For those of us who have been using Pinterest for a while now, we are not surprised that Pinterest has become the ultimate connecting & sharing tool. I started using it in May 2011, I try almost everything new, it’s my job, but Pinterest was different from the beginning, I LOVED IT and found it pretty addictive! One click leads to a board which leads to another……
From the start, Pinterest was a god-send for me! I had been saving images to my computer in folders and taking up a lot of space, on and offline! Now my pics are available online. & in groups and I can share them.
Pinterest, for those who do not know what it is; is an online bookmarking tool / online pin board. It is total Eye-Candy; beautiful, delicious, creative Eye-Candy!! Reminds me of when Facebook was new and we all uploaded and shared our pictures – that is what drove us to adopt it easily.
But Pinterest is better! The minute you start there is a wonderful world that awaits your discovery. You become a curator of what you see online. Remember, with great power, comes great responsibility!
Pinterest have created a tool, the ‘Pin It’ Button, which allows us to do what comes naturally;
- – see a picture we like on the web
- – ‘pin it’ to a board (save it organised in a group / theme)
- – check out our friends’ activity
- – share and like their pictures – on Pinterest and on other social media sites
It also makes these things easier than ever before:
- – find new friends / contacts / influencers / products / customers / suppliers – based on common interests
- – find new sources
- – ‘follow’ people, businesses and brands we like
- – gain insight into a person’s creativity
I was instantly impressed by the quality of the images and the variety of people on Pinterest. Over the last month or so, I have noticed a lot of the ‘geeks’ have started boards, so this will add another dimension. Whether this will be popular with hard-core Pinners will remain to be seen.
Unlike other sites, Pinterest does not manipulate us to do its bidding, as users we don’t have to do anything that is odd – we are simply flicking through pages of the web and cutting the pics out that we like and pasting them to a board… online!
By simply adding the ‘Pin It’ button to your internet browser toolbar, you can ‘Pin’ almost any picture online to a board of your choice. Almost you ask? Yes. You can’t Pin pictures from Facebook and sites who opt out of having their contents pinned.
New accounts are still by invitation only from a Pinterest user. You can request an invite on the site itself or email me and I will send you one (there are a limited number of invites I can send so be quick). I did see people requesting an invite on the Pinterest Facebook Page although Pinterest seem to have turned this off of late.
You can only start a new account via your Facebook or Twitter log-in so get one or both if you don’t have already (I am sure all business owners reading this do right?). More on linking later! You can’t have more than one Pinterest account feeding into one Facebook account and one Twitter account. At the moment, Pinterest only adds to your personal Facebook timeline and not your business page. Hopefully this changes soon!
You will need to select a Username with less than 15 characters (I hate that!).
Pinterest starts you off with:
- * People to Follow Suggestions
- – First select the topics you like
- – Then it automatically follows people in that category (you can unfollow at this stage or later but they are probably great and I always think it is good to look outside your current reference zones in any case)
- – A few general boards and you can add your own as you go so you aren’t starting in the dark! Don’t be concerned about the names of the boards before you start Pinning, you will edit and add to these as you start pinning.
- – Easy and clear instructions for adding the ‘Pin It’ button to your bookmark bar
Some suggestions to get you started:
- Fill in the Profile information about yourself so that people get a good sense of you, include your website & business name. Keep in mind that this is not LinkedIn so adapt your profile to the audience.
- Put in your Facebook and Twitter details too so that they are linked under your profile as well as to increase followers.
- Start pinning before you start following – this will do a couple of things, it:
- – Won’t colour your activity by what you see your friends doing
- – Will let you explore ‘under the radar’
- Start on the www.pinterest.com page, you will see this on the top of the boards:
* Pinners you follow * Everything * Videos * Popular * Gifts
Click on each one so you can see all that Pinterest has to offer and orient yourself.
- Remember you will be pinning for years to come so be discerning about what you pin, make sure that your boards are interesting and attractive.
- Don’t pin in ‘chunks’ – space out your pinning so that you are ‘woven’ through the feed rather than appearing all at once and then disappearing.
- You can add friends through Facebook or email. Use the search box to find people and brands you like.
- You can follow all of their boards or just the ones that resonate so check before you click (this is one of the many things I like about Pinterest). Don’t follow boards that don’t interest you – it will clutter your screen.
- Add the ‘Pin it’ Button to your Bookmark Bar, click here to go to the page and drag it onto your bar, if you didn’t do it at start up
- Once you find an image you like in Pinterest, you can:
- – ‘Repin’ it onto one of your boards – or Create a Board if you don’t have something suitable already set up (it is an option in the list of boards)
- – ‘Like’ it – it won’t be attached to a particular board but is placed in the ‘Likes’ section and the Pinner will know their image has been appreciated
- – ‘Comment’ this will show under the picture but the image will not be pinned to one of you boards
- If you find an image online you want to add to a board:
– Click your ‘Pin It’ Button
– Select the image you would like to pin – all of the images show on one screen
– Follow a,b,c above (10)
- You can upload a picture on the website or take one using your phone and the app and Follow a,b,c from point 11.
- You can rearrange and edit your boards at any time
- Pinterest sends email notifications of new followers and all activity with your pins, so act on this; reply, re-follow, comment
The site has a great ‘Help’ section which is simple and easy to use and follow. Click here to view.
Here is a snapshot of some of my Pinterest boards, as you can see my interests are diverse:
To date, this is my most pinned image (left). Not hard to see why is it? Timeless: Dior in Paris.
This was an image I have loved since I was a youngin; I have bought cards with it on the front, I have clipped it out of Magazines and I have stuck it on my Eye-Candy wall in my office over the years.
It was one of the first images I pinned on Pinterest. I have since gone and pinned images I have admired and treasured…. Which has been wonderful. It is like discovering them all over again and sharing them with a new audience.
Before Pinterest, I used Polyvore, to create ‘story boards’ but was more limited to fashion. It is a little different to Pinterest but was a predecessor, they do enable you to add your own pics but it wasn’t so easy to use. There have been other Online Pin Boards sprouting up: We Heart It and Wanelo – I find these to be more Gen Y, fashiony & younger, Pinboard – this is not free and labels itself as ‘Social Bookmarking for Introverts’.
Where would a social media site be without its Apps?? Nowhere! Apps just complete the experience and cater to the mobilisation of the user. With the Pinterest App, you can upload images to your boards, add the location to the image, follow the activity on the go.
- Apps for iPhone have been available for at least 6 months but you could not ‘Pin’ until the new ‘Pin’ app was released January 2012 at a cost of 99c.
- The iPad ‘Pin’ App was released January 2012 and costs 99c.
- The Android App was released December 2011. I find the iPhone App limiting but I am sure they are working on it.
The infographic below is informative, not only does it help people understand Pinterest, but it shows that Social is driving more traffic than Search (not surprising, is it?). This infographic is from December 2011 so some of the data is out of date & the data included in this article is correct – still great information!
USING PINTEREST FOR BUSINESS
This is all great for users but it is even better news for businesses. In the last month Pinterest has been heralded as the fastest growing social media site with more referrals than Google +, You Tube & LinkedIn combined. In July 2011 Pinterest was 0.17% of the referral traffic, in February 2012 it is 3% of the referral traffic – not far behind Twitter which is 3.1%.
There are nearly 10 million users and the number is greatly increasing daily. I read a statistic that said that there are over 1.5 million unique visitors daily who spend on average 15 minutes on the site. Gauging my own and my friends’ activity I would have thought more!! The thing with Pinterest is that you can lose track of time as you move through design, people, places and things…..
Using Pinterest for business and by business was quite minimal initially. Sharing our products online seems to be more common now and is probably the natural progression of a community site like this. However we have to do this in a very subtle strategic way.
This month there has been a flurry of interest in Pinterest as a retail and marketing tool, especially in light of its importance to website referral. The key for businesses using social media and building their online presence is to build their authority and connect with their customers. Pinterest makes this easy to do and share!
Pinterest easily integrates with Twitter and Facebook. For me integration is the key to any marketing activity. There is still the volume of members over at Twitter and Facebook, so they cannot be abandoned or forgotten (yet?) I think tools like this make ‘Social’ easier to integrate but also much more important to businesses than perhaps they are treating it now.
It is important to state that Pinterest is not suitable for every business. Remember there is already a community of creative people on Pinterest who are doing what comes naturally, you cannot ‘force’ or entice them to look at your products or services if there is not a good fit.
Some Tips for using Pinterest for business:
Define Your Objective For Using Pinterest
You can curate the web as you see it with Pinterest. As with any use of Marketing tools, be very clear about what you want to achieve with Pinterest to:
- Show your creativity
- Simply collect great pics
- Connect with suppliers and customers
- Share the way customers use your products
- Share great innovations, ideas, products and events
- Collect trends
- Sell your services or products
- Etc: the list is endless
Create Great Content For Your Site
One of the great things about Pinterest is that the original source of the image is preserved and therefore directs traffic to the original source. The Online Pied Piper!
This places a greater importance on exceptional, inspiration, unique and creative Visual Communication than ever before.
People pin pictures not text. On your site, add an image to every blog post, page and activity online.
Show Your Flair & Be Authentic
When pinning away, make sure your boards are interesting, whatever that means for you and your business. When somebody looks at your wall of boards or a particular board they need to be inspired and feel a common bond with you (based on common interests) – you want them to explore and repin.
If you are simply copying someone else, it will show and people will not connect (follow) you or stop following you. Authenticity is so important. Make sure you give credit where credit is due. I have many people following me who have not pinned or who are great in real life but not interesting on Pinterest (yet, this may change), so I don’t follow them.
If you are not naturally creative, spend time observing others similar to you and start slowly. Stick to a few boards and concentrate on that.
Make Your Board Names Interesting & Attention-Grabbing
Once you are more comfortable with using Pinterest, go though your default boards and update their names . Be interesting and fun so that they are appealing and invite investigation. It is an extension of your creativity and flair.
Add The Pinterest Buttons To Your Site
Everything you need is in the Goodies section.
Remember – MAKE IT EASY to connect and share from your site. Those who know me, know that I am constantly reminding businesses to bring all of their activity to their site and not do it all on their social media pages.
No Obvious Selling
Overtly selling will result in the ‘community’ turning off you and your boards! The community would not include you and this is the true power of social. As a customer, I expect to see interesting, creative pics on Pinterest showing more than just products with a link to the store – online and offline.
Interestingly, looking at Nordstrom’s boards a few weeks ago, it looked like their website, I don’t find it interesting or creative and unfollowed – very disappointing as I love the store. Last week I was using it as an example with a client and they have pinned NYC Fashion Week pics and some in-store shots. Far more interesting and appropriate.
Sell Within Pinterest’s Framework
By adding a price to the description, a price sash appears across the top left hand of the image.
The picture also gets added to the ‘Gift’ section of the site – which is perfect if you are selling products.
REMEMBER: competition in this section is rife so stand out!
Pin From Here, Pin From There, Pin From Everywhere
Don’t constantly Pin from the same source, mix it up – continually scout for new sources and inspiration that are connected to your business. Build the boards, connect with the relevant people, and share your products .
Pin pictures from:
- Repin from Pinterest – use the search box to find relevant pics
- Websites – yours and others
- Pictures from client and supplier sites
- Take pictures with your phone / tablet when you are out and about
Pin your content far less than any of the other sources. Your activity should be in this order:
- Sales Person
- When you pin an image from your site, add a concise description and your business name. If it is good enough to be repinned, this description will go with it. Use keywords in your descriptions the same way you do on your site – this is how people will search.
- Leverage key sales times and seasonality, if it is relevant for your business, by creating boards and using key words in descriptions. People search these all year round, ensure you are on their screen.
- When a user clicks on a Pin they are directed to a larger image. They click again and go to the original source, which would be your site. Make sure your site is up to date and user friendly!
- I know people who are new to online and social media want to watermark their images but I rarely see these done well, so if you are going to do it, be tasteful and small.
- Show the business through pictures. We have been doing this for business on Facebook for a while. Popular posts are the behind the scenes / preview / sneak-peak shots so create a board around that story. Be careful singling out staff members – ensure they abide by the company’s social media policy and have an appropriate online footprint.
- I have used a board to sell a client on a concept – they are great visual tools and easy to navigate – and yes my clients are on Pinterest now too! Incorporate it in your sales process. If appropriate create a board just for them.
- There is a section for videos on Pinterest and there are not as many pins there – so this is a great opportunity to promote your business & show your Pinning skills
- Connect and auto-post on other sites appropriately, don’t ‘spam’ your friends
- Analyse activity on your boards and be there when your community is there for better engagement.
Connect With Influencers and Good Users on Pinterest
Repin, Like and Comment on their pictures. They will be influential in getting your pins out there. Start a conversation and build a relationship with them.
You can also tag people with your comments by placing ‘@’ before their name, like Facebook and Twitter.
Conversation means engaging and responding – you will need to do a lot of engaging to start.
Follow Those Who Follow You
Assess them of course, but as a rule, it is good ‘Pinterest Etiquette’. Check that they are interesting, have good boards and check their followers.
Great guide from Pinterest on ‘Etiquette’ if you ever want to check it when you are using it.
Share The Fun
One board can have multiple contributors. It’s a good way to share the job within the business. I contribute to my client boards, we are often on the different times, which means better coverage and more interesting and diverse content.
The Pinner appears on the board – so ensure you are using a profile you are happy to have public.
Ensure there is a Social Media Policy in place and that all contributors have read and signed it. This SMP should cover all online activities.
Download the App and use it to upload pictures and keep communication going through the day. This will help with your activity being spread out.
Pinterest has an international audience. If you have a great product and someone contacts you or orders it online be ready to ship it. International Shipping is not straightforward so do your homework. Customers don’t like to wait. Don’t miss any opportunity that comes your way.
There is so much information on Pinterest, about people, places and trends. Observe them and use them – to create new boards to create new connections and integrate this with your marketing activity.
A great example of this is a Trend I have been observing; The return of the library at home with floor to ceiling bookcases. There are so many gorgeous pics of these rooms. I have been pinning them to my Home Décor Board but am thinking seriously about creating a board just for them. I tweeted it out and mentioned it on my Facebook page and was surprised by the number of responses. Even more interesting as I have a client who will be using this information and trend in new products this year.
There is a lot to take in and learn with new sites. Once you have mastered the site, you can do so many effective marketing campaigns that integrate multiple channels. More on that next time 😉
Get into it and enjoy! I have yet to meet anyone who has not enjoyed being on Pinterest. It is just a bonus that we can use it for business. Take advantage of the relative newness of this site and use it today!
Happy Pinning and Enjoy the new tools!
FIND ME ON PINTEREST, please click here