In today’s booming social media, few networking sites are creating as much buzz as San Francisco-based Pinterest.com
Offering a unique visual spin on social bookmarking, Pinterest allows businesses and individuals to create stunning palates of their works and offers. In less than three (3) years, it has become the third largest social media site in the United States, only behind perennial leaders Facebook and Twitter.
This photo-sharing “pinning” site allows users to create theme-based boards (e.g. travel, sports, fitness, fashion, etc.) that others can later “pin” or share with their friends.
Sharing interesting photos can be a lot of fun and a great hobby, but Internet marketers are probably wondering: Can Pinterest be useful for me?
Fortunately, this website offers many features and benefits to online entrepreneurs that can help raise their profile and ultimately their cash flow:
1. Telling a good story with pictures.
Internet marketers have a vested interest in developing their personal brand on Pinterest. A great story told with high quality visuals draws like-minded pinners to check you out, and should leave a positive impression.
Use Pinterest boards to inspire people by showcasing your values, offering specials to prospects and existing customers, and showing others what differentiates you from the competition.
Contrary to conventional thinking, Pinterest is not text-averse. In fact, well-written descriptions of images are bound to hold your audience’s attention that much longer – so long as you are not verbose and are offering solutions to someone’s problems.
Don’t forget to use mobile pinning to post pictures of events as they occur. Pinterest also integrates well with both Twitter and Instagram.
2. Building a virtual business community.
Once your stories begin attracting a critical mass of people, create an actual Pinterest community from which you can draw more prospects, leads, and eventually a steady cash flow.
Think of your Pinterest virtual community as a modern version of your e-mail list. Use your dynamic portfolio of photos as a business “icebreaker”, and an ideal way to start group collaborations, ask questions (e.g. on Facebook) and reward your best pinners.
3. Creating a super traffic generator.
Traffic generation remains one of the top skills an Internet marketer must have to succeed, and Pinterest offers a number of options. For example, you can use a ‘Pin it Button’ to help others share your offers with the world. This widget is also a convenient way to create curiosity and encourage people to come back to your main website or blog. It works the same way as the Facebook ‘Like’ and Twitter ‘Tweet’ buttons. Why not give it a try?
Great content also encourages folks to pin high quality traffic to your site. Pinterest highlights the efforts of The Family Handyman, a Reader’s Digest company that offers Do-It-Yourself (DIY) advice for people looking for effective, lower cost home improvement solutions.
4. A ready-made platform for testing what works and making improvements.
Pinterest is not a one-and-done social marketing option. Online entrepreneurs can test their campaigns and adjust them to better suit their target markets.
To help Internet marketers achieve their goals, the main website offers a number of options:
- Pinterest Search facility to get pinning ideas for yourself and to see what is popular in your niche now.
- Extract information from your source page: Find out which photos are being pinned from your websites, and see which of your services or products is drawing the most attention.
- Investigate trends by checking out Pinterest Categories, Everything, Popular, or Gifts.
5. Leveraging the Pinterest Brand for your own Marketing Goals.
Pinterest has acquired a certain level of brand awareness in its short history, something that small and micro businesses in particular can take advantage of.
Here are some recommendations for logo use from its site:
- Use these marks in a readable size.
- Maintain empty space equal to at least half the height of the logo on all sides.
- Keep them straight and free of filters and effects.
- Use the red logo on light backgrounds.
- Use the white logo on dark backgrounds.
6. Promotion and Marketing Use.
Without implying that Pinterest endorses your business, you can draw in prospects and customers with contests. Contests are a popular way to get people to interact with you and each other, so follow some special guidelines to get it right:
- Be authentic: Reward pinning quality, not only the amount of pins being accumulated.
- Link to your Pinterest account or contest board from your website, social media and marketing channels.
- Use all reasonable measures to prevent spam: Pinterest’s own anti-spam guide can help keep your contest fun and useful.
- Make getting involved easy: Create clear instructions and a simple process to get started.
7. Create applications and other digital services that work with Pinterest.
Today, the right app or plug-in for a popular social media site can make all the difference in the world. Internet marketers are welcome to make useful apps for their Pinterest visitors, provided they follow the rules (e.g. use a distinct name that does not run afoul of Pinterest’s legal guidelines).
Pinterest continues to explore different ways of helping online businesspeople. For now, it recommends that you look at its Pinterest for Business board, review its posted case studies to see how to maximize the website’s effectiveness, and its Logos, Trademarks, and Marketing Guidelines.
Do your best to exploit this important social media phenomenon!