Pinterest has been one of the fastest growing social media platforms of 2013 and is set to become ever more popular.
Once the preserve of crafters and hobbyists, it is now catapulting into the main stream. With over 70 million users, an increasing number of businesses are using it to promote their products and engage with their audience.
What Is It?
Pinterest is social media’s answer to the scrap book or pinboard.
It’s popular with anybody looking for ideas and inspiration. Since its launch in 2010 it has grown to over 70 million users. It currently has a female focus but that is changing rapidly. Anyone who was forced to listen to my discussions around the colour of my sitting room knows that it can be a useful way of booking marking ideas, products and services. Holidays, events planning, projects and hobbies are all popular uses, but it can be used to share any information, as long as there is an image associated. If you are the type to rip pages out of magazines to keep for later, then this is platform for you.
How Does It Work?
Users can create any number of ‘boards’ which they fill with images. These usually link to websites but can be uploaded from an original source. Users can also follow like minded folk and repin their images onto their own boards.
Users can also create private boards which can be shared with friends, perfect for planning weddings, parties and other special events.
In 2013, Pinterest added place pins, allowing you to create maps and pin images such as on this Conde Nast board
How Can It Help My Business?
If you have a business with a heavy reliance on images, or products to promote, then Pinterest is for you. It’s perfectly suited to the creative & visual industries, such as interior design, gardening, crafts etc. However, many other businesses are finding creative ways to share content.
- As every image can be linked to a website, it is an ideal way to drive traffic to your own site
- Having a Business Pinterest account can improve your Search Engine results, as well as provide useful data
- It allows your customers to bookmark your products as part of their own projects and plans
- You can use it to share more of your brand’s personality, your inspirations and influences
- Pinterest has a much higher success rate when it comes to click throughs and purchases than Facebook or Twitter
Here, a publishing client is using pinterest to share illustrations from their books.
Charlotte Harley Bridal Couture uses boards to inspire her clients
How to make the most of it?
- If you have products and services on your website, add a ‘Pin It’ button to allow customers to easily pin them
- Share the work of complementary businesses alongside your own
- Think about what your customers will be searching for and organise your boards accordingly
- Include your Pinterest button alongside your other social media platforms so users can find you easily
- People can search for board titles and individual pins so give some thought to how you are labelling them.
- You don’t need to update as regularly as other platforms but keep the content fresh
It’s January again, and as we sit polishing off the left over pork pie and wondering where we stashed our trainers, you are also no doubt thinking about what’s important for your business in the year ahead.
Be sure to give social media its own section. 2013 saw a massive rise in activity, with over 80% of businesses increasing their output over 12 months. It’s not going to slow down any time soon.
If you are in need of inspiration, here are some of the resolutions to think about.
1. Remember Social Media is a business tool.
This sounds obvious doesn’t it, but being ‘on Facebook and Twitter’ isn’t enough. You need to make it work for you professionally. Sit down and work out exactly what your business objectives are and plan how social media is going to help these.
2. Learn to use it properly.
Are you always posting the right things at the right time? Do you know when the right time is? Are you engaging with the right people? Do you know the rules of running competitions? Make sure you know how to use the inbuilt business tools. Make sure you know how to schedule, or how to post on multiple platforms. Look at your statistics and see what you can learn from them.
3. Get engaged.
It’s important to always remember the ‘social’ in social media. If you are guilty of only ever posting sales messages or promotions, make an extra effort to remember to talk to your customers. Ask their opinion, respond to their comments, thank them, invite their interaction. Everyone likes to feel loved!
4. Try something new today.
There are a bewildering number of platforms out there. Aside from Facebook and Twitter, there’s LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and more. Whilst I certainly wouldn’t recommend you attempting them all, adding another string to your bow is often a good move and you might be surprised at the results.
5. Create regular online content.
There was a time when your website was a static page, refreshed every now and again. You could also pay a company decent money to do clever things to bump you up the search engine results. However, things have moved on. Regular blogs and updates are becoming increasingly important to businesses, establishing yourself as an expert in your field. Not only do they provide valuable content to share on your social media feeds (and thus driving traffic back to your website) they are also now an important factor in Search Engine Results.
6. Take more pictures.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that images and photographs are far more appealing than plain old text. With a smartphone or an ipad there’s no excuse.
7. Keep an eye on the competition …. and remember who’s watching.
Social media encourages everyone to up their game; no more covering your homework. Take a look at what others in your field are up to and don’t be afraid to ‘borrow’ their best ideas. By the same token, remember that they will be doing the same to you so be careful what plans and secrets you share with your followers.
8. Don’t forget the old methods
This is my main resolution, as it’s easy to get carried away with chatting to customers on Twitter and counting your likes on Facebook. However, pick up the phone, make an effort to network in person and get in front of your customers. Remember that social media is a support system for these relationships, not a replacement.
And finally, don’t be afraid to call in the experts. If you would like help working out your strategy, need a little training or just want someone to manage it all for you, get in touch.