Benefits of Pinterest for Businesses
Pinterest is a virtual storyboard-style social sharing website. Users can create and manage theme-based image collages called boards. Users “pin” images to these themed boards by either uploading the image, using the Pinterest browser bookmarklet tool, or Pinterest social sharing buttons on different websites’ pages.
Users can follow other users as well as follow individual boards. Additionally, users can embed, share, “like” and “re-pin” other users’ images. Re-pining an image places it onto the board of the user, and the re-pin is credited to the original source of the pin and attributed to the user who originally pinned the image.
Highly visual in nature, Pinterest says its mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the things they find interesting.” With over 70 million Pinterest users, it is clear that web users prefer to digest information in a visual format. Some of these users are of your target audience and can be reached through this unique social channel.
Leveraging Pinterest: Why Use it?
By leveraging and engaging on Pinterest, companies and brands can reach their targeted audience and be present in the stream of activity and reach a wider range of customers. Brands can create relevant themed boards around their product offerings as well as add Pinterest buttons to their product pages, blog posts, and other content properties.
Pinterest users have the ability to pin images directly from a website as well as repin images from other users. The act of pining an image from a website creates a backlink to the website. From an SEO perspective, Pinterest links are “nofollow,” meaning they do not pass value to the target page. However, these links are social signals that impact your “authority” in the online space.
Users engage with Pinterest by searching for interesting images. In finding relevant content, they also click through to the original source. Brands can leverage this opportunity by creating targeted boards and directly pining from their websites. Additionally, companies can optimize their pins by adding URLs to the description field for easier access to the brand website.
Aside from this, there are many other ways brands can utilize Pinterest to its greatest capacity. I think the greatest value in Pinterest, apart from the obvious benefit for ecommerce sites product exposure, is that Pinterest can help leverage more exposure for local sites. By targeting localized keywords via the Pinterest search algorithm, brands can utilize Pinterest’s authoritative presence in search and their visual aesthetic to make sales and create awareness for your work. Take for example a local Pennsylvania heating solutions company. All the brand needs is a camera and the time to put together a helpful – what is what guide on the different heating products. That way people may learn how to more accurately use their heaters during the winter. And when the time comes for that heater to be worked on, or replaced. They’ll likely remember the PA company. And know it for it’s local presence.
Optimizing Your Profile
When setting up a profile, brands can optimize various elements including username (URL of your brand page), bio, profile picture, and links to other social media properties (and your website, of course). Connecting social channels is vital because it establishes your brand online and it improves the online real estate you inhabit when users search for your brand on search engines.
Much like a domain name, it’s also beneficial to include keywords or phrases that your target audience may be interested in while creating your brand profile name. There is a 15-character limit, so depending on your target keywords you may need to get creative.
When choosing a profile image, it’s important to use the same image you use on other social media channels as well. It is especially important to use the same image you use for Google+ because it can help improve your chances of attaining Google Authorship, which will make your brand a more recognizable authority in its online space.
It’s All About the Boards
Brands need to create various boards relevant to their product offering and target audience. Your profile and boards should define your products and services, or at least relate to them. You can also pin images to boards directly from your website to improve the connection between both properties.
In addition to boards related to your products, businesses should create boards that cover topics conveying their brand personality and fit in with messaging. Your boards should also cater to what your target audience is interested in.
Staying Active in the Community
As with all social media, brands need to interact with their followers and stay active within the community. It’s useful to follow key influencers that reflect your brand messaging and to interact with their profile. Re-pinning images from their boards helps to foster community and stay connected.
Brands should also re-pin from within the Pinterest website to engage with others’ profiles; re-pinning is one of the most social activities on Pinterest and it’s how any user really builds his/her network of followers
Brands Doing Pinterest Right
There are various brands utilizing the platform to build awareness, reach their audience, and gain traffic.
Whole Foods is a great example. It is clear it understands its target audience and provides various boards that satisfy customers’ interests. The page offers boards with dessert, vegetable and other themed recipes. However, you can also find DIY, gardening and other boards that would appeal to the organic lifestyle held by many of their customers.
Whole Foods’ Pinterest efforts have earned 180,249 followers and helped it become integral with new/potential customers’ daily activities.
While not as renowned or large scale as Whole Foods, Denver real estate agent Michelle Potter is also doing a worthy job at utilizing Pinterest to reach her audience. Her username/URL “denverrealty” uses relevant keywords “Denver” and “realty” to reach more potential customers. Her boards also highlight appealing topics for someone who might be looking to move to Denver, and it also establishes her as an authority in that community.
Potter also creates boards focused on interior design to help excite potential home buyers by showing how them how they can decorate their new home.
Know your Audience!
Pinterest provides opportunity for brands to reach their audience and convert sales. There is also opportunity to build brand awareness and increase social signals, helping to establish a stronger online presence. Brands will benefit most from Pinterest by engaging with the community, creating relevant and interesting boards, and adding Pinterest buttons to their websites to foster sharing of their content.
Of course, knowing what your current and potential customers need and want is essential to successfully connecting to them.
I do some social work for a local Harrisburg furniture store. In terms of strategy there is a lot to be gained from Pinterest. Again – by targeting localized keywords, I simply just need to take some time to photograph our products, sofas and displays, or even use our product photos from our site, to upload to pinterest and tag as “harrisburg pa sofas.” Or variations of our target words. In addition by knowing the audience of pinterest, I know their interest in interior design ideas, etc. So by providing some DIY tricks and tips or craft ideas, I can potentially gain large increases in exposure by pairing them with my products. Doing this will help me stand out compared to my local competition.