Don’t just see it as “soft” social network. B2B companies can use Pinterest to educate customers about their business, build a community and online presence, and create a unique platform to share content marketing such white pages and infographics. A Pinterest strategy could drive traffic to websites and turn some of those repins into leads.
So which companies are using Pinterest smartly? Below are several B2B businesses bound to inspire you:
Pinterest is an excellent way to quickly and effectively share content to reach more potential customers than other social media sites likes Twitter since pins can be repinned and shared and have a longer shelf life than sharing on other social media sites. Also, if a business uses “rich pins,” they can include more information about a particular product or service than would be available if shared using other social media networks.
Using Pinterest’s visually driven pins and boards, infographics are particularly effective to illustrate information in an interesting way, and get visitors to click on the pin for more information. Infographics are also easier to share and understand. Brainrider, a B2B marketing agency with a content marketing focus, uses Pinterest to offer valuable and useful resources such as free B2B marketing plans and budget templates. Their boards focus on offering information targeted to their ideal customer, which also includes articles on business tips and B2B digital marketing.
To do this for your own B2B company, consider adding a “pin it” button to informative resources from your website like infographics, whites pages and free webinars, which may also increase traffic to your site as well.
Storytelling is a powerful marketing tool that informs potential and current customers in a unique and more personal way. For B2B companies, storytelling is especially important since getting your name out there to other businesses is not always as easy as it is for B2C companies. Pinterest allows B2B companies to tell their company story in an engaging way.
FreshBooks, based in Toronto, is one of the top cloud accounting specialists for small business owners who use Pinterest to, as their Pinterest profile motto says, “See the FreshBooks story unfold.” Their boards feature inspirational quotes and small business tips in addition to seasonal boards like Fresh Movember and Freshoween.
FreshBooks offers small businesses services that include invoicing and other accounting services so they use their Pinterest profile to illustrate visitors on the culture of the company and what they are all about by offering visitors useful information and inspirational images. Just by the board names and images alone, visitors can get a “feel” for what the company is all about: their values, their industry, their mission.
Visitors are then attracted to their visually arresting pins where they are likely to click on pins that redirect them to the FreshBooks website. Even if they do not click on pins linked to their website (because not all of them do of course), small businesses especially are more likely to follow their boards to access their inspirational boards and helpful tips.
Community building is essential for B2B companies, similar to storytelling, where companies can engender a sense of trust with potential and current customers in a slightly non-traditional way. Community building also leads to an increased awareness and online presence, which is absolutely essentially with our socially driven, globally connected society.
Eloqua, an Oracle company, is an innovative marketing firms that “transforms marketing by truly knowing the customer, engaging with cross-channel marketing, and achieving data driven accountability.” Because this company values the unique treatment of each and every customer, they use Pinterest as a way of building on this community of valued customers with hopes of showing visitors what it looks like to be an Eloqua customer.
Eloqua uses Pinterest effectively by building a community of current and potential customers through engaging testimonials and opportunities for visitors to interact with the company on a deeper level. One of their boards, Customer Success Stories, features a number of current and former customers telling their success stories after working with Eloqua. These stories are shared via their own YouTube channel, and include companies and organizations like the Chicago Bears, Concur, and SuccessFactors. These short videos act as a sort of advertisement for the company, but also build trust among visitors to their Pinterest page. Another way this company elevates its community is through their “Share Your Flair” board where Eloqua customers and employees are encouraged to join the fun and “show some Eloqua flair in their city.”
By creating these engaging boards, in addition to other boards that offer free marketing content like charts and tips and infographics, the company creates a sense of trust and friendliness with visitors who can see that they are quite involved in multiple aspects of their customer’s experience. It’s a lighthearted, fun approach mixed with professional resources.
Perhaps one of the most overlooked yet most powerful means of using Pinterest is to simply display your products and services. In addition to telling your story, engaging your community and offering valuable content to draw in and maintain visitors/customers to your Pinterest page and website, creatively illustrating what you as a company offer is the final step to garner leads.
While some companies are wary of showcasing their own products and services directly for fear of turning visitors away, B2B companies can highlight their products in a tasteful and creative way that does not “feel” like advertising. For example, consider General Electric. There are multiple ways to display your products/services: via a pin that explains how a product works (maybe a flow chart or other visual), as an “inspirational” board of images where your website is the landing page to products that help visitors achieve these inspirational designs. In the case of GE, they are a giant company that sells a wide range of products from healthcare equipment to light bulbs so in addition to educating people about their company, they need to also showcase their products in a concise and creative way that people will understand. They have achieved this feat through boards like “Badass Machines” and “GE Around the World” (which is a Place Pin board) where they showcase their own products past and present, all around the world, in a visually appealing and creative way.
The goal of their Pinterest page is to illustrate to visitors what inspires them as a company, to “build, power, move and cure the world,” so their boards include everything from DIY science experiments to inspirational images that lead to create certain products. GE also does a great job of balancing in some humor to illustrate not only the products and services they offer, but also what kind of company they are.
For part 1 of our Pinterest primer, go here.