By now you have probably figured out that social media is not just here to stay, but is the way of the future. People of all ages can now be found clicking and scrolling all day long through their Facebook and Twitter feeds. But this isn’t just good
news for the high school socialite – it’s also an incredible opportunity for small business owners, who have access to an increasingly wide-ranging audience.
is one of the most rapidly growing social networks out there, with over 70 million users. It is entirely based around visual imagery – users collect and share images of food, art, products, and any number of things; the common thread is that everything that grows “viral” on the site is pleasing to the eye.
How to get started
Because you cannot change your username once you have set up your account, be sure to use the name you have used across all over social networking sites, if it’s available, for consistency’s sake. Next, add a short profile of your business and a URL to point users towards your products.
Now, you should verify your website to have access to Pinterest’s free analytics tools to track the success and reach of your pins. Make sure to add the “Pin It” button to the products on your website, which will allow users to share your items and increase your visibility.
Be sure to find the audience that most pertains to what you are trying to sell. If your audience consists of twenty-something fashionistas, target them with boards and pins about trends, seasonal colors, and your statement products. Remember that not every item you pin should be one of your products; on social media, people can smell when you’re trying to sell them something, and they’ll be quick to run the other direction! Instead, curate the resources, images, and videos (yes, you can pin videos!) that best suit their interests, and sprinkle in your products organically.
As you might expect, on the other hand broadening your audience too far will disrupt your focus. Pin too randomly, and anyone who finds you won’t know whether you’ll be pinning things they consistently enjoy or not. Don’t pin a picture of a puppy to a board about cookies, unless it’s about homemade dog biscuits. Don’t pin something about heavy equipment to a board about wedding cakes, unless it’s a construction-themed cake. You get the idea.
Pinterest is a network devoted to compelling imagery, and your business will thrive there if you have stunning product shots or images of what you sell in use. However, if you don’t have beautiful images or your business isn’t the most photogenic, there are still ways to attract an audience. If you have a blog, you probably are already aware that you should be using compelling imagery; encourage your readers to pin these. You can also use online tools like Pinstamatic to create pinnable and repinnable quotes, memes, and sayings, or stitch together photographs to create a simple infographic-like tutorial. When it comes to pinning, you will need to be creative – again, this is when you need to best know your audience and what kinds of posts they would find compelling.
It’s important to remember that, during the day, most people are busy and not checking Pinterest religiously. Internet traffic is highest on weeknights and on weekend mornings. Shoot to post during those peak hours.
If you’re selling a product, be sure to put the price, marked by a “$” (or whatever currency you use) in the description. That will ensure that it is listed in the Gifts section, for free, and will certainly ensure it reaches the proper audience.
- Pinterest doesn’t feel like a social network per-se, but remember that it is. You can comment, favorite, and re-pin, allowing you to interact with other users and further increase your visibility.
If you tend to pin a million things at once, break the habit for your business’ Pinterest. Don’t spam your followers with pins – spread it out by pinning two or three things at a time, and make an effort to log in more frequently.
Many marketers make the mistake of posting too many of their own products, and not enough other images. In order to ensure you are reaching a wide audience, and maintaining their interest, it might be good to adhere to the 25% rule: 1 out of every 4 posts should be something of yours.
Pinterest’s web analytics allows you to analyze the success of your pins and re-pins, but too often people ignore them. You have the data in front of you, so it wouldn’t hurt to use it to your advantage.
Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer who covers trends in social media and social marketing. She has written for Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs, and Search Engine People, and is always looking for new opportunities. To see more of her work, follow her on Twitter at @adrienneerin.