Despite its association with crafts, recipes, and decorating tips, Pinterest is quietly gaining ground as a platform for innovative Internet marketing, search engine placement boosting power, and free advertising. You don’t need to have a staff of marketing gurus to succeed in using Pinterest to boost your online visibility. Use our toolkit to maximize your time investment and hit the ground running.
Avoid novice mistakes with our hit-the-ground-running toolkit
Note: If you’re a Pinterest newbie, check out Part I of Top of the List’s Pinterest for Business series first.
Sold on Pinterest as a solid social media marketing strategy for your business? If not, you’re wise to be skeptical. Despite substantial growth in its user numbers, Pinterest has been less successful in turning pins into sales. And if you don’t have visual content at the ready – or consider the average pinner (a female between the ages of 25 and 54) to be your target demographic – a concerted Pinterest strategy may not seem worthwhile.
Yet companies of all sizes are joining Pinterest in droves, thanks to the option to create specific business pages. And guess what? They’ve been successful at driving new traffic to their sites, engaging with customers, and increasing sales. Despite its association with crafts, recipes, and decorating tips, Pinterest is quietly gaining ground as a platform for innovative marketing.
The good news is that you don’t need to be a business giant with a staff of marketing gurus to succeed in using Pinterest to boost your online visibility. Use our toolkit below to avoid novice mistakes, maximize your time investment, and hit the ground running.
Step 1: Learn from the Pros
Save valuable time and energy by viewing other companies’ Pinterest pages. Businesses that use Pinterest well build connections with potential customers, rather than focusing only on what they sell:
- Lifestyle boards: What kinds of activities interest your customers? What are they pinning? Help your audience identify with your brand by building boards around their interests (such as “activities with kids” or “beautiful patios”) which also reflect the spirit of your products or brand.
- Personality: The most effective boards connect with their followers on a personal level. What do your customers value? What is your business culture? Boards with inspirational quotes and humorous statements often humanize your business and draw in more potential customers who share and repin content.
- Contests can be a win-win for both your Pinterest followers and your business. Pinterest contest examples include challenging followers to create themed pinboards, with some of the pins being content for your site, or cross-posting contest information on your business’s Facebook page and allowing fans to vote on the winning pinboard themselves.
Want more inspiration? Check out Pinterest’s business case studies and marketing boards for up-to-the-minute examples of businesses who get it right.
Step 2: Make Your Website Pinterest-Friendly
Now that you’re full of ideas for your business’s Pinterest strategy, it’s time to clean house online – specifically, on your website. Yahoo! Small Business Advisor recommends these SEO-savvy tips for a Pinterest-friendly website:
- Add a “pin it” button to images on your site: First things first, make sure that visitors can simply mouse over an image and click just once to pin your website’s images.
- Optimize your meta tags: Pinterest often uses an image’s meta tag as its description. Make sure that your content isn’t being posted as “IMG_00521” when it should actually be “Family-friendly camping tips.”
- Take advantage of ALT tags: Similarly, make sure that your ALT tabs suggest an appropriate description for the image. Use keywords to fully optimize the SEO possibilities of the tags.
- Avoid Flash: Unfortunately, images on Flash pages and slideshows can’t be pinned. Consider alternatives to Flash, such as HTML5, that do work with Pinterest.
Step 3: Optimize Your Images
Once a visitor pins your content, then what? Pinned images can drive even more traffic to your website – but only if they stand out. Try these tips to create Pinterest-friendly images:
- Add summary text to your images: Pinterest users view hundreds of images at a time. Make yours stand out by adding text, such as “DIY candles” or “5 tips to save you time in the morning” directly to the image.
- Make sure they’re the right size and format: Preview, preview, preview your site’s images to make sure they are good quality, and resize if needed. Remember that Flash images are not pinnable!
Step 4: Be a Friend: Repin, Comment, and Like
Like all social media, Pinterest is never just about you and your business. To be effective, you must actively engage with your audience:
- Follow others: Repin their pins onto your boards. Comment on their pins. Then repeat every day! Repins help build your base of followers and also demonstrate your engagement with their interests. This can build positive associations between your customers’ interests and your brand.
- Consider contests: Have your readers repin your images onto their boards for a chance to win a prize. Contests and giveaways can drive traffic with your site and encourage pinners to engage with your brand.
Step 5: Don’t Stop Moving
The one thing you cannot afford to do is to make Pinterest a one-time effort. Continuous testing and improvement will help you learn and perfect your business presence, while helping you stay in touch with your customers’ interests:
- Think creatively: Feeling stumped? Browsing the pinboards of successful businesses on Pinterest can invigorate your creative juices.
- Review your stats: Make sure to review the success of your pinning efforts. Tools such as Reachli and Pinpuff can help you determine your influence and popularity on Pinterest.
- Invest your time: Build Pinterest time into your schedule. Consider time for strategy and brainstorming sessions, actual pinning, commenting and repining, and reviewing statistics.
Enjoy the Journey
As you build your business’s Pinterest presence, make sure to revisit this guide often and consider consulting with SEO experts to help translate followers and pins into dollars for your business. Happy pinning!