Despite millions of engaged users and an unusually long lifespan for social media content, small and medium businesses still often overlook Pinterest as a valuable social media platform. In a recent Pinterest study, 70% of those surveyed said that they use Pinterest to discover new products and they found that the platform drives 200% more referral traffic to shopping sites than Twitter. Add to this that 72% said Pinterest inspires them to shop when they aren’t actually looking for anything and it isn’t surprising that more large businesses are increasingly using it as part of their social media arsenal but how can SMEs use it to promote their brand or business?
Make Sure Your Customers Are On Pinterest
Whilst Pinterest can be an extremely useful social media channel, it won’t work for you or your business if your customers aren’t there or using it in the way you need them to so you need to do your research. Pinterest is a very aspirational and inspirational lifestyle orientated platform. If you are primarily or solely business to business then Pinterest isn’t the right platform for you. If, however, your business has a personal or lifestyle element then you should definitely consider it and include it in your social media strategy.
Who Are Your Customers On Pinterest?
To succeed on social media you have to understand who your audience is and Pinterest is no exception to this. Just demographics isn’t enough, however, you also need to understand how your customers use Pinterest and what they are using it for. Fundamentally, Pinterest is image-driven but that doesn’t mean that you can’t create different types of content for your audience. Once you understand what they’re looking for, so what is more likely to lead them to you, you can start to really add value with a variety of content. Blogs, How to guides, Top Tips, information as well as product or service specific content can all be used to improve your boards and pins. If your customers start pinning then it will give you an even better idea of the type of content that they like.
Get Your Pins Right
As an image based platform, it is absolutely vital that your images look good. Always be mindful of the correct sizing (2:3 ratio is optimal according to Pinterest) and make sure that your images don’t appear blurred. Make sure that your Pin descriptions are keyword rich, include a call to action if relevant and don’t forget your hashtags. It is the quality of your individual Pins that will lead your audience to your Pinterest profile. Pins also have an usually long life cycle when compared to other social media channels. According to HootSuite, Pins can last for seven months on average, an enormous improvement on Twitter’s seven minutes.
Get Your Boards Right
Once you have attracted your audience to your profile your boards can really make a difference to how your customers see you. One of the main differences of Pinterest over other platforms is that your customers can choose to follow either everything (by following your profile) or just specific interests (by following selected boards). Boards should always be varied and shouldn’t show only your products and services. Think about related topics that your customers have an interest in and include Pins and Boards that are associated but don’t compete. Pinterest is all about discovery so these other Pins will still lead your audience to you even if they don’t necessarily know what they were looking for your particular brand or service. Wedding Planner Always Andri, for example, has a number of different boards which help pull traffic to her profile. These include wedding hairstyle ideas, bridesmaids outfits as well as more generic boards like London architecture and inspirational quotes about love. As a company, they don’t “sell” any of these but they understand that their audience are looking for them on Pinterest and may be interested in the service or product that they offer. Even if they aren’t, if they Pin one of your Pins to their own Boards or choose to follow one of your Boards then they are still spreading awareness for you.
Use The Business Features
On Pinterest, it isn’t obligatory for you to have a business account but the benefits are worth making the switch particularly as it doesn’t affect your Pins, boards or followers. One of the key benefits is that switching to a business will give you access to Pinterest analytics to help you identify which Pins are and aren’t working for you and help you to understand your audience better. Analytics will give you an insight into your audience demographics, engagement rates, the reach of your Pins, data on Pins from your website and the other interests, boards and businesses that your audience is interested in. Another benefit is that businesses can further customise their profile with featured boards which appear as a rotating carousel at the top of your profile so you can draw your audience’s attention to particular boards or products.
Be Part Of The Community
Pinterest isn’t just about creating and pinning your own material. It’s a community and it’s important for businesses to be a part of it. Pinning other people’s content to your related boards is a great way to get involved. You obviously shouldn’t pin a competitor’s Pins to your boards but you can use other people’s content by repinning them to your non product boards. You also need to Pin regularly. With such a long Pin life it can be tempting to set up your boards and simply leave your profile unchanged but, like the other platforms, Pinterest like you to be involved and your fresh and new Pins are more likely to appear in search than older ones.
Pinterest can be a really successful part of a social media strategy for small and medium businesses. How are you using it for your business?