There’s a social media site that has more pulling power than Twitter, can lure more leads than LinkedIn, Google + and Youtube combined. Yes folks, that’s the visual social media network Pinterest. Built around engaging visual content, it raced passed 10 million users faster than any other stand-alone site in history and recently became the 2nd highest referrer of traffic to websites. In a nutshell, users share visual images from the web, by “pinning” them on to a series of virtual PinBoards. If you haven’t already cashed in on an imagery led warpath with Pinterest, we think you will want to give this one some serious consideration.
You do need to understand that Pinterest isn’t compatible with all business types, so we’ll now leave you with five rules to succeeding on this platform and leave you to decide whether it’s going to be a match in business heaven.
1. Plan for pinning success
If you’re a go getter, you’ll want to dive right in with the pinning action, but stand back and take a moment to plan and take the time to set up your account properly. Give some thought to what you’ll be using the account for. If you’re a Public Figure, you’re likely going to want to use your own name, but if you own a business, set up an account in your business name, using your logo as an official business page.
Don’t be shy about packing your description with key words and set up links to your website and social media channels on your profile. Prepare your blog for pinning by installing the “Pin it Button” and “Follow Me Button”. Integrate with other social media platforms by adding Pinterest sharing buttons and apps to other social media platforms and ask your followers on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to get over to your Pinterest page.
You’ll know who your ideal client is, so do some research into what they’re pinning. Give answers to their questions, feed their inspirations and solve their problems. Set up your initial “Boards” by choosing topics or categories that reflect your business values, culture, interests, products and services. The eye is drawn to attractive things so create boards with this in mind. Be creative with your board names but don’t go too off the wall as they need to be searchable so include key words.
2. Check the source before you pin
This is vital. When re-pinning, give them a click before you repin to see if pins are sourced to a legitimate website. If content has been “re-sourced” with a false URL to another site, don’t repin it and report it or leave a comment. When pinning original content, consider adding a watermark of your website or logo to your image, to preserve pin integrity. This way the image will be connected to your website and continue to promote your brand.
3. Pin strategically
Now we get to the good part and introduce those pins. Do it across a range of boards and add them gradually, starting new boards as you feel necessary. Follow, follow, follow. Start following users and/or individual boards which spark your interest. By doing this and engaging with users, repinning their content, you’ll build your own community of followers.
Utilise “Rich Pins” which allow you add in a little extra information to the right of the pin itself. At the moment there are five different types of Rich pins: movie, recipe, article, product and place. Get the clock out to space out and time your pins. Nobody likes a flooding which can be off putting and it could potentially reduce the power of the pin. Take note of the times when your fans are pinning – be flexible. 2-4pm and at night are popular for pinning according to Pinterest. Weekends are too, especially lazy Sunday afternoons.
4. Be social
Some social media users have this in the bag and it obviously helps that if by nature, you’re sociable. Don’t forget to integrate yourself and make your character known. It’s just like other social media sites so comment and like as you would on Twitter, Facebook or Youtube. Likes and repins are the currency here, pictures do speak louder than words. Use names and tag with the @ out in front to let users know you’re engaging with them. Use hashtags (#) to highlight keywords. If you’re using names and tags, you’ll be walking out ahead of the majority of users in the engagement stakes. Track pins from your website by typing in the following link (using your own url): www.pinterest.com/source/yourwebsite.com and it will show you all the pins/repins made direct from your website. From here you can say thanks and a little thank you acknowledgment goes a long way.
5. Produce visual content
Whatever you pin must be visually engaging as the principle purpose is for it to be “re-pinnable”. The image is set to make the first impression, so make it bold, make it pretty, and make it interesting. Remember that 80% of all pins and repins. Be varied and pin different types of images. Include photos, infographics, videos and text. Don’t discount the value of text by having a great font on a simple background. Videos are the most engaging so rise above your competitors by using it. Also, give them different sizes. Taller pins are more noticeable in the newsfeed but bash on and experiment for what works for you. Keep it simple as the more visual, clear and succinct it is, the more likely people will take notice and repin it.
Use Canva, PicMonkey, Instagram and Pixlr for image creation. Snagit or Skitch are brilliant tools for adding effects to images and video. Pinstamatic is useful for creating simple images and for beauty, designer-esque wear, go to WordSwag which is currently only available on the iPhone.
That’s it: get pinning and I might be repinning you sometime soon.