There’s a new heavyweight in the social media arena: Pinterest. In case you’re not already one of the millions of people ‘pinning’ on a regular basis- Pinterest is a social network for content curated by its subscribers. It allows users to share and organize interesting and inspirational images on a virtual ‘pinboard’. Posts on Pinterest are referred to as ‘pins’. Once pins are shared, they can be customized and re-shared on other social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Although access to Pinterest is currently by invitation only, it’s experiencing exponential growth. In fact, most major brands are already pinning product photos and engaging with fans through their pinboards. Here are 3 ways companies are using Pinterest:
Inspirational (and Interesting) Pins
An important part of an online marketing strategy is growing your brand and highlighting its personality. With Pinterest, every piece of content you pin to your brand’s boards builds on what your community already knows about you. One of the best ways to highlight your brand’s personality is through the use of photos, such as behind-the-scenes pictures that show your community what’s involved in developing your products and services. By showing this ‘human’ side of your business, it appeals to your community, and goes a long way towards creating brand advocates. For example, if your business is a restaurant, you could pin a picture of your daily special (even in the kitchen while being made), and link it back to your site. Make the image as visually engaging as possible.
Winning by Pinning
Running contests on social networks is one of the best ways to drive engagement that your business requires to drive targeted traffic to your site and other channels. When creating contests on any social network, you must define your marketing goals, and get creative. In the case of Pinterest, which is all about pinning images, you could run a photo submission contest and ask people to vote or comment on the best photo (engaging users). It’s important to note that any contest you run doesn’t go against Pinterest’s site policy. It should also work toward nurturing your community- not selling your products and services.
TIP: See how your company’s content is being pinned by swapping your domain name into this URL: http://pinterest.com/source/YOURWEBSITE.COM/
Pin to Collect Intelligence
It can be difficult for small businesses to determine what the initial reaction will be to a new product or service that they’re planning to offer. Social networks like Pinterest are a great way to determine this initial reaction by allowing your business to release a new offering to an already loyal fan base. For example, post photos of a new product or service, and use the Pinterest commenting platform to gather intelligence and determine if the product is ready for prime time.
Users can also pin videos and other multimedia content to their pinboards, and your business should also use other media (aside from just photos). As more small businesses join Pinterest, expect to see more ways to use this relatively new social network to help grow online communities.
Are you using Pinterest and, if so, what are you doing to engage with your community on your Pinboard? Share your comments below.
Chris is an internet marketer, web designer, and musician. He is passionate about helping small businesses implement effective internet marketing strategies, and helping people achieve their business goals.
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