SEMA News—July 2012
By Joe Dysart
10 Ways to Use Pinterest to Market Your Company
Pinterest has quietly become the number-three social network in the world.
“It’s time to add Pinterest to your business marketing arsenal,” said Jason Fox, president of Fox e-Marketing. Added Jamus Driscoll, senior vice president at web-marketing solutions firm Demandware: “Pinterest has had extremely positive adoption rates.”
While the charm of Pinterest is lost on some, millions more rabidly visit the social network regularly to put together collections of pictures that together say something about who they are and what they love. Overwhelmingly, Pinterest fans are female and young. Specifically, a 2012 Digital Marketer report released by Experian Marketing Services found that a full 60% of Pinterest users were women, according to a 12-week study ending January 28, 2012. And 55% of those women were between the ages of 25 and 44.
Not surprisingly, many of the biggest marketers on the planet are parachuting in for a chance to make an impression on all those eyeballs. Peugeot Panama, for example, recently ran a contest on Pinterest that gave visitors a prize for putting together a puzzle of a Peugeot car. Guess also ran a contest asking Pinterest users to create winning picture collections based on the company’s new colors for spring. And Proctor & Gamble has a Pinterest page offering images of mothers who have athletes competing in the upcoming Olympics in London.
Bottom line: If your business can in any way be marketed with images (it’s hard to imagine one that cannot), you really need to be on Pinterest yesterday. Like many social networks, Pinterest is free to join. And while the social network officially frowns on blatant self-promotion, there’s apparently more than a little wiggle room to get on the network and still make a splash.
Once you’re on Pinterest, here are the top 10 ways to make the most of your marketing presence:
Categorize Your Boards: More Pinterest users will find your company and its images, on Pinterest if you take the time to categorize each collection you create. It’s better, for example, to categorize a picture collection you post—also known as a Pinterest “board”—describing your company’s brand and image as “About [Your Company Name]” rather than simply “About.”
Tell Your Company’s Story: Sure, you most likely already have an “About” domain on your website. But there’s no reason to force people to click there to grasp a quick idea of your company’s history, mission and its products and/or services. Pinterest also gives you an opportunity to communicate that message in images—the language spoken here.
Highlight Your Company Blog in Images: If your company already offers a blog on its website, you’ll be able to bring more traffic to it by highlighting select blog excerpts re-posted on Pinterest, accompanied by a number of eye-grabbing images. If you’re stuck for images for your blog, check out iStockphoto.com. It offers thousands that you can post for only a dollar or two.
Post Customer Testimonials: While endorsements on the web have been used for years, there is something to be said for adding a crisp photo of the person who is recommending your business to others. You can also add videos of that person to your board, or even images of handwritten cards and letters.
Feature Top Customers: If you’ve been able to do business with some especially heavy hitters, it will pay you to devote a special Pinterest category featuring images of these top players. Being able to showcase any client from the Fortune 500, for example, can only add credibility to your own company’s stature.
Show Examples of Work Product: If your business lends itself to portraying your work product in image form, this is an excellent category to add to your Pinterest account. People are always reassured when they can see an image of the results they expect when doing business with you.
Add Pricing to Some Work Product: Pinterest reposts all images that include a dollar sign in their description to its special “gifts” domain. Essentially, you’ll be able to get double exposure for every image that has a price in its description—once on your own Pinterest account and again in the Pinterest gifts domain. And remember: People who are cruising Pinterest’s gifts domain are often in a buying mood.
Cross-Promote With Other Social Networks: Many of the same people who hang out on Facebook and Twitter are also Pinterest users. So it makes sense to cross-promote on all of the social networks where you have an account. You may want to send out a Twitter message, for example, to announce a new collection of pictures you’ve added on Pinterest. And you may want to announce on Pinterest that there’s a special offer available for customers who “Like” your Facebook page.
Make Your Images Easy to Re-Pin: Every business with a Pinterest account is able to add a “Pin-It” button to its website. Be sure to add this button, since it enables visitors to your website to pin your company’s images into their collections on Pinterest. You can also add a Pinterest “Follow” button on your website right next to the “Follow” buttons you may already offer for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the like. Both Pinterest buttons are available for installation in your Pinterest account on the Pinterest “Goodies” page.
Avoid a “Promotion Only” Look and Feel: As with many social networks, Pinterest users disdain commercial sites that show up simply to bombard them with purely self-promotional images. The trick is to identify your target audience, identify the noncommercial boards on Pinterest that are attracting them in droves, and then weave some of the creative (and non-promotional) elements of those boards into the boards you create for your company.
Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan. Voice: 646-233-4089. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: www.joedysart.com.