I’ve taken some time recently to test everyone’s favorite online cork-board, Pinterest. The goal was to learn how this how this hot new network can be useful to an online marketer, and we have some interesting observations to share.
Pinterest sells lifestyles and dreams. It really is as simple as that. There is a great line from Mad Men where Don Draper and his creative department are asked to take a back seat in favor of other forms of marketing. Don replies, “I don’t sell products, I sell dreams.” Pinterest is in the business of fostering the idea of making fantasy a reality. Within their structure, a marketer can take images, videos, and ad copy, and create a lifestyle for a target audience. A marketer can use a Pinterest account to bring attention to a product that can be the answer to a person’s dreams.
Using Pinterest for cross promotion is easy. Find pics related to your interest and the algorithm will deliver related images or videos. Categorize these by type, category or theme and add a description. That’s it. Once the image is uploaded into the category, you can then sync it with Facebook or Twitter to share with your followers through cross promotion.
Pinterest is a powerful virtual billboard. In her great e-book on Pinterest, “How to Use Pinterest for Business” , Magdalena Georgieva of HubSpot explains how marketing isn’t simply displaying products, but accentuating the benefits. She states,“It’s about finding creative ways to show how those products and services fit into the lifestyles of your target audience. Find ways to do that and you’ll have what you need to pop on Pinterest.” Users create “boards,” which function as categories, and “pins” are the items organized under those categories. You can have a pin on several boards, and continually edit your boards. These boards act like website pages, highlighting different aspects of your business. The pins can include customer testimonials, shared photos of your products in action, ideas shared by users on the use of your products, etc. Within these spaces, you can display all of the positive outcomes and benefits of your particular service.
Pinterest in Action
Let’s say you run a payday loan website. I think we can all agree this isn’t the most romantic subject to speak about. However, using your Pinterest account, you can present your loan site as personal, helpful, warm, and friendly. Some ideas to accomplish this include:
- Create a board where your audience can submit pictures of their new home, car, etc. They could modify the image to include descriptions of how the loan helped when they needed it most.
- Create another board that presents the history of your company. Chronicle milestones and organizational achievements
- Display the “human side” of your business. Create a recurring segment like “A Day at the Office,” where a member of your staff enters a different fun picture of the office at work. Other content could be company outings or employees of the month. By putting a face on your business, you can connect to your audience in a deeper way.
- Add a “best practices” board for your audience. Pins could include investment strategy, money saving tips, and other articles that can help your users maintain a healthy and fruitful lifestyle.
Your business efforts can be buffeted with what is essentially an entire advertising campaign in one place. By attracting followers on Pinterest as well as directing users to your account, you are reinforcing the ideas of what your business is and does. It essentially becomes a one stop resource for a user’s needs.
I was really taken aback by how this medium can allow you to place “billboards” in front of a whole new audience. Users can create your own fad, and by inserting pins into boards that already exist, create conversation, much like Twitter. By connecting with like-minded people, users contribute to a community. If you pin a common item from another person, you can help create a discussion. You get to jump into the midst of what people are talking about, and what they are willing to share. This feedback can help shape what product/services you bring to market, as well as what improvements your current offerings might need. The benefits are endless.
Be sure to update your boards depending on the time of the year, or based on changes in business. Your audience will constantly change, so it’s important to assess the effect of your efforts. Using a form of analytics, you can track how may leads you have received through Pinterest and your other social media sites. Be sure to compare by different criteria (time period, special offers, discounts, sales, newsletters, etc.). This will help you to be proactive, not reactive.
If you haven’t considered using Pinterest, I would suggest testing out an account on your own. You may find that your business can benefit from additional image improvement. Building a brand is hard, but this format can be a big boost.