Experian recently reported that Pinterest is the third largest social network – following Facebook and Twitter.
If you’re surprised to hear this, you’re simply not paying very close attention to the social world of the internet and, of course, the possibilities that Pinterest has for your business.
104 million visitors in a single month.
104 million potential clients – if you can figure out who they are and how to reach them.
The Next Big Thing. An Emerging Social Media Site - Pinterest
Step 1: Learn the basics of Pinterest. You can and should do more research, but at the very basic levels, Pinterest is a giant online bulletin board where you can see what others are “pinning.” As you visit the individual and company pages of Pinterest, you’ll see almost exclusively pictures and videos as this is the idea behind the boards.
Step 2: Identify the users. Pinterest is dominated by female users. The demographic on Pinterest range from younger girls looking at beauty tips and fashion to more established women looking at travel pictures and interior design. That’s not to say Pinterest is all girls and “girly” topics – it’s not. But if you’re looking to connect with women who have buying power, this is the place.
Step 3: Set up your own account. You can’t put Pinterest to good use until you’re active on the site. There is a small hurdle of getting an invitation, but you can simply request one from the site and you’re on your way.
Step 4: Determine your purpose and goal. Before you touch your new boards, decide on how you plan to use them. You’ll have to pin pictures and videos, but what are you looking to sell or market through the boards? If you run a site offering family photography, for example, you’ll want to design your boards to reflect your specialties and areas of interest.
Step 5: Optimize your boards. Your Pinterest boards will work to your favor if you take the time to change the board names to make them keyword rich for search purposes. Name your boards something people search for and visitors will make their own way there.
Step 6: Obtain a “Pin It” button. Download the button to start pinning things to your Pinterest boards. Once you have the button on your browser, you can just click and pin to your heart’s content.
Step 7: Pin diverse content. To get your boards started, you’ll want to take the easy approach. Pin lots of things to your boards that are of interest to your followers and visitors. Don’t just pin pictures of your own work or products – that may come across as too hard of a sale. This is just a starting point, after all.
Step 8: Be active in the Pinterest community. To get followers, you’ll have to be a follower to some extent. Become active on the Pinterest community by commenting on the pictures others have posted. You may follow other users – including your competition if you can find them – or potential clients and customers.
Step 9: Build a following. The more active you are on the Pinterest community, the more you and your boards will be accepted and visited by others. Use your social networks to maximum advantage by linking your Twitter and personal Facebook page to your Pinterest for the business. Then, all of your pins will go out on all feeds, drawing more followers and visits.
Step 10: Keep pinning your material. Throughout all of your community building, you should still be pinning relevant, interesting material about your topic. Remember to avoid blatant sales type posts as this is not the focus of the community, but do post marketing pictures from time to time in with other interesting videos and images. Try for a one and five ratio – one pin about your business for every five pins about other, non-business interesting things.
Step 11: Add exceptional SEO captions. You can add captions to your images and this is your change to draw even more visitors to your pictures using more good keyword combinations. The links through Pinterest are “do-follow” as well, making them a great choice for backlinks for SEO possibilities as well.
Step 12: Use captions to distribute information. Since you can’t “post” or “tweet” on Pinterest, you have to let pictures tell the story – with a clever caption underneath! Use the captions not only for SEO and traffic, but to give visitors information about things in your pictures or information about things related to your images. For example, a picture of dollar signs might have a caption related to a big sale you’re having or some sort of opportunity others might like to know about.
Step 13: Put “Pin in” button on your site. You’ve been pinning things from your site and other websites using a button on your browser, but putting the button on your own site makes it easier for site readers and visitors to “pin” things they like to Pinterest as well. This is important not just for those selling products, but for those offering services as well.
Step 14: Step up your business blog. You’ve been spending a lot of time on Pinterest, but don’t let your own business blog and site suffer from neglect. Create some great posts on your business blog and include plenty of images. Then, pin the picture from your article to Pinterest.
The picture will link back to your site and you can add an additional link as well with a great caption summary. As readers come from other sources, they may choose to “pin” your picture and article to their boards as well thanks to your button from the previous step.
Step 15: Keep an eye out for linkbait. “Link bait” is the article or picture that everyone is shocked or amazed to read or see. Finding fresh, interesting and even “out there” posts and pictures for your board will drive others to you and keep others pinning your blog post or link bait back to Pinterest on your behalf.
Step 16: Keep track of your pinned content. Put Pinterest’s tracking program to good use. You can see who’s been pinning things by visiting http://pinterest.com/source/.
Step 17: Use the data you’re collecting. Use numbers to drive your pinning and blog post production on your own site. If you find certain types of pictures and corresponding articles or products gather more interest, spend your time and energy working on those to build up that area of your boards.
Step 18: Consider using videos. Pinterest doesn’t just take pictures – it takes videos as well. You can post other people’s videos if you’d like or consider making some videos of your own. The data you’ve been gathering in Step 16 and 17 would be useful here – make a video demonstration for a popular product or make a video reaction to a particular story if you’re seeing it pinned from your site frequently.
Step 19: Encourage Pinterest participation with contests. Once you have a decent following or at least a steady stream of visitors, ask those readers to take pictures of themselves using your products. Share and pin the pictures to build even more credibility and respect with potential customers.
Step 20: Use Pinterest for additional branding. As you grow more comfortable with Pinterest, you can use the boards to expand into different areas of your product or service offering as well as using it for branding and PR as well. Pin special causes or programs you’re participating in. Pin pictures of those your company supports at the holidays and pin articles or pictures that support your industry and paint it in a favorable light.
Step 21: Check copyright. Pinterest is having some trouble with copyright violations at the moment, so you’ll need to stay savvy and be sure that you’re not violating any copyrights with your own postings. A safe bet is to use royalty free images, take your own pictures and link to your own articles or to those that are creative commons use.
Step 22: Mix things up. Just when you’re getting into a groove on Pinterest, change tactics and strategies just slightly. Make tiny tweaks to be sure that things aren’t stagnant, because stagnant means boring and visitors don’t like boring.
Step 23: Stay after it. Once you’ve invested the time and energy to getting started with Pinterest, don’t let your efforts slip away. Stay on top of your boards and stay active in the community to continue reaping the rewards of the ever-growing social network.