The number one problem of small business owners who are marketing using Pinterest today is that unfortunately, very few of them actually understand how to use – and monetize – Pinterest effectively!
You probably know that when Pinterest started, it was primarily used by individuals, and its terms even stated that its purpose wasn't to sell directly – it was to connect individual people. That said, even from those early days, many businesses took to Pinterest to connect with their customers. From my perspective, it brought about some truly innovative marketing. By having to market to their customers without actually trying explicitly to sell to them, companies had to find alternate messages to communicate other than "Buy Me."
And the most popular messages that emerged from Pinterest boards created by companies were boards that said, "This is who we are."
A new kind of marketing emerged from this – marketing based on the value of authenticity.
Companies who did well on Pinterest (Whole Foods, ModCloth, Etsy and others) were the ones who created boards that allowed their audience to know that their values and actions were lined up together. They were being authentic.
The great success stories of Pinterest marketing showed that authenticity paid off big time. The customers who perceived their favorite brands were being authentic (as a result of the pins on the companies' boards) tended to click over to those companies' websites, more so than from many other forms of social media.
With the shift to business accounts, Pinterest is clearly going to remain a power player for businesses to use in social media marketing.
So how do you learn (finally) how to monetize your Pinterest presence?
1. Know who your customer is and know what their biggest challenges in their lives or businesses are.
This is huge. As specifically as possible, you need to know who your customer is, what he or she is interested in, and what problems he or she has. Knowing who your ideal customer is with as much detail as possible allows you to target your marketing precisely to those who are going to be most interested in your products or service
2. Create boards that revolve around the problems you solve – not necessarily about your product and its features.
People like to think they're rational. And many people are. But many, many people, even those who think they're operating only on logic, make decisions that have deep roots in their emotions. And it's the "negative emotions" that often have the strongest impact. Fear. Anger. Shame. If your customers have problems that trigger one of these buttons, and you have a fix for that problem, that's what they want to know.
Does your coaching service release people from the fear of not being as successful as they'd like? Create boards centered on motivation, travel, and beautiful homes – all symbols of living a financially successful life.
Do you offer holistic health information products that free people from the shame of having been known as "the fat kid" all their life? Your pin boards might include pictures of families engaged in fun activities together, demonstrating the emotions of joy and freedom found from living a healthy active lifestyle.
3. Make sure to connect your Pinterest business profile to your business website.
It still surprises me to see people doing this, but it still happens. If you're using Pinterest, you need to complete your profile thoroughly and don't leave things like your picture or your business website blank. It's not just missed opportunity – it also communicates that you're not serious about the details of your business.
You might notice that I didn't include information about how to turn your Pinterest boards into virtual catalogs by including a $ or a price on your pinned images (it's super easy to do – just include a $ and the price in the description of the pin, and the price will display on the image).
There's a reason I didn't include it as a strategy – because while it's easy enough to do, it's not one of the strongest ways to market your business from your Pinterest business account.
One of the things I mention all of the time is how important it is to use Pinterest to build relationships with your ideal customer. And I don't know about you, but when I go shopping, I don't exactly feel connected to sales people who want to club me over the head with products and prices right off the bat! <grin> I want to be greeted by a sales person who takes the time to get to know me, to know what I'm looking for, and who seeks to bring value to my shopping experience. And I'm here to tell you, your customers want the same thing!
The best ways to monetize your Pinterest account are to use Pinterest to find and continue to connect with your ideal customers, offering solutions that benefit them, ease their burdens, and provide value to them in their business or everyday life.
How are you monetizing Pinterest for your business? I'd love to hear – leave me a note below!