Pinterest is arguably the hottest social platform on the web today. The statistics behind the meteoric rise of this invitation-only social networking site is mind-boggling by any interactive media standard, and the growth of Pinterest hasn’t stopped yet.
First let’s define exactly what this juggernaut is. Pinterest is a social network which allows users to create thematic virtual “boards” (think vision boards) on which they “pin” images or videos that the “pinner” finds beautiful, useful or compelling. These images attract “followers” the world-over who can “like”, “comment-on” or “re-pin” images that resonate with them in some fashion. It’s this visual and interactive nature of Pinterest that has taken the internet by storm.
The benefits of the image sharing site is inherent in both what is obvious and, possibly more importantly to businesses looking for a competitive advantage online, what is not so obvious.
First, the obvious:
Pinterest is a slam dunk for businesses that sell visually interesting products or services such as jewelry, clothing, catering services, crafts, handbags, vacation destinations, etc. Visual content that is already in use for other marketing efforts can be re-purposed and showcased to a new and different audience. Blog articles can also be spiced-up with the strong visual opportunities afforded by Pinterest.
Even companies that lack a visual component can leverage Pinterest’s popularity and use it to drive new traffic to their website. With a little creativity, even the most visually-dry company can exhibit images that reflect the company’s culture by pinning pictures of company events, charitable functions or even executive headshots with corresponding impressive bios, onto respective boards. Infographics, which are all the rage at the moment, are easily “re-pin-able” for any business model.
And the not so obvious:
Although enhancing one’s brand is certainly a perk in the Pinterest-sphere, the definitive goal for businesses undertaking a presence on Pinterest (and it is recommended that any business that depends on a high level of traffic to their website have a presence on Pinterest) is to drive traffic back to the company’s website that ultimately converts visitors into leads. Each link from Pinterest becomes, in essence, a micro traffic source back to images that live on the company’s website.
There are several ways that businesses can increase the odds that Pinterest traffic is supporting lead generation efforts and ultimately converting visitors into leads:
- Include Landing Pages In Descriptions:
Each pin is afforded a small space to describe the image. Use this space wisely to include links to the landing page for image download. This is particularly effective when pinning images that require a form to access, such as presentations, webinars, eBooks, white pages or any other offering that requires more than a cursory glance.
- Add A Clear “Calls-To-Action”:
Direct a viewer as to what the next step is in order to further engage with your business. It is best to give visitors easy to navigate next-step instructions on all pages of the website—whether or not the business or website is visually rich.
- Build Reach via Increasing Follower Base:
The rule of thumb here is a lesson learned back in kindergarten—be have a friend you must first be a friend. Promote other people’s content to enhance your own collection. When someone sees that you are interacting on their boards, they will be more likely to interact and share from your boards. This is how images spread virally.
- Cross Pollinate In Other Channels:
Add a Pinterest button to your website. Connect the Pinterest account with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, blogs and any future channel yet to be introduced into the ever-expanding social networking universe.
The holy grail of success on Pinterest for business is not simply showing off your products or services. Rather, it is in finding creative, engaging ways to show your target audience how your products and services fit into their lifestyle. It’s subtle, but can make all the difference in attracting an excited, engaged audience who is more than happy to serve as your unofficial sales team.