A virtual pin board full of images may not sound like the most innovative tool for marketing, but integrating the social media site Pinterest into your ecommerce marketing strategy can help to build your business and showcase your knowledge of the industry to your clients.
Just consider the numbers: Pinterest currently connects 70 million users worldwide, and boasts 2.5 million page views per month site-wide.
Unsure if you should dip your toes in the world o Pins and Boards? Below is the B2BNN primer on Pinterest for B2B professionals:
We break down several Pinterest features and offer tips on how businesses can harness the power of this unique marketing tool.
#1: Boards and Pins
To get started, set up an account on Pinterest, or Pinterest Business (both are free). When creating your profile, you want to choose a thumbnail image as your profile image (probably your logo or brand), along with your company’s URL and any description, motto or catch phrase of your business.
Pinterest allows users to create “boards” after creating the profile. Users can name boards whatever they want and then categorize those boards using Pinterest’s preset categories. For example, look at how Salesforce manages their boards: Infographics features stats relevant to the Saas industry; I love working at Salesforces showcases staff in a fun casual way; and Customer Success Stories brings relevant client testimonials to Pinterest visitors.
Salesforce keeps it light, which is often the perfect tone for Pinterest (as opposed to a more professional serious tone on LinkedIn). You can have fun with boards, such as Salesforce’s Office Styles board.
Once you have created boards (which should be named something very catchy to pull visitors in and encourage them to “follow” your boards), it’s time to add a few pins to the board. You can either create your own pin, linking directly to your website’s URL, or repin content from other sites. It’s helpful to have a mix of repined content and original content so visitors don’t feel like they are just staring at your firm’s billboards. For example, Toronto’s Freshbooks features a board called Inspirational Quotes, a great idea to encourage high shareability.
#2: Four Types of Pins
In addition to the basics pins you come across while surfing Pinterest, there are four other “pin types” that include Place Pins, Related Pins, Promoted Pins and Rich Pins.
Place Pins are fairly new to Pinterest, with the goal of organizing pins based on location, placing pins on a map. Any board can be turned into a “place board” through Settings, powered by Foursquare. Place Pins can be used by businesses that have an actual store front, or multiple locations, to encourage both ecommerce and in-store sales or to promote sales available only in-store.
Related Pins are pins that are chosen for you as suggested pins based on pins you have liked, shared, or pinned yourself. These pins are also picked for you based on boards you follow and websites you have recently visited. Users can modify the type of Related Pins suggested to them by clicking the info (i) button on the home feed and give the pin a thumb up or down. Doing this helps Pinterest tailor content for you. Related Pins are an excellent way to target new customers who may not have heard of your business or brand, so when creating a pin, make sure to correctly categorize the pin and use hashtags.
Promoted Pins are still in the works, but something that business owners should keep an eye on. Promoted Pins are similar to Related Pins but are offered by other businesses or third parties who pay Pinterest for promotion, rather than Pinterest itself. But Pinterest did say they would not allow pop us or banners, aiming to “make the promoted pins relevant to individual members in order to not damage their user experience.” Currently, the option to advertise using Promoted Pins is only available to a select group of businesses, but will soon be open to many others.
Rich Pins are pins with additional information from the website to which they are linked; for example, product information, price, etc. Rich pins can be categorized as product pins (prices, links to product page), recipe pins (ingredients, cooking time) and movie pins (ratings, reviews). An excellent feature of the product pin is that when there is a change, for example a price drop, the person who pinned your product pin will receive an email alert.
These pins update information automatically from the URL they are from and allow companies to add information to their pins. According to research from Shopify, cited in an article on Rich Pins, “ecommerce businesses, particularly in fashion and style categories, are increasing their traffic and sales orders via Pinterest,” with visitors referred from Pinterest to be 10 percent more likely to buy compared to other social media networks.
#2: Pin Captions and Hashtags
This is your opportunity to inform your audience and draw them in, encouraging them to click on your image, or pin. The image alone will not always entice viewers to click on the pin; you need creative content along with the image. In your pin caption, you should include your business name, your website/URL, and any information tailored to your target customer. But keep it short and sweet.
This may seem obvious, but also include hashtags in your pin captions so that your pin is easily searchable and categorized appropriately. There are dozens of categories on Pinterest, from “home” to “fashion,” so when you create a pin, categorize it appropriately and then include a hashtag that is a phrase or keyword people in that category may search for. This will also help Pinterest use your pin to suggest as Related Pins (as explained above).
#3: Likes, Sends and Shares
Liking your pin is good; it means the pinner has interest but it does not mean they pin it or view it. Liking pins also dictates what recommended pins Pinterest will show you. “Sends” is a relatively new feature to Pinterest where you can send pins to friends. With sending, Pinterest also features a message section where you can send a pin and then chat about it. “Shares” means that your pin has been shared via other social media platforms, such as Facebook. Friends can send pins via private message, using the “sends” feature, or publicly, via the “shares” feature. You want to encourage public shares and likes, so many businesses find it useful to create a contest where if users share their pin, they can be entered in a contest to win something. The bottom line: likes, sends and shares are a great way to encourage promotion of your content and therefore your business.
#4: Followers and Following
Just as with other social media sites, Pinterest allows users to follow other users, and also suggests other users to follow based on current users followed. For businesses, attaining followers is important because your pins will show up in their feeds every time, so then their followers see your pin as well if reshared. Followers can either follow your profile (meaning all of your boards and pins) or specific boards, and this is a great way to keep content in front of customers on a regular basis. So, how can you earn followers?
One tip is to focus on meaningful content creation. Create meaningful and useful content such as how-to’s, tutorials, and infographics that users can share and pin, but also that encourage viewers to click on the pin, not just view it. Just because a user pins one of your pins does not guarantee they will click on your pin to redirect them to your website, so creating content that is helpful or useful will encourage users to click on your pin, and then follow you.
#5: Pinterest Analytics
This past August, Pinterest released an updated version of Pinterest Analytics, available globally in 31 languages. With 57.9 million unique users in the U.S. alone, Pinterest can be an absolute gold mine for businesses trying to reach customers in unique ways, or provide unique content to current customer base. Analytics is broken into three sections: profile, which measures how well a business is doing on its own account with pin ratings; audience, which provides aggregate details about unique viewers sortable using specific demographics; and domain, which illustrates Pinterest activity for a business’s domain that includes performance data on pins.
Next week, we’ll look at how other B2B brands are using Pinterest to their advantage, and what you can learn from their Boards and Pins.