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How to use Pinterest for Business

Tara West

by Tara West on 27th January 2012

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last month or so, you have probably heard of PinterestAlthough it’s been around since March 2010, it’s now getting a lot of buzz from marketers, big brands, and users alike. This post looks at what it is, how consumers use it and more importantly how businesses and brands can use it.

What is Pinterest?

The site describes itself as an online pin-board to organise and share the things you love, and that’s exactly what it is!

Users can create boards and give them unique names. The Pin It bookmarklet for browsers means that when a user is browsing a site, they can click the ‘Pin It’ tool on their toolbar and it will shows them a page with all the images it can locate on that page. They can then pick which one they want to pin, and which of their boards they want to pin it to. Simple! It’s this kind of simplicity that makes the platform so successful.

Users can add comments or notes to their pins and share them via Facebook or Twitter too. This seamless integration with existing social networks is also one of the best things about Pinterest.

Users can ‘follow’ others on Pinterest (and invite their existing Twitter / Facebook friends to join) to see a stream of things their followers pin. They can ‘like’ the pins of others and even re-pin them onto their own boards.

Who uses Pinterest?

The possibilities with Pinterest are endless, so the types of users are varied. At the moment it is positioned as an ideal way to create mood boards for designers, plan themses for events such as weddings, or even plan for redecorating your home. It’s also great for anyone working on design related projects or who just has a bit of a creative flare!

Even if users don’t have a wedding to plan or a design project to work on, Pinterest has its own built-in appeal of being yet another platform to express themselves with.

Pinterest App

The Pinterest app integrates Pinterest with the day-to-day life of users on the move. It lets the user take images with the camera on their mobile device (or to choose an existing image from their camera role) and then use it as a pin on their boards.

Using Pinterest for Marketing

Pin etiquette states that Pinterest should not be used for self promotion, and the last thing I want to see is the platform become another medium for spammers, but if it’s used properly it can be a great platform for expressing brand personality.

Here are some actionable tips for marketers to use Pinterest for marketing:

Once your business has created a Pinterest profile, you can get the ‘follow’ button for your website in the third paragraph of this page.

The more users who continue to join Pinterest, the more users who are going to want to engage with their favourite brands on it, so it makes sense to make it easy for them to do so.

Get the Pinterest button on your brand website so that consumers are encouraged to Pin your images if they choose. This will work fantastically if you are a brand with an audience who are very pro-active online, and if your site has some great images which users will want to share. Like all social networks, it’s not simply enough to put the button there though. You need to give users a reason to use it.

Create engaging and interesting images for your site and users will naturally share this content. This might be something as simple as a great lifestyle shot which doesn’t include your product, or even an infographic. We all know that great content will get traction in its own right, so don’t waste time asking consumers to re-pin you; create eye-catching images and this will happen naturally! Get the Pinterest button with instructions in the fourth paragraph of this page.

Integrate Pinterest with the rest of your social media campaign by posting your pins to Facebook and Twitter too. You might also want to pin images you’ve already put on Flickr in the past.

If you put prices in the descriptions of products they may end up in the gift section of the Pinterest site. This is a way of getting more of a direct response from marketing on Pinterest.

Pinterest is great for services or brands which don’t have a tangible offering. They can create engaging boards to communicate their brand personality and put images of their service in action.

Pinterest is a great tool to use for market research such as brand perception research, or testing reception to potential advertising images.

Hold competitions using Pinterest. Encourage fans to get the most ‘re-pins’ or create the best board. Pinterest is great for fashion brands. You can ask your consumers to post pictures of your products styled by themselves and then re-pin the best. The user is left with a nice fuzzy feeling of being special because the brand has recognised them!

If your business uses SEO as part of their marketing strategy, Pinterest is a great way of building inbound links as every image pinned automatically links back to its original source. Another great factor is that links on Pinterest are followed (for now), unlike links on Flickr. Include your location within your description and create boards that include location terms to give your local SEO efforts a boost too. Add descriptions to your pins which include your keywords to add further SEO benefit. Please don’t spam it though, only use it for genuinely interesting images and content.

In the future we might see Pinterest open up to brands and businesses a bit more with the ability to create specific business pages rather than having the business listed as a regular user at the moment.

It’s already valued at $200million and it received almost 7 million visits in one week in December 2011

All signs suggest that this is not just another social network which is going to slip under the mat. Get on board! Find me on Twitter if you would like an invite @Koozai_Tara

P.S On a personal level I would like to warn you that Pinterest is strangely addictive:

 

 

 

 

Tara West

Tara West

Tara West is an experienced SEO and PPC specialist at Koozai, with particular expertise within AdWords PPC and Remarketing. She has worked on a wide variety of verticals, from plumbing and travel to fashion and beauty.

9 Comments

  • Scott 27th January 2012

    I haven’t seen any business come from Pinterest yet, but I have enjoyed seeing work from other photographers, finding cool infographics and inspiring items for my house. I’d love to connect with others on Pinterest – my account is: http://pinterest.com/scottwyden/

    Reply to this comment

    • Tara West

      Tara 27th January 2012

      Thanks for your comment Scott. I don’t think Pinterest will work very well for direct response in terms of directly generating business or sales but it certainly seems to work well as part of branding campaigns and encouraging user interaction. I’ve followed a couple of your boards now. It’s great discovering new content from other users.

      Reply to this comment

      • Scott 27th January 2012

        I don’t see it happening often, but one never knows – At first I didn’t like Pinterest and thought it was just another social site to get lost in the mix. But now I’m using it on a daily basis. Thanks for following Tara!

  • Brad 3rd February 2012

    We started putting up several Pinterest pages for various parts of boating, and I’m starting these links in Webmaster Tools, so Google is starting to recognize them. We are integrating our Pinterest pics with our Facebook, Twitter and blog accounts and it appears to be working well for us.

    Here’s one of our Pinterest accounts: http://pinterest.com/iloveboating/

    Reply to this comment

    • Tara West

      Tara 6th February 2012

      That’s great Brad, it’s always reassuring to see them in Webmaster Tools! Really hope the platform doesn’t start receiving too much spam and decide to make their links no-follow. Although even if the links weren’t followed it would still be a great platform to create brand engagement. Nice work integrating it with Facebook etc too, I think that is the key to getting more people onto Pinterest as it creates a wider awareness with people who are clearly already active online.

      Reply to this comment

  • Pingback: How to Use Pinterest for Online Marketing | Plentiful Marketing With Daniel Tan

  • Leslie Nicole 15th February 2012

    Should we create a Pinterest account with our personal name or business name? Can we have more than one? I just created a personal account.

    Reply to this comment

    • Tara West

      Tara 15th February 2012

      Hi Leslie, if you are using it for your brand then I would recommend creating it in your brand’s name. Hope this helps.

      Reply to this comment

      • Leslie Nicole 15th February 2012

        Yes, thank you for your response and the article. :-)

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