment on it. This is where the process of new visitor attraction begins.

Promote your boards through other channels. Add the Pinterest button to your website, write blog posts to advertise your boards and post to Facebook and Twitter.

If it’s a business related image, always Pin and tweet!

Make an effort to engage with other pinners. Follow their pins or boards, ‘like’ their pins, leave comments etc. Interact!!

Never let it leave your mind that the way to attract people is to be nice to people. ‘Like’ their pins, comment on their boards etc. and the same will be returned.

I suggest always following someone that follows you – providing their boards are appropriate for a business connection. It’s can be a little long-winded but this is the way of social media, which is exactly what Pinterest is.

Make sure you have some visual content about your business. If you haven’t got any, make some! One of the biggest challenges to smaller businesses or businesses that do not easily fit into a ‘visual’ environment, is having sufficient, compelling images to advertise their business.

At the least, you could use images from your blog articles. Think ahead when creating new posts and choose bright, clear and appropriate images which will attract the attention of the targeted visitor – with the intention of pinning them.

Use info-graphics. They are all the rage at the minute. Make some simple info-graphics about your business and make sure you use a really good, large heading.

Use screenshots of any ebooks being sold by your business. Pin the ebook image from its subject or sales page.

Make a board about your company’s historical successes – if applicable.

Create a board to show your business style or personality. Choose professional images which focus on all the positive aspects of your business.

If your business allows and if appropriate, use pictures of your customers. A board of smiling faces is appealing by human nature and (generally speaking) people love seeing themselves online!

Create a ‘user generated’ pinboard. You can allow others to contribute to your pins. This opens up a great opportunity to involve fans and visitors. Use the guest pin gallery for this.

Tip: Create a board dedicated to their pins!!

If you are going to use Contests, check with the Pinterest TOS (terms of service) first to make sure you don’t infringe them. You could get your customers to host a board about the things that they love about your business if your business fits that type of input and then offer a prize for the best board – all great marketing!! You would need to get the entrants to post you the URL of their board.

If your site is suitable, add the ‘pin it’ button to your site to allow others to pins images from your site!

Make it easy for your visitors to share your visuals.  You can grab the ‘pin it’ button from the Pinterest site under the ‘about’ link.

You just go through to the pin it button page and enter the URL’s for the page and image, grab the code and insert it into your site wherever you want the button to show.

You can see how the button looks and works on this post I did about infographics.

Use the Pinterest ‘follow’ buttons on your webpages and incorporate them within your other social media icons. They can be found in the ‘Pin It Button’ link under the ‘About’ tab:

The code is very simple. When you are logged in, just scroll down until you see the ‘Follow Button for Websites’ heading and copy the code for the button you want.  All the code is already done for you – as long as you are logged in.

If you are not, the code is simply this:

<a href=”http://pinterest.com/your user name here/”><img src=”http://passets-cdn.pinterest.com/images/big-p-button.png” width=”61″ height=”61″ alt=”Follow Me on Pinterest” /></a>

(Replacing the text in red with your username)

There’s room for manipulation in there to fit in with your webpage design. Just drop the code into an HTML editor, make the visual changes and copy the code into your web page wherre you want the button to go.

The following video shows the whole process of adding the ‘pin it’ button to your site.

(Click the video into full page if you need a clearer view.)

Keep track of all referral traffic and preferably, add a link back to the page on your website, from where that image is located – for every pin.

Pin Videos!

Create a board about the videos you have done, if your business fits that model. Pin meetings, tuition videos, personnel talks etc. Intersperse these with images as well to keep up the visual effect.

Hashtags

Just like Google and Twitter, Pinterest allows the use of hashtags. Use these to optimise them and make them more search-friendly.

If you are starting a new campaign, create a board about it and tag it with a hashtag you’re also using on Twitter and Google to optimise cross-channel coverage.

Think ahead

At the minute, Pinterest is absolutely dominated by female members, but this will change in the future. Be ready for the male switch with boards about ‘blokey’ things; gadgets, electronics, blokes toys etc.

Finally

All these things take time and if you are not outsourcing this work, take the time to develop each pinboard fully before moving on to the next.

Don’t cram your boards with too many images and don’t set up a board and leave it empty. That suggests poor time management or lack of interest. It only takes a minute to create a board and only create one when you’ve already got at least three or four images to display – unless you want to specifically attract a viewers attention to just one image.

It is better to have more boards with catchy names and less pins than fewer boards crammed with too many pins.

I believe I am a typical ‘pinner’ and I only ever scroll down what would amount to about two or three pages before I get fed up looking.

Happy Business Pinning!

Regards
Daniel

 

One Response to Pinterest for Business

  • Ramabhadran says:

    Thank you Danieldlaine for sharing this great information regarding pinterest for marketing. Your free tutorial is very useful for beginners and expert marketers. I am also using it effectively.

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