‘Is Pinterest really for me?’ – 5 ways you can use pinboards to promote any business
I’ve never considered myself to be a ‘visual’ person. I’m the one who takes photos with ugly stuff in the background; I have no eye for tastefully co-ordinated home décor; I curse those wordless diagrams manufacturers give to demonstrate how to assemble their products. Neither is my chosen profession as a virtual assistant one you’d instantly associate with visual creativity and striking imagery (although I’m sure there are many VAs who can produce excellent artistic products). So, when Pinterest started to become a hot topic recently, I wasn’t sure it’d be particularly useful to me.
Even so, I couldn’t resist having a look to see what all the fuss was about. A few weeks on and I’m hooked, and more convinced than ever that this is an important new addition to the social media portfolio for businesses.
Basically, Pinterest is a virtual pinboard where you can pin images you find on the Web. It’s mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting”. Although it started as a means of sharing interests, hobbies and ideas, it is clearly evolving into a great way of sharing information about your business, product or brand. This is because it isn’t simply about pinning pretty pictures – pinners are sharing great videos, infographics, text excerpts and links to blog posts which are interesting to businesses and clients alike.
Excessive self-promotion on Pinterest is still discouraged, but if you think creatively about the content you pin there are lots of ways you can use it to promote your business without breaching ‘Pin Etiquette’. In fact, such is it’s potential to drive traffic to your websites, blogs etc that it really is worth establishing your presence there (it’s worth noting that a recent study by Shareholic showed that Pinterest is already one of the top social referrers, beating the combined referral traffic of Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, MySpace and Reddit).
I’ve identified 5 ways in which I think Pinterest is useful for my business and I really believe that, if I can find it useful in my line of work, then any business can!
1. Promoting brand awareness: You can create pinboards which reinforce your brand identity, and which represent the ethos/culture/’feel’ of your business (for example, images which represent the vision or mission of your business, quotes and graphics that resonate with you etc). Amongst my boards, I’ve included ‘My vision’ and ‘Motivation and Inspiration’ with this in mind.
2. Providing a ‘shop window’: The bottom line is does Pinterest increase custom for your business, and for anyone with products to sell it provides an opportunity to showcase them to potential buyers. If you include the £ sign followed by the price in your pin description, a tag is added to your image showing that price – the product can then also be found in the “Gifts” section giving it additional exposure. When pinning your own images, it is worth watermarking them to make it very difficult for anyone else to claim them as their own work.
3: Driving traffic to your websites and blogs: Make use of original images on your blogs and websites, as these can be grabbed from your site and pinned with links back to you using the easy-to-install ‘pin it’ button. You can also add links within the descriptions you add to your pins. Used in this way, Pinterest is an easy way to drive traffic to your site, as people can reach you in 1 click.
4. Search Engine Optimisation – Linking your Pinterest account with Facebook, tweeting your pins on Twitter, including keywords in your biography, board titles and descriptions and adding a link to your website will all add to your visibility through search engines. As the Pinterest domain name gets more popular and prominent, so that visibility will increase. At the moment, my account comes up on p. 2 of a Google search of my name, and I’ve just added my company name to see where it shows up in that particular search. Some of the most useful SEO tips I’ve found are in this great blog post by KISSmetrics
5. Relationship building: As with all social media, it’s not just about putting your own information out there. Interaction is the key success factor for building new relationships and strengthening existing ones. So, follow boards that interest you, like and repin images, share comments and get involved. Your boards make you visible to people who are interested in the products you produce or the services you provide – you can make it easier for them to find you by setting up specific boards covering topics and sharing tips which will interest your target groups or professional networks (for example, I’ve created boards for mumpreneurs, people wanting to earn income online and other Virtual Assistants) Once you’ve set up your account, make sure you share it around by posting links on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ etc. You can also add a ‘follow me’ button to your website and add a link to your email signature.
At the time of writing, many issues are coming to the fore about Pinterest and copyright. I’m certainly no expert on that, but I’ve found some great commonsense analysis of the key points in this excellent post on the ‘build a little biz’ blog. I’m sure this will take some time to resolve, but by giving careful consideration to what we pin and giving credit where it rightfully belongs, I believe Pinterest is still something we can use and enjoy.
Ready to get ‘on board’? Here’s a great guide to get you started http://www.hubspot.com/how-to-use-pinterest-for-business/
Have you found any other business uses for Pinterest? Or do you think it’s not for you? It’d be great to hear your views!
Written by Jackie Speight, Angel Virtual Assistant Ltd
Jackie is the Director of Angel Virtual Assistant Limited, a company which provides remote secretarial, administrative and business support services to entrepreneurs and small businesses. She formed the company in 2011 after over 20 years’ experience in the Civil Service and 5 years as a full-time stay-at-home mum to 2 little boys now aged 8 and 6. Her main professional interests are social media and human resource management.
Tel: 07432 107238