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Posted on April 2, 2014 | Tera Keatts
First, here’s a vocabulary lesson on Pinterest:
- Pinterest: a social media site where you go to discover new things and collect the stuff you love.
- Pinners: people who use Pinterest.
- Boards: website pages that allow pinners to organize their thoughts, ideas, products, etc. into categories or themes
- Pins: the thumbnail images that people post onto their boards, which link back to the original photo, article or website where they found the image.
- Re-pins: when a pinner shares someone else’s pin on their own board.
I am a self proclaimed Pinterest junkie. I can spend hours scouring websites pinning and re-pinning recipes that I may or may not attempt to make; DIY and home improvement ideas; perfectly organized laundry rooms, kitchens and garages; and lusting over closets stocked with stylish shoes and clothing. I have pin boards dedicated to every holiday, season and room in my house. Yes, I am a Pinterest junkie.
In an age where digital media strategies are as important as financial strategies, I find myself wondering how Pinterest really fits in with business. According to The Friedman Group, Pinterest has more than 25 million users, mostly female, and is worth $2 billion. Pinterest is arguably THE most visual social media site out there. As an individual using Pinterest, my goal is to “pin” a photo of something that appeals to my friends and followers and get them to re-pin the image on their own boards. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I see one of my pins being re-pinned hundreds of times.
But if you’re a business, what is the goal of using Pinterest? Regardless of your business or industry, we all want the same result: people to pin and re-pin your images and ultimately purchase your product, visit your resort, try your restaurant or use your service.
If your business offers something visually appealing, then mastering Pinterest will be easy. Make sure you have attractive photos of your product, food, venue, etc. and post away. Use brightly colored, detailed photos to entice people to try your product. Offer specials, discounts or secret Pinterest shopping sales to your followers.
For example, if you’re a hotel, you want to pin gorgeous photos of your property and resort. You want to make pinners drool over your 1,000-thread-count sheets, luxurious spa treatments and 5-star restaurant. You also want to create pin boards with “things to do in XYZ city” so you give pinners a reason to want to come visit you. Then maybe you throw in a monthly special for your Pinterest followers: “Re-pin this image and you’ll be entered to win a free one-night stay at our property.” Suddenly you have people sharing your name and photos of your hotel across the Internet, and that is called building brand awareness. And that one lucky winner? Hopefully they turn into a loyal, lifelong customer and share their experience with their friends, who also turn into lifelong customers.
Now, if your business offers professional services, then you can still use Pinterest; it just might take a little more work. Research and pin valuable articles or information that can educate your followers. Create infographics that show how a person today may need your business service in the future. You’ll need to encourage pinners to take the “pin now, read later” approach.
For example, you’re a dermatologist. Write a blog about the reasons to wear sunscreen at the beach (women always want to know how to keep their skin looking younger and are the target audience on Pinterest), then include some information about the skincare services your practice provides, and finally include a photo of a happy woman playing in the ocean and put it on Pinterest. Women may not read the entire blog post today, but I guarantee they will re-pin this and file it away in their brain to read later. And the next time they go to the beach or get a nasty sunburn, they will come back to Pinterest and look at your pin. This same approach works for lawyers, accountants, consultants and other service-oriented businesses.
So, is your business using Pinterest? If so, I’d love to hear what you’re doing and how it’s working for you.
- Tera Keatts